Our fly rod breaming started quite a few years ago at Jumpinpin. Initially we would berley with stale bread and hope to catch a few fish using bread imitation flies.

We tied some cunning flies, using two shades of deer hair to make the semi-floating flies with the darker shades simulating crust on the 'bread', but fishing was always hard. The bream would chop at the bread in awe-inspiring style but those fish were hard to fool.


Then came a discovery. Fishing up at Coochin Creek for bass and tarpon not long ago we discovered that the usual box of wet flies we'd some to rely upon for bass and tarpon had been left behind.

The only flies remaining in the boat were popper style flies, and working these around the snags revealed that not only did we interest bass and tarpon (in Coochin's lower reaches) but bream as well. In fact, it came as a bit of a surprise to notice that bream seemed more interested on the poppers than the targeted bass and tarpon.


Since our discovery we've tried various configurations of popper flies, and it seems that bream are not at all choosy about the style of fly used.

We started with some very neat jobs - heads of turned balsa or tiny corks (chemist shop items) all lovingly painted and with glued-on eyes in some instances. These were truly deluxe poppers, but as we moved the other way, putting less effort into making the fly and more time into fishing it, the results seemed to stay the same.

If the fish were in the mood it mattered little whether the body of the fly was painted, turned, chopped into shape with a razor blade or just chucked together with a bit of flash material around the business end where the sharp little hook laid in wait for an unwary fish.

The fly making options are there. By all means experiment with different body materials, but as good a material as any is the common old closed cell foam, usually bought in a tubular form. We simply split the stuff into shape with a razor blade and glue onto the top of the hook with some five-minute Araldite.

A small split in the foam will give the glue a bit of key and holding it in place for a minute or so until the two pack goes off is no real bother. I slant the cut in the foam to make sure the hook is hanging well down astern.

When the hook is nicely glued into place the next move is to tie a few strands of your favourite tail material onto the hook just near the bend. I've used a fair number of combinations of material but as good as any is a combination of marabou feather strands mixed with flash material of the same colour. Incidentally, these materials can be usually be bought at stores like Spotlight (in the craft section) in bulk packs that represent huge savings over fly store materials.

Tail colour isn't vital. I've had bream chop at poppers set up on standard foam heads (cream in colour) with tail sections varying from all white to black and red, hot orange and even black. The latest lot we tried were blue and white, and the fish in the photo were taken on these jobs.


Bream have small mouths, so keeping the fly to a size where they can readily ingest it makes a lot of sense. I tie my flies on size 4 hooks. You can experiment here, and your hook-up rate will increase significantly if you use chemically sharpened hooks.


Light fly tackle is the trick. The fly needs to land pretty lightly - big splashy touchdowns put bream off - and a five- or six-weight outfit with a floating line is about ideal. If you're using your standard freshwater gear for bream, where water will vary from brackish to pure seawater, give the whole lot a wash down as soon as it comes home.

Finding the right habitat is the key to successful bream on fly sorties, and brackish creeks with plenty of overhanging cover are ideal places to kick off your breaming with the long rod. The clue is to target areas where obvious snags provide cover, and to drop the fly as gently as possible fairly close to where you reckon Brother Bream is hiding.

I always allow a short delay after the fly lands before moving it (the same as when bass fishing) and then give a couple of gentle tweaks on the fly line.

If a bream is going to play, a swirl or flash of colour near the fly will betray his presence. The next move is his. Either the fish will snatch the fly off the top as it comes to a stop, or he'll hammer it at the next tweak. Splashy rises are the norm, and it's a pretty exciting way of taking bream.

From my experience, the fish respond better to a gentle fly movement than to a vigorous one. Be aware, too, that sometimes the cheeky little devils will follow a fly for some distance out from cover before hitting it and then do their utmost to get back to their snag! This will provide a fair bit of excitement for the angler in the process.

In the saltwater environment, the fish can be taken around mangrove roots and the like with the same ease as in the brackish water systems. The main difference is that the salties tend to be larger fish, and there's nothing wrong with that!

Bream on surface flies? Well worth the effort.