On this map you see where there were observations of Bream around the world, to give you an idea in which continents, countries and waters you can find this fish species.
Years 2000 until now, source: GBIF
The bream is a fish for the night owl because the larger specimens tend to be nocturnal. Watching a big bream ‘porpoise’ through the water’s surface on a moonlit night can be one of fishing’s great delights. But fear not, you can still catch them during the day.
Bream will never feature on a list of the world’s sexiest fish, as they boast neither raw power nor electrifying speed. No, fly fish for this species and the box you’re looking to tick is the one marked ‘challenge’.
This is a fish that gets wiser with age so it is easily alarmed by anything unusual in its environment. Nor is its eyesight great, so you’ll have to get your fly close to it without spooking it.
The bream is a bottom-feeding fish with a fondness for deep water and dim light and it does nothing fast. Hunting it can therefore feel like slow-motion fishing, not least because you’ll spend more time searching for fish than actually casting a line.
You’ll find bream in stillwater and flowing water alike but you need the water to be clear. Don’t march straight to the water’s edge if you turn up at your local pond early or late in the day, as bream often mooch around in the shallows at such times.
If river fishing, seek out clear-water sections where the current slows and the bottom consists of sand or gravel. Look for your fish in quieter water, just out of the main flow.
Once you’ve spotted a shoal and the direction it’s taking, cast your fly far enough in front of the fish so that it’s sunk to their eye line by the time they reach it.
Resist the urge to tweak your fly to incite a take; let it drop to the floor instead and, should a bream move slowly down to it, give it a second to devour the fly before you strike.
You might not catch a trophy bream in daylight hours but the upside is that the smaller fish are more receptive to a fly than their bigger elders who come out at night and who often insist on a motionless fly.
You’re looking at large, weighted nymphs when targeting bream, like Diawl Bach, Hare’s Ear or Caddis patterns, or Czech Nymphs.
Big and heavy, the Woolly Worm is perfect for fishing the bottom, whether in still or running water.
If you’re fishing stillwater shallows early or late in the day, a Bloodworm pattern could also be worth a try, as the bream are likely to be feeding on larvae.
If the nymph route is proving a dead end, try some small fry-pattern streamers. You wouldn’t think lazy fish like bream would bother chasing small fish but they do have their predatorial moments so try twitching a lure gently by them, if nothing else is working.
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