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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Littlehampton Bream Fishing
A few of us decided to have a days bream fishing out of Littlehampton. The motivation was a) to catch some bream and b) to try and catch them on lures. So on Bank Holiday Monday, Vidar, Vidar’s wife Faye, Andy Mason, Brian Limage and me set off on Colin Baker’s boat Sally Ann out of Littlehampton.


As we were heading out Colin suddenly shut down the engine and wandered around the boat with his landing net. We all looked dismayed until he pulled out a cuttlefish that had been on the surface, robbing a seagull of its breakfast in the process.
A little further out Colin stopped again on seeing plenty of fish on the sounder. We dropped down feathers in the hope they were mackerel but none of us hooked up so we moved on to the bream grounds.
As we were trying to fish lures Colin suggested drifting to start with as it would give us a better chance of getting to the bottom with light gear. I started with a 7ft Lamiglas popping rod, half ounce lead and a couple of small soft plastics drop shotted. The bottom once was a red 3in crayfish pattern the upper one was a 2in grub. Everybody used a lure of some sort to start except Faye who started on baited feathers.

Colin the skipper was first in, I hadn’t even got mine in the water yet. He had dropped down a set of feathers with a 2 ounce Dexter on the bottom in the hope of catching a few mackerel for bait should we struggle. We were all expecting a mackerel or two to appear but no, to everybody’s surprise the first fish was a bream on would you believe the Dexter wedge!!!!!
I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account as my memory is not that good! We struggled with lures and nobody caught any bream on lures despite trying very hard at the start. Most of the fish were caught on baited feathers or drop shotted squid/cuttle/mackerel strip. We caught bream to about 3.5lb, Pouting to a couple of pounds, mackerel, garfish and a lone dogfish. In fact Brian had the most species with all five of those listed.

A bit of a lump for Vidar

Faye showing that anything the guys can do she can do too!!!!
The trip highlighted for me what a great sportfish the bream is. We were all new to fishing for them from a boat but we all came away incredibly impressed by how hard they fight. Brian was using a ten foot (I think) heavy lure rod some of the time and you would think he had hooked a double figure bass judging by how hard they pull. And they fight from the moment they are hooked to the moment they are netted.
Faye surprised us all (except Vidar) by catching as many as the rest of us and at time being the only one catching. Well done Faye!!!!
For me, the trip was an experiment. I have fished for bream before on LRF gear but in no tide. In a strong tide these are a different prospect altogether. At various states of the tide I used HRF and LRF gear and feeling a 3.5lb bream taking line of a tight drag on a baitcasting rod rated for 25lb line was quite amazing. At the other end of the scale, on slack water, I fished a Daiwa LRF rod and 4lb Fireline!!! That was just amazing. I have not spent that much time not being able to get the tip out of the water with the drag screaming!!! Unbelievable. Best of all though was my Lamiglas popping rod, New Certate 2500 and Yamatoyo PE1 (10lb) braid. Without that braid I would have had to fish heavier leads to hold bottom. Very impressive.


They do pull a bit.....
I will add some pictures in due course but for now, if you get the chance to go breaming on light gear don’t turn it down. I didn't take as many as I wanted to but I was having too good a time catching!!!!

The only downside was we didn’t catch on lures. This was just a recce trip really and we learnt a lot about the fish and the habits. I am sure we could catch on lures if we fished the same place again. We will be back.
Finally, a lot of credit must go to Colin the skipper, plenty of other boats out there caught very little that day. We had well over 40 bream between us with the average size probably over two pounds. We all got on well and had a great time, Colin was only too willing to try anything that might help us out to catch more fish. Top man.
 

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Cracking report Mike and well worth the read, well done to all, brilliant :-D
 

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Mike - don't they hang on! It's amazing how much of a bend a 2-3lb bream will put in you rod whether on bait or lures. Glad you had a good trip and plenty of fish!
 

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Sounds like a great bream trip, even if the lure side of thing didn't quite work out (yet)
Bream between 2-3.5lb is a very good average out of littlehampton. Well done Guys, and totally agree about the fight skills of the Black Bream.
 

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Great stuff Mike. When we go up to Alderney in the autumn we catch them from the shore on our mullet gear.Its not unusual to get a dozen plus fish a session,there normally in the 2 to 3Lb range but have seen them caught over 4Lb, awsome sport.Fish based groundbait works best to get them in,razor fish hookbait then standard heavy waggler rig if anyone wants to give it a go.Going to try for them on lures amongst the groundbait this year,might help narrow down what lures they will take.
 

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What a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable trip in great company it was, and we will definitely be off on another bream trip this autumn :-D:-D:-D
 

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Superb trip, loved every minute of it, except when I wasn't catching of course. Colin the skip was 1st class and next time we will catch on lures, we all learned so much. Vidar said to me yesterday we must have had 200 pouting too, and they were so fat & big!!!

Bream is such a sport, to see mikes rod tip in the water and the drag screeming was a memorable sight. Cheers Guys and doll ;)
 

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I am at a loss as to why lures failed ?
Great report but I think perhaps i need more information regards the way bites were detected when you bait fished.

Did you do anything different ?
 

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We didn't fail full stop, we just didn't master the technique. We weren't entirely motivated to go lure only. Anyhoo I hooked a bloody good Bream on a trout cheesy worm but I'd gone too light on a fine wire hook and typical me, lost it in the fight. My fault entirely. As for bait they were taking strips if cuttlefish or squid mostly tipped on feathers and virtually all were taken withing a foot of the lead. We all had problems with keeping in contact with the bottom when the tide was running and as the Bream were hard on the bottom we had to resort to over 4oz leads at times. Bites were short and sharp and they by no means self hooked. I was using my Rod Bar and needed to hold the line to feel the bites. The silver shadow was fine during slack water the but extra lead needed when it was running made me resort to the Rod Bar. Mike had a couple of hit and run bites but most of mine were a simple twang and strike.

Drop shotting IS the technique to use and I had the impression the Bream like something scented, fine braid, lightest weight you can get away with whilst keeping in contact with the bottom. We were fishing a rocky bottom so we were loosing some tackle but the biggest hurdle was the tide, we worked it out in the end but it was probably too late by then.
 

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Very nice guys!!!!!!

They really do have TINY mouths don't they!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I am at a loss as to why lures failed ?
Great report but I think perhaps i need more information regards the way bites were detected when you bait fished.

Did you do anything different ?
I think it is just a learning curve. we were all new to fishing lures under those conditions and since that trip have thought of lots of ways to improve what we were doing. the ground we were fishing had lots of small rocky pinnacles and trying to fish lures we just seemed to snag up more.
Drop shotting is definitely the best method to try and although at times we were getting plenty of bites they weren't easy to hook. I think thinner line would help. I used PE1 Yamatoyo on my HRF rod and 4lb Fireline on my LRF rod but the tide was pulling very hard.
The other point was the fact that we were having such a good time scrapping with them that this time around we just wanted to make the most of it. Next time WILL be different........

And my Daiwa Saltist LRF rod is the dogs danglies when the tide was slack. Amazing.
 

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Yup, drop-shotting is definitely the way to go.

As already pointed out it is not so much of a question if it is possible to catch them on lures, but rather to find the most efficient teqnique for it. The problem was being able to keep contact with the bottom (as Andy said, if you were just slightly off the bottom the bites dried up) with a suitable weight for the drop-shotting techniques when the tide was roaring through, Sure, you can put a 3-4 or even 5oz weight at the end of line, but in my opinion that defeats the object a little bit and then I rather then bait fish for them on light tackle.
 
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