It doesn’t matter how old an angler is, the sight of a bobber going under always brings excitement.
Watching children catch fish is even better. Bream have provided opportunities for these scenarios for generations untold. Methods and techniques are numerous and limited only by the imagination.
The term bream or brim is only one of the names for these little fighters. Some of the other popular names include but are not limited to: perch, shellcrackers, pumpkin seeds and sunfish. Whatever your family calls them, catching them is the fun part and eating them is even better.
The bream will be busy building beds, spawning, chasing each other and guarding fry for the next few weeks.
There are different subspecies but the two most correctly identified are the bluegill and the red-ear. There are some commercially-available breeds used for stocking ponds and lakes. The copper nosed bluegill is one of the commercials that reach huge sizes.
A bream weighing one pound is a trophy specimen. The copper nose, in managed waters, reaches two pounds. An old bream expert told me once “If bream grew to 5-6 pounds, saltwater tackle would be needed to land them.”
Humor was his goal, but ounce for ounce bream are ferocious fighters and awesome sport on light gear. An ultralight spinning outfit with 4-pound test monofilament will provide the most fun. The kid with the Snoopy rig will argue that last statement.
Cane poles are all that’s required, but the telescopic rods are really popular for the bream enthusiasts. Fly fishing is also an exciting way to catch “bull” bream during the bedding days of April. The bream will smack a well-placed, tiny surface fly.
A number 6 hook baited with virtually anything will get bites. Crickets, meal worms and worms are the most popular for bait. Bread, wasp larvae, catalpa worms and grasshoppers are all welcome. Keep in mind, separating your bait from your hook is quick work for bream, and bites are almost instant in an active spawning area.
Look for shallow, sandy areas with the tell-tale craters the fish build for nests. These beds do not necessarily have to be near the bank. Red-ear are known for bedding a little deeper, and a typical red-ear will be bigger than bluegills which adds to the fish fry. An afternoon will usually be plenty of time to hit several different spawning locations.
The larger fish always seem to bite first and when the size starts to decline, move on to the next bedding area.
Fry them whole or filets if the fish are big enough. Baked or grilled is also a delicious method. The meat has a light, sweet flavor and will most likely have you planning another bream trip soon.