Welcome to the how to catch bream on bait guide. Bream are an iconic species of Australia that can be targeted all year round. Moving around seasonally seeking deeper water during the colder months and residing in the shallows along the banks and edges in the warmer months. Bream loves structures and will seek shelter in shade, submerged trees, boat ramps, bridges, jetties, and pylons. Here is our detailed guide that will help improve your catch rates.


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Checkout out our step-by-step instructional guide on how to catch bream with bait filmed on the Maribyrnong River

The best baits to catch bream

Best baits to catch bream

Best baits to catch bream

Bream will happily take a wide variety of baits including

  • scrub worms
  • maggots
  • yabbies
  • tubeworms
  • pilchard strips
  • peeled prawns
  • raw chicken
  • bread
  • mullet gut
  • whitebait
  • mussels 
  • pipis

We have found scrub worms, maggots, yabbies & sandworms to be the most productive and reliable bait choices. Fishing for bream at night with bait can be quite challenging. However, baits with scent and movement such as live yabbies are more productive than others. The majority of these baits are widely available from most local tackle stores around Australia and even online stores that deliver.

How to choose a suitable bream rod and reel combo

The first thing you will need is a suitable fishing rod and reel combo. Bream fishing is all about finesse so weight and size are key when bream fishing. You will need a light spinning rod that a 1–3 or 2–4-kilo class and length of around 7 feet. Anything heavier just isn’t suitable for this style of fishing which requires finesse. Next, you will need a reel so couple your chosen rod with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel.

The cost for bream gear varies so much on your available budget and skill level. With entry-level combos starting around $130 and high-end ultra-light spin outfits going into the thousands.

For beginners, there are plenty of quality entry-level rod combos that won’t break the bank, good examples of affordable combos include

  • Savage Gear MPP2 and 2000 black reel combo. ( as shown in the image below )
  • Shimano Catana 702 estuary series Rod 2-4 kilo and Shimano Sienna 2500 reel combo
  • Abu Garcia Veritas 3 – 702SPL and ProMax 30 spin reel combo
Fishing rod to catch bream

Fishing rod to catch bream

As you become more accomplished you will likely want to upgrade your rod combo. The options here are almost endless. Big brands such as Daiwa, Shimano, Abu Garcia and Savage Gear make some excellent choices here. We would highly recommend going into your local tackle store and exploring some of these options.

Fishing line & leader when bream fishing

Now that you have purchased a suitable rod combo it’s time to spool your reel with fishing line. If you were using lures then we would highly recommend using a light quality braid. However, this article is focusing on bait fishing so we recommend a quality 4-8 pound monofilament line. Monofilament is very affordable so choose a good quality one that will be thinner in diameter and less prone to wind knots.

It’s then time to create your rig using a leader. Fluorocarbon leader is a fishing line that you place at the end of your rig that’s been fused to make it thinner and harder for fish to see in the water. This is a real advantage when fishing for bream which are clever and easily spooked. From the mainline, I run roughly 50cm of 4-pound fluorocarbon leader. There are many brands of line on the market so don’t be afraid to ask your tackle shop for some advice that fits within your budget. Remember to keep the drag on your reel set loose which will allow the bream to run with the bait without feeling an unnatural resistance. This will encourage more bites and allow better hook-ups. You can then tighten your reel once you are on and have set the hook. how to catch bream on bait

The best fishing rigs to catch bream on bait

I have experimented with many different fishing rig setups however I have 3 rigs that have proven to continually produce bream which are very easy to set up.

Rig 1 – Simple running sinker

Simple running sinker rig to catch bream

Simple running sinker rig to catch bream

Spool the mainline with a 4-pound monofilament ( mainline shown in blue ), then join a leader directly to the mainline (the leader is shown in grey ). A simple double uni knot will work well here. The leader should be roughly 45cm in length of 4-pound fluorocarbon leader to a size 4 long shank bait keeper hook. This method is ideal when fishing unweighted live yabbies or packet prawns.

Rig 2 – Small hook

float rig to catch bream

float rig to catch bream

Spool the mainline with a 4-pound monofilament ( mainline shown in blue ). Then place a pea-size running ball sinker or a small berley cage above a small barrel swivel. Then use 45cm of 4-pound fluorocarbon leader (the leader is shown in grey ) to a small size 12 or 14 hooks. This rig is perfect when using small baits like maggots & bread

This video is a step by step guide on how to set up this rig and highlights just how effective it can be

Rig 3 – Unweighted

unweighted fishing rig for bream

unweighted fishing rig for bream

Spool the mainline with a 4-pound monofilament ( mainline shown in blue ), then join a leader directly to the mainline (the leader is shown in grey ). A simple double uni knot will work well here. The leader should be roughly 45cm in length of 4-pound fluorocarbon leader to a size 4 long shank bait keeper hook. This method is ideal when fishing unweighted live yabbies or packet prawns.

Using berley properly to attract fish

Berley plays an important role when fishing for bream to firstly attract them into the immediate area, encourage them into an aggressive mood and then to keep them hanging around. You can purchase pre-made berley from your local tackle shop such as Ultrabite or make your own Berley by mixing simple ingredients such as Tuna oil, chicken pellets, bread crumbs, pilchard, wheat and, bread. One simple method is to keep bread in a bucket of water and continually throw some out in an isolated area.

Bream HOTSPOTS around Melbourne & Victoria

There are many productive spots all along the Nong and Yarra that can produce quality bream all year round. Spots that you should try include the

  • Werribee River mouth
  • Maribyrnong River
    • Footscray Buddhist temple
    • Dynon road bridge
    • Lynches bridge
    • Pipemakers Park
    • Flemington racecourse
    • behind the angler’s tavern
    • Canning reserve,
    • edge water estate,
    • Riverside park pirate ship playground
    • Essendon rowing club near the visible drains
    • around the Highpoint shopping centre.
  • Yarra River
    • Docklands
    • West Gate Bridge
    • Crown Casino entrance
    • Bolte Bridge
  • Patterson river
  • Barwon river
  • Bemm River
  • Marlo
  • Lake Tyers
  • Hopkins River
  • Mitchell River
  • Tambo River

In warmer months with polarized sunglasses and see Bream sitting along the edges. We have detailed over 125 fishing locations around Melbourne & Victoria see make sure you check that out.

How to catch bream on bait Australia

How to catch bream on bait Australia

Should I Catch and Release or eat bream from the Maribyrnong or Yarra Rivers?

It would be very questionable to eat bream from certain parts of the Maribyrnong River and Yarra River. This is due to water contamination and washes off from areas such as the Flemington racecourse. There have also been recent chemical spills and areas with a high concentration of rubbish. Bream will move up and down the water columns but resident bream are very prone to these water conditions. It’s completely a personal preference with no right or wrong answer. Personally, I highly recommend catch and release fishing for bream where possible in these areas. I just enjoy the sport of catching bream on light gear. I enjoy watching bream swim away, especially when fishing with my kids

Common mistakes to avoid when bream fishing

I continually see anglers using tackle that’s too heavy for bream fishing. Large sinkers, large hooks, and heavy fishing lines are the most common mistakes. Bream is an intelligent fish that will often play with the bait before taking the hook if they feel resistance they simply won’t take the bait and will instead move on. Bream have easily spooked so thick lines, and big gear will spook them quickly. I am amazed at how many times I see people fishing with large snapper sinkers, large hooks and, heavy 20 plus pound line.

I often see people using long heavy fishing rods that are designed for chasing fish such as snapper and gummy sharks or for surf fishing for salmon. When targeting bream you need a rod that is light and sensitive with a heavy rod you may be getting bites and be completely unaware.

Bream fishing Checklist
  • A light fishing rod & reel combo
  • 4 to 6-pound monofilament fishing line
  • Fluorocarbon Leader ( optional but highly recommended )
  • A range of small hooks
  • Some running sinkers
  • Barrel swivels
  • Bait of choice ( scrub worms, yabbies, tube worms, pilchard, prawns, chicken, bread, pipis etc )
  • Landing net
  • Small long nose Pliers
  • Measuring Ruler
  • Sunscreen and hat
  • Rod holder
  • Bell ( optional )
  • Berley ( optional )

how to catch bream on bait however the choice of bream lures is almost endless to make things easier we created a detailed video on the best bream lures and how to use them. We also recommend reading our guide on the best lures to catch bream.

Thank you for reading the how to catch bream on bait. I have been fishing the Maribyrnong and Yarra successfully for many years now. I hope the guide above will greatly improve your catch rate when bait fishing for Bream in these areas. FishingMad always encourages catch and release especially if your fishing with kids. Always carry your Victorian fishing license and adhere to fishing rules and regulations. Consult the Victorian Recreational Fishing guide https://vfa.vic.gov.au/recreational-fishing/recreational-fishing-guide

Share your ideas and feedback with us by emailing reports@fishingmad.com.au or contacting us on our Facebook Page. Make sure you send us pics of you fishing for and catching Bream on the Nong we would love to add them to this article.