Deep Water Lure Fishing

Winter action on our breakwalls is something Mark Saxon gets very excited about. As a professional guide, he knows how to catch those winter bream with the chance of getting Jewies as a by-catch! 007 (1)

When I think of the winter months I don’t really envisage packing up the rods and reels, lure boxes and covering the boat for a few months of hibernation. I actually get excited about the prospect of less boat traffic, quieter boat ramps and some dam good deep-water lure fishing. Being a professional fishing guide, means you have to find the fish for the obvious reasons, and in the winter months that means heading to deeper fish holding sections of the river and targeting schooling Bream and Jewfish.

On the Mid North Coast we have some big waterways, big rivers and serious break walls, these are all fish holding meccas! However with these break walls come some serious challenges for us as anglers and putting our safety first is paramount. Fishing down the front of the wall at the river mouth is great but remember this area can be dangerous, local bars and hazardous sea conditions mean life jackets are mandatory, but also checking tide and water conditions before fishing here are very important as the flow can make for hard fishing in anything less than ideal conditions.


As we move a little further upstream from the mouth section of the wall, sea conditions cause less havoc and fishing becomes less of a mission, tidal flow will still be a factor, but we can now successfully use plastics and vibes without stumbling around like a drunken sailor.

These man made walls are a holding spot for many species and in winter, Bream gather for their spawning run and you can have some great sport on this feisty battler. I like to fish with an incoming tide and I actually go along these walls with the tide throwing my lures slightly forward then bringing them out from the wall and across the tide. The reason for fishing like this is I can cover the area quickly and when fish are spread along the wall you will not spook them as you are covering new fish all the time. This means you can do several runs along the same area for plenty of action.


Two types of lures we use for this deep water style of fishing are plastics and vibration lures. There are a myriad of plastics that will get you connected, but wrigglers in the 3 inch size are hard to go past, tidal movement alone gets the tail action happening. Some of my favourite wrigglers are Gulp Swimming mullet and the 3 inch Nemesis also from Berkley. Squidgy wrigglers in wasabi are another favourite of mine. Also new to the market is the Strikepro “Enticers” in motor oil, they are proving a hit, but as always have a few different brands and colours to see what’ s happening on the day.


I know a lot of guys like to go very light on their Jig head weight when breaming but to be honest when fishing a 7 metre of water with current, I am quite happy tying on a Jig head from 1/8oz to a 1/4oz on a 1/0 hook depending on flow.  Bream will not be deterred in this scenario they usually are not timid in their feeding habits at this time of year. In saying that, we want tidal movement as I have found it way too regularly that when the tide slows for the top of the high, this slack period sees the bite slow down as well. This doesn’t mean it is all over, as sticking it out for the tide to turn can see the fish fire up for another bite and this can be excellent for at least an hour after the run out starts.

The rods I run for my plastics are 1 to 3kg sticks, I like these rods to be a bit softer in the tip section for the many lunges and head shakes these bream will throw at you during the fight. I match them up with 1000 size reels and 3 kg braid, as this gives you a light, fun way to fish which is a little different. Our second lure style, the vibration blade with the metals and soft vibes, I like to use a 2kg to 4 kg rods that are a little bit faster in the tip. We need to get this style of lure vibrating with the slightest rod movement. I still use 3 kg braid mainly, but with Jewfish now becoming such a big part of my winter Breaming by-catch we have started spooling with 4kg Black magic SSP super glide. I have found this has not had any detrimental effect on lure behaviour or catch rate, mind you if big Jewie gets in on the act you are going to know all about it with this light gear!


So why use vibes and which ones? Good question and honestly most will catch Bream at this time of the year, remembering that current and water depth have a big part to play. Another added benefit is when the pesky leatherjackets turn up on our walls and we find every plastic coming back looking like an auger, it is in this situation we turn to blades, as they remain unscathed! With plastics we want to be getting our lures down to where they need to be to perform optimally. The metal blades are well renowned for fish catching ability but 7grams to 9 grams are my favourite weights.

In the last year we have had outstanding success with Strikepros “Astro Vibe”. It incorporates a little rattle chamber and at 9 grams this lure drove the bream crazy. Unlike plastics, I fish these up into current and work them back to the boat with a mixture of retrieves. I have found keeping bottom contact with several small hops and reasonable pauses to be a very effective retrieve and so many times the blade is hit while paused, just remember when fishing into current you need your electric motor to be keeping you either stationary or steadily going forward because if you are dropping back with the tidal flow then vibes will become snagged a fair bit on the pause. Do not break them off as most times by driving past the snagged lure you can retrieve them, just remember check your leader for nicks or abrasion and replace if necessary.


This next vibration lure has probably been the most productive I have seen and used since Koolabungs’ Polycarbonite X-Ray blade hit the market, which by the way is still effective and catches more than its share! The style of lure I’m talking about is the soft vibe and now, like the metal vibes, there is a host of them on the market. The ones I am going to mention are the Samaki “Vibelicious” and the reason for this is the quality and action of these lures They are proving to be irresistible to Jewfish and bream to the point of absurd. At 70mm and 10grams they are deadly along the break walls and deeper holes.

People who follow my Facebook page “Castaway estuary charters” can attest to some of the remarkable catches clients have had using these and the Whitebait pattern should be in every serious vibers kit! The soft vibe has a very different vibe to the metals with the vibration feeling more subdued. Once again that slower retrieve with either a double hop or a long draw with plenty of pause time gets plenty of action. When using both softies and metals I do apply Scent and the reason is I find a lot of hits are on the pause so at this stage, I believe our intended target to be right on top of our lure and this is when we want every fishy sense to be activated. Obviously I use Sax scent and crab flavour has definitely been big on bream and Jewfish.


Stay tuned for the second part we will look at deep water holes, bridge structures and other up river deep-water action, plus using your sounder to give yourself options no one else is utilising. Happy hookin!

Mark Saxon

About Mark Saxon

I Am based in Port Macquarie on the Mid North Coast of NSW and my position is Owner/ operator Castaway estuary charters, Fishing guide and co-developer with Mandy Saxon of Sax Scent.

I suppose I’m like most obsessed fisho’s started angling as a young wharf rat and quickly took my place as a permanent wharf rat when at 14 I became a professional commercial fisher, and was in that industry for close to 20 years.

Even though I was pro fishing from the port of Ulladulla I was always an avid rec angler, fishing the Rocks, beaches and estuaries of the south coast and participating in many tournaments with a great degree of success, you could say I lived and breathed fishing and still do! My passions are for teaching anglers what to look for and how to apply different lure techniques in our river systems for catching their chosen target the satisfaction from this when a client achieves his goal is hard to beat as any guide will attest to.

My business “Castaway” has made it possible over the years to show my fishing operation on television angling productions and my writing has seen me write about my passion for both estuary sport fishing and rod building. If I was too say a certain target fish was my love it would be impossible for me to split between the mighty Mulloway and the Aussie bass both hold a spot close to my fisho heart and kayaking for bass in the river and creek systems is certainly right up there but in saying that be it fly fishing for trout, hooking a rampaging barra or even in a dam chasing cod I am still just as excited as always to be on the water. As for the amount of days on the water per year it would be around the 250 mark and my enthusiasm remains the same.

Previous Bream by Kayak
Next Deepwater Lure Fishing Part 2 - Upriver Bridges

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