Fishing with bait is where it all started for me: and for those who turn their noses up at using bait to catch bream…well, you just don’t know what you’re missing out on. It is by far the most effective way to score results, and a relaxing way to obtain a feed of fresh fish!
My approach is simple, but it works. I’ll break it down into 5 easy steps…
Step 1: Take the time to gather fresh “live” bait. Salted tuna and chook gut works a treat; however, blood worms & saltwater yabbies work even better. You’ll find worms and yabbies on most sand flats at low tide. You’ll need a bait pump to gather these delicate baits, and you can narrow down your search by looking for small holes in the sand which indicate yabby activity.
Step 2: My preference is to fish the shallow water over sand bars on a rising tide. I have found this the most productive time to fish, as the bream are moving onto the flats to feed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s early or late…or even in the middle of the day! When the tide is flooding onto the sand flats – the bream are actively feeding.
Step 3: Anchor your boat in the shallows, and try to keep your boat tethered on a short leash. This prevents the boat swinging around too much in the breeze, and decreases the risk of a fish wrapping you around the anchor rope.
Step 4: Cast well away from the boat, and be patient whilst waiting for a bite. I suggest leaving the rod in a rod-holder to ensure you are not constantly retrieving line. The idea is to leave the bait stationary in order for the fossicking bream to locate it. It does pay to check your bait once in a while in case your bait has been stolen.
Step 5: Use light tackle to increase your chances. There is limited risk of losing a fish when upon the flats; and most fish that are lost, generally comes down to angler error. Fight the fish with “soft hands” and play the fish until it is spent. Never rush it, as the fun of the battle is over the moment the fish is in the boat. 4 pound breaking strain monofilament line is ample, and I favour size 2 long-shank hooks for ease of removal. Fish light, get the bite, and enjoy the fight is my motto.
Rod and reel – Any light spin rod measuring six to seven feet in length with a line rating of around 1-3kg or 2-4kg is perfect. Any reel will suffice; however, your reel will need to have a silky smooth drag system. My personal weapon of choice is the TD Commander – Electric Strawberry coupled with a Caldia SHA 2000, spooled with 3lb monofilament line.
One final tip – only take what you need for an immediate feed, and care for your catch by placing your kill on ice. Bream fillets are best when eaten fresh, not frozen, so release a few if you encounter a hot bite…