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From the Archives: Fishing for Bream in 1986

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Bream: A Pleasure to Catch; A Pleasure to Eat

By: Dennis Smith

Bream fishing offers great fighting sport. The day was half gone when my son Matt and I decided to try one more shallow pocket in our hunt for a live well full of bream.

We had already carefully probed more than half a dozen pockets looking for the perfect mixture of ingredients that bring in the bream and entice them to hold and bed. Almost all the way to the back of the large sandy pocket, the strike finally came. It almost caught Matt off guard. He set the hook and the line began to sing. After what seemed like several long minutes, the big bream gave up and we quickly placed it in the live well.

Readear, shell cracker, bluegill, or just bream. By any name, this little giant pulls like a yearling bull and spells FUN in capital letters. Fishermen who make the mistake of not fishing of these fighters don’t know what they’re missing.

In the spring, bream by the thousands head toward the shallow end of lakes and rivers everywhere to bed. And when bream “go on the bed” fishing action gets hot and heavy. A bream bed is an area where fish gather to spawn. The fish whip out small circular depressions in sandy soil. Each circle is usually about 8-10 inches in diameter and normally about 2-3 inches deep.

The nests are built fairly close together, with only inches separating them. This gives the bed the appearance of a moonscape, or a battlefield with all its crater-like depressions. For some reasons known perhaps to the bream, some fish usually build such beds in fairly shallow water near shorelines (where they can be seen in clear water). Other set up housekeeping in deeper water.

Just finding beds of bream is only part of the challenge, but its definitely the toughest part. Once they’ve been located, they can usually be caught, specially if the fisherman sitting close to the bed uses the right combination of bait and tackle.

Several different baits will take bream. Crickets and worms are available at most bait shops and are relatively inexpensive and easy to keep alive and carry. Catalpa worms also will take bream, but the majority of bream fishing fanatics prefer crickets or worms.