They say that 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish, a concept that i struggled to get my head around when i first got into Bream fishing. As i learn more and more, i can really see that this rings true. A simple mistake made by many, is selecting the wrong size and style of jig head. I will try to give you some insight in what works for me in this blog.
Know your target
It’s really the most important step. By knowing what your going to fish for, you can set yourself up with the right gear, the right location and get the right results.
If you go out targeting bream but throw gear suited to flathead, whilst im sure you may catch a few bream, your success rate will be significantly lower. Flathead sit and hunt on the bottom, so they are looking for that puff of mud or sand when the nice heavy jig head smacks into the bottom like a flicking prawn, bream on the other hand are looking for that nice slow natural flutter down.
It’s really about getting all of the pieces of the puzzle in the right place, then it just works!
The challenge with selecting the right jig head for bream is that it varies so much. Different plastics, different current, different structure all require different size and style of jighead. But there really is one simple rule – go as light as you can for the circumstances.
I fish a lot of structure with plastics, i truly enjoy the heart in your throat moment when a big bream crunches your plastic and heads back in trying to bust you off.
Going too heavy will mean that the time your plastic spends gliding down near that structure is reduced, and so is your likelihood of convincing a big blue nose to eat it.
Canals and low current structure
In areas where there is little to no current, you truly can fish light. A perfect example is the canals on the Gold Coast QLD. An Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawn or Grass Minnow fished unweighted on a worm hook (pictured right) is the perfect setup to entice a bream out from under a jetty to strike your plastic. Bream will hide under the pontoons, chewing on the growth underneath. They love the shaded area and ambush bait fish that are sitting in the sunlight or come close to the edge of the pontoon. Presenting your lure in tight and sitting in that strike zone is what you need for them to focus on it and come chasing. Again it’s all about the patience!
As the wind comes up it is common to find that the lure will get pulled around as the wind hits your line, and its often necessary to upsize your jig head.
Going up to a 1/60th or 1/40th might seem like a negligible change, but is often all that is needed keep that plastic hovering in the strike zone.
Structure or flats with medium current
By far my favorite type of fishing, with my go to size a 1/32 around structure and on flats, it really is the balance between castability and presentation. You will be surprised how deep you will get your plastic with this size jig head, you just need to be patient before you start putting some action into your retrieve.
I often find that fishing this light, the hookup will come on the way down or shortly after it hits the bottom, not so much during the retrieve.
If the structure your fishing is a little deeper, small increases in size will help, but typically for jetties, boat hulls and natural rocky edges, 1/32 will get the job done.
Rock walls, bridges and high current areas
This is where going light goes out the window a little! You will need to use a little trial and error until you learn to read the current, but generally you will need to go a lot heavier to get down there.
Much of the time on rock walls, a 1/16th or 1/12th will get the job done even during a bit of current. Allowing you to work your plastic down the rocks, all the way to the bottom.
In some areas, particularly bridges this still won’t be enough! Many of the coastal bridges are positioned at points where the river or lake narrows, forcing the current to really rip past. A great example of this is Swansea bridge on the central coast NSW. The current runs hard, and to get the lure down and keep it close to structure you really need a ¼ ounce just to get to the bottom.
Hidden weight or regular head?
I think a lot of this is personal preference, and depends on the type of lure you are fishing. For me, most of my time is fishing prawn style plastics like the Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawn 50mm. I find the hidden weight jig head really allows it to sink more naturally. It keeps the plastic horizontal, sinking slowly down the water column, then allowing you to impart all of the action with flicks of the rod tip.
Fishing crab/yabby style lures i really like to keep the claws pointing up, similar to a defensive crab. For this reason i like the more traditional style jig heads, it causes them to sink head down, leaving the claws flailing about. Similar when they hit the bottom, i find that the bream are more likely to come down and crunch them claws up than if they are laying flat on the bottom.
This applies to grub style lures as well, you really need the head down on the drop so that the tail is swimming all the way to the bottom.
But what about the hook?
As with the style, the size of the hook will vary by lure type and also personal preference. The most common size hooks are the size 2 and 1, but it will really depend on the length of your plastic. Longer plastics like the 50mm bream prawn will allow you to use a size 1 hook, while smaller plastics like the Marukyu crabs will need you to use something much smaller.
Hopefully this has given you some insight, and an excuse to fill your tackle box with an array of different sizes and styles of jig heads. Whilst i still don’t believe i’ve made that 10% who catch all of the fish, im sure like me, if you try going lighter your results will improve substantially.
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