Bream by Kayak

When it comes to casting lures for bream, there are three types of platform from which we can do it; from a powered boat, a peddle or paddle powered kayak and by foot, either standing on dry land or wading the shallow margins. All three can be highly successful at one time or another. Bream by Kayak…
The author, Jamie Robley, with a kayak-caught bream.

The author, Jamie Robley, with a kayak-caught bream.

There are however, various pros and cons with each of the above options. A boat allows anglers to quickly travel across rivers or lakes, seeking out better or possibly more protected spots to cast. Boats also allow two or more people on board and a fair bit of gear can be stowed, ranging from extra rods and reels to camera equipment or even camping gear. On the flip side, they can drain the bank balance with various running and repair costs, need regular maintenance and suitable launching spots to get on the water. At the opposite end of the spectrum, nothing could be easier than grabbing your favourite rod, a small tackle box or bag and heading off on foot in search of some bream. Through the cooler months a pair of waders may be another requirement for those who are wading. Obviously though, fishing on foot can be a bit restrictive and there will always be better looking spots in the distance that aren’t possible to reach.


Kayak fishing slots somewhere in between these two extremes. It’s cheaper than running a boat and you can launch a yak almost anywhere, but it does take a lot longer to go from point A to point B when seeking out more productive spots. If the wind comes up it can be problematic or potentially dangerous trying to make your way across open bodies of water. Unlike fishing on foot though, you can move around with ease, particularly in calmer or secluded water. As mentioned in my previous ‘Kayak 101’ article, there are many different types of vessel which are suitable for different applications. Large peddle powered yaks like the popular hobbies are favoured by many serious bream anglers who compete in tournaments. These are ideal mini-boats for large, open lakes or when long distances need to be covered. However, lighter paddle powered kayaks can be much more convenient when simply poking around shallow estuary margins and chasing bream in small creeks.
A selection of Jamie's favourite plastics for bream fishing.

A selection of Jamie’s favourite plastics for bream fishing.

Through the warmer months a large percentage of bream are found in the extreme shallows, which may only be 30cm in depth or even less. So a lightweight kayak with a flat bottom can negotiate such areas with ease, where as a larger peddle yak can be restrictive. Owning both types of vessel may be the ideal approach, but realistically one small paddling kayak is all most of us really need when it comes to bream fishing.


Anyone who wants to target bream with lures or bait can easily get away with just one rod and reel, a small tackle box and a few other minor odds and ends. This minimalistic approach has worked perfectly well for me over the years and I’ve even reduced it down to cramming a small handful of lures into a plastic pill container these days. Most of the time only a few different lures are put to use during the course of a three to five hour session, so there’s just no need to bring along any more. A larger, main tackle box can be left at home. So when preparing for an outing a few minutes thinking about where you intend on fishing and what sort of lures are likely to be used means they can be taken out and popped into a much smaller box, or as I do, into a little plastic pill bottle! Apart from obvious essentials like pliers, line clippers or scissors, a drink and some snacks, a few other things can make life easier. I always take a rag of some sorts, which I keep wet in the bottom of the yak. This is mainly for wiping my hands clean, but it also helps hold fish when extracting the hooks. Given a quick rinse in the water every so often it remains wet and cool so fish can be handled without causing them distress or injury.
This bream took a shallow diving lure cast from a kayak.

This bream took a top water lure cast from a kayak.

A landing net certainly helps, especially when that beastly big bream comes along. Of course, if you spend much time chasing bream you’ll also catch some flathead along the way and they are much easier to deal with if there’s a landing net on board. Many anglers like to fit a sounder to their kayaks. Realistically, there’s no great need for a sounder when bream fishing, especially in places where the water is less than 50cm deep. However, come the winter months when bream may be holding station in deeper holes or channels a small, decent quality sounder will help you see the depth, bottom structure and fish. Various types of cameras are very popular these days. The simplest is the camera in your phone and some of them produce quite good photos. Those who like to show their mates a video of their fishing successes or favourite spots may prefer an action camera like a GoPro. Others, such as myself and fellow fishing writers always carry a higher quality compact or DSLR camera to capture hi-res still photos. With the exception of waterproof action cameras, it’s a very good idea to store your camera in a safe, dry spot and the more expensive the camera, the more it needs to be protected from the elements.


07 robley

A net is a very handy piece of equipment when ‘yak fishing for bream.

Another nice yellowfin bream from the authors well set up 'yak.

Another nice yellowfin bream from the authors well set up ‘yak.

Despite the fact that bream are one of our most abundant species and a plethora of helpful information is available to budding anglers these days, they can be a tricky fish to consistently catch with lures. Even presenting them with top quality baits won’t always result in success. There are however, a few important, key points to the game that should be locked into the mind and put into practise when bream are the target. They are:
  • Look for or fish near some form of structure such as weed beds, rocks, submerged reef, channel edges, bridges, wharves, moored boats or fallen timber and present your offering close to this structure.
  • Be sure that your lure or bait spends as much time in the water as possible, rather than using up time travelling or swapping lures.
  • Try to fish where there’s some form of water movement, rather than dead still water. This may be tidal current, flow from recent rainfall or even wind ruffled water.
  • Lighter and finer line scores more bites than thicker or more visible line. So fine diameter leaders are an essential part of the rig. Only upgrade to heavier line if big bream bust offs start occurring.
  • The early bird catches the worm. The earlier you set the alarm and crawl out of bed, the more bream you’ll catch. While not all bream fishing is at its best very early, most of it is.
  • Simplicity – the less complicated things are, the more time you’ll have to focus on the main thing, which is actually getting that lure or bait in spots where bream are likely to be. This will help catch many more fish than a pile of fancy rods, heaps of lures, cameras and expensive gadgetry.
Jamie Robley

About Jamie Robley

Based on the New South Wales Central Coast, less than two hour’s drive north of Sydney, Jamie Robley started fishing around his local lakes at an early age. Bream, flathead and tailor were the main source of entertainment for a young Jamie but of course, like many other kids who’ve been bitten by the bug, he quickly became interested in other species and more advanced styles of fishing.

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