How to Avoid Bream When Carp Fishing?

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Anglers around the globe encounter the same problem when fishing for carp: Bream. These smaller fishes inhabit the same bodies of water and often like the same food! As a result, there is always the chance to hook a bream instead of carp. 

How to Avoid Bream When Carp Fishing

Many anglers wonder if there is a bulletproof method to avoid catching bream. Sadly, there is none. Nevertheless, we will share some bits of advice that will definitely increase your chances of catching carp.

  • Use larger Bait
  • Avoid using pellets
  • Use a hair rig

Although you are more likely to catch carp by following these techniques, it is not a guarantee. You will still hook bream.

Make sure to stay with us a little longer, as we will discuss why each technique works, as well as other interesting facts about carp and bream. 

What is Bream?

New anglers might not be familiar with the term bream. We use it to group all fishes with narrow, deep-bodied species. Bluegill and red-ear sunfish are two examples. 

Breams are native to Europe. But you can also find them in the US and Canada. As we said before, they typically inhabit the same bodies of water as carp and have a similar diet. 

The size and weight vary greatly. You can expect anything between 12 to 22 inches in length and 4 to 9 pounds. Naturally, you can catch bigger specimens. For instance,  an angler landed a 22-pound and 9 ounces bream in the US in 2009

Compared to carp, bream is a much smaller and lighter fish. For instance, the largest common carp was caught back in 2013 by a french angler. The fish weighed 100 pounds, around 4.5 times heavier than the biggest bream.

Bream Behaviour

Breams are comfortable swimming in packs. They eat crabs, worms, smaller fishes, and insects. Like with all fishes, the prey has to be small enough to fit inside their narrow mouth. They are the most active during winter and spring. Although you can catch them year round. These fishes tend to lurk between 12 to 25 feet below the surface.

They are not aggressive fishes. As a result, you should face no trouble reeling them in. That’s why most anglers try to avoid bream while fishing for carp. It is not as fun or challenging. 

In contrast, carp tend to swim at 30 feet or more below the surface. They are most active during early mornings and nights, with the spring season being the most productive. 

How to Avoid Bream When Carp Fishing? A Three-Step Approach

Now that you know the behavior and nature of bream, you will be able to understand why the following techniques will help you avoid them. Once again, this is not a bulletproof strategy. So, don’t get frustrated. 

Use Larger Bait

Do you remember that carp are bigger fish than breams? Well, the trick here is to use a larger bait to discourage nearby nuisance fish. You see, fish only eat what they can fit inside their mouth in a single bite. Consequently, breams will be less drawn to your bait. 

But don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you will be scaring carp away as well. One good solution is to use boilies. You can shape them around the hook, making them larger or shorter as you please. 

Although worms are a superb bait for carp, bream love them as well. Therefore, if the lake is packed with bream, the best thing to do is avoid worms altogether. 

Don’t Use Pellets 

Like worms, bream love pellets. Some brands tailor-made them to attach a specific fish. Nevertheless, since carp and bream eat the same things, pellets are not a solution. 

On the other hand, they are small enough for bream to engulf them in a single blow! 

Use a Hair Rig

Carp fishing and hair rings are two things that go together. In fact, Len Middleton and Kevin Maddocks, the creators, were avid carp anglers. They were trying to figure out how to present the bait or make it more appealing to these fishes. After a lot of trial and error, they found that attaching a boilie beneath the hook made carp more drawn to it.

In a hair rig, the boilie (bait), sits directly beneath the hook. Initially, human hair was used, hence the name. But nowadays, you can use braided thread instead. It is as discrete as hair and much stronger. 

Using this rig allows you to cast farther and fish deeper in the water column. As a result, you can target different spots in the same body of water. Plus, since carp are usually deeper than bream, this rig works like a charm.

You can also use other baits. But the hair rig was specifically meant to be used with a boilie. 

When Everything Else Fails, Find Another Lake

There is only much you can do to avoid bream. But sometimes there is no avoiding them. That’s why our final advice is to move and find another spot. 

Fishing reports are a good way to find out what fishes lurk in the local lake or river. Check them and see whether breams are thriving there. If they do, we recommend switching lakes. 

Similarly, we suggest fishing on the deeper sections of the river or lake. As we discussed before, carp are usually deeper in the water column. 


Breams typically inhabit the same bodies of water and like pretty much the same food. That is why it is so hard to avoid hooking them. However, you can use larger baits, avoid pellets, and use a hair rig with boilies to increase your chances of getting more carp.

Nevertheless, sometimes there is no avoiding them. In this case, the only solution is to find another spot. So, make sure to check fishing reports of the local lake or river and see how much of a problem breams are.

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