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BREAMING BASICS

Erinn Ball

By no means would I class myself as an expert when it comes to bream fishing, but I have learnt enough over the past couple of years to be able to successfully bag my fair share of fish. The great thing about bream fishing is that you don't need a boat or even a kayak to successfully target these fish, you just need a rod and a packet of plastics. Bream are a great species to target if you are new to the sport of lure fishing or you are wanting to take the kids for a quick fish on the weekend. You don't have to travel far to be able to hook into a bream either as most local estuaries, marinas, rock walls and beaches all hold an abundance of bream.

When targeting bream the main thing, like any fish, is you want to find structure and a food source. A great place to start the search for bream is around the local marinas and trawlers.  The good thing about marinas is that there is ample cover for the fish to hide under, such as pontoons, boats and pylons. The key to fishing these locations is getting your cast as close to the structure as possible and working the lure with a slow retrieve. If you are fishing around trawlers always be courteous to the people that may be working around you and don't let the fishing hinder their work.

A great technique to learn is how to skip cast a plastic under and around overhanging structure. This will ensure that your plastic is right in the strike zone and give you the best opportunity of gaining a hook up from your cast. The lighter the jighead, the easier the lure is to skip cast. I believe that ZMan are one of the easiest lures to skip cast as they are naturally buoyant and are wanting to stay on the surface. The way in which to skip cast a lure is almost identical to the action of skipping a rock. You want to make sure that the lure is low towards the water, almost parallel with it and then it's up to you to release that lure at the correct time. As for anything new that you are learning, practice makes perfect.

Almost every angler that you talk to will have his/her favourite lure to use.  When targeting bream around marinas my top two favourite plastics are:

1. ZMan 3" Scented ShrimpZ in Natural colour - When I am fishing around the trawlers this is my go-to bait. When the fish are aggressive and willing to feed I like to throw a whole ShrimpZ, rigged on a 1/0 or even a 2/0 1/8oz HeadlockZ jighead. When the fish are more shut down and aren't willing to eat a larger profile lure, I like to cut the ShrimpZ in half. I will then rig the tail section of the lure on a 1H 1/16oz HeadlockZ jighead.

I like to fish plastics as basically as possible, as I believe a lot of people tend to over work them. Allow the lure to sink to the bottom and rest for a couple of seconds, then simply implement a couple of light twitches into the rod to allow the lure to slowly hop along the bottom and then repeat. For a little extra attractant I always spread some Shrimp Pro-Cure onto my lure.

2. TT Lures 1/8, 1/6 and 1/4oz Switchblades in Copper Head and Red Nightmare colours - When I am bream fishing at night I mostly use a TT Lures Switchblade. The size of Switchblade I use depends on the current, depth and wind speed. I work the Switchblades in the lights of trawlers, as the smaller baitfish are attracted to the light, which in theory should then attract the larger predators.

I allow the Switchblade to sink to the bottom and straight away wind it back with a relatively slow retrieve. The fantastic thing about the Switchblades is that they are very versatile, which leads to great by-catch from species such as trevally.  

Beach fishing with plastics is something which I believe is quite underrated. When targeting bream in particular, I like to fish the first three hours of the run out tide. To find the right location I will drive along the beach until I find the perfect gutter, looking for depth changes, colour changes in the water and waves that are breaking short of the beach. I then start at one end of the gutter and work my way to the other, casting as I go. By walking the gutter and casting you will cover a lot more ground and the chance of a hook up will be increased. The species opportunities are endless and beach fishing can allow for some great by-catch species such dart, whiting, flathead and tailor in the cooler months.

When targeting bream on the beach my top plastics is:

ZMan 2" GrubZ in Bloodworm and Greasy Prawn colours - When bream fishing from the beach, I like to use a ZMan 2" GrubZ rigged on a #1 1/8oz HeadlockZ Finesse jighead. The reason that I like this particular plastic is that when it is resting on the bottom fish can commonly mistake it for a beach worm drifting around in the current.

To fish the GrubZ in a beach gutter I simply cast the lure to the other side of the gutter (if I can reach it) and let the current push the plastic around on the bottom, continually winding up slack line so that I am constantly in contact with the lure. Once you believe the lure is out of the strike zone, just repeat the process. If the fish aren't reacting to the lure when it is on the drift, I will then go back to the more conventional style of hoping the lure along the bottom.

Tackle

When I am bream fishing I usually take just one combo, a 1000 size reel and a 7' 2-6lb spinning rod. I like a rod that is quite whippy in the tip so that I can cast lightly weighted or even unweighted plastics a good distance. My reels are spooled up with either 4 or 6lb braid and a rod length of 6lb fluorocarbon leader. When I am fishing with such light line I like to connect my leader to the braid via a Slim Beauty knot as I find it easy to tie, strong and small in profile so it casts through the guides easily. 

The most important thing to remember when fishing with any lure is that it is going to take time and practice to refine the skill. Patience is the key, but once you have caught a fish on a lure you will never want to go back to bait fishing. Fishing is meant to be fun and relaxing so if it's not working for you on that particular day, just pack it up and try again later.

If you are wanting to follow my fishing adventures a little closer, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram at Erinn Ball - Girls Fish Too.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017