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Bluegills or rock bass, warmouths or shell crackers—all of these species and more than a dozen others fall into the category of bream. When learning how to fish, kids usually catch bream first. These sporty little fish are actually voracious predators and will attack any tiny living creature that comes within their view. This makes bream particularly easy to catch. Once hooked, they can put up a real fight, especially when caught on ultralight line.
Nightcrawlers and Earthworms
Perhaps the most popular baits used for bream are worms. These include everything from small garden worms from the backyard to medium-sized red wigglers bought from a bait shop to large nightcrawlers that can be found with a flashlight in the backyard. Because many species of bream, such as bluegills or shell crackers, have small mouths, you may need to cut the worm into smaller pieces to present it properly.
Caterpillars, Maggots and Grubs
Other wormlike creatures can also be used as bait when fishing for bream. These include moth caterpillars, such as wax worms or catalpa worms. Mealworms also make good bait. Fly maggots and beetle grubs can also be used. Bait shops and pet stores, where they are sold as food for large fish and reptiles, usually stock fly maggots and beetle grubs.
Bream are opportunistic feeders and will pounce on just about anything that is alive and small that falls in the water. Crickets, grasshoppers, mealworm beetles, roaches and just about any type of insect that will fit on the hook will work as bream bait. Many of these insects can also be purchased at bait shops or pet stores.
Bream typically feed primarily on the aquatic animals. Leeches, grass shrimp, snails and other aquatic invertebrates all make good bait. They are best collected from the area that is being fished, because bream in those waters will recognize and attack their prey more readily. For larger species, such as crappies, small minnows can also be used.
Although bream are more likely to take natural bait, artificial lures can also entice these fish to strike. Tiny spinners, spoons, many jigs and small lifelike plastic lures can be effective when fishing for bream. Fly fisherman can also take bream on alter light lines using popping bugs or any number of wet or dry flies. A number of dough baits are also available. Form these around a hook at a size that accommodates the small mouth of many bream species.
When fishing for bream, many anglers have their own special baits that they hold dear. Some swear by corn niblets, while others use a tiny wadded piece of white bread. Small bits of raw chicken breast can work, and cheese is also a popular choice. If they are hungry, bream are not particularly fussy about what type of bait they will take.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.