Breaming in Melbourne City

Jarrod Day takes us fishing in the Melbourne CBD on the Yarra River where the bream are thriving and tells us how to target them. You might be surprised what is on offer in Melbourne’s City Limits

It’s true when they say a river does run through it. Melbourne might be all about café’s, art and business but with the Yarra River running right through the CBD’s centre, fishing is also high on the agenda for some.When Melbourne and fishing are mentioned in the same sentence it usually also incorporates snapper, calamari and or whiting. Although these three popular adversaries are more so targeted in Port Phillip bay, the Yarra River more so supports healthy populations of bream, silver trevally and mulloway.
Huge container ships, water taxi’s and other water craft may continually churn up the chocolate coloured water but beneath the loading docks, road bridge pylons, marina’s and rivers the black bream population thrives.

Melbourne’s Yarra River is very unique having the major shipping port located at its mouth which enters the Bay. The River itself snakes its way right through the city and up into the mountains covering some 242km’s. The upper reaches become crystal clear and support very healthy populations of brown trout, river black fish, eels, Macquarie perch and of course the dreaded European carp in some areas.Nearing the city the water becomes more brackish which is where schools of black bream can be found.

Boat access into the Yarra is quite limited however there is a two lane concrete ramp with excellent boating facilities located at Newport. When the Newport Power Station is pumping out hot water, anglers don’t tend to make it too far from the ramp as schools of tailor make up the bulk of the catch. There are no fancy techniques required to catch them either, just rig up a metal slug, and get casting about. The Yarra River has a 5 knot speed limit, but from the mouth to the shipping dock’s it is a ten knot limit. If a trip is planned, set aside some time due to the required speed limit as it can be a 30-45 minute travel to anywhere that’s fishable.

With the kayak fishing explosion, many anglers find a lot more easier access right throughout the system. The only hurdle is getting a car park somewhere fairly close to the water so you don’t have to drag the yak too far.


We all know bream love structure and with the Yarra being full of marina pontoons, bridge pylons, jetty and pier ruins along with boardwalks etc: it is no wonder why bream are so abundant. With so much structure and food readily available throughout the River; you don’t really have to travel too far to find them. In saying that, with the advancement of technology, fish finders supporting structure scan can eliminate unwarranted casts and put you right onto fish holding structures.

In the past, finding bream took countless casts to locate them and most of the time you could have been casting to areas where fish weren’t. This is where “structure scan” takes out all of the hard work simply by showing you an image on the sounder of what is to the left and right of you rather than just straight down, under the boat.
Being such a large river, heavy rains and high flows of freshwater will see the fish move around in search of cleaner waters. If this is the case, you might find yourself visiting a lot of areas to find where they are holding.

Land based anglers can also get in on the action by walking the rivers edge and flicking lures or baits alongside of the pylons, boat hulls etc: although the bream will be hiding amongst the structures, small baits or lures will tempt them to strike. There is plenty of shore based access for anglers and with a road GPS, you will be able to find locations where you can access the river without parking your car too far away from access points.Its not all just about bream though and while they might be the more popular species to target, silver trevally, pinkie snapper and mulloway can also be caught.

Most of these tend to fall victim to small soft plastics and vibes being worked around the structure and still put up a fair battle. However, it is the unexpected hook up of a mulloway that can really get the bloody boiling. Of course, with so much structure around, bust off are almost inevitable but playing the odds and playing your fish the right way, you should end up with a good result.


Whether you’re on foot or in the boat, suiting up for bream utilizes the same outfits. The standard outfit for bream anywhere in the country tends to be a 7ft 2-4kg rod with 2500 series reel loaded with 6lb braid. For the more experienced bream stalker, rods tend become more specific in either a 6’6” or 7’ length with a line rating of 1-3kg’s.The reason for the difference is for those that regularly target bream, may use a wide range of lures from soft plastics to small hard body lures and vibes. A more specific rod will enable the angler to better manipulate and manoeuvre a lure in the way that they want it to act. Reels are usually in the 1000 series and spooled with a 10lb dyneema braid which will have an extremely thin diameter for its strength rating.

This allows less restriction from the density of the water allowing the lure to sink with a very natural and slow rate.
With the fish holding deep into the back of the old dock pylons and around pier and jetties, there is a lot of structure that you can be busted off on. For this reason, a high abrasive leader material in an 8 or 10lb strength is required. In saying that, bream are often fussy but keep in mind, the lighter strength leader you go, the higher the risk of being dusted increases.


Working the area is no real easy task, especially when you’re flicking lures beneath the walkways of busy city streets.
From the boat, anglers do have a better approach than those on foot. Being able to hang back out from the structures to get an accurate cast is the best approach. Boats also need to be set up correctly to maximise working the snags. Ideally, those set up with an electric motor will be able to work an area thoroughly before moving to the next snag. Without one, especially if there is any wind to contend with, holding in the one location with be extremely difficult. Those fishing in a kayak will also be able to get right in tight to these areas and hold in specific locations allowing a better working of the area.

Those without access to a boat will have to contend with working the edges often putting in quite a substantial amount of casts for success. Providing you have the dedication, you will be rewarded.

When working the snags, lure selection is vital. Bream will be scattered throughout the water column feeding on a plethora of different foods some of which could be discarded food scraps, insects, and worms etc that could be washed into the system from the roads, footpaths and gutters. Anything that hits the waters surface will slowly sink and your lures also need to reflect this action. This is where soft plastics become highly effective. Ultra light weighted jig heads in a 1/16th, 1/12th or 1/8th of an ounce with size 1 or 2 hooks are recommended. Soft plastics can very greatly with small 2” shrimp or crab imitations some of the most popular amongst avid anglers.

Small hard body lures such as Micro Vibes and other hard plastic vibe lures also work exceptionally well in these locations.

Bridge pylons are a little easier to work than the edges of the Yarra purely because you’re fishing in open water. The best approach is to cast alongside the pylon allowing the lures to sink next to the concrete and drift with the current along there side. Most of the bream will be holding deep under them and providing you can get your lure to drift passed their noses, you’ll find them in no time.

Breaming in the city is a lot of fun providing you have the necessary tools for the job. Providing you are all geared up, grab a warm coffee from one of the many riverside café’s and get flicking.


Previous New Samaki Pacemaker in Action
Next Mono Top Pocket Cast Nets

You might also like

Fish Talk

Searching for NQ Sweetwater Glory

The popularity of sweet water fishing in North Queensland has undoubtedly skyrocketed in recent years and rightfully so. Breathtaking freshwater streams, nestled amongst some of the densest most magnificent rainforest’s

Fish Talk

Fluorocarbon – All you need to know

Last month Queensland-based Kaydo Fishing World contributor Ben Weston took a close look at the huge variety of lines and leaders available to the fishing enthusiast. Narrowing the topic down

Fish Talk

An Insight look into Transducers

One debate (or confusion) often heard among anglers is which transducer beam is wider or narrower or clearer. This article by Dale Ward will make it Gin Clear! Transducers This


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply