Tom’s Interview is ALF EPISODE 607. Check out our archives for more information on lure fishing for bream and Sydney Harbour Fishing Spots

Tom’s #1 Lure: Soft Plastic Bream Fishing

  • A small soft plastic lure on a 1/12 to 1/16 jig head is very versatile when fishing Sydney Harbour and can be used in a variety of depths without needing to change lures, plus it can be skip cast under overhanging structure and into tight locations. A two and a half inch grub, minnow or risky critter from the Bait Junkies range is perfect.
  • When fishing from a boat, Tom has multiple rods rigged up with different baits, weighted differently, enabling him to quickly switch without retying lures.
  • Tom generally sight casts to structure and uses bright coloured braid to make it easier to see when the lure hits the bottom. If a bite on the drop is likely he’ll put a little bit of slack line on the water surface just after casting. If the line straightens out and darts off, he sets the hook. If it stops, he knows he’s hit the bottom and works the bait actively instead of letting it sit.
  • The “touch and go” method is effective when fishing near the bottom. This involves letting the lure hit the bottom and then instantly twitching it back up. This method has proven effective for catching fish like bream and snapper that are more attracted to a falling lure than one that sites stationary on the bottom.
  • For larger fish, lure size and colour is less important than its proximity to structure. Bigger fish are more educated and cautious, so getting the lure as close as possible to the structure will give the fish a chance to bite.

Tackle for Bream Fishing With Soft Plastics

  • A good entry level outfit for soft plastics on bream would be a Daiwa a TD Hyper, 701 LXS with a 2000S Infeet spin reel.
  • For more advanced anglers a Daiwa Infeet Z 712 LFS rod with a Revelry 2000S or 2500S reel is a good option.
  • These are fast action rods with lively tips and plenty of strength through the mid-section, allowing lures to be cast and skipped with a snap of the wrist.
  • Tom likes 5lb straight through J-Thread Finesse fluorocarbon, or 5-6lb J Braid with a 5-7lb J-Thread FC X-link fluorocarbon leader.

Tom’s #2 Bream Lure: Metal Blade

  • Fishing blades around the mooring blocks of boats, is common around Sydney as the weather cools and the fish move down deeper.
  • The Daiwa STS Blade in 3.5g is perfect in depths to 25 feet if it’s sunk down tight to the mooring blocks or a pylon, then fished with small hops off the bottom, moving it only a few inches at a time. Just get it to vibrate and then let it go back down.
  • Tom fishes a mixture of no-flow backwaters and higher flow areas until he finds what the fish are doing, then focusses on those areas. It pays to choose a place with lots of different types of structure and move through the various structures quite quickly until you find fish.
  • Forward facing sonar is great for ensuring your lure is reaching the mooring blocks. It’s easy to underestimate how far upcurrent they might be, but sonar can prevent short casts.

Tackle for Bream Fishing With Blades

  • A good entry level outfit for soft plastics on bream would be a Daiwa a TD Hyper, 742ULFS with a 2000S Infeet spin reel. This rod can also be useful for working crankbaits.
  • More experienced anglers may prefer the Daiwa Infeet Z 742ULRS rod with a Revelry 2500S reel. This is an ultralight rod that is less likely to result in the small hooks of the blade being pulled from fish.
  • Tom likes 5lb straight through J-Thread Finesse fluorocarbon for fishing blades.

Tom’s #3 Bream Lure: Deep Diving Crankbait

  • Tom really enjoys fishing cranks around Sydney and the Daiwa Spike 44 XDR is a great option for throwing into the washes above the low tide mark where there is no kelp and the rocks are dry at low tide.
  • Cool, overcast and windy conditions are best for this style of fishing and the washes will usually produce quality fish under these conditions.
  • The best approach is to get as close to the wash as you safely can and make long casts into the intertidal zone. For yellowfin bream, simply slow roll the lure back, for black bream use a twitch, twitch, pause style of retrieve.
  • Look for areas where there are cracks in the rock that might only be 6 inches beneath the surface but the crack is several feet deep. Bream will hide in the cracks and dart out to smash a lure.
  • The Spike 44 is fitted with BKK hooks, which don’t really need upgrading. They will occasionally get crushed by big bream but rarely break off.

Tackle for Bream Fishing With Hardbodies

  • For those just getting started, an Infeet 702 LRS rod couples with a 250S Infeet reel will do an excellent job.
  • The Infeet EX 722 LRS is a great light spin rod for those wanting top shelf gear. Couple it with the Revelry 2500S spin reel and you have a deadly crankbaiting combo.
  • These are regular action rods with parabolic curves that are perfect for working crankbaits and providing cushioning to minimise small trebles pulling from the fish. They need to be cast differently to fast action rods, with a smoother, fuller swing to load and unload the whole blank, rather than just the tip section.
  • Tom likes 5lb straight through J-Thread Finesse fluorocarbon, or 5-6lb J Braid with a 5-7lb J-Thread FC X-link fluorocarbon leader.

Tom’s Key Tips For Sydney Bream Fishing

  • Casting is everything. The more accurately you cast, the more time your lure spends close to structure where the larger fish hang. Inaccurate casting tends to result in smaller fish being caught. You need to hone your skills to enable you to cast where no one else can get a lure.
  • Pay a lot of attention to where you catch fish. In current or in still water? In sunlight or in the shade? Deep or shallow? Look for patterns that can tell you where you’ll find the next fish.
  • Most people spend too much time worrying about the size, shape or colour of their lures. Tom finds that (within reason) these things are less important that where you put your lure.
  • Some of the best tournament bream fishers only use a handful of different lures. They learn to use those lures so well that they can successfully compete at almost any location on any type of structure by varying their techniques. Tom believes that getting to know how to fish a small number of lures in any scenario is more successful than constantly switching lures and working your way through the tackle box.
  • Extracting big fish on light gear can be tricky. Using a long rod and holding it high after a fish is hooked, maintaining constant pressure on a firm drag and using the electric to pull fish into open water works best. Too much pump and wind causes fish to respond aggressively and results in lost fish.

Sydney Bream Fishing With Tom Slater

Tom Slater

Tackle Professional And Tournament Angler

Tom has been in the tackle industry for over a decade and as Daiwa Australia’s Product Development Manager has a hand in the development and distribution of some of the best bream tackle available. He’s a regular on the bream tournament circuit and has a reputation for extracting fish where others can’t.

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