Ben Gibbs

Coorong Bream Addict

Ben has been living south of Adelaide for a number of years and has been fishing the Coorong system hard for black bream over a period of several years, regularly putting in 11-12 hours days in his kayak in search of fish. When he’s not fishing for himself, he’s co-founder of Bream Master SA, a kayak fishing bream tournament that’s really getting some traction.

Also check out the Bream Master SA Facebook page:

Ben’s Coorong Bream Fishing Tips

  • The Coorong contains numerous coral encrusted bommies formed by marine polychaete worms. These bommies have a mushroom shape and bream often hide underneath when the tide is running, invisible to the eye or sonar. When the current slows they can sometimes come away from cover and swarm about feeding.
  • Use Google Earth to look for areas where there is water movement, such as channels. During winter when the “snot weed” dies off the fish will also move onto the flats, but in the summer months they tend to stay deeper where the water is cooler.
  • Cloudy, overcast conditions fish best and Ben finds the period at the top of the tide to be best. Due to the shape of the system, tides can be 4 hours different in the Coorong than they are at the nearest tide station (Goolwa), so do some research, ask those in the know and be prepared to spend some time figuring out where to fish and when. A gentle breeze of 5-10 knots doesn’t hurt, either. A tide change at dusk or dawn is right on the money. A day or two either side of the full and new moons can fish a little above average.
  • Persistence is important. Sometimes you can fish a bommie and get no bits, then go back a couple of hours later and get fish. At times the bite window might only be 15-30 minutes in a whole day and you need to be on the spot at the right time.

Ben’s Bream Fishing Tackle

  • There’s no need to have the best of everything for bream fishing, but decent, reasonable quality gear helps.
  • Ben likes the Daiwa Infeet 7’ 1-4kg, fast action rods. These are ideal for setting the hooks in the hard mouth of a bream in relatively deep water but also have enough softness to absorb the head shakes and enough backbone to turn a running bream before it reaches a bommie. He couples these with 2500 Size Daiwa Legalis reels loaded with 12lb Tasline braid and 6-8lb Sunline FC Rock leader. Ben finds that you can’t really go lighter than 6lb due to the size of the fish and the nature of the structure.

Ben’s Bream Fishing Lures

  • The Pro Lures Paddle Grub in Tiger Prawn colour is a 65mm soft plastic grub on a 1/12 to 1/8 oz jig head is a great option. Cast to where you expect bream to be, allow it to sink and then work back with a series of gentle rod lifts and drops with 5-10 second pauses between lifts. Ben believes the effectiveness of this lure reflects it similarity to some local worms that bream feed on and finds that the bites are often super light and require good line management to detect and react to. These lures are good in deeper water around channels and bommies.
  • The Pro Lures Grub Tail in Motor Oil colour is a 60mm curl tail soft plastic that consistently catches decent quality bream, but also picks up a range of by-catch, particularly mulloway. Ben uses this with a slightly smaller jig head than the paddle tail and generally switches to this lure if the paddletail is getting rejected.
  • The Pro Lures V35 Blade in Matt Brown is the lure to use when the fish are refusing soft plastics. Ben removes both sets of trebles and replaces the rear treble with Atomic Trick Bits assist hooks (remove the feathers). This makes the lure a lot less snag-prone and enables him to fish them around the bommies. Let the lure sink to the bottom and work back with subtle, small hops of 1-2 ft, then allow the lure to drop back and sit on the bottom for 5-20 seconds. Fish usually take this lure while it’s stationary on the bottom.

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Ben’s Sponsors

Pro Lure Australia is an Aussie business that has developed a line of lures and tackle specifically for Aussie anglers. All of the lures Ben has recommended are from the Pro Lure range.

Estuary Clothing Co is a Sunshine Coast-based fishing apparel company that supports Ben with his fishing.

Berley Pro is a Melbourne-based company that delivers innovative accessories to Australian kayak and boat anglers, including transducer shields and sonar screen shades.

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