Bream are undoubtably Australia’s favourite inshore fish. They can be caught in every state, freshwater or saltwater, on lures, baits or fly- you could spend a whole lifetime chasing bream and never master them; plenty try just that! Here in the south-west, we are lucky to have some fantastic spots to catch bream which are easily accessible to anyone. If you’ve never targeted the humble bream before, now’s the time to try!
Like previously mentioned, bream can be taken in any Australian state, but let’s look locally here. The Hopkins River, the Curdies River and the Glenelg River are our top three picks for local bream waters. The Hopkins has a variety of different habitats that can be fished for bream. Below the bridge, there is an expanse of sand flats which are best fished during summer. When the blue water moves onto these flats, the fish follow, and great fishing can be had with soft plastics, shallow minnows or lightly weighted baits of worm or shell. Between the bridge and the ski run, you’ve got a number of jetties and pontoons which not only make great fishing platforms, but also offer structure that attracts fish like magnets. Opposite these jetties, the mudflats, although difficult to find and navigate when the water is up, offer some fantastic shallow water fishing. During winter, the ski run between Mahoney’s Road and the River Cruises boat offers great deep water fishing with black vibes for schooled up fish. Areas of interest upstream of these areas include Tooram Stones (fishing up against the rocks), Hen and Chickens reef (fishing shallow lures or unweighted baits) Rowans Lane, and Jubilee Park (great for bank fishing). In any bream water, structure should be targeted. Rocks, submerged trees, mud flats, jetty pylons- basically anything offering shade, a hiding spot and food. Another spot to try is changes in water characteristics. Where salt and freshwater meet, clear and muddy water, warm and cool water- these spots can be hard to find but very productive.
Lures to catch bream can be divided into two categories- soft plastics and hardbodies. Soft plastics are more versatile and more popular. Z-Man has ruled king over the soft plastics market, especially with the Grubz and Slim Swimz 2.5″, in the Motor Oil, Midnight Oil, Bloodworm, Bad Shad and Watermelon Red colours. Fish these with a jighead in the 1/20- 1/12oz size and a #1 hook and that’s basically all you need to catch bream anywhere. Of course, other soft plastics are also popular. Gulp Nemesis, Gulp Sandworms, Powerbait Minnows, Ecogear Grass Minnows (fished unweighted in summer), and Z-Man 2″ Grubz are popular choices. Natural colours are most popular but some days, brighter colours reign supreme. Scent is also a secret weapon for many of the most successful anglers. Pro-Cure Mullet, S-Factor and the new Gulp Gel are all great picks. Hardbodies are where the market really expands. For shallow jerk baits/minnows, these are best fished in summer, particularly over flats. Ecogear MX48 is the top pick, followed by Atomic Jerk Minnow. Deep jerkbaits are killer when fished on rock bars- like the edges at the Glenelg or Tooram Stones on the Hopkins. The Daiwa Spike and Double Clutch are heard to beat. Blades are best in winter or spring, when bream school up deep. Try Ecogear VX35s or Strike Pro Cyber Vibes, in black colours. Crankbaits can be deadly over shallow rocky areas or mudflats, which line the Hopkins. Try Jackall Chubbies and Atomic Cranks. And finally, the most fun you can have whilst bream fishing- topwater! OSP Bent Minnows, Ecogear Grass Minnows (in the pink colour on a worm hook) and Atomic K9 Pencils, when fished on a warm summer night in the shallows, is ridiculous fun. But seriously, if you just want to catch a bream on lure, I would recommend a Z-Man Motor Oil 2.5″ Grub on a 1/16th oz #1 jighead- it gets no easier.
Baits are much simpler than lures. Myself, I love unweighted baits, they are extremely effective in the right location and conditions. If you can’t fish unweighted due to wind, rod weight or current, the lightest weight possible is best. A small ball sinker on a running rig is ideal. A bait holder, suicide or circle hook, between #4 and 2/0 (match to the bait) is best. We love the Black Magic KL 1/0, Daicchi Baitholders and Black Magic C-Point hooks. Your choice of bait can be live, fresh or frozen. Live shrimp, crabs, worms and small minnows are best. Fresh fish baits, frozen prawns, mussels, shells, pippies, or even bread are all great bream baits.
Bream can be caught any month of the year. During winter and spring, fishing deep is best. During summer try shallower waters, on the edges. High tide is best down the lower reaches of the rivers, with an hour either side being preferred. Low light periods are also best, especially for larger fish or for topwater fishing.
So now you know how, why not get out there and tangle with some bream? You can’t knock it till you’ve tried it!