Why do we spend so much time agonising over bream ? I think one reason is the massive variety of options and techniques there are to catch them. No matter how hard you try you just never seem to work them out or always come across something different in their behaviour or response.
I was heading to Mallacoota for the recent ABT Tournament and seeing as how I was probably going to be subjecting myself to three days of flats fishing, I thought I’d do a bit of edge snag fishing on the way over. A tip off from a mate who is a Gippsland local suggested there were bream and EP to be had above the highway bridge at Tambo Inlet. Sounded like just what I was after as I’d caught fish there before and thought there would be plenty of pink grubbing opportunities amongst the tree lined banks and snags.
It was a perfect morning as I cruised up to the Tambo to the highway bridge. I flicked the pink grub using my Daiwa Black Label 631ULFS, which I find a perfect length for flicking unweighted plastics into tight country at the first moored boat I came to and commenced my retrieve. The pink grub was immediately inhaled by a nice Estuary Perch before the lure even came back into view and after a spirited battle was soon in the net.
As I worked my way up stream I managed a few more EP’s, as well as being busted off by good one in a snag, saw flathead, eels, sea mullet and carp cruising around the edges and snags… but hadn’t encountered any bream. I had noticed many little swirls and boils out in the middle of the river that id assumed were, and looked for all the world like mullet. However electricing between a boat on one side of the river and a snag on the other I noticed that these fish were in fact bream.
In more mullet-like behaviour they were just cruising about in packs in full view only darting off when the boat came too close. A couple of casts in their direction showed anticipated disinterest so I left them and proceeded to the more “fun” task of fishing the edges. As I proceeded up-river it continued to be more of the same but as the shadows shrunk the edge bite EP’s slowed so I decided to turn my attention to these seemingly uncatchable cruising bream. Pink grubs, poppers and surface twitched hard bodies were all treated with distain with no bream even looking like even swimming towards them.
I wasn’t going to bring my 2lb straight through outfit but seeing I was travelling through and had my life for the next 3 days in my 4WD, I’d thrown it in the boat rather than leave it in the car in the car park. I threaded a camo worm onto an unweighted worm hook and flicked it towards the cruising bream. The first couple spooked and showed no interest as well. Damn, it was a long way back down the river to fish the flats if I was going to get some bream. But then one fish actually swam towards the lure rather than away. A cast or two later one ate it. I think I was in shock as I of course missed it. A few more refusals than one fish actually hooked up. No monster but he would’ve been size in a comp. After a bit more sneaking around and trying to carefully present to these free swimming fish I hooked fish number two, and he was a much better fish. The soft parabolic curve of the Salitst hard rockfish rod does a great job at cushioning the lunges of big bream on the silly 2lb string and soon a kilo plus Tambo bream was in the net. I continued on trying to try various methods to tempt these fish, at one stage using the Minn-Kota to spot-lock the boat in a tree’s shadow and casting to bream as they cruised through a sunny more visible spot. Each time I would get two inquiries in a row on a certain plastic and think “that’s the one!”, the next half dozen casts would see refusals.
By the end of the morning though I’d put together what would have been a good bag in a comp, but I’m sure a prefish day or a few other boats would soon spook these fish. Man, they were hard enough and I was the only boat I saw all morning. All good fun though and just another chapter in the never ending story of weird things bream do!
Mark Gercovich is a PE teacher from Warambool in Victoria who does a wide variety of fishing from trout to tuna, Mulloway to Kingfish. Mark has been fishing the tournament scene for 8 years now and is currently sponsored by Daiwa and BLA. Keep an eye out for more of Mark’s stories here at lureandfly.com.