1. Braided line is not something you will hear me extolling the virtues of too often but it is almost a necessity for fishing plastics. Pick a braid in the 4 to 8 pound range. I like bright coloured line because you are going to tie a leader to it anyway and being able to “see” a bite on the line can be almost as important as being able to “feel” the bite. Braid has very little stretch and telegraphs any little tap straight to the rod.
2. A Light leader will always get you more bites than heavy leader. 4 pound fluorocarbon leader is pretty much standard and will work in nearly all situations just fine. To those who are thinking “what about rack fishing”….. if you are just starting out Bream fishing with plastics my advice would be to avoid racks at first. Walk before you run people. Stick to flats, boat hulls, pontoons and rock walls and you will be fine with 4 pound. I prefer the “Slim Beauty” knot as it flies out the guides nicely and works well from 2lb up to 80lb leaders for much bigger fish. Google how to tie it, learn it and it will be your best friend. As far as length of leader goes, I always use an arm span and a half which works out to about 9 feet. I figured if trout leaders are 9 feet long that would be just fine for Bream and it has always worked for me.
3. Jigheads need to be light as well. Try and use the lightest ones you possibly can. This obviously differs with depth and current, but anything less than 3 or 4 feet and you can get away with no weight or very light “hidden weight” jig heads. From about 4 to 10 feet a 1/20th to 1/16th ounce is all you need. For water deeper than that I rarely use more than a 1/12th ounce head. Bream nearly always hit a plastic as it it is falling or off the bottom and if it flies past them doing Mach 1 towards the bottom on a half ounce jighead it’s not going to be as effective as one slowly wafting down. Hook size is 2, 1 or 1/0.
4. Rig your plastic as straight as possible. The one bad side effect of having those light jigheads is that badly rigged plastics will spiral down rather than fall straight. I have seen anglers spend a good 10 minutes getting a single tail plastic perfect on the hook. Rigged correctly they are deadly compared one that isn’t. Drop it in the water and watch it fall. If it needs fixing, do it.
5. I would put Bream plastics into four basic categories. Single tails, double tails, prawn shapes and finally “creature” baits. Don’t go crazy when you start out buying 100’s of packets of plastics. Try and cover these four types and when you find something that works, that you become confident with, expand upon it.
Single tails, try Squidgy Wrigglers or Z-Man Grubz. Double tails, try Squidgy Lobbys, Keitech Little Spiders or Bait Breath SL Remix. Prawn shapes, try Gulp! Prawns, Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawns or Atomic Prongs. Creature baits are where I throw most everything else including worms and crabs, try Gulp! Crabbys, Gulp! Worms, Bait Breath Rockin Crabs and Ecogear Aqua Isome Worms.
I pretty much only use the same 4 Bream Plastics all the time because I’m confident in them and it causes less confusion than having 50 choices, none of which you are 100% confident in. Colour is a personal choice but if I didn’t say “Bloodworm” at least once it would be an oversight. More that one company use it as a colour and plenty of others have the same colour called something slightly different. Going for natural colours is always a good bet though.
6. The most popular retrieve is the “double hop” which basically means letting the plastic sink to the bottom and sit for a little bit and then pulling it upwards in a two hop motion with the rod and winding up the slack before letting it sink to the bottom again.
This has caught Bream since day 1 and I doubt it will ever change much. The secret however, is the timing, size and intensity of the hops. Sometimes smaller hops, sometimes bigger. Sometimes a short pause on the bottom, sometimes a long one. Do not underestimate the power of leaving a plastic on the bottom for as long as 30 seconds (called dead-sticking) then giving it few hops and letting it sit again for another 30 seconds.
Bonus tip and probably the most important – let the fish tell you what they want. Try and change it up until you find something that works on the day.