Bream fishing tips and tricks
A little bit about bream
There are several species of bream that swim in Australian estuaries. In Victoria, black bream and yellow-fin bream are the two most commonly targeted bream species. Anglers love them because they're attractive fish, require a bit of skill to catch, put up a good fight, and taste great.
They're the kind of fish that offer just the right balance of challenge and reward that keep both kids and experienced anglers alike smiling.
Where to find bream
Black bream and yellow-fin bream are found in estuaries throughout Victoria. Black bream are also common along ocean foreshores and beaches making them easy to catch from a boat or from land.
Bream like hideouts in areas that are a bit sheltered from the current and where there is structure, cover, and readily available food. So, places like jetties, boat ramps, rock walls, pontoons, oyster racks, and areas with overhanging trees are good places to target when chasing bream with bait. It's worth noting that bream can be caught on lures in estuary shallows and targeting them here at high tide when it's a bit cloudy and there's a bit of wind can be very productive.
In Victoria, you need a fishing licence (unless you're exempt) to legally chase bream. Licences can be purchased online.
You can only catch and keep bream that are 28 cm or more in length, and you can only keep ten legal size bream on any one day. Click here for more information on the regulations.
Baits and lures
Bream are opportunistic feeders that eat a range of natural prey such as shellfish, prawns, octopus, and small fish like anchovy and sprat. When it comes to bait, they'll take sandworm, prawn, crab and bass yabbies, Man-made baits such as bread, chicken marinated in soy sauce (no joke - it makes a good berley slick and they love the smell), chicken gut, and haloumi cheese work well.
Once you've found a good spot where bream are likely to be, using a little berley can be a good way of enticing them to take your bait. If you use berley, just remember that it's illegal to use mammal blood or offal as berley. A good option is to berley with a little of the bait you're using on your hook.
Fishing for bream on lures has become very popular and there are a wide range of options on the market. Selecting lures depends on a whole range of factors, however, you can use both soft plastics and hard plastic lures.
If you're chasing bream with soft plastics there's two main ways to catch them. When the bream are sitting high in the water under structure such as a bridge or pontoon, then using a lightly weighted jig head and drifting the lure slowly past the hot spots is a good option. If the fish are holding deep, fishing a heavy jig head is going to help get the lure down into the strike zone.
When it comes to hard plastic lures, there are three key types: bibbed lures, surface lures, and lipless lures. With each lure, using a slightly different retrieval method after casting is needed to get the best results. Straight retrieves and slow roll retrieves work well with lipless lures, 'walk the dog' style retrieves that make the lure travel in a zig zag path can be a good for surface lures, and slow and steady retrieves with the odd twitch thrown in can work well with bibbed lures.
One of the best things about bream is that you don't need to get anything too complicated or expensive.
A 7ft, 2-4kg spinning rod paired with a 1000-2000 sized reel with a five pound braid and 4lb leader is a good outfit to target bream with.
It's worth noting that if you're fishing off a jetty or location where you need to lift the fish out the water you should use a net otherwise you risk breaking it off.
Responsible fishing handling
If you catch a fish, it's important you handle it responsibly to minimise stress and maximise its chance of survival if you intend to release it.
We would recommend that:
- You handle the fish with wet hands or a wet towel (a good option for fish with spiky fins) on a cool, wet surface.
- Remove hooks as cleanly as possible using a hook remover or long nosed pliers.
- If the fish is hooked deeply in the mouth or stomach, leave the hook where it is and cut the line as close as possible to hook.
- When possible, remove the hook while the fish is still in the water.
- Hold the fish gently and move it forward to force water through its gills until it has revived and is able to swim normally.
If the fish is of legal size and you intend to keep it, we recommend that you:
- Dispatch it immediately.
- Ice them and store them away from sunlight, preferably in a moist bag or cooler.
For more information on responsible fish handling visit our responsible fishing behaviours web page.