When the Going Gets Tough

 As far as breamin is concerned, early 2006 has been an absolute cracker in Sydney and its surrounding waterways, the Hawkesbury and Georges. Over this period, some awesome bags of bream were spun up, along with some absolute stompers. April and May produced the best fishing, with large numbers of larger fish and a generous sprinkling of kilo plus beasts landed. Unfortunately thats all behind us now and we are already feeling the pinch and effectively looking down the barrel at the slowest months of breaming ahead of us, remaining consistently slow until late October or even mid November. However, with some lateral thinking and a few modifications to technique and tackle, its still possible to eke out a decent bag of bream during the poorer months.

Location, Location, Location

After a busy couple of months putting on weight over April and may bream school up aroumd late June and travel en-masse in schools downstream to breed. Many go to rocks and beaches others stay close to the mouth. While you will still find fish upriver, there si usually a fair bit of water between them and they usually aren't to big. At this time of year look for schools of bream downstream and try to find pointswhere you can intercept passing schools. This means rockbars, holes, reefs, pylons, mooring blocks and other structure in deeper water in or adjacent to a main channel with good current flow. Structure in sucha position offers a stop over point for passing fish to rest out of the main current and snag a feed that either grows on the structure or is swept past by the current. I have also found that fishing in the afternoon is often better because the water has had time to warm up over the course of the day, particularly in shallower water with a dark rock or mud bottom. Due to schooling tendencies of winter time bream I suggest that you don't spend to much time in a spot you are not getting to many hits unles you have reason to. Its what I call playing the numbers game. If you aren't setting the hooks into bream you need to move on and find a bunch of them. This usually means knowing which spots fire under what tide phases or just having a few casts here and a few casts there until you hit a feeding patch of fish. Once found, stick with them, they bare worth their weight in gold.


Due to the close proximity to the ocean, the water in the lower reaches is (usually) much clearerand often cooler then upriver ( particularly on the run in tide ). This can mean the use of lighter leader then what you may usually use. I have found 4lb flourocarbon an adequate leader for most situations as the fish are often sluggish and easily handled because of their slow metabolism brought on by the cold water. In super clear water with very touchy fish I often use a fluro carbon main line between 2 and 5 pound. I have the inkling that when bream are really shy, they feel you through a main line and subsequentley don't follow through with the take. The bungie effect of an FC main line takes that feel out between the bream and you making it a little tough to feel anything. However, the fish will often hold on for a long time if you use a cantered plus flavoured soft plastic. I fish these light lines through softer rods to coustion the knots and line itself. Short of that, a super long leader on a slow actioned rod may do the job, although the long leader is a pain in the arse. As mentioned scentered soft plastics are really important with berkley power baits and gulp ruling the roost. Personal favourites are 3' gulp fy's, 2' minnow grubs and power bait bass minnows. REALLY slowly retrieved hard bods can produce the goods in shallow water too.


If you want best results the most consistent technique for turning up a bag of bream is deep jigging. Although it is often absolutly stupidly boring jiggling heavy heads around deep water does produce the goods. Use as light a jig head as you can to allow you to maintain contact with the bottom. Always retrieve your lure with a tight line ready to drop the lure back at the smallest touch. Cold water fish usually bite very softly and will often take their time in committing to a lure after the first curious tap. So give a fish plenty of time and slack line to have the lure. When most people think deep jigging people often think reefs and submurged bars but it doesn't have to be so boring. Fishing deep around mored boats or similar structure in shallower water ( 3 - 5 meter ) without too much current flow I'll often fish a natural coloured bass minnow really light and slowly let it sink like an injured bait fish or a creature thats been bumped off and slowly sinking down. Once on the bottom I let it sit there for 5 or so seconds and then give it a tiny twitch. Most of the time the fish are already on the lure once it is on the bottom and the twitch sets the hooks.

At the end of the day

What has been outlined in this bit of scribble revolves prodominantly around fishing deeper water for schooled fish. This does not mean that this is the only way to chase dead time bream. But there are a few take home that you can apply to any spot. Fish as light a leader as conditions allow and fish slowly with smelly lures. At the end of the day it will only be ( hopefully ) 4 months of slower fishing. Or you can chase blake fish. Tight lines John Ryan.