Before I start with this article, I want to make one thing clear. It’s about the common (European) bream, Abramis brama, not the bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus, which is also called bream in many regions of the U.S.
The common bream is a fresh water fish, in the Cyprinidae family. It’s also called freshwater bream, white carp, bronze bream or bream carp. Although, their average size is around 30 cm, they can sometimes grow to over 70 cm, and weigh over 4 kg. Catching large bream requires finesse, they’re rather shy fish. They also have small, soft mouths which makes it tricky to bring up. Sometimes during the fight they simply rip off their lips to escape.
Where to Catch Bream – Bream Feeding Habits
Bream can be caught throughout all over Europe, but its fishing is specific to the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Large bream prefer deep waters, and can be found especially in the rivers’ lower reaches, in deep places with slow flow, or in lakes with muddy bottoms, covered in vegetations and algae.
Bream live in schools, individuals usually having the same size. They’re bottom fish, and their diet includes algae, vegetation, small crustaceans, insect larvae, nematods and gastropods. In murky waters, especially if they’re in large numbers, which can result in a reduced amount of food, they can also filter-feed, with their gill rakers, their main diet being fito and zooplancton. Also in case their food is scarce, they won’t grow bigger than 35-40 cm, their hump won’t have a considerable size.
Bream Fishing Techniques
First of all, common bream are not strong fighters. They easily turn on the side and from there on is just a matter of pulling them to the fish landing. However, they’re very skittish, and on top of that, they have small, soft mouths which makes it a bit tricky to pull out (particularly the large ones).
Bank fishing, with a long, flexible rod, with or without a reel, and a simple rig (hooks, sinker and floater – the classic rig), is the most popular technique for bream fishing. Paternoster rig types are also used, with or without a feeder, with or without a floater.
When using boilies, many anglers practice hair-rigging.
Bream fishing requires ground baiting, sometimes anglers place bait in a spot for several days and only then begin a fishing session there, to gather the fish in large groups, and accustom them with a certain bait.
Bait for Bream
When it comes to ground bait for bream, most anglers have their own recipe, but in general, ground corn or other cereals, maggots, canned corn and various flavors are used. Here’s a classic mix for ground bait for bream:
5 parts of white breadcrumb
5 parts of brown breadcrumb
2 parts of PV1
2 parts of Sweet Molasses
1 part of biscuit flour
0.25 parts of vanillin (taste)
You can also add maggots to it, yellow or red, canned corn, yellow or red. Powdered milk can also be a great addition.
Anyway, there’s a wide range of readily-made ground baits out there, you just need to buy the right amount you think you’ll need, add water and whatever else you think might work, and set your bait.
For the hook, the best and most commonly used baits are, red worms, maggots (2-3 per hook), corn, dough with various flavors, boilies and pellets.
When it comes to the angling equipment to use for freshwater bream fishing, most anglers would say something like “just get a feeder rod 11ft+, a decent reel, some monofilament line, and you’ll be good to go”. However, here are a few good choices to take a look at.
Rods: Daiwa Connoisseur Feeder Rod 11/13, Drennan MatchPro Medium Feeder Rod, Shakespeare Mach 3 XT 11ft, Fox Duo-lite Specialist 12ft.
Reels: Okuma Salina Aluminum Bait Feeder Reel, Okuma Coronado Baitfeeder Spinning Reel, Avanti Carbon FX Match Freespin Feeder Reel, Shakespeare MACH 3 XT Reel, or one of the best spinning fresh water reels, Shimano Stella 2500.
Line: Although braided line is abrasion resistant, it’s less stretchy than monofilament. While fighting, bream will do a lot of head shaking and knocking, putting up quite some scarp. Since braided line has less stretch, it may result in more lost battles.
So, 4-6lb monofilament, dark green or brown would be great. Avoid white or silver line, sometimes it might spook the fish off.
Hooks: Mustad or Drennan Carbon – sizes 12-16, depending on how big are the bream you’re targeting.
Floater: It’s always best to use a thin and long one, to oppose as less resistance as possible, cork or balsa.
Sinker: One as small as possible, enough to balance the floater and take the bait to the bottom. I’ve always been in favor of a gliding sinker, with a stopper, to oppose as less resistance as possible when the fish bites.