John's Journal...

Tips for Catching Bigger Bream This Spring and Summer

Day 3: Catching Hard-to-Reach Bream

Editor’s Note: Average fishing tactics take average-sized bream. To get the big “bulls,” you need some special tricks, no matter where you fish. Follow this advice, and your stringer will get stretched like never before.

Click for Larger ViewAnother angling companion of mine believes that the biggest bream that can be caught on a river system are the ones that are the most difficult to reach. Very few breamers will drag an aluminum boat 50-yards over a muddy bank to get into an oxbow slough. Bass fishermen won’t even do that. But that’s the reason Gayland Gilliken of south Alabama, who is known as the “Bream Man,” can and does catch so-many big bream each year. According to Gilliken, “To catch the bream, you have to get to the fish that no one else can find. These bream haven’t been picked-over, and they usually will be bigger and more aggressive than the bream you will find on major river systems. Proper baiting for big bream is important. Baiting for bluegills is different than baiting to catch shellcrackers. Bluegills favor worms that wiggle at both ends. Click for Larger ViewSo, I hook my worm in the middle, swing it into the bedding bluegills and let it float to the bottom. The bluegill will suck its bait in rather than bite it. Therefore an angler must let a bluegill have a worm longer than he will a shellcracker. When you are baiting for shellcrackers, thread the worm on the hook. You really only need just half of a worm. But, bury the whole hook in the worm, and leave the end that wiggles free to wiggle right at the end of the hook. A large shellcracker will bite-down on the worm, especially the wiggly part, and you can hook it by baiting this way. If you bait for shellcrackers like you do for bluegills, the shellcracker will bite both sides of your worm and leave the middle where the hook is.”

Click for Larger ViewTo locate bream, Gilliken will many times go sniffing. “I can smell a bream bed as can many other bream fishermen. The bed will generally smell like overripe watermelons. Once most anglers discover a bed, they will fish as close as they can to the bank where they’ve smelled the bed. They may catch one or two good bream doing this. However, every time they catch shallow-water bream, the fish will run for deep water and disturb the beds farther out in the river.

When I smell a bream bed, I begin to fish 30- or 40-yards from the bank in the deep water. I gradually work my bait in more-shallow, until I start catching bream. Then, when I start taking those big, deep-water bream, I continue to fish that depth until the bream quit biting. Next, I start fishing closer to the shore, until those bream stop biting. I continue to work my way into the bank, until I finally fish my way right up to the bank. Using this technique, most of the time I catch the deep-water bream first. And, as I move in to shore, the bream that I catch will continue to run into the deep water where I have already removed the bigger bream. These hooked fish won’t be disturbing bedding fish in deep water like they will if I take the shallow-water bream first.”

Click for Larger ViewAlthough anglers may say that most of the big bream will be caught on the bottom in deep water, they cannot make this statement when there are fly fishermen around. A bass bugger like the late Walton Lowry of Birmingham, Alabama, always known for his love of bream fishing, would have quickly responded with, “You’re crazy as a Betsy bug. If you will use a little-bit-bigger-than-average Styrofoam or rubber bug, and put a little-longer-than-average legs on the bait, you’ll catch bigger bream. “A large bream just can’t stand a big bug with all those legs on it shimmering in front of him. Of course, a big bug will scare-off the little bream. And, you won’t catch as many bream using a larger bug as you will with a smaller bug. But, the bream you take will be much bigger. And, you are going to catch some bass when utilizing a big bug. When I’m seriously bream fishing, I consider bass a trash fish – because they just get in the way of my breaming. However, if one of those 2- to 4-pound bass does jump on that big ol’ white bug I fly-fish with, I’ll go ahead and catch it and take it home to eat, even though I’d rather have bream. I think that any color will work to catch bream, but I feel that white is the best. At least it always has been for me.”

Tomorrow: Use Tiny Hooks to Lip-Hook and Catch More Bream

Check back each day this week for more about "Tips for Catching Bigger Bream This Spring and Summer "

Day 1: Camouflage Your Hook to Take More Bream
Day 2: Sneaking-Up on Big Bream
Day 3: Catching Hard-to-Reach Bream
Day 4: Use Tiny Hooks to Lip-Hook and Catch More Bream
Day 5: Baits and Tackle for Big Bream in Brackish Water

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Entry 611, Day 3