Full moon brings out the best in springtime bream
By Robert Alan Richardson
Most of you out there vividly remember your first fishing
trip with Dad or Grandpa like it was yesterday.
It certainly isn’t surprising that on those first trips the species of
choice more than likely was pond-caught bream.
There’s no better way to get a kid hooked on fishing than making sure
the action will be fast and furious so they don’t get bored and start playing
in the dirt. Bream fishing at the right
time of year can pretty much assure you that the kids will have a blast. Now is the time for catching some “chesty
bream”, fish that are so big you can’t get your hand around them so you have to
slap them up against your chest to remove the hook. When the first full moon in May rolls around,
the bream go into a feeding frenzy and will inhale crickets, worms, other
insects, and small lures. The go-to bait
for most bream fishermen in Morgan County is crickets, but others swear by
small pinched off portions of worms.
There are three main types of panfish, as they are sometimes
referred to, in Georgia’s ponds, rivers, lakes, and streams that are highly
sought after by anglers. Panfish are
referred to in this manner due to the fact that they can be fried whole in a
pan full of grease, and you can sincerely believe this-they are wonderful table
fare. Bream are feisty fish that give
you the fight of a much bigger fish when taken on ultralight tackle, cane
poles, or cheap rod and reel setups so don’t think of them as “kid fish”. Those three types of bream are redbreast
sunfish, redear sunfish (also called a shell cracker), and bluegill
sunfish. Most of us old rednecks here in
Georgia simply call them bream whether they are redbreast, redear, or bluegill. The world record for a bluegill is five
pounds 12.8 ounces while the Georgia record for bluegill is three pounds five
ounces. Georgia’s redear record is four
pounds two ounces and redbreast is one pound 11 ounces.
We now need to get down to the nuts, bolts, and techniques
of capturing some of these tasty critters.
Baits have already been discussed so let’s talk a little about
techniques used and habitats where they hang out. The main thrust will be toward pond fishing
in Morgan County. We have some large
bream in our area that can get up to 2-3 pounds, but you don’t need a rod and
reel that’s used to catch bass. Select
an ultralight rod and reel that matches the quarry and use light line from two
to 6 pound test. This line and fishing
rig should be paired with long shank hooks ranging from number six to ten when
using live bait like worms or crickets and just enough split shot weight to keep
the bait vertical at one to three feet. If
you are the artificial bait guy, lures like small spinners and jigs work well
in the 1/32 size or even smaller. The
one thing certain about bream fishing is that it is a very cheap and affordable
type of fishing when compared to the thousands of dollars spent by bass
fishermen or saltwater guys like me.
There are many different fishing techniques for catching
bream, but the most often used tried-and-true method is also the simplest when
fishing in ponds. It simply involves
using a small cork barely large enough to float your bait combined with the
aforementioned size rig, line, hook, and sinker. Springtime bream fishing is at its peak
during the spring spawn where you can actually see the “bream beds” where the
fish are preparing to mate (light colored circular spots on the bottom about
two to three feet across). Males are
particularly protective of the nest and will attack almost anything they
perceive as food or a threat to the nest/bed.
Perfect bream habitat will likely include weedy areas, submerged or
standing trees hanging over the water, shady areas, brush near the shoreline,
and the visible bream beds.
Now’s the time for all you anglers to get out on your
favorite local farm pond and catch up a nice mess of bream for the supper
table. My favorite recipe is to filet
the big ones, cut out the rib bones, and get a pan of grease medium hot. Use a batter of half and half flour and corn
meal and choose some of your favorite seasonings like Lawry’s, salt and pepper,
lemon pepper, garlic pepper, creole seasoning, Old Bay blackened or regular
seasoning, or Mrs. Dash table blend (salt free) to add to the batter. Dip the fish in an egg wash of two eggs and
milk and then into the batter. Drop into
the hot grease and cook until gold brown.
Add French fries, hushpuppies, cole slaw, onion rings, baked beans and
sweet tea for a knock your socks off meal.
It may not be good for you, but it sure is good to you.