Catching bream on lures is some of the most accessible and addictive sportfishing in the country. But for what on face value seems like a relatively straightforward fish and technique to master, there's actually a raft of inherent challenges and frustrations for those just starting out with this caper.
Below we've identified 10 factors to bream on lures success that will hopefully fast track your on water success when after these fish, and bypass some of the hard lessons standing between you and a photo with a solid lure eating breambo!
Bream on lures outfit selection is the first, and arguably one of the more vital steps, to having ongoing success. Given the small, petite lures often in use for bream, your lure delivery system is crucial to being able to work these finesse presentations and fool what can be a hyper-fussy feeder at times. Thankfully Shimano have many bream-aimed rods and reels perfect for the job, and your budget.
General thinking for soft plastic bream outfits is to use a fast tapered, hard tipped rod with a bit of length, around the 6'6" to 7ft plus size, which offers responsive twitches of your Squidgie and fast hook setting when a fish sucks down your softie. Longer rods also allow length casts of lightweight lures. The Zodias 701 Ultra Light Spin or Raider 722 Bream Spin are a couple of perfect options. Matched with a 1000 or 2500 sized threadline, fishing 2-4kg braid (the lighter the better!) you have a balanced outfit capable of long hours of accurate small lure flicking.
Some anglers prefer a slightly softer, slower tapered rod for hard bodied lures for bream, with the slow action offering shock absorption for hard bream hits and reducing the odds of tiny trebles being pulled free. This is a personal choice though and many quality rods are more than capable of fishing both hard and soft lures.
When it comes to bream lures try to pack a range of options with you to cover bases. Targeting bream on lures can be such a diverse exercise, given you could be working flats, rock walls, bridges, heavy timber and a range of other known hangouts for these fish.
A starting point is to pack say a few diving hard bodies for general casting; a popper or stickbait for fishing the surface; a weighted curl tail soft plastic like the Squidgy Bio Tough Wriggler for fishing deeper water and general flicking; and finally an unweighted soft plastic option like a creature bait such as the Bio Tough Crawler or Grub for dead drifting around pontoons or alongside heavy cover. Having even a small spread of options will give moves to make and let you more effectively fish a range of areas.
When you find a juicy piece of structure screaming bream be sure to make your first cast count, by getting your lure right into the sweet spot against or even under or in the structure. So often your first cast is the one that will be belted on sight by a bream that's just sitting and waiting for something to drift past them. After an ineffective cast or two these fish can quickly smarten up and get spooked.
Backing your lure to be eaten and keeping the faith with what you have tied on is also a factor to bream on lure success. Big bream can make you question your tactics when you're getting knocked back and spending long periods twitching for only smaller more reckless fish. Often however if you can persist, and make the odd lure change if you feel necessary, things will go your way.
For those using soft plastics some additional scent added to your lure, such as S-Factor, can give you the edge on those hard water days. A quick rub of this scent will add another level of appeal to your lure and could just help you tempt a blue-lipped beast of a bream.
Changing up your lure retrieves can be a sure-fire way to crack the bite code for the day. For hard bodied divers try extending your pause time between twitches, or even speeding up the retrieve. You could try a slow roll of the lure also. Similarly with soft plastics you can play around with your standard retrieve if you feel it's warranted and be reactive to changing bite conditions.
Bream can be as cagey and fickle as any fish swimming, especially the large models! If you want to get the bite sometimes you need to do all you can to make stealthy presentations, which may involve dropping your leader strength right down to as light as you can realistically go, use natural coloured lures and make near perfect presentations. Positioning yourself well away from structure and making long casts can be needed also. Those land-based should treat these fish like trout and be wearing low vis clothing and creeping around ninja style.
Fishing low light periods for bream is often warranted, especially in heavily pressured areas. Bigger bream prefer to feed in half light like a lot of predatory fish. Be prepared to get up early and fish late sometimes to see the best of a waterway.
Finding prime bream feeding areas can be made easier if you can tap into the clues they provide. On the flats you can find bream 'pump holes' where they've been feeding, and on bridges and snag piles you can sometimes spot where they've chewed off barnacle growth or been gnawing on the structure. Also in low light it's common to hear bream 'boofing' insects off the surface near vegetation. All are places worth a cast or three!
Finally one of the greatest assets to have if you want bream on lures success is a sense of adventure and pushing the limits of where and how you fish. This may mean hiking or kayaking into a remote part of an estuary, or experimenting with a lure and jighead combination in order to better tempt your local fish.
Being open minded and prepared to learn will go a long way to getting you hooked up to these great fish, and on a lure it's some of the sweetest light tackle fun we have!