Going for bream popular during spring

Lyle Johnson
This is what is biting in the Lake Verett area; two of those “hand size” bull bream taken on a jig & cork combination on a spinning rod.

Last week we talked about fishing for specs in Lake Ponchatrain; this week, let’s talk about some freshwater fishing.

Springtime brings out many anglers that like to catch panfish or bream. This is way up on the list of many a fisherman.

Lake Verett comes to mind anytime bream fishing conversations take place, that’s for sure and those “bigger than your hand” bull bream are in action as you read this. Now fishing is fishing and you’re not always guaranteed success but panfish are usually a little easier to catch than other species.

It’s a great way to get a youngster interested in fishing because the action is a little faster than bass fishing and you can keep their attention a little longer. So let’s get started with some techniques and baits that might work out for you.

Natural bait is probably the most popular with a lot of bream anglers. Night crawlers and crickets are really good choices. One of the basics is fishing under a cork with a small split shot sinker is the most popular and can be used with a cane pole, small spinning rod or a fly rod.

About 18 inches under the cork is a good starting point but you adjust that according to the depth of the water along with where the fish might be located. Another good thing about fishing with the natural bait is the variety of fish that you might catch. Catfish and even bass might end up in your take along with a variety of panfish as well.

Tube jigs is another method that some anglers choose. There’s no mess trying to put worms on the hook and you don’t have to chase crickets all over the boat although chasing crickets is very popular with the youngsters.

Fish them under a small cork and adjust the depth until you locate the fish. Cast the jigs near cypress trees or other cover and pop the cork by making short jerks to the rod. The popping action attracts the fish because it sounds a lot like other fish striking on the surface. A black tube with a chartreuse tail is one the most popular colors but try other colors to find the combination that works best.

Casting small spinners is another great way to catch those big bream as well. It’s a little faster paced and can also be a way to catch an even wider variety of fish as well. Bass, sac-a-lait and catfish will also fall victim to those offerings. Cast to any type of cover and vary the speed of the retrieve until you find the depth the fish are hanging in.

Another tactic that’s gaining popularity once again is catching them with a fly rod. Both my grandfathers passion was catching bream using a fly rod but the methods were different.

Roy Marchand Sr., grandfather on my mother’s side was a popping bug enthusiast and was very proficient at this technique. Many a time I rode in his bateau and benefitted from his teaching at catching bream on a white or chartreuse bug made by Mr. Will Lambert right here in Gonzales. His camp was on Chinquapin canal so his favorite fishing holes were located in Old River.

Ellis Johnson was my grandfather on daddy’s side and his favorite place to catch them on a fly rod was the Crackerhead canals off Lake Verett. His method of choice was using night crawlers or catalpa worms on a hook with no sinker. He cast it much like a popping bug but the bait would fall very slowly. This technique is deadly as those big bream couldn’t resist those slow falling worms.

All this action is taking place right now just about anywhere bream are usually caught. Reports from the Lake Verett area are really good and the bream are bigger than they’ve been since the hurricanes. Petite Amite and Blind River are also producing some pretty good catches as well.

Now is the time to get out there and do it! It’s a great time to make a family outing and bring the youngsters along. The weather’s just about as good as it gets this time of the year and the action is about as good as it gets. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you.