How to

Cutting Edge Bream Part II

HOW TO: Catch bream on lures

BUSHY is back with some sage advice on working plastics slow and deep and popping the top.

JUST when you thought it was safe, the bream menace is back. We might as well follow on from the deep vibe work that I covered in my cover article in the December issue and take a look at some basic deep plastic stuff. There are times that fish just don’t want to play with a vibe out in the open water – I don’t know why this happens but it definitely does – so you need a plan B.

It is no secret that my favourite plastic lure is a 100mm Squidgy Wriggler in the bloodworm colour. Why do I like it?  Because the thing just catches bream by the truckload. As this is my confidence plastic, I have spent a lot of hours using it and gradually refined my methods to get the best out of the lure. If you favour other plastic lures you might have to change the tactics slightly but there should still be some positive transfer for you from the good Wriggler tactics.

Fishing soft plastics is a different game to fishing vibes. The plastics game is slower paced and it requires even more finesse, but if you get it right the results can be deadly. Soft plastics are probably the style of lure that most accurately mimics the real live organisms that bream feed on. When bream are in a bit of a shut-down mode they can still be tempted to bite if your lure is right in front of them and it looks, feels and smells natural.

When I change from a vibe to a deep plastic I don’t muck around – I pull out all the stops and go to ultimate finesse with one kilo main line straight through to the lure. If you think this line is too light, you just have to get over it. In open water with good knots you should not bust off any fish at all and most of the fish will come into the boat in under three minutes – most of them, well under three minutes. If you think I’ve gone a bit mad here, I do have some big guns in the bream scene on my side with the light line thing. Chris Wright rarely fishes with line larger than three pounds breaking strain in a competition and when I asked Scotty Towner the same question, he said for a comp he rigs seven rods and only two of them have line that breaks over two pounds! These are two guys right at the top of competitive bream fishing and I doubt that they would use the light stuff if they could win more money exclusively using the heavy line.

Trust me, the light stuff makes a big difference when fishing plastics out in the open. Jig head weights also make a difference. If I am fishing in 10 to 15 feet of water I use a two gram head on the lure because with a smooth “lift and drop” method the lure swims down at the right speed to fool the fish. Very few fish ever take the lure as it’s pulled up off the bottom; the lift attracts them, but they actually bite the lure on the drop, or swim-down. In deeper water or in areas with a bit of current I go to a three gram head.  For years I used these two head weights with a lot of success, but recently I had my eyes opened up by Mark Cunningham down at the Bemm River. Mark and I ended up fishing close together one evening with him in his boat and me in mine. I caught fish on the vibe but just before dark they sort of slowed up and I tried the Wriggler. I caught a few but figured that the fish just sort of petered out before dark. Mark’s story was similar but he told me when he changed to the Wriggler it was fish-per-cast stuff right until dark. I wasn’t far away and getting a belting never sits all that well with me, so I had to give Mark the third degree until I worked out what I was doing wrong. The only difference was jig head weight; we were both fishing in water only five feet deep and Mark was using a one gram head and I stuck to the two gram head. These are the sorts of things that seem small, but with bream are diabolically important. If I was fishing that lake alone I would have been catching a fish every 20 casts with my two grammer and thinking that the fishing was a bit slow. Mark had exactly the right mix of line, lure and jig head to get a bite every single cast for a 20 minute period.  Now I use the one gram head a lot in water five feet and shallower – thanks, Mark!

Rigging the Wriggler is simple enough but it has to be done right before you can get the massacre thing happening. You need to put the hook point in dead-centre through the lips of the lure and then bring it out so the point splits the little fin on top of the lure. See the image above for an indication of how you should rig this lure. If you’re new to plastics fishing, the jig heads should be used with the hook point riding upwards. If the plastic is rigged absolutely straight it will swim like a real food item and the fish will readily accept it. Rig it badly and you might as well tie on a rock. The Wriggler is my favourite plastic but it is a bit like a Formula One racing car – tricky to drive, but if you learn how, the sky is the limit.

There is one more trick to perfecting the killer system with the Wrigglers and that is detecting the bite. For some reason bream bite the Wriggler in a very distinctive way. They move in on the lift, follow the lure as it tips up and starts for the bottom and then with the tail just about slapping them in the face they just crunch it! The bad thing about this is that they just sit there after the crunch without running away. The only feedback an angler gets is a small twitch on the line as the bream grabs the lure – if there’s no strike, the fish spits out the lure and goes on its merry way. Most anglers just don’t see the twitch so they don’t know they have had a bite. Strangely enough, once you know what a Wriggler twitch looks like, you’ll see it in all sorts of windy conditions or even in bad light. The twitch might be small but nothing else out there makes the line move that way except a bream. When you see the twitch, strike hard and fast. Even though one kilo line seems flimsy the stretch over the distance of the cast is usually enough to prevent breakage on the strike. Fishing soft plastics out in the open is a lot of fun and Wrigglers are dynamite if you take the time to master them.

It is fast becoming apparent to me that there is plenty to talk about even on the basic breaming techniques and I seem to be running out of words yet again! I think I can fit in a bit about some surface poppering for bream this time but I might have to work on our illustrious editor for a part three because there are still a couple of basic methods I would love to cover. And you thought Days Of Our Lives was never ending!

Fishing with surface poppers for bream is a big buzz and it can also be a very effective way to knock over some numbers.

You will be happy to know that poppers work super well on heavy tackle. I use braided line with a short, heavy trace. Most anglers prefer bright coloured braid for bite detection and line control reasons, but I actually prefer dull colours for popper work. It probably doesn’t matter all that much, but you can see where the popper is because it is throwing water all over the place anyway and the dull line has slightly less visual impact on the fish. I keep my leader length on poppers to about half a metre and I generally use at least 15 pound breaking strain. If you use the heavy leader and tie it straight to the popper without using a clip or split ring, the popper will move a lot of water but it will go in a fairly straight path and fish will be able to actually catch it and get hooked.  If you get to your mate’s tackle and add a split ring to his popper, you can have a ball watching bream chasing his lure all over the shop without ever hooking up!  If you have been using a ring, best take it off and start catching some fish.

For yellowfin bream the best retrieve is a constant, fairly fast pop, pop, pop type thing that keeps water in the air at all times. Generally you get the most bites by maintaining the retrieve until one of the hits sticks. You can also try the dead-stop and twitch method on yellowfin, although this technique is more of a killer on the black bream down south.

One of the great things about poppers is that you can fish them in an amazing variety of places. Tie on a popper and throw it anywhere you think a bream might live: the ultra-shallows are good or you could throw it over oyster encrusted rocks, in amongst snags or even over the top of oyster racks.  The popper is a great tool for catching big bream in bad places – for a start the fish will be on the surface when he hits your lure and then you have the power of braid and heavy leader to give him some stick.

Well, I guess that shows at least a couple of basic techniques that help to make up my “confidence” box of tricks. You really only need a few basic bream catching methods to catch a lot of fish if you fine-tune them so they become second nature.

Next issue we’ll cover shallow minnow stuff and the ever popular walk-the-dog surface lures.

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.