Bream - (Abramis brama)
Young bream are silver in appearance and have been given the nickname "Skimmer" by anglers, as bream mature they become increasingly deep bodied and develop a pronounced hump bank - This makes identifying bream a particular easy task.
Juvenile bream (Skimmers) can be mistaken for Silver Bream (Blicca bjoerkna) However, this confusion is limited to certain areas of the country, as Silver Bream are not widely distributed.
When bream reach the 3lb mark, they begin to develop a darker colour along their flanks, usually a greyish brown, although bream caught in clear waters tend to develop a deep bronze appearance, which sometimes borders on black.
Bream reach sexual maturity after 4 to 5 years and spawn between the months of April & June. During the spawning stage, male bream form territories in shallow weedy areas and do their upmost to keep other males out - The females enter these territories to spawn at dawn or dusk.
Females can lay several hundred thousand eggs and these hatch within a few days - The small fry that emerge attach themselves to underwater plants until their yolk has been expended.
Natural Diet & Common Baits
Bream are a natural bottom feeder & their favourite natural bait has to be bloodworm. Bream hoover up vast areas of lake and river beds in pursuit of this small insect larvae. They do this with fine hairs that are attached to their gills, these hairs allow the fish to filter out the larvae from the mud and debris that they suck up.
Bream will eat a wide variety of different hook baits, the most popular being bread, caster, corn, maggot and worm. Large shoals of bream can soon make short work of any bait that an angler puts out, that is why groundbait is commonly used when targeting bream.
Finding bream can be problematic on large waters as they are nomadic feeders with patrol routes that can cover the entire lake, fortunately there are a few signs that can be seen from the bank to make locating bream easier.
Prior to feeding, bream will sometimes roll on the surface, this should be taken as a good sign that that bream are in the area and looking to feed - always be on the lookout for any muddying of the water, as this is usually a good indicator that bream are around and feeding confidently.
Bream are not too keen on feeding above beds of weed, they tend to favour clear areas of the lake/river bed. It can pay dividends to research the water your fishing by using a feature finding rod to locate any clear areas of the lake/river bed.
Tackle & Tips
- Although bream can be caught in a variety of different ways, feeder fishing is one of the best methods to use when targeting them - The constant build up of feed into the swim can certainly stimulate the bream to feed & help hold them in the area you are fishing.
- Bream are predominately a bottom feeding fish, so it's worth presenting your hook bait on the bottom.
- Hook size and line strength is dependent on the size of fish you are targeting, however a size 16 hook and 4lb line is usually enough to tame them.
- As bream are a shoal fish it is important to target them with accurate loosefeed, if local rules allow, always try to use groundbait. There are various brands that can be found in your local tackle shop that have been designed primarily to target bream - be on the lookout for any groundbait that contains fishmeal as bream adore the fishy smells that this type of groudbait pumps out.
- A cheap and effective way of luring bream into your swim is by using liquidised bread as a ground bait, this will help draw the fish into your swim with an enticing cloud and also has the added benefit of not filling the fish up too quickly.
- Chopped worm and caster are a fantastic way of filling your feeder or pole pot up with enticing goodies, the worms will help give the bream a scent trail that they can locate and the casters will help hold the fish in the swim.
- Once you have located a shoal of feeding bream, always try and present your hook bait on the edges of the feeding area - bream can spook easily, so make sure when you hook a fish that you play it away from the feeding area as quickly as possible.
- Bream tend to feed most strongly on days that are overcast with a slight wind that ripples the water.
- If specimen bream are your target, it is usually better to target them during the night, as this is the time they feed most confidently.