Tails &Ripples

flylife.com.au

Tails &Ripples

James with another fish of a lifetime.Tails & Ripples. . . continuedThe bream will ultimately be yourbest guide to colour and pattern, andtheir preferences will change not onlythroughout the tide but also from dayto day. Observe and respond. Startwith neutral tones similar to the environmentyou are fishing—tans, browns,blacks and greens. A little flash can begood but don’t go overboard. Anothergreat addition is a small, subtle patchof colour like orange or pink. Thisshould be just enough to catch theattention of the fish, not detract fromthe pattern’s realism. It is possible thatthis small swatch appears like the eggsof a crustacean, or the innards of someother almost translucent invertebrate.When the water is discolouredand the visibility reduced, try darkercolours and a more obvious swatchof colour. Blacks, darker browns andeven purples really stand out and canbe deadly under these conditions.Hook choice comes down to the flypatterns you use, but remember thatbream have some formidable dentures,including some serious molarsdesigned for crushing shellfish. Forthis reason, I don’t recommend highcarbon hooks. They are sharp, hold apoint and they rust away if they arelost—all great things in my book—butthey are just too brittle. Saltwater oreven more pliable bronze hooks are abetter choice. Generally sizes from 10through 2 are okay.FIGHTING ON THE FLATSWhen fighting bream on the flats,especially big fish with light tippet, youneed to watch your line. Keep yourrod low and work the fish using sidepressure and the more powerful buttsection of the rod. Change direction tothrow the fish off balance and preventit from building momentum, and ifit does scream off, be ready to pointyour rod to the heavens to keep yourline from snagging on any lumps ofrock, oyster or wood protruding fromthe flats. Side pressure is also importantto guide the fish away from theother groups of fish still feeding in theshallows. Avoid spooking these fish—they are your next cast.The backwater estuaries of NewSouth Wales’ far south coast are hometo some truly exceptional fish. Thesewily old bream are used to feeding inthe shallows, but wary of the dangers.The fishing can be challenging, and thewindow of opportunity when the conditionsare just right is slim. However,sight-casting to these magnificent fishin such shallow water is well worth theeffort, and enough to make even seasonedfly-fishers go weak at the knees.Fish averaging 40 cm are the norm insome places, and some are much bigger.It is humbling to think that some ofthese fish may be older than us—closeto 40 years in some cases.Next time you visit your local estuary,keep a keen eye out for those littleripples and waving tails. If you seethem, say hello for me. FLflylife.com.au18F LY L IFEWatch the video.Bream are both a challenge and a delight.

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