TUNED TECHNIQUES TO TAME TIMID BREAM
Bream are very finicky feeders and will often pick at the bait or soft plastic for a while before they swim away with it in their mouths. A lot of fish aren’t hooked because when the bream swims with the bait in its mouth it feels some resistance caused by a stiff rod, heavy sinker or impatient angler and they drop the bait like a bag of hot potatoes. This is why you need to fine tune your techniques to catch a feed of quality bream. A couple ways to improve your hook up rate include: fishing with a long whippy rod similar to that used by whiting anglers but rated at 2-4kg or straight 4kg depending on the terrain. The long rod acts as shock absorber when the bream picks up the bait and by the time the rod is loaded the fish will be hooked. Use light sinkers so that the bream can’t feel any resistance or when using a heavier sinker open the bail arm on your reel and feed the bream some line until it swallows the bait and then strike to set the hook or treble.
As we looked into all bait varieties to use with bream last week, this week lures are the focus. Tommy Harvey, Swan Boat Hire staffer recommended three main lure categories for bream: top-water poppers, soft plastics or diving lures.
In the top water variety, reputable lures like the Smiths Towadi, Jazz Lures Zappa 55 and the NW 52 Pencil in all colours have had good success rates. With all top water lures use a very long cast from the bank or boat followed by a lengthy pause once your lure hits the surface to allow the curious bream to suss out the lure. Then using either a blooping, popping or walk-the-dog action, bring the lure back towards the boat or bank. Give plenty of pauses with your retrieve and constantly vary the retrieve rate from a very slow to fast jerky pace to imitate the likes of a baitfish. Try to work a lot of ground that has structures such as weed beds, coffee rock or shallow sand banks beneath.
If soft plastics are preferred, consider Berkley Gulps in the 2inch/5cm sandworm, baby shrimp or minnow grub (pumpkin seed colour). Soft plastics are ideal for working all types of structures from shallow to deep depths. For bream use a jighead as light as possible dependant on the conditions, (Resion Heads are highly recommended). Cast your lure as close as possible to the structures, allowing plenty of time to sink. Once the lure has moved into the bottom third of water, give your rod a twitch to ensure it is off the bottom and then pause to generate some interest from a bream. Vary your retrieve to establish what the fish in this area are going for. If the bream are finicky, try using a lighter leader to give the lure a more natural looking retrieve.
Diving lures are ideal for bream as they can easily reach a deep or dense structure which a bream may be hiding within. TT Switchblades ¼ oz in the brown mongrel colour and Citer hard body clear lures work a treat in local estuaries. Floating hard body lures are even better for performing a twitching retrieve. Begin your retrieve with a sharp jerk to allow the lure to dive a bit, and then pause to allow for lure suspension in the water, give another twitch and then repeat this process until the lure is back to the bank or boat. If you hit a snag, don’t keep pulling at your lure. Instead pause, let your line go slack and let your lure float free above the snag.
Switchblades or metal vibration lures are great for very deep water; cast and allow the lure to sink and once on the bottom give the lure a quick rip to bounce it off the bottom, finishing with a pause to gain interest from an unsuspecting bream. Allow the lure to sink a little and the repeat. Always vary your retieve with Switchblades as sometimes a constant slow wind will work while other times a stop-start retrieve may work better. If your blade becomes snagged just twitch the rod tip to jiggle the lure free, again avoid the temptation to pull hard as this will imbed your lure further into the structure.
Like any winter species fishing around either side of the full and new moon phases pays off. The bigger tides that rising during the night will have bream working their way up most river systems in search of food.
There are a few general locations worth trying in any river system as they are likely to hold bream. Bridge pylons, jetties, pontoons, oyster leases, sea grass bed, deeper holes, channels, around fallen trees, around and rocky bottom and river mouths are all good territory for bream to hang around.
Some of the Keys Hot Spots in your area include:
Noosa: Harbour Town, Munna Bridge and the rock wall in the river mouth.
Maroochydore: Pin Cushion, the Cod Hole and in the deeper channels surround Goat and Channel Islands.
Mooloolaba: The rocks walls at the river mouth, La Balsa Park stretch, McKenzie’s Bridge and the boat moorings.
Caloundra: The Boardwalk, the Military Jetty, the Blue hole, Coochin Creek and the bar.
I hope that a few of the key principals discussed during the bream fishing series have been useful to you and will help you to snag a few quality bream this winter.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Plenty of flathead right through the Tewantin and Noosaville stretch. Plenty of Luderick off the rock walls at the river mouth. A few Whiting in Weyba Creek. Trevally and chopper tailor in Woods Bay.
Maroochydore: Flathead in Petrie Creek and on the flats at Bli Bli. Bream to 1k from the deeper holes around the mouth. Chopper tailor between the cod hole and Eudlo Creek.
Kawana: Dart, Tarwhine and Tailor along the beach with good sized whiting in the low tide gutters. Trevally to 1kg from the mouth, boat moorings and in Kawana Waters. Good numbers of Gar around La Balsa. Flathead and Whiting in the canals.
Caloundra: Good catches of bream throughout the passage on both baits and lures. Whiting on the banks from just inside the mouth through to Golden Beach. Flathead along the mangroves near the Power Boat Club.
Bream in the middle reaches of the river take on a bronze coloration, much like this 31cm specimen caught by Paul on a gulp soft plastics in the Maroochy River.
Fish of around the 35cm mark aren’t uncommon during July and can be found throughout the coasts rivers and passages. This specimen was caught by Neil at the Caloundra end of the passage.
Quality yellow fin bream are the top bread and butter species that keep anglers (like Rick) entertained during the winter months on the Sunshine Coast.