Once the first Origin match of the season is over, the bream really come on. Bream are surprisingly similar to our southern counterparts in many ways including the way they change their behaviour in cooler temperatures, get protective of home ground territory, bigger bream can be bulldogs and ruthlessly hit hard on any smaller fish in their path, smaller fish are agile, darting here and there, are bit finicky and also easily spooked. Perhaps the Blues will bring more gusto and the ferocity of a hungry sea bream to Game 2 next month!
Resident bream specialist and Swan Boat Hire team member Tommy Harvey shares some of his tips and tricks on luring Bream on poppers and surface lures. Tommy prefers lure fishing for bream as it really allows for skill refinement, accuracy and technique.
When chasing bream on surface lures, Tommy looks for good structures such as weed beds, pontoons, pylons, rockwalls, fallen trees or a manmade weir. Lure of choice should be influenced on time of day and the area to try. Generally, early daytime while the sun is slowly rising or mid afternoon to early evening are the best times.
“Bream will hit a variety of surface lures with smaller ‘walk the dog’ lures being very effective in and around pontoons. Poppers tend to work best out on weed beds, however if the water surface is quite calm and flat, then ‘walk the dog’ lures would be ideal. Roughed conditions call for a popper or rattling lure to attract attention first and foremost”.
A light spin outfit with 4-6Lb line is a great starting point, if you can afford it go with braid or a quality fine high tensile mono. Light line will enable you to cast the lure much further, thus decreasing the chance of spooking a finicky bream!
‘Walk the dog’ type surface lures such as the Lucky Craft Sammy 65, Lucky Craft NW Pencil, Smiths Towadi, Berkley Scum Dog and Jazz Zappa 55 are just a few on the market that are highly recommended. Poppers come in many beautiful colours and styles, to name a few I have had success with; Berkley Pop Dogs, Hawk Splashers and the River2Sea Bubble Pop.
Technique is very important when targeting bream on lures. Make sure you position the boat or yourself, if on the bank, as far as possible from the spot you are aiming to cast to in order to prevent spooking the fish. Once you have taken aim and cast, let your lure sit where it landed for a few seconds. If you let it sit still momentarily, any bream that has been scared off by the sudden plop of your lure will let curiosity get the better of them and will slowly investigate. At this point, commence your retrieval.
Give popper lures a few bloops (flicking your wrist while winding in the line), then pause. Blooping the lure attracts not just bream, but most predatorial species and the pausing specifically lets the bream have a chance to bite. This process is repeated until your lure is back to your feet and cast again.
Walk the dog lures need that flicking action of your rod tip to move the lure from side to side which gives it the ‘walk the dog’ retrieval, making sure plenty of pauses are offered as well. This technique is effective in most situations; however every day fishing is different so mix it up a bit!
As mentioned earlier, the Berkley 3B crankbait ‘Scum dog’ is one of the preferred bream surface lures. This classic surface lure is in a commonly seen shape, yet has the unique features one would expect of an up market barra lure. The Scum Dog is the easiest ’walk the dog lure' on the market according to many angling professionals and tackle developers.
Other lures in this category are hard to get 'walking' - and if you aren’t consistent in your flicking action you get no hits at all. The Scum Dog is the perfect bream, whiting, bass, estuary perch and trout sized surface lure and is a dream to walk amongst the action.
At a shorted size of 48mm (instead of the usual 65mm) the Scum Dog will appeal to everything that swims by. According to Pure Fishing, ‘whether you're trying to tempt a bream out of cover or mimicking a spasmodic prawn along a weed edge, the Scum Dog has your size, shape and colour covered from all angles’.
The Swan Boat Hire team have tried and tested varieties like slumdog, bitza, mongrel and snoop, all with positive results. They may not have always brought home bream specifically but flathead, chopper tailor and trevally are not bad in the bag either!
The varieties of Berkley Scum Dog available in the Australian market, notice the canine theme!