How to catch bream
The Gippsland Lakes are a veritable haven for black bream, boasting a substantial population, with claims of the biggest fish in the state! Many fishing comps centred around bream are held in various parts of the Gippsland Lakes each year. They're an important recreational catch, and a mainstay of the lakes. Yellowfin bream are also on the cards to compliment the overall bream catch, particularly the further east you go in the lakes system.
Bream are opportunistic feeders, capable of switching between tiny molluscs and barnacles on a pier, burrowing for sandworms, and aggressively chasing small baitfish. Although not particularly finicky, they are cautious and can become wary of anything that seems unnatural, particularly when they sense angling pressure. This is especially true for larger fish, who tend to hang back while smaller ones rush in. Anglers who can present baits or lures that mimic natural prey on light rods and leaders will always outperform those who adopt a heavy-handed approach.
Bream populations move significantly through the year within the lakes system, particularly during spawning aggregations when the fish school up in vast numbers in search of the right levels of salinity before spawning. Apart from that, the fish will spread out across the lakes and feeder rivers, providing great sport in various scenarios, including shallow flats and snaggy edges, deeper gutters, and drop-offs. They can be found in numerous locations, including jetties, boat ramps, rock walls, pontoons, oyster racks, and areas with overhanging trees.
Bait fishers will have excellent results with a wide range of baits. Commonly used offerings include sandworms, prawns, crabs, small fish pieces, and bass yabbies. Even non-natural baits such as raw chicken pieces work well. Once anchored up, anglers should cast out their baits and use light berley to attract the fish. Keep the leaders and sinkers as light as possible, and ensure that the hook size is a good match for the bait size to aid in natural presentation.
Lure fishing for bream has grown substantially in recent years. Catching bream on lures is one of the most accessible and addictive forms of sportfishing available. Since bream are smart and tend to study lures before committing, catching a fish on a lure is an achievement in itself. A well-executed cast with the right lure can sometimes result in an early strike, but if anything is amiss, the fish will almost certainly spook and become difficult to catch. Often, lure fishing takes place in estuary shallows, along edges, and even on drop-offs, with lures that are suitable for a faster sink rate, such as soft plastics or vibes. Small hardbody bibbed lures, plastics, and even surface lures are great for targeting bream, especially during overcast days or when there is a little chop on the water, as they tend to bite more freely near edges. Finesse is crucial when it comes to bream lure fishing, and ensuring plenty of pauses is key, as bream rarely chase a lure down.
For bait fishers, a light outfit is more suitable than a heavy one. A 6.5-7.5-foot composite rod with a soft tip to detect bites, a 2500 sized spin reel, 6-pound braid, and a 6-pound leader are perfect. Use a running sinker rig and a #6 long shank hook with the lightest possible sinker.
The delivery system for small, petite lures often used for bream is critical in executing finesse presentations and fooling these at times hyper-fussy feeders. Bream lure fishers be incredibly particular about which outfits they use with certain lures, but a fast tapered, firm-tipped graphite rod measuring 6.5 to 7 feet in length, capable of executing responsive twitches, paired with a 1000 or 2500 sized reel, is an excellent starting point. Using 4-6-pound braid, with the lightest option being the better choice, and a rod-length fluorocarbon leader of the same breaking strain, will provide you with a perfectly balanced outfit that is versatile enough for a wide range of bream fishing scenarios.