Declan Betts

Bream Tournament Gun

Declan is a resident of SW Victoria and living just a short distance from the Curdies River gives him ample opportunity to figure out the wily black bream in that system. When he’s not fishing recreationally, Declan is a high profile bream tournament angler with numerous podium placings to his name in the 7 years he’s been fishing competitively.

Declan’s Curdies River Bream Tips

  • The Curdies River system isn’t overly endowed with structure, it’s largely shallow flats, reed lined edges and older tea tree in places upstream. The mouth of the system is intermittently open to the sea, allowing seawater exchange.
  • The mouth of the river empties into a broad, shallow tidal lake, with the mid reaches being deeper and holding 6-8m of water depth in places.
  • During summer the bream in the Curdies River tend to start spreading out through the system and it’s possible to find quality fish from just about any bank. In early summer the areas downstream towards the mouth tend to fish best, especially if there’s been a particularly wet winter.
  • The Curdies fishes best when the mouth is open to the sea, good outflow and a light breeze.
  • Look for the halocline on your sounder, showing where the freshwater on top meets the seawater below, as bream will usually be in the saline layer. Sometimes they’ll be midwater, spawning on the halocline.
  • It’s not unusual to find that a short stretch of bank might be particularly productive, so if you’ve caught a few fish and they’ve gone quiet, move on and then come back later and see if they’re back on the chew.

Declan’s Bream Fishing Tackle

  • A 7’ long 1-3kg or 2-4kg rod with a 2000-2500 size reel, 0.6- 0.8 PE braid mainline and 4-6lb fluorocarbon leader is a good combination.
  • Declan uses a Samurai 101 rod for hard bodies because the softness of the tip allows for some shock absorption as bream typically hit hard bodies quite aggressively. For soft plastics a Samurai 181 rod has a faster action and allows Declan to work the lures better and set hooks faster.

Declan’s Top Bream Fishing Lures

  • An Ecogear VX 35 blade in black colour is great in the winter months when fish are often away from the edges a little. At these times a small black blade is sometimes the only lure that will take fish. Try different retrieves until you dial in to what the fish are talking on the day, keeping in mind that there is never a “too long” when it comes to the length of a pause when bream fishing with blades.
  • A 2.5” curl tail grub (brand is unimportant) in motor oil colour is a versatile option. Rigging on a 1/12 oz jig head is a good starting point, though you might want a 1/8 head in the cooler months or a 1/16 head in shallower water.
  • An Ecogear SF40 hard body is great for casting extremely tight and close to the reeds or mud banks – it’s not effective in open water.
  • The OSP Bent Minnow is a great surface lure for bream fishing. In the Curdies it’s best used during Jan-Mar when the water is warm. Like the SF40, it needs to be fished very close to structure. Alternatively, fish in the shallow margins will sometimes take a Bent Minnow.

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best bream lures


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