Targeting the various species of bream on lures is fast becoming the most popular forms of fishing in Australia. Their abundance in our local canal and river systems ensures that everyone right around the coastline of Australia has access to their natural and artificial habitats at any time throughout the year.
It can be daunting when first targeting this species, especially when it comes to selecting from the plethora of lures, rods and reels available. In my case it wasn’t expensive lures or rods and reels that got me onto my first bream as I’ll discuss further below.
In this post I will go through, when and where I found bream to be most active and my learning experience in the early days. Such as the best lure techniques and what I found to be the best lures and gear to use when targeting this species.
When first starting to target bream, I was able to participate in a number of Diztek Amateur Bream Tournaments here on the Gold Coast. While I didn’t catch any winners during these tournaments the time out on the water and the experience learned by talking to other bream anglers was invaluable. At the end of the day getting out and exploring your local waterways and learning how this species behaves in it will get you on your way to catching your first bream on a lure.
YELLOW FIN BREAM
Other Names: Sea Bream,Silver Bream Mis-identifications: Pikey Bream, Silver Javelins, Tarwhine Size and Possession: Common Length – 25cm
Maximum Length 65cm Distribution: All State Coastlines
Other Names: Black Bream Mis-identifications: Yellowfin Bream, Pikey Bream Size and Possession: Common Length – 25cm
Maximum Length 54cm Distribution: Southern New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia
TARWHINE (SILVER BREAM)
Other Names: Silver Bream Mis-identifications: Pikey Bream, Yellow Fin Bream Size and Possession: Common Length – 28cm
Maximum Length 60cm Distribution: Queensland, Northern Territory and New South Wales and Western Australia
Habitat / Behaviour
Bream are a very hardy species, tolerant to varying levels of salinity and can be found anywhere inshore from reefs and rocky ledges, to estuary environments and freshwater reaches of coastal rivers. Bream spawn in the surf zones near estuary entrances and then return to estuaries after spawning. This occurs from July – August along the east coast of Australia. Only male fish larger than 22 cm will spawn. This is a prime opportunity to catch some larger specimens around seaway entrances or spinning surf gutters.
By August – November larvae are 13 -14mm long and start transitioning back into the estuaries. Larvae and Juveniles then find shelter in sea grass beds and around mangrove roots. After approx 1-year juveniles reach a size of 10cm. Typically juveniles feed in shallow sand habitats in summer and in deep water overlying mud in winter. It will take Juveniles approx 5 years to reach a size of 22cm long at which time they become a breeding adult.
Naturally adult bream find food around sea-grass beds, mangrove roots and sand flats. Foraging for small fish, crabs, prawns and worms. As coastal development increases such as on the Gold and Sunshine coasts. Bream have found a new environment to live and have flourished. Hiding around floating pontoons, jetty’s, pylons and manmade rock walls.
When it comes to bream fishing. Think light. Really light gear. When I caught my first bream on a lure I was using a 1-3kg Adrenaline rod ($50 rod) with a Shimano AX FB 1000 sized reel running 2lb fluorocarbon straight to the spool. From there I gradually worked my way up to slightly heavier line and larger reels.
A good combo should cost all up $150 – $250. Try not to go in too cheap especially when purchasing light rods as the tips tend to break if you are not careful when freeing a snags and even during storage.
Ideally you will be looking for a 1-3kg or 1-4kg rod. This gives you maximum control over your retrieval, greater accuracy when casting and are rated to lighter line weights between 4 – 12lb braid. I currently use a Wildbait Stick 1-3kg Trout Rod as below. While this rod has been made to target Trout in Southern NSW and Victoria. It was an ideal bream and bass rod for me. The short butt allows for better maneuverability when casting and retrieving.
When it comes to reels. Sizes from 1000 – 2500 are most suited to lighter line used for bream fishing. Any brands from $80 – $120 are fine. My choice being Daiwa. However, as I said above I did use a relatively cheap Shimano AX FB reel available at BCF for $59.99 during the first couple of months targeting bream.
Line selection has got to be braid in my opinion. My personal preference is to fish as light as possible. I find this maximizes the distance I can cast a light lure and helps with sensitivity when feeling bites and controlling my retrieval. I run 4lb on a 1000 size reel and 6 – 8lb on a 2000 reel.
Leader has to be the single most important component when fishing for bream. Bream can be and are most of the time very finicky. There are a lot of things to consider. Below are some pros and cons when it comes to leader selection: Light (2lb – 6lb) Pros:
Great for clear days with high water visibility. Low chance of spooking the fish. Cons:
High chance of being cut off on snags and by catch such as Flathead. I cannot count how many times a 30cm+ flathead has run off with a bream lure! Heavy (8lb – 12lb) Pros:
Great for fishing structure such as oyster leases, pontoons, bridge pylons and rock walls. Less chance of being cut off on structure. Line thickness can also be increased on overcast or days where water visibility is murky. Cons:
Highly visible to fish. Bream are spooked easily by it.
Fishing Sir stock great quality Braid and Leader. Minimum weight at the moment is 12lb. However, the website is currently under maintenance while stock is updated and will stock lighter braids in the near future.
Again, as I discussed in my Flathead guide. Google Maps Satellite Overlay is your best friend when targeting bream. If you are like me. I prefer to target bream in their natural habitat such as; edges of mangroves at high tide, weed beds and sandbars or yabby beds that are submerged at high tide.
Otherwise, man made structures also hold vast amounts of fish. Look for bridge pylons, pontoons and artificial rock walls. Recon is very important for these fish. Try and look for a food source such as small bait fish or prawns/crabs. The key to this is to keep moving. If you don’t see a food source either with your eyes or on a sounder keep moving until you do.
Apart from thinking about where you are going to fish. Also check over your gear. Bream spook easily either by noise or shadows casted on the water so make sure you are rigged up with your first lure ready to cast as soon as you hit your spot.
Check your braid to leader knot is solid. I personally use the Uni to Uni knot because I’m lazy. If you can master the FG Knot. This is the one to use. Also be sure to check your leaders for any scruff marks from oysters or rocks from previously trips and this will be your undoing when you lock a solid bream.
Another common misconception is that you assume your local waterways are fished out. I assure you this isn’t the case. I used to think the same thing. Then spend time and money getting to the next waterway (which I wasn’t familiar with) to not catch anything. Until one day by chance I went snorkeling and found an abundance not only of bream but also other species just down the road.
The grass is always greener idea might sometimes rain true. But I suggest getting our on the water. Get to know your local system. (Where the snags/structure is and what the substrate is) You will need to put in the hard work initially before you start finding reliable bream spots.
Water quality has a bit effect on the breaming game. Fishing through winter on the Gold Coast can see water temps hover around 16° at the lowest up to 18° and through summer anywhere from 20° to 26° is normal. I have found don’t really change their behavior based on water temperature alone they can be caught in warm and cold water. What they don’t take kindly to is sudden drops in temperature and barometric pressure.
In my experience sudden drops to water temperature occur after a rain event that has broken a hot/dry weather spell. These are periods I find that the catch rate goes down significantly. If you are fishing down south of Sydney. You may also encounter cold ocean currents coming up the coast from the Tasman Sea and moving into estuaries. This will also cause a significant drop in temperature.
Above all, water clarity is the major factor with these pesky fish. When the water is murky as I touched on above in Leader Selection. Your leader in front of your lure will not be as obvious. Anything up to 12lb will still land you fish. Take this opportunity to try more spots with snags such as oyster leases and rockwalls.
Lures, lures, lures. Which lures do I use? I could write for hours with what types and colours I use. There are literally 100’s of lures on the bream market these days. Most of which will work great and produce results where ever there are fish. However, many of the major brands come with hefty price tags sometimes from $20 – $30 a piece.
Personally I started out experimenting with crank baits primarily the Berkley 3B Fatdog crank range. However, this became too expensive with each lure at the time costing $20.00 each. I now primarily use Diztek’s FB35 Deep and Shallow crank baits. These lures have tiny ball bearing that slide to the tail of the lure when casting for maximum distance. They come in two different models Shallow and Deep both of which have their uses depending on where you are fishing.
On the soft plastic front. Anything that is a grub or c-tail style will work great. I have gone off Z-Man and Berkley Gulp lures. I found the Z-Man range to melt too easy out in the sun in my kayak and Gulp’s tend to go stiff very quickly after opening the packet. Munroes Soft Plastics are a Australian Made product. Their plastic is nice and soft and easy to put on the jig head but firm enough that it doesn’t fall off.
Below some of the styles I use regularly to target bream. Check them out. They won’t break the bank.
All lures can catch fish. It’s how you work your lure that matters. You need to make your lure look at natural as possible during the retrieval. Observe how bait fish and prawns move, then try and perfect this action with your rod tip. I have spent hours in my back yard pool casting lures and perfecting my rod action.
Everyday fish will hit lures using a different action. It’s up to you to test this and crack the code on any given day. I have had days on the water where a slow steady wind will work fine. Other days I have had to mix it up a bit and throw in a few pauses and twitches or slow it right down to a excruciatingly slow wind.
When bait fishing, it is perfectly fine to anchor up and sit in the one spot and wait for the bream to come to you. However, when lure fishing you need to cover a lot more ground. Pepper one area with about 10 casts before moving on. If you do hook up a bream in one area. Stay a little longer and cast in the same area. Bream can school up and you may hook onto more fish!
Check out our video please in Paradise Lake, Paradise Point Gold Coast. We explored this whole lake and got onto some good fish on Dizktek FB35 Lures
I hope this guide has given you everything you need to get started with targeting bream with lures. Remember the more time you spend on the water the more experience you will gain targeting these allusive scavengers.
Feel free to message myself, Paul or our team on our Facebook page or email us. We would be happy to share knowledge and recommend some of the gear we use.
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