Tournament Angler And Bream Specialist
Stephen Has been bream fishing the canal for many years, including during his 10 years as a tournament bream angler. He recalls that in his first tournament season he only weighed one fish for the year. He’s since gone on to be a very successful tournament bream specialist with 10 wins and a ton of podium appearances to his name.
Stephen’s Top Bream Fishing Tips
- Stephen reckons the most important factor in figuring our Gold Coast canal bream fishing is time on the water. His first season on the tournament scene resulted in a single legal fish being weighed in, but by getting on the water and practicing he progressed to having 10 tournament wins and even more podium placings.
- Working lures as slowly as possible is a great tip for canal bream fishing. Bream are not speedsters and will wait for hours for food items to come past.
- Bream fishing can be good during any tide or weather conditions. The key is to figure out what structure the fish are on and what they’re taking and then go find more of that structure. Perseverance wins out.
- Windy weather can produce good results. You want to fish the bank that the wind is blowing onto, as fish aggregate there to feed, especially if the wind has blown from that direction consistently for several days.
- Stephen likes to focus on the sandy canals with beaches between pontoons as he finds the fish more active and willing in these areas. Often when he sights fish in the sandy shallows he’ll cast his lure onto dry sand so as not to spook fish, then slowly drag it back into the water where the fish are waiting. This often occurs around a high tide.
- At the lower end of the tidal cycle the fish often retreat back to deeper water and are often around pontoons and pylons.
- The rocky areas around the entrance to most canals are definitely worth a cast or two and can yield giant trevally, mangrove jacks, cod and other species in addition to bream. Unless he’s tossing surface lures tight to the rocks Stephen prefers to sink lures down to the base of the rocks where they meet sand.
- One trick that helped Stephen to tournament success was to spend time researching the fishing reports, charter boat reports, magazines and social media and noting commonalities. This allowed him to figure out the lures and techniques that were most often responsible for good bream captures and focus his efforts and budgets on those proven options
Stephen’s Preferred Bream Fishing Tackle
- Use the tackle that feels comfortable and works for you. Stephen finds people often comment that his bream fishing rods are soft and spaghetti-like, but he finds these allow him to coerce the fish out of the snags gently and that he loses less fish.
- Stephen’s preferred setup is a relatively slow taper rod in the 7ft, 1-3kg line class coupled with a 1000-2500 size spin reel, 6lb braid and a 4lb fluorocarbon leader.
Stephen’s Top Bream Fishing Lures
- The Z-Man 2.5” GrubZ in motor oil colour is a great lure for searching out fish. Stephen typically fishes it on a 1/20 oz jig head, finding that this gives the lure more action than a 1/50 oz jig and overcomes the buoyancy of the Z-Man Grubs. There are multiple ways to fish this lure, depending on the circumstances, but it’s very versatile on the sandy canal beaches, around the back of pontoon pylons or across the front of pontoons, depending on the circumstances. Bloodworm colour is also good.
- The Cranka Crab is a great option for fishing around bridges and pylons. The aim is to cast close to vertical structure and let the lure sink on a near slack line so it falls vertically down the pylon or snag. Once it’s on the bottom Stephen doesn’t leave the lure to soak for as long as most anglers do, preferring to retrieve and make another cast as he usually finds the lure is taken on the drop. If there is current flowing then the aim is to cast up-current, trying to have the crab meet the bottom at the base of the pylon. When fishing bridges or the sand/rock interfaces at canal entrances Stephen will soak the crabs longer, allowing it to trickle along the edge of the structure for a bit.
- Creature baits are very effective for bream fishing and Stephen’s favourite is the Gulp Crabby. He fishes these on a slightly lighter weight than the GrubZ (1/50 oz) and finds that they usually do well as a bag filler, taking plenty of fish but not usually the biggest fish.
- A close runner up for third place in Stephen’s lure selection is the Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawn, which he usually fishes unweighted, snipping the lead off a jig hook with his pliers if necessary.
Cranka Lures have supported Stephen’s fishing for a number of years and Stephen enjoys the close personal relationship he shares with their team.
Tackle Tactics is one of Australia’s largest tackle importers and distributors with numerous brands including the Z-Man lures and Platypus Lines Stephen mentions in this episode.