Bream Fishing Tactics – Estuary Waters

2012-05-13 Ted's Bream Fishing

Bream Fishing TacticsBy Ted Gray

Bream are one of the easiest bread and butter species to catch in our area. It does not matter how old or young you are, Bream is a fish for everyone. You just have to know what they are biting on and where to look for them.

Bream fishing can be the most inexpensive fishing you can do, you don’t need expensive rods, reels or baits. You can even go bream fishing with a handline which can be great for the kids or day trippers who have limited room or who travel by bus or train to their destination.


Bream Fishing with Dave David with a nice Bream

When to go (Boat):

Bream fishing is seasonal however there are always some around to be caught, some fishos prefer to hunt bream late afternoons into the night or before sunup into the early morning. For those who like to have their full eight hour sleep be assured that Bream will take a bait or lure throughout the day.

What Bait & Tackle you need when Bream Fishing:

When Bream Fishing with bait I prefer a 7’-9’ rod which is reasonably whippy at the tip and I team that up with 2500 series reel with 4-6lb braid or 5” Alvey with an 8-12lb mono line. Reels and rods are ultimately up to the angler, any gear used for Whiting or Flathead will do the job.

Bream will take most baits presented to them for Dough mix, Pillies, Prawns, Whitebait, Pipis, Worms, Yabbies or my favorite two – Mullet gut with the onion and Mullet Fillet. The bait you use for the estuary areas can differ slightly for the open water areas. I prefer to use strip bait of either Mullet, Herring , hardy Head or even Yellowtail Pike. Team this up with a 6-12lb leader and a small sinker (“0” “00” or “1”) which is just enough to get the bait down and presenting a natural food source.

Bream Fishing with Artificial Baits –

Great numbers of good size Bream have been caught using an array of soft plastics. Some of the most common have been:

Z Man in 2.5 Grubz – Pumpkin Seed, Amber, Motor Oil, Bloodworm and Electric Pink.

Squidgy –Wriggler in both Bloodworm and Red Rum and in the Fish series – Garry Glitter, Silver Fox and Drop Bear

Gulp – both 3” & 4” Swimming Mullet Pumpkin Seed.

Munchies –


When Bream Fishing, team these up with the TT Tournament jig heads in either 1/8oz, 1/6oz or 1/4oz with a #1, #2 or 1/0 hook (Depending on the size of your plastic. If you are unsure how to rig your plastic, ask for a demo in store and we will happily run you through it. If using Z-Man plastics try out their range of new jig heads which have been designed to enable the lure to stay on the jig head using a unique design. Come in store and check this new concept out, you will throw away the super glue and lok-tight

Bream Fishing with Hard Body Lures

There is such a diverse range of lures on the market today and it is easy to become overwhelmed with what to choose. I have used a few and lost a few more to the humble Flathead while using light leader, this is the chance you take.

The ones I use the most of are:

Atomic Hardz Bream Shad in Matte Ayu, Muddy Prawn and Ghost Gill Brown. The other Atomic I am fond of is the Hardz Crank Ghost Brown Shad, Ghost Green Shad and the Ghost Wakasagi.

Maria Crank 38mm WSG, BGM, AYG,

TT Switchblade 1/8oz Chartreuse, Silver Minnow, Purple Glimmer and the Pink Bimbo. These lures have proved very effective around the shallows and around the estuaries. While targeting Bream it is not uncommon to again come in contact with Flathead and even the humble Whiting.



When using plastics I chose a graphite rod between 6’ – 7’6” in either a 1-3kg or 2-4kg, I have enjoyed using both the Lox, the Shimano Raider II  and my Daiwa Interline with great success. As far as my reels go a couple of my go to guys are the Daiwa Aird 2000, Shimano Sienna 1000 or 2500 spooled with 4 – 10lb Fins, Super PE or Schneider braid.


Leader is an important piece of equipment to have, Bream will take you into snags and rocky areas very quickly. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good leader it can be the difference between landing a great fish or having to re-rig. I have found the Sunline FC Rock or Jinkai to be a standout leader, they may come back in frayed and chaffed but you still get the fish.


Additional Equipment:

With most fishing you only need the basics to make your day out a bit easier. These are just a suggestion:

–          Good pliers to remove hooks or trebles (Also good to keep fingers away from teeth and spikes)

–          A landing net suitable for the fish your targeting (Treble friendly if lure fishing)

–          A bait knife (Can be used as a Filleting knife if adequate)

–          A good filleting knife to get the most out of your catch (Not recommended as a bait knife!)

–          A decent pair of Braid Scissors (DON’T use teeth!!)

–          A good esky with ice and fluids which can be replaced by fillets if you’re a fillet and fry person.

–          An up to date “Size & Bag Limit” guide (Free at local tackle stores)

–          Sun block, broad brim hat, sunnies, long sleeve shirt and sturdy footwear!


Born at Cribb Island and has been fishing 55years in the local waterways Ted enjoys his Flathead, Bream and Whiting fishing, he knows the spots, the baits and the times. Tackle Land at Sandgate thanks Ted for sharing his time and knowledge to help us land that prize winner we are all chasing.


    • Maurice, we hope that the artical has been of some use for you. Happy fishing and may the Bream bite hard!

    • Hi Glenn, Dough Bait is one of the easiest to make and use.
      I generally use all “No Fills” ingredients!
      I mix approx:
      1 cup of flour
      2 Table Spoons of minced Garlic (From the bottle)
      1 handful of grated Cheese
      1 Cotton Ball pulled apart into fine strands (It is amazing how much one of those balls pulls apart!)

      I put all that into a stainless mixing bowl and gradually add hot water.

      I mix until it is like a scone mix (Not stick to touch)

      You can add extra water or flour if needed.

      I normally pick off a piece about size of a 10c piece flatten it out with my thumb and wrap the hook in it.

      Also I use the dough as a sinker…..

      Happy hunting and good luck!

  • thanks mark this helped me alot i caught the first bream i had ever caught and it was 53 cm

    • Jack the is a Bream to be proud of! We are glad that the information in this How To Guide was a great help to you. Keep up the great work!

  • So you were born at Cribb Island. So to was me back in October 1961. I now live at Belmont Lake Macquarie (NOT Port Macquarie) just South of Newcastle.

  • Hi mate do you use long shanked hooks if so what size and brand I’ve noticed som of the smaller long shanked hooks have l little or no barb on them
    Thanks ion afvanc e for your help
    Actually I’m going to try catching the mullet on a float can you recommend a rig and do I use the same flour based bait or maggots

    • Hi Wayne,
      I use a mixture of hooks and brands, however, my 2 go to hooks would be the “Mustad Longshank Baitholder #4” or the “Kumo Octopus #2” I find the Mustad is great for easy hook removal unless it is down there deep, then I just cut it off and it holds things like Prawns and Squid on better.

      The Kumo #2 I find is a seriously strong hook and I need this when doing battle with 40cm+ Bream and nearly 50cm Tilapia. I have even landed great Flathead and the occasional Ray on them too, they are just strong and sharp.

      Catching Mullet is right up there with Gar, awesome fun! I would use either a Stick Float (I use the Gillies Brand one) or the “Adjusta-Bubble from Tackle Tactics” The same Dough Bait will be fine but I would drop down to a #14 short shank or even the Luderick green weed hook with a small amount of dough bait.

      Just remember, they look harmless but they pull line like a cut cat when hooked!

      Hope this helps, Cheers, Mark


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