Georgia-Florida Fishing Report - Fishing Tips, Trips, Tricks and Techniques
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.  

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