IFD: One of the most highly sought after fish to Irish boat anglers is the extremely localised black bream. Only added to the Irish species list in relatively recent years, they have proved hard to pin down which only adds to their attraction.
So we asked two of the best in the business for their help, our good friends Kit Dunne and Roger Bayzand. Kit is the only Irish charter skipper who seems to be able to pin them down in Irish waters and Roger needs no introduction as one of the best charter skippers that ever operated in the UK and a black bream maestro.
So let’s hear what they have to say…
“IRISH BLACK BREAM FISHING”
Kit Dunne, http://www.wicklowboatcharters.com Owner / Skipper. May 2015.
BREAM – SOME OF THE FACTS
- COMMON NAME ; Bream, Sea Bream, Porgy, Black Bream
- SCIENTIFIC NAME ; Spondyliosoma cantharus
- IDENTIFICATION ; Round fish with long spiny dorsal fin and small mouth, black / grey from top thru silver with faint vertical stripes, to white underbelly.
- IRISH SPECIMEN : Weight 1.98lb, 0.9Kg.
Black Bream are not a fish you readily associate with Ireland, however, they have made their presence felt in recent years as specialist anglers target them for their species tally. Catches in Ireland would mainly have been by chance but in recent years the East Coast has produced occasional Bream out of Kilmore Quay and regular Bream out of Wicklow. I believe the Black Bream are there but we must target them and do our homework to succeed. Although I’ve caught many types of Bream in many Countries I don’t claim to be an expert, so I was delighted when Paddy asked good friend and expert Bream angler Roger Bayzand to contribute. I’ve already taken some helpful advice from the master himself.
Black Bream would be more common on the South coast of England and the channel Isles while Mediterranean Countries boast many Bream species. In Ireland bream species have made a name for themselves in recent years as Black Bream come off inshore reefs, rough and weedy grounds. It would appear that Bream are very selective in relation to ground, and very small localised areas often hold the fish, with this they can be very hard to nail down.
If you really want to get the most out of your Bream fishing set up as light as possible with a very tippy soft rod. Bream will fight hard when hooked but they need the buffer of a soft rod to produce takes and to cushion their hard fight and dives. In the same regard you should use a light main line and always monofilament on inshore shallow marks.
Bream rigs in general will follow the same principles as your light tackle setup, use light rigs with more finesse and less bling. Fluorocarbon line will certainly help your catch rate with light and long snoods to give the fish as much room to move and as little resistance as possible. Plain rigs with clear line and small but strong hooks are a must, Bream are a hard fighting fish and will tear away with a bait, you need a small hook for their tiny mouths but it must be strong. The lighter you go the more hook ups you get but it can be hard to bring them in, go a little heavier and get less hook ups but land more fish, it’s a trade off based on the size of your target fish and the roughness of the ground your fishing. Typically a 15lb trace body with 10lb snoods and size 6 hook will do as a starting point. You can try a 2 up rig with 45-55cm snoods, 2 up 1 down with 50-60cm snoods or try a 2 down long and light rig. When the tide is running hard Bream will hug the bottom so your down rig works best, and usually on slack water they will come off the bottom, this is not a science so experiment and know your local tides and fish.
Black Bream will take a range of baits but I find squid the best, they will take a mackerel strip, small ragworm, prawn, and I’m sure if you tried local shellfish baits they would readily take them too. Squid should be prepared well, it should be tenderised and cut into long narrow strips, then hooked leaving a nice flowing thin strip of bait.
Chum / Rubby-Dubby
Scent trail can help with your Bream fishing, so chumming will help bring them in and keep them with you. Make your chum or rubby-dubby as we call it, by mixing a boiled rice base with finely chopped oily fish. This should be dropped to the bottom in small and frequent portions. If you don’t have a bait dropper as such use a plastic bag. Tie a heavy weight on your line and place it in the bag, use an elastic band to trap the weight in bag. Load bag with chum and put reel in free spool, drop the bag to the bottom. When you reach the bottom jig the weight up and down a few times, this will invert the bag and spill the chum on the sea bed, so simple now I know how, thanks Roger !
Bites / Takes
Black Bream can prove to be a very fussy and finicky fish when it comes to takes, they will sometimes pick up a bait, swim off with it then stop and spit it out, this can happen many times. Strike too early and it’s gone, you must give them slack and let them feel confident enough to take the bait properly, hence the long snoods, light rigs, soft rod and light leads where possible.
- A scent trail or rubby dubby will help, and always try to keep at least one bait on the bottom, Bream will be attracted by another Bream feeding.
- Keep it simple clear fluorocarbon line, long snoods, no frills or attractors needed.
- Give Bream little or no resistance to encourage takes.