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Cameron Cronin

At almost four inches in length, you could be excused for saying that the ZMan 3.75" StreakZ isn't exactly your typical bream lure. In fact, until very recently, I have also been guilty of thinking the same. While I have spent countless hours using this lure for larger, more aggressive species, the StreakZ have sat patiently in my tackle box while I targeted bream, there "just in case the pelagics show up".

So the question begs, how did this lure go from something I would "maybe" tie on to a lure worth writing an entire article about? Read on to find out...

It was April last year and after a great session on the bream and a large shoal of whitebait, sheltering near the pylons at our feet, was discovered by a pack of hungry pelagics. Fortunately, the predators didn't seem too keen to swim underneath the dock, preferring to use lightning quick bursts of speed to dart in and pick off the hapless baitfish one at a time. This gave me a few moments to hastily rig up my favourite Shiner coloured StreakZ on a 1/4oz jighead with a larger 3/0 hook, that was promptly launched into the flurry.

After landing a few bonito and tailor, I was burning the lure through the mass of baitfish when the StreakZ was stopped dead in its tracks, presumably by another tailor or bonito. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that the fish was in fact a decent bream that had chased my lure down, at almost max speed and managed to eat the StreakZ rigged on a 3/0 jighead!

After a few quick photos the fish was released and as the pelagic action began to heat up I would have probably forgotten about my 'freak' capture if it wasn't for a string of big bream smashing the StreakZ. This in locations where I could rarely tempt even a small fish on my usual presentations. At this stage the switch flipped and I realised I could be onto something, so I mentally flagged the StreakZ as a potential big bream lure to try another day and continued on fishing.

It took a few months for me to get around to it, but after a painfully slow session in the same location, I decided I had nothing to lose and tied the same Shiner coloured StreakZ. This time I rigged it on a far 'breamier' jighead, a TT Tournament Series 1/20oz with a 1/0 hook. The result was instantaneous and in a few casts I had a small bream flipping about on the dock. Despite being barely legal, the bream had not only taken the lure, but managed to completely inhale the entire presentation. After carefully removing the lure, I began to walk back to my bus stop, firing casts into areas I had worked with other lures earlier on... hoping for a result on my new presentation.

By the time I had reached my stop the StreakZ had surprised me yet again. I was 6 bream up, from an area that I couldn't even pull a single fish from before and although most were small, many had managed to inhale the plastic like my first fish had, indicating their fondness for the lure. It was a long bus trip home in peak hour traffic but the time flew by as mind started to piece together the technique that has since become one of my go-to methods of targeting bream.

Since I started using the StreakZ on bream, I have trialled  it in all of my local systems, while fishing a large variety of different environments, including sand flats, mangroves, marinas, rock walls and of course the docks where the events I just described took place. What has surprised me is that although the bream in all these places all behave very differently, they have all been just as keen to nail a well presented StreakZ. For those of you interested in giving the StreakZ a go, the technique is very flexible, although I will outline how I like to fish this cool little plastic below.

The great thing about the StreakZ is that because of its super soft and flexible ElaZtech construction, the lure will simply fold away when hit by a bream, resulting in a great hook up rate. Because of this I tend to rig this lure on fairly small (size 1 - 1/0) TT Lures Hidden Weight System (HWS) jigheads, which seems to be the best size for the bream's relatively small mouth. Although normal jig heads work well, the slow, horizontal sink of a Hidden Weight jighead is hard to beat, not to mention the great skip casting capabilities of this jighead / lure combo. If you're struggling to get a lure into a tight space, this is the one to try!

Although there are no restrictions on retrieves, there is one specific action I use on the StreakZ that the bream seem to really like. When fishing the StreakZ for bream hanging high in the water column or in shallow water, I like to use a retrieve that I like to call 'slapping the slack'. To do this, make a cast and allow the lure to sink to the desired depth, while allowing the line to stay semi-slack as the lure sinks. After this, begin a series of small but sharp twitches with the rod tip, but do not wind the reel as you do so. By doing this you are effectively 'slapping' the slack line and causing the lure to erratically dart from side to side over a very short distance.

For this retrieve I love using the shiner colour (although most have been successful), as the twitches cause the lures pale underbelly to catch the light and 'shine' (hence the name), triggering aggressive strikes from otherwise shutdown bream. I have also employed this technique on bream in deeper water, using slightly heavier jigheads and although it does take some patience, to allow the lure to sink down, the rewards can be very sweet.

Ever since I have added the StreakZ to my regular bream line-up, I have been experiencing some great results on bream when nothing else is working. So, next time the bream aren't on the bite, why not tie on a StreakZ... you never know, you might be able to turn your day around!

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