Breaming Over With Jim & Barb Reedy
Phillip Gentry
When pro-staffers Jim and Barb Reedy aren’t fishing national crappie tournament circuits, they can be found in the spring wearing out bream beds with a trusty Sam Heaton jig pole.
The Reedys arm themselves with a small jig tipped with live bait or a simple hook and cork rig to tackle bream.
Look for both bluegills and shellcrackers to congregate around shallow sandy bottoms on either side of the full moon all summer long after the first spawn in May.
– Using side imaging sonar or your eyes and nose, bream beds are not hard to spot anywhere in the shallows during the spring and summer.

“Don’t matter where you fish, if you know what you’re looking for, you can find bream,” said Jim Reedy. “Start out on shallow flats in 4 – 5 feet of water. The best areas will be surrounded by weeds or lily pads with a big sandy area on the bottom. Look closely and you can see the shallow depressions on the bottom where bream are bedding.”

To most anglers bream is a collective term for several species of sunfish. The top two most sought after are bluegill and shellcrackers. The two species prefer similar habitat but may vary a little in the order of when they’ll move shallow to spawn. Shellcrackers typically come in a little earlier than bluegills, but since both species spawn several times through the summer, you can expect to find a lot of overlap in the same areas.

“Most anglers will tell you the peak of the bream spawn is 3 days before the full moon and then again three days after,” said Reedy. “But since they spawn nearly all summer long, you can catch bluegill and shellcrackers from the first of May through the summer.”

The Reedy’s favorite tactic for targeting bream is single pole jigging. The couple loves B’n’M’s Sam Heaton Super Sensitive rod with Bottom Seat & Touch System. This rod was originally designed for jigging for crappie, but the Reedy’s found the super sensitive tip and stiff backbone to their liking. In fact, for a day of perch-jerking on the lake, the rod’s light weight makes it easier to fish all day.

“This rod only weighs like 4 ounces,” said Reedy. “Pair it with a lightweight reel and you can fish every bream bed in the lake and it won’t wear you out.”

Reedy uses two primary tactics for bream fishing. He will rig a tiny 1/64 bream jig on the end of the line about 3 feet below a tiny cork. He tips the jig with a wax worm or piece of red worm and flips the rig into likely bream bedding areas. He also like to go straight bait and tie a #4 light wire hook on the line with a split shot. This is also fished under a cork with a wax worm, red worm, or cricket for bait.

“I prefer wax worms, but they’re hard to find everywhere,” said Reedy. “Crickets are easier to get, but they end up getting all over the boat. If we use crickets in May, we’ll hear crickets chirping somewhere in the boat the rest of the season.”

For the technically inclined, Reedy said a good side finder unit can not only record bream beds from a distance of 50 feet but can mark fish in the beds. I quick run through a shallow area can pin-point as many fish as the couple can or care to catch in a day’s fishing.

“Look for dimples on the graph, then look for fish marks in the dimple,” he said. “Once you see it and understand what you’re looking at, you get pretty proficient at it pretty quick.”

Aside from big well-known bream reservoirs like Reelfoot, Kentucky Lake, Santee-Cooper, and Lake Kissimmee, small state lakes and farm ponds can be giant producers of big bream. Typically these bodies don’t accommodate big rigs so Reedy suggests relying on your senses to find fish.

“Look for shallow areas with a lot of bubbles,” he said. “Bream fan the bottom and that stirs up silt so the water will be dirty and the surface will look almost foamy. If you have a good nose you can even smell them. Bream put off a distinct odor when they’re spawning.”

Whether  you’re out for a cooler full of bream fillets or just the excitement of tangling with a fish that pound-for pound is one of the meanest, hardest fighting fish in freshwater, B’n’M is here to help.

Check out our wide selection of light action jig fishing poles or our telescoping Bream Busters, Black Widows, or the new Duck Commander Panfish pole on our website at