Ten years ago the quiet little bream was a fish for everyone, kids would catch them off wharves and old codgers would hook them from tinnies. However, these days you may think this species is reserved for those wacky dudes who fish with tiny lures for tournament trophies, whilst wearing strange costumes covered in company logos. They’re usually not hard to miss blasting across the water in their pancake flat boats that are stickered up in more colourful graphics than a V8 supercar. But I say it’s time to bring them back to the people! Don’t be nervous, we humble civilians are allowed to target bream as well.


Light line and small hooks fooled this bream. 


There are a few different types of bream in Australia. The most common of which would have to be the eastern yellowfin bream, they can be found throughout Vic, NSW and Qld. If you’re a regular fisho’, you’re also bound to run into some southern black and pikey bream in your travels too. Now I could go on forever about this special species but lets not mess around; where do you find ‘em? And how do you catch ‘em?


A beautiful eastern yellowfin bream.




Head to your local estuary, river, lagoon, harbour or surf beach and you’re sure to come across a bream or two. Within these areas you should look for wharves, marinas, oyster leases, dense moorings, boat hulls, wrecks and natural snags – basically any area that has an abundance of food but still retains an element of protection. As you can see from the image below, bream just love hiding around tight, unforgiving structure – the more barnacles, the better.


Quick pop quiz: how many fish do you think are in this photo? Find out at the end of this blog.




So you know where to find them, but how do you catch them? Well, there are many different ways, all effective, and all great fun. To sum it up, there are three main methods, live baiting, dead baiting and lure fishing. Bream just love live baits like, bloodworms, sand worms, prawns and pink nippers – the only problem – so does every other fish in the ocean. When it comes to dead baits, anything from pilchards, squid and prawns to chicken and bread will do the damage. Bream will also eat a large variety of lures; from soft plastic minnows, grubs and crabs to hardbodied poppers, stick baits, deep divers and metal vibes. They’ll also gobble up flies like baited breaths, crazy charlie’s and shrimp imitations too. I can’t tell you specifically which lures to use (as the fish will feed differently in certain locations) but a really good all-rounder is the Berkley Gulp! 3” Minnow - wherever I go, I’ll always start off fishing with this lure.


What’s more impressive: the bream or Kirk’s hair? 


When it comes to the gear, light 1-4kg rods, small 2000 sized reels and sensitive 1-4kg braid is a must. Not to mention, the light tackle makes the fight even better. But hold your horses, the most important part of the setup is what you tie onto the end of that braid – this is what the fish is going to see. Light, good quality fluoro-carbo leaders are definitely the name of the game as bream can be particularly spooky. I’ll fish with anything from 2kg to 6kg leader, depending on how dense the structure is and how finicky the fish are.


So you’ve got your live bait rigged up, your dead bait on the hook or your lure tied on – what next? Personally, I’ll fish a live bait and a lure in very similar locations. Lightly weighted, or with no weight at all, I’ll cast either the lure or livey in close to structure and let it slowly sink down. Sometimes you’ll even see the fish rise up and nab your offering from the surface. However, when it comes to fishing dead bait, a small floater rig drifted down a burley stream is as close to a guaranteed bream as you’ll get. Finally, how many fish did you count in the image above? There are six bream and two blackfish!





Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email or leave a comment below.


Until next week.


Jack Murphy



© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography



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