By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer
When it comes to pure, cooler-filling action, bream fishing is hard to beat. A cane pole, a light cork and a box of crickets or red worms are all anyone needs to get things going.
“Bream are on their beds seven days before and seven days after the full moon,” Clay Coleman, of Clay’s Bait and Tackle in Tupelo, said. “They’re bedding shallow right now and should be through the weekend. They’re catching some good redear down at Davis Lake, and I’m hearing good bluegill reports from Trace Lake, Elvis Presley Lake and Tombigbee State Park. Tombigbee State Park is a fantastic panfish lake.”Light line, tackle
Bream form nests for spawning generally in two to six feet of water, though they sometimes bed deeper. They prefer a shallow area with a firm bottom, and protected coves are preferred over windswept banks. If there are stumps or willow bushes around, all the better. They typically locate their nests in clusters with other bream. These clusters are known as beds. Depending on water conditions, they continue to use these same beds around every full moon throughout the warmer months, beginning now and continuing through September.
They’re very prolific spawners, which makes them an excellent species to take home in large numbers. Keeping bream from every fishing trip helps control the population and actually improves the fishing, allowing the bream that remain to grow larger.
Beds can be located by sight or by scent.
“You can actually smell them,” Coleman said. “When you pull up into a cove on a still day, you can smell a bream bed. It smells like strawberries or watermelon.”
Sight fishing, though, is the true name of the game.
Find them first
“When they’re shallow like they are now, you can wear a good pair of polarized sunglasses and see them,” Coleman said.
Once you’ve located a bed, work it from the outside in. When hooked, bream will run for deeper water. If you start in the middle of the bed or right next to the bank, the hooked fish will run through the other nests, spooking the other fish. As far as tackle goes, Coleman says the lighter the better.
“You want a little number 6 long shank, fine wire hook,” he said. “Bream have a small mouth, and it can be hard to get a regular hook out, so the long shank is handy. For bluegill, you want to fish crickets and attach a split shot four to six inches above the hook, then set your cork at whatever depth the fish are. Use the lightest cork you can get away with. I prefer a porcupine quill float because it gives a really natural presentation. The fish can’t feel the float and it just works really well.
“Redear seem to like eating off the bottom a little better than bluegill. You can catch them on crickets, but they seem to like red worms a little better. You just take the float off and tight line them on the bottom.
Keep it moving
“There’s no need to let the bait sit and marinate like you do with catfish. If you drop it in and let it fall and don’t get a bit, go ahead and move it somewhere else. When you’ve found one, you’ve found them all. When you catch one, just duplicate what you did before.”
If live bait isn’t your thing, a fly rod with a sponge spider or a popping bug, or an ultra light spinning rod with a small Beetle Spin in black and orange work very well also.
“They really like orange and black,” Coleman said. “Other guys may tell you different, but that’s been my experience here.”