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Catching Bream | Fishing for Bream | Bait for Bream

Angling for Bream:

Bream also known as silver bream (NSW, Qld, Vic.); sea bream (NSW, Qld); black bream, surf bream (NSW)

Bream are mostly found in estuaries, but are also found on inshore reefs and coastal waters adjacent to beaches and rocky headlands. They live in rivers upstream to the limit of brackish water, but rarely enter freshwater. Frequently swim in schools.

Bream have a varied diet which includes small crabs, prawns, molluscs such as oysters and pipis and small fish and sometimes green weed.


Bream species found in Australia:

Yellowfin Bream (Acanthopagrus australis) is endemic to Australia and is found along the eastern coast from far north Queensland to Victoria, though it’s mainly caught south of Hervey Bay.

Tarwhine (Rhabdosargus sarba) is found from far north Queensland to Victoria as well as along the southwestern coast from Albany to Exmouth. It’s often caught with yellowfin bream, from which it can be distinguished by the yellow lines along its rows of scales.

Frypan Bream (Argyrops spinifer) is mainly caught off the north-western coast of Australia, although it is found north from the NSW-Queensland border to the central coast of Western Australia and is caught in sections of the Great Barrier Reef. Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) is endemic to Australia and is usually found in brackish or freshwater in southern Australia, though it does appear in salt water in Western Australia. It’s mainly caught in Victoria, especially Gippsland Lakes where the fishery goes back to the late 1800s, and is also common off southern Western Australia. Pikey Bream (Acanthopagrus berda) is found from the mid-coast of Queensland north to the Northern Territory and is a small part of coastal net-fisheries in those areas.

Snapper (Pagrus auratus), which, despite its name, is actually a bream, is caught from Townsville, south to the central Western Australian coast (including in Bass Strait and around Tasmania). It has pinkish skin with pale blue spots and a distinctive forehead hump. Although it isn’t related to the ‘true’ tropical snappers or sea perches (Lutjanidae family) such as goldband snapper, the ‘snapper’ name has been retained as it is one of Australia’s most widely known fish and has gone by this name for over 100 years.

John Bell - Nice bream on lure
Photo from John Bell - Thanks JB!


Map showing where bream are found in Australian waters.Fishing Techniques: The most productive techniques for taking bream in estuaries, bays and harbours are based around the use of light, sensitive tackle and live or fresh baits of marine worms, shellfish, yabbies (nippers), crabs, prawns or small bait fish species. Bream also succumb to an array of less conventional offerings such as bullock's heart, tripe, steak, chicken intestines and various 'pudding' mixtures of flour, water, cheese, tinned sardines and the like. Estuary and river-dwelling bream of all three species are also taken with reasonable consistency on small lures and flies, often by anglers targeting other species such as flathead or tailor. In New South Wales and southern Queensland, surf, rock and inshore boat anglers target eastern black bream using the same range of baits as estuary anglers, as well as whole and cut pilchards, fish fillets, strips and cubes. All three species also respond well to the use of berley.

Bream are one of the most popular species for recreational fisherman. Recreational captures of bream in southern Queensland exceeds the commercial catch. Bream are mainly caught using rod & reel and handline techniques.

Bait for bream can include live yabbies, beachworms, crabs and fresh bait of prawns, pipis, fish flesh or whole small fish.

Saltwater Fish - What bait to use for fishing - a list of saltwater baits with the main "diners" who will be tempted.

Bream and Tarwhine travel in schools, so if you come across fish that are not biting or you can see they are only small, move on to another location to find a school that is bigger in size, bream can be found in reef areas, oyster leases in rivers, around piers and their pylons and in weeds beds. For the best baits prawns, sandworms, crabs and marine worms are all very good, use a Long Shank from size 4 to 2 with bait holders 1-4, before setting the hook allow the fish to take the bait, best time to fish is dawn to dusk going into high tide, these guys will response to small minnow lures and some soft plastics

Minimum legal size limits apply in all States.

Fresh chilled bream on ice

See Also:
Bream (Sparidae) Photographs and Information
Catching Bream | Fishing for Bream | Bait for Bream
Cooking Bream | Recipes for Sea Bream or Snapper
Commercial Fishery for Bream (Sparidae) | Buyers, Sellers Bream


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