How To Fish For Bream

Bream, also called “Brim”, is a common name for a variety of sunfish species in the United States. They are known for their delicious taste and feisty nature on the line. These fish, including popular varieties like the bluegill, sunfish, and other panfish, are favored by anglers for their tasty flesh and the fun challenge they present with light tackle. These fish exhibit vibrant colors, with hues ranging from deep blues and greens to bright yellows and reds, making them a target for fishing and a delightful sight.

Fishing for bream can be a great introduction to angling for beginners. This guide will cover the essentials of bream fishing, including the optimal gear setup, the best baits and lures, effective fishing techniques, prime fishing locations, and tips for beginners.

Bream Fishing Setup

The most common tackle to catch bream includes lightweight and ultra-light spinning or spincast rods and reels, which offer the sensitivity needed to detect the light bite of these fish. A rod around 5 to 7 feet in length paired with a reel spooled with 2 to 6-pound test line is ideal for this type of fishing. This setup provides the precision required for casting small baits and lures, as well as the finesse needed to handle the fight of a bream on the line.

For the best setup to target bream, anglers often opt for a simple yet effective approach. A small hook, size 6 to 10, is perfect for bream as it fits well into their small mouths, ensuring a higher hook-up ratio. This hook can be baited with live worms, crickets, or artificial baits like small jigs and spinners that mimic the small insects and larvae that bream feed on.

The best rig for bream fishing is arguably the slip float rig. This setup allows the bait to be suspended off the bottom at a specific depth. The slip float rig is adjustable, enabling anglers to easily change the depth of the bait to find where the bream are feeding, which is particularly useful when fishing in different water depths or conditions.

Best Bait For Bream

Bream have a diverse diet, feeding on a variety of aquatic insects, larvae, small fish, and vegetation. This varied diet makes them receptive to a wide range of baits, both live and artificial, providing anglers with multiple effective options for targeting these fish.

The best live bait for bream includes worms (such as red wigglers or earthworms) and crickets, which closely mimic their natural food sources. These baits are highly effective because they attract bream with both their movement and scent. When using live bait, hook the worm or cricket through the body, allowing it to wriggle and attract attention. For the best results, present the bait near structures like weeds, logs, or other cover where bream are known to feed and hide.

For anglers preferring artificial lures, small jigs, spinners, and even tiny crankbaits are among the best choices for mimicking the small prey that bream feed on. Lightweight jigs with soft plastic or feathered bodies can be particularly effective when jigged slowly or twitched gently to imitate the movement of small insects or minnows. Spinners, with their vibrating action and reflective light, attract bream by stimulating their predatory instincts. When using lures, the key is to retrieve slowly, allowing the lure to stay in the strike zone longer and giving bream enough time to bite.

caught bream

Bream Fishing Techniques

Still Fishing

Still fishing is one of the most common and effective techniques for catching bream. This approach involves casting your bait and letting it sit in the water, either on the bottom or suspended under a float, without moving it. The setup for still fishing typically includes a light to ultra-light rod and reel, spooled with 2 to 6-pound test line, a small hook (size 6 to 10), and a split shot weight to keep the bait down if fishing near the bottom. A bobber or float is used when suspending bait off the bottom to detect bites. This technique is most effective in calm waters, near structures like logs, weeds, or docks where bream are likely to hide and feed. It allows the bait to remain in the feeding zone, making it easier for bream to find and bite it.

Bobber Fishing

Bobber fishing is particularly effective for targeting bream in shallow waters. This technique involves using a bobber or float to keep your bait at a predetermined depth, allowing the bait to move naturally with the current or wind. The setup includes a small hook baited with live bait such as worms or crickets, attached below a bobber. The distance between the bobber and bait can be adjusted based on the depth at which bream are feeding. Bobber fishing is most effective in the early morning or late afternoon when bream are actively feeding in shallow areas. The bobber provides a visual cue when a fish bites, making it easier to know when to set the hook.

Light Lure Casting

Light lure casting is an engaging technique for catching bream, using artificial lures such as small jigs, spinners, or micro-crankbaits. The setup involves an ultra-light spinning rod and reel, with light line to enable casting of small lures. This technique is effective for covering a lot of water and is particularly useful when fishing in areas with sparse cover or when searching for actively feeding bream. The key to success with light lure casting is to mimic the movement of the bream’s natural prey, with slow retrieves and occasional pauses or twitches. This technique is most effective when bream are aggressive and actively chasing prey, typically during warmer months or specific times of day like early morning or late evening.

Drop Shotting

Drop shotting is a finesse technique adapted for bream fishing, involving a weight attached to the end of the line and a hook tied a few inches to a foot above the weight. This setup allows the bait to be presented just off the bottom, in or near the bream’s feeding zone. Live bait or small soft plastics can be used with this technique. Drop shotting is particularly effective in deeper water or when bream are holding close to the bottom. It allows for precise bait placement near structure or cover where bream may be hiding, such as submerged trees or weed beds. The vertical presentation, combined with the ability to maintain bait position while detecting subtle bites, makes drop shotting a highly effective method for catching wary or pressured bream.

Where To Find Bream

Bream thrive in a variety of freshwater bodies, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams, making these environments ideal for anglers targeting these fish. When fishing for bream, the depth at which to fish can vary, but they are often found in shallow waters ranging from 1 to 6 feet deep, especially near structures or cover. Utilizing a fish finder can greatly enhance your ability to locate bream, as it helps identify underwater structures, depth changes, and schools of fish, guiding you to the most promising fishing spots.


Ponds are prime locations for catching bream, offering abundant aquatic vegetation and structure where bream like to feed and hide. In ponds, still fishing with a bobber and live bait such as worms or crickets is highly effective. Position your bait near or within cover, such as lily pads, submerged logs, or weed beds, where bream are likely to be found. This setup allows the bait to remain in the feeding zone, making it more attractive to bream.


Lakes provide a diverse habitat for bream, including shallow flats, weed lines, and submerged structures. Here, light lure casting or bobber fishing works well. Use small jigs, spinners, or live bait under a bobber to attract bream. Target areas with cover, such as docks, fallen trees, or weed edges, where bream are known to congregate. In larger lakes, a fish finder can identify these structures and determine the depth at which the bream is holding.

Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams offer dynamic environments for bream, with moving water and varying depths. In these settings, drifting live bait under a bobber or light lure casting can be very productive. Focus on areas where the current slows, such as behind large rocks, log jams, or in eddies, as bream often gather in these less turbulent waters to feed. The natural movement of the water can help present your bait or lure in a lifelike manner, appealing to the bream’s instinct to chase down prey.

Shore Fishing

Shore fishing for bream is common and productive, especially in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers or streams. The best setup for shore fishing includes a light or ultralight rod and reel, equipped with live bait like worms or crickets under a bobber, or light lures such as jigs and spinners. Casting near structures, shallow water areas, or vegetation from the shore can yield excellent results. Bream are often found close to the bank, making them accessible to anglers fishing from the shore.

Tips To Catch Bream For Beginners

  • Start with a light or ultra-light spinning rod and reel combo, which is easier to handle and provides the sensitivity needed to feel the bream’s bite.
  • Use a monofilament line with a test strength of 2 to 6 pounds; it’s forgiving and suitable for the small size of bream.
  • Choose a small hook, sizes 6 to 10, as bream have small mouths. Smaller hooks ensure better bite rates.
  • For bait, live worms or crickets are highly effective and easy to use. These baits are very attractive to bream due to their natural diet.
  • To setup a hook, tie it to the end of your line using an improved clinch knot, which is strong and easy to tie even for beginners.
  • Add a small split shot weight about 12 to 18 inches above the hook to help cast your line further and keep the bait near the bottom, where bream are often found.
  • Use a bobber or float to suspend your bait off the bottom. Adjust the depth based on where you see fish activity or according to the water depth you are fishing in.
  • Cast your bait near structures like logs, weed beds, or docks. Bream love to stay close to cover for protection and to ambush prey.
  • Be patient and watch your bobber closely. Bream bites can be subtle, so a slight movement or dip may indicate a fish is nibbling.
  • When you see a bite, gently lift the rod to set the hook. Avoid jerking hard, as the bream’s mouth is delicate, and you could pull the hook out.
  • Practice catch and release if you’re not planning to eat the fish. Handle bream with wet hands to protect their slime coat, which keeps them healthy.

What kind of fish is Bream

In the United States, the term “bream” commonly refers to a variety of sunfish species within the freshwater realm, known for their pan-shaped bodies and vibrant colors. Some of the most common species called bream include:


Bluegill are one of the most popular and easily recognized bream species, known for their deep blue and purple shades on the face and gill cover, with a distinctive black spot at the rear of the dorsal fin. They inhabit a wide range of waters from ponds and lakes to slow-flowing rivers and streams. Anglers catch bluegill primarily using light tackle, with small hooks baited with worms, crickets, or small artificial lures like jigs and spinners. They are known for their strong fight relative to their size, making them a favorite among anglers of all ages.

Redear Sunfish

Redear Sunfish, also known as shellcrackers, are named for the red or orange border around the edge of their gill covers. They are often found in warmer southern waters, preferring habitats with sandy or muddy bottoms where they hunt for snails and mussels. The best way to catch sunfish is by using bottom or near-bottom techniques with live baits such as worms or small pieces of nightcrawler. Like bluegills, they can also be caught using small jigs and soft plastics.


Pumpkinseeds are vibrant sunfish with a colorful palette, including blue, orange, and yellow, making them one of the most visually striking bream species. They prefer clear waters with abundant vegetation and are commonly found in ponds, lakes, and slow rivers. Light tackle with small hooks baited with live worms or crickets is effective, as well as tiny spinners and jigs. Their aggressive nature makes them fun to catch, especially for young or novice anglers.


Warmouth, with their large mouths and robust bodies, resemble small bass and are often found in warm, sluggish waters with plenty of cover such as logs and vegetation. They are opportunistic feeders and can be caught using a variety of baits including live worms, small minnows, and crickets. Artificial lures such as small crankbaits and jigs also work well. Because of their larger mouth, anglers can use slightly bigger baits to target warmouth compared to other bream species.