A happy Bushy-rod in hand and another Bream falls to the system.

I have to say that I have been amazed by the response to a couple of bream articles and a bit of competition bream spinning by Steve Starling and myself. For some reason folks seem to be very interested in catching bream and especially in catching them on artificials. By now I think that just about anyone with a vague interest in the subject has cottoned on to the fact that using small lures, fine gel-spun lines, light graphite rods, and a sneaky stop and start retrieve can improve the bream tally to scary proportions. Soft plastics have also proven to be deadly at times when used on the same high-tech tackle and armed with fine chemically sharpened hooks. I know that my own jump in bream spinning performance is not the result of any magic breakthrough but is rather the culmination of putting together a number of little advances that have added up to a fairly deadly package. I know that a lot of you are interested in the bream on lures thing so let’s have a bit of a look behind the scenes at just how some of the techniques were developed.

For a start there has to be some sort of passion or inner drive to power a search for improved fishing gear and tactics. For me the bream on lures thing is a hobby within a job. Fishing is my way of attempting to make a living but fishing for bream is my way of relaxing when I am home from writing trips or making television. It is just myself, my boat ‘Scuppers,’ some time, and a bunch of ideas. Fishing for bream has no importance at all in the human scheme of things but it puts me on the water and in touch with the weather, the tides, the fish, and it keeps my brain ticking over. Maybe it’s even a kind of meditation - enough time spent immersed in the rhythms of natural things can be an antidote to mans ever quickening mad scramble for bigger and better possessions and gadgets. My ideas and observations on bream are certainly not the only ones that work, but you are welcome to try them - if you have some success just keep enough fish for a feed and let the rest live to fight another day.

A little Halco Scorpion, suitably modified has caught me some whoppa Bream

We have to start somewhere so we might as well look at the types of lures that are effective and how we came to choose those lures. My first bream on lures were accidents and those particular fish must have been keen because they ate metal wonder wobblers cast for sea trout in the brackish water of the Mitchell River in East Gippsland. I only caught two bream on the wobblers in the one morning but that was certainly enough to get me thinking. Further accidents on lures meant for tailor and flathead convinced me that bream could be caught on lures but the common wisdom of the time was that bream just weren’t aggressive enough to make them a good target species on lures. Of course we were wrong, all that was needed was better tackle and better lures along with a confident approach. I started fishing with lures in the estuaries of southern NSW in 1967 as a kid on holiday and eventually moved up permanently. Not surprisingly the bream accidents on lures jumped up in regularity. The ANSA bug had bitten me at that stage so I used a lot of one kilo tackle. Apart from teaching me a lot about fighting fish, the old one kilo line on an eggbeater reel meant that I could cast small lures. Flathead, bass and estuary perch ate the small lures but so did an increasing number of bream. In fact in late winter and early spring, bream were about the only fish that myself and a group of fellow lure desperadoes could catch locally on a regular basis. Once we started to target the fish we started to work them out a bit and the catch rate went up even further. In the early days we used a great variety of lures and caught bream on all of them, but gradually we settled on the smallest Bill Norman and Rebel minnows on our spinning gear and larger diving lures such as Rapala Shadraps on out baitcaster tackle. Later on I used the small Tilsan floating trout minnows to good effect. These lures had a decent action and they caught flathead, bass, estuary perch, trout, and of course, bream. These lures were also just heavy enough to cast a fair distance with 2 kilo nylon line. All of these lures worked well enough and still would catch their share of fish today, but my bream fishing was just about to kick upwards and that was because I started to use a little lure called an Attack minnow.

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