A couple of good bream by the author’s classification.

Bream great for kids

Keira swinging a nice bream onto the jetty.

BREAM are great fish to catch and are ideally suited for kids, due to their accessibility. Most wharves, pontoons, rock walls and riverbanks hold a population of bream. Most years around this time pictures of Keira and myself appear in these pages with bream from the bottom end of the Brunswick River. It’s something we particularly love, and this year has been a cracker numbers-wise.

In fact, I’d step out and say it’s been one of the best for a fair while now. Tailor fishos in the surf are complaining because quality baits of pilchard, bonito and garfish are being destroyed before tailor has a chance to find them. I sympathise with them but for those targeting bream – it’s a bonanza. bream kids

Even in the middle of the day, if the water’s right beach fishos are coming back with a good feed. The average size of bream is down slightly this year but big ones are still out there, you just have more fish competing for bait.

So, what is a big bream? Well, that’s going to differ depending on who you’re talking to and where you are in the country. Around here I class 35-40cm bream as good, 40-45cm as really good and 45-50cm as great. I’ve only ever seen one over 50cm caught in my life – by a mate – and it’s a feat I’d love to achieve. I know I’ve hooked them but to catch a wily old bream you’ve got to fish light, and trying to land one around oyster encrusted rocks and pylons on 6lb line is a mission. bream kids

I guess that’s all part of the challenge and the fun of going back. I have seen a 50cm fish this year. He rose to grab my floating bait and as I struck, he rolled sideways and then the hook pulled. Who’s to say what would have happened had the hook stuck, but the odds were in favour of the fish because I caught two over 40cm that morning and only just managed to keep them out of the structure.

Not long after my encounter with the big bream, I thought I had him for a second time, but the fight was different, much more dogged and less erratic. I wasn’t surprised when a big luderick surfaced. It was a solid fish at 1.3kg and every year we catch a few on baits that are much more protein than salad. bream kids

Speaking of bait, this carnivorous luderick ate some mullet gut, which is my preferred bream bait to use in the river, closely followed by mullet fillet. When I’m using mullet gut, I throw the onion in as berley and use the soft stinky part of the gut as bait. I just wrap a big blob around the hook and slide the appropriate-sized sinker right on top. On the change of tide, I like to not use a sinker if there are no pickers around. Night is the best time but if the water is dirty as it is now, daytime is fine and much more family oriented.

Changing the subject, now to offshore where things have been hard. The weather has mostly been against us but if you can get out, the current is still running and out wide is just hard work. I’ve had a couple of OK days, with small windows of opportunity weather-wise but I’ve stayed mostly on the 32 fathom line to try staying inside the worst of the current. bream kids

Sharks have been making their presence felt again and I feel petty complaining about them because losing a few fish is not in the same ballpark as losing your life, which happened recently at Kingscliff. I was fishing on the local reef recently and pulled in the head of what was going to be a 20kg jewfish if it hadn’t been for a cheeky shark. The very next day, I was near the 32 marker and was in the process of lifting two fish aboard when a small 6-7’ white pointer charged up and grabbed a snapper off the bottom hook.

The hook above had a sizeable maori cod on it – the cod had a few scratch marks and a terrified look on his face, I can tell you. I was pretty stunned myself, and it all happened so quickly. I didn’t have time to even lift the fish away from the shark, despite the fact I was already in the motion. bream kids

Sharks of all species are on the increase around here that’s for sure. My condolences to the family and friends of the recent Kingscliff attack. Let’s hope the rest of winter and the whale season remain incident-free. Back to the offshore scene and leatherjackets may turn up soon – just to give me something else to whinge about on top of current and bad weather. Oh well, make up some wire rigs and go get a feed or just stick in close and try for a feed of reef fish, snapper and maybe a jewfish.

Me? I’ll get offshore when weather and time allow, but on the other days I reckon as soon as Keira gets off the school bus we’ll be going to the river for an evening session while bream are still there. bream kids

About Gavin Dobson

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