Australia-wide, bream have to be one of, if not the most fished for species in our sunburnt landmass. This is mainly because they are available all around the country! Indeed, you can lock horns with bream from Cape York in Queensland to Hobart in Tasmania, and from Byron Bay in NSW to Shark Bay in Western Australia.
There are three species of bream in Australia: the yellowfin, pikey and black bream. Right now, let’s take a closer look at black bream.
You can find black bream from around Wollongong in NSW to Shark Bay in Western Australia, and there is some overlap with yellowfin bream within that range. Generally preferring calmer waters, they rarely enter the ocean. Unlike yellowfin bream, they tend to head ustream to the upper tidal limits for their spawning, usually in the warmer months of the year. The rest of the time, they can normally be found in tidal estuaries or coastal lakes foraging opportunistically on whatever is available, be it baitfish, crustacean or insect.
Catching black bream, like catching any bream anywhere, can present an exciting challenge, as these fish are very alert and aware of their surroundings. It’s often said that black bream are more forgiving than yellowfin or pikies, but this doesn’t mean they are a pushover by any means. Anglers will want to fish with the lightest gear they can get away with, but this too presents a challenge, as black bream commonly exceed weights of 1kg and they fight dirty! In places such as Gippsland in Victoria, many locations in Tasmania and Augusta in WA they are regularly caught at 50cm and around 1.5kg, so while 2lb fluorocarbon line might attract the bites you seek, you may not land every fish you hook!
Some anglers choose to fish with straight through fluorocarbon set-ups, with Berkley Vanish Mainline and Sufix Super 21 Fluorocarbon Leader working great as fluorocarbon mainline material. Fishing these on light spin set-ups is virtually the only way to fish with such light presentations.
Speaking of presentations, there are a lot of great lures for black bream. On the surface, the Bassday Sugapen 70mm Floating and Morry Kneebone Handcrafted Bent Minnow are very handy to have in the box. If wanting to search the snags down deeper, the Berkley Puppy Dog 3B Crank Hard Body Lure, ZMan Grubz Soft Plasticsand Ecogear ZX Series Blade 35mm are excellent starters to get your bases covered.
If you want a proper challenge in our southern estuaries and coastal lakes, you can’t go past black bream. They fight hard, respond to a wide variety of techniques, and they will test both angler and tackle. If you haven’t caught one already, be sure to put them on the list!
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