Sunny Side Up — Bream

Sunny Side Up — Bream

Pint-sized sunfish provide fast action and great table fare for summertime anglers.

Story and photography by Matt Williams

It was a beautiful sight on Lake Kurth, one that any pan fisherman would truly appreciate.  Bream beds — close to two dozen of them — were stacked side-by-side on a tiny point shrouded in about three feet of vodka-clear water.

Dark in color and circular in shape, the “colony” of spawning beds stood out like an aquatic honeycomb in stark contrast to the sugar sand bottom. The water was so still and clear I could make out the mussel shells and small pea gravel lining in each bed from 30 feet away.

Things were bustling down there, too. Big sunfish, some that looked to be six to seven inches long, were riding shotgun over individual nests like turkey buzzards on a road kill.

Crash Course on Bream

Just about any panfish junkie is sure to agree there is plenty to love about this picture.  Though bream may be small, they may be brawniest little fighters on the planet. The pint-sized sunfish are willing to cooperate just about any time but are easiest to catch in numbers during the summer months, while they are spawning.

The panfish are among the last to move shallow to spawn in Texas waters. May and June are sometimes touted as the best months to fish for them, but the truth is bream will spawn off and on all summer long.

Bream spawn in “colonies” that may consist of as few as 15 spawning beds to as many as 100 or more. Spawning beds usually show up on gravel or shell bottoms, often in relation to a point, hump or shelf located in close proximity to deeper water.

Colonies of spawning beds are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Spawning beds will resemble large serving plates that appear lighter or darker than the surrounding bottom.

The circular-shaped nests are usually stacked relatively close to one another. Think Swiss cheese to get a visual.

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