Catching High Water Bream with Jim and Barbara Reedy

Catching High Water Bream with Jim and Barbara Reedy

May 13, 2019

Catching High Water Bream with Jim and Barbara Reedy

By Phillip Gentry


Here at B’n’M, we’re not sure what all the fuss is about the rain. It’s only rained twice since last fall – the first time for 3 months and then again for 2 months.

If you’re worried that high water might hurt your bream fishing this season, veteran B’n’M pro-staffers Jim and Barbara Reedy from Charleston, Missouri can put your fears to rest.

“A lot of folks depend on the same areas to fish for bream on their favorite lake. Take Reelfoot Lake for instance, where Barb and I do most of our bream fishing, the water might be as much as a foot high, but that opens up a whole lot of new areas we previously weren’t able to fish,” said Jim Reedy.

The Reedy’s approach bream fishing using two strategies. The first is to jig for bream around standing wood and the second is casting slip corks for them over bream beds hidden in lily pads.

The rod of choice for jigging for the bluegill that call Reelfoot home is a Sam Heaton Super Sensitive jig pole with bottom reel seat and touch system. The paired spinning reel is spooled with 6-pound Vicious line and a tiny 1/64 oz bream killer jig in black gnat is used for bait. Reedy adds a small split shot about a foot above the jig to get better feel and get the bait down in the water column quicker.

The secret to fishing a bream killer jig is tipping the bait with a wax worm to give it scent.

“I have a secret bait that I use to tip the jig- it’s a wax worm, the kind you buy in the bait shops,” he said. “Some people use crickets but that’s a one-and-done deal when you get a bite or catch a fish. With waxworms you just keep fishing and if they pinch some off, you just add another one to the hook.”

Standing cypress trees has always been Reedy’s go-to location. He looks for small groups of trees with 5 – 10 feet of water between them. Bream love to hold around the knees that stick out away from the trunk. The average water depth may be 3 – 4 feet but with flood conditions, many of the knees may not be visible, but they’re still there.

Reedy simply places the jig in any fishy looking spot to see if anyone is home.

“The good thing is when you find one, you might find a mini-bed with several more quality bream in the same location,” he said.

Look for bream to congregate around shallow sandy bottoms on either side of the full moon all summer long after the first spawn in May.

For fishing tradition bream beds, the Reedy’s hunt through the vast acres of lily pads in Reelfoot. He admits he might have to eliminate a lot of area before he finds a bed, but when he does, it’s not uncommon to limit out in that one or two spots.

“Look for bubbles coming up from the bottom,” he said. “That’s the bream fanning the bed and creating bubbles. You can see them floating up or sometimes they’ll accumulate in a kind of foam at the surface.”

For fishing bream beds, Reedy doesn’t want to get too close for fear of spooking fish so he positions the boat back away from the area and uses one of B’n’M’s new Buck’s Graphite Crappie Combos to cast a slip cork rig to the bed.

Don’t let higher than normal water levels keep you from fishing. More water opens up new places that haven’t been fished before.

His bait is the same as his jigging set-up. He uses a bream killer jig in black gnat tipped with a wax worm or two. He may add a slightly bigger split shot above the jig to cause the 2 inch slip cork to ride up better in the water and telegraph bites better when a fish moves off to the side rather than pulling the cork straight under.

“Bream fishing is a lot of fun, and like I said, don’t be afraid of the higher water,” he said. “That old chute that runs off to somebody’s duck blind is now plenty deep enough to fish and give you access to places nobody ever fishes.”

At B’n’M Poles, we’re here to help you catch more fish an make more memories, whether you like bream, crappie, catfish or other species. Check out our full catalog online at



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