Those who are bream fishing in Sydney have a choice between a number of different bream species which live and around the citys waters. The most commonly found species is the Yellowfin Bream, which is endemic to Australian waters. Although they are primarily found along the New South Wales coast, they can also be found in smaller numbers along the Queensland and Victoria coastlines. A few Southern Black Bream can also be found as far north and east as Sydney, although they tend to be found more frequently in the waters around Perth and Western Australia.

Bream often move with the tide, so those who wish to catch one may benefit from 90min before and after a tidal change.

Photo by: Sascha Schulz

Yellowfin Bream, Bass Point, Shellharbour, NSW – Photography by: Sascha Schulz

It can be quite easy to confuse the two species if you do not have prior experience with them.  The body of a Yellowfin bream is silver to olive-green in colour, with green-yellow ventral, pectoral and anal fins. The southern black bream is more of a bronze colour, although a fresh specimen should also have a greenish reflection to it. The belly and chin of the fish are white, whilst the caudal fin is a dusky, olive brown colour. The largest known specimens of both species have been around 4kg, although average bream tend to peak at about 2 – 3kg. The minimum legal length limit for a catch is 25cm, and there is a combined total catch limit of 20 bream per day. Whilst some bream have been found which are at least 29 years old, many bream live shorter lives due to their place in the food chain. 

The Yellowfin variety tends to inhabit bays, surf beaches, and rocky headlines, as well as venturing into estuaries and tidal rivers. They can sometimes be found in saltwater lakes, or as far up a river as the brackish line, where the water composition changes from salt water to fresh water. Black bream favour the fresher water at the other side of the brackish line, although they can occasionally be found along the coast, especially in times of high water flow, when they may have been washed out to sea. The black breams tolerance to various levels of salinity means that it is a very marketable fish, thanks to the relative ease with which it can be raised in captivity. This has helped to make bream a popular eating fish across Australia. 

Both species of bream are scavenger fish, which have a very varied diet, including small fish, bivalves (mussels, cockles etc), worms and crustaceans.

Yellowfin bream have been known to wait near to the fast running water at the river mouth, in order to catch fish or other creatures which may have been washed down river.  Sea dwelling species feed on a lot of smaller reef creatures; however reef bream are also prey for many larger sea creatures. The breams main predators include seabirds such as pelicans and cormorants, sharks, rays, mulloways and flatheads. They are also targeted by various sea dwelling parasites.