Across the nation, bream would have to be one of if not the most available sportfish, and hardbody crankbaits would have to be the most useful tool for bringing them unstuck.
Whether working over a windblown flat in one of our southern estuaries for black bream, sneaking along a rock wall for yellowfin bream, or twitching offering outs of heavy snags up north for pikey bream, crankbaits consistently shine for this enigmatic species.
Crankbaits can imitate a variety of prey, including baitfish, prawns, shrimp, and even a crab scuttling along the bottom. This means that crankbaits can be useful year-round for bream anglers, but that’s not to say they will work wherever you find bream.Matching a crankbait to the ground you’re fishing and the mood of the fish is how you’ll get the most out of this technique.
Firstly, you’ll want to consider the depth of water and the type of structure you’re up against. As a general rule, you want the indicated depth of your lure to roughly match the depth you’re fishing. This ensures that the crankbait will be making regular contact with the chosen structure, while not ploughing into the bottom and fouling up.
Secondly, having a rough idea of what the bream are feeding on is very helpful to know. Bream chasing prawns along a flat will prefer clear, white and silver colours, while those in amongst rocks are likely to be foraging for crabs, so dark colours with bright contrasts might be a better option.
Lures such as the Atomic Hardz 38mm in the Deep, Mid Diver and Double Deep models are designed specifically for bream, and come in a range of colours proven across the country on bream.
Fishing them on the right gear makes a big difference as well, and for such a small and spooky species it just makes sense to have a fluorocarbon leader. Some tournament anglers have even taken it a step further, fishing fluorocarbon straight through, sometimes as light as 2lb!
The key to this technique is to wind your crankbait slowly, making sure to make regular contact with structure or the bottom. If you feel your lure get snagged, you can often let the tension off and allow it to float out of trouble, as many bream crankbaits are designed to float up backwards. When you feel the tell-tale nibbling of a pack of bream squabbling over your offering, resist the urge to strike, and instead continue your retrieve until you feel the weight of the fish load up, then you can use the bend of the rod to keep those small hooks in the fish. In this way, you basically ‘wind them on’.
So go out with a light spin set up and a handful of hardbody crankbaits and get cranking!
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