As I travel the country fishing, researching stories and gathering material for my blogs and the many publications I contribute to, I come across increasing numbers of anglers who’ve embraced lure fishing and, in particular, the use of Squidgies soft plastic lures. The uptake of soft plastics has definitely been one of the most significant trends in Australian recreational angling over the past 10 to 15 years, and its popularity shows no sign of diminishing any time soon.
Quality softies like our Squidgies are great lures, and they’re not all that hard to use. Most new chums start catching at least the odd fish very early in their Squidgies-flicking careers. But some species are tougher nuts to crack than others, and the humble bream is perhaps the trickiest of the lot. It’s also the one I get asked about the most. The question typically begins with a statement along the lines of: “I can catch plenty of flathead on plastics, but I’m damned if I can work these bream out!”
If you’re in that camp, I’m here to help! Below I’ve listed a simple, five-step strategy for cracking the bream-on-Squidgies code, and this is accompanied by a short, no-nonsense how-to video clip on my “Starlo Gets Reel” YouTube channel. You’ll find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wuLI5-M3UQ&t=2s
Okay… Are you ready to learn how to catch your very first bream on a Squidgies soft plastic? Here we go with my five top tips:
1. Use the right gear:
The perfect tackle for chasing bream on soft plastics consists of a 1.9 to 2.2 m “flick rod” with a nice, light tip, usually rated for 1 to 3kg line. Shimano make many rods that fit this description. Match this light rod with a 1000 to 2500 size Shimano spinning reel and fill the spool with quality 2 or 3 kg line, either PowerPro braid or monofilament. (If you choose braid, always add at least a rod length of clear monofilament leader of a similar strength to the end before tying on your lure. I suggest Shimano Ocea fluorocarbon leader material.)
2. Choose the right lures:
Start off with small, curl-tailed grubs or wriggler-style plastics like our Squidgies Wrigglers, Bugs or Pro Prawns measuring somewhere between 50 and 100 mm in length. Pick natural, life-like colours that mimic prawns, worms or little fish. Combine these tails with light Squidgies jig heads weighing anywhere from about 1 to 3.5 g (about 1/30 to 1/8 ounce) that carry sharp, fine-gauge hooks in sizes from No. 6 up to No. 1 (a No. 4 or No. 2 is usually perfect).
3. Rig the lure straight!
You’d be amazed how many people get this important bit wrong, and it makes a huge difference on bream. Take the time to properly rig every tail and if it’s not right, do it again. (Study my video on the “Starlo Gets Reel” YouTube channel for step-by-step instructions.)
4. Fish where the bream live.
You won’t catch ’em if you cast where they ain’t! Bream love structure, including man-made structure. Concentrate on snags, rock bars, creek mouths, bridge or jetty pylons, weed bed edges, oyster leases, boat moorings, breakwalls, channel markers and the like, and cast your lures close to these structures.
5. Work your Squidgies slowly.
As a rule (unless the spot you’re fishing is very snaggy), start by letting your rigged Squidgies sink all the way to the bottom. Then work these lures with a series of fairly slow lifts, hops and drops. Again, study my basic how-to video on the “Starlo Gets Reel” YouTube channel for more details and a demonstration.