Acanthopagrus butcheri

Southern WA, SA, VIC, TAS
Bay, Ocean, Lake, Estuary, Creek, Structure

Black Bream, also known as Southern Black Bream and Blue Nosed Bream, are another extremely popular fish with Australian fishos. Black Bream are often confused with a number of species that populate the same range.


Black Bream looks very close to the Yellowfin Bream with a short, stout body build. Hybrids of the two have been recorded from the Gippsland lakes in Victoria. The biggest difference between the two is the colour of the fin. The Black Bream has brownish ventral and anal fins. The mouth is rather small and has rows of peg-like incisors with crushing plates on the palate. While Black Bream can grow to around 3.5kg, a 1kg fish is considered a good catch.

Black Bream has a back and body solidly golden brown to even bronze body, with a metallic green reflection that fades after death. The belly and chin are distinctly white.


Black Bream are endemic to Australia. The Black Bream is a very highly sought after species of the estuaries of the southern parts of Australia. They can be found the southern coast of Australia from Shark Bay in Western Australia to Victoria and even Tasmania. Black Bream generally inhabit estuaries and coastal lakes, although they do enter the ocean. It is important to note, Black Bream cannot complete their full life cycle in a marine environment. Black Bream can be found in oceanic waters in the gulf regions of South Australia but this is not the case in Western Australia.

When breeding, Black Bream enter the upper reaches of rivers to spawn during the spring and summer season, depending on the location. This results in a high number of juveniles in estuaries a few months later. Black Bream feed on a wide range of crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes and other smaller fish.


Black Bream are popular with sport fishos and those who fish for the table alike. Generally speaking, Black Bream are an easy fish to catch in Australia. As we have already mentioned, most of their life cycle is spent in estuaries, although they can be found offshore after flooding.

Bream are best caught on light fishing line. Just about any bait can be used to catch them, including river prawns, Bony Herring, blood worms, earth worms, shrimp, Mullet strips, mulies, chicken gut and even bread and corn kernels. They are both hunters and scavengers and so it pays to go fishing with a variety of bait. They can be very aggressive so it pays to keep your bait moving.

When chasing Black Bream, pylons and snaggy areas are perfect. Light fishing line of 3-5kg and slow action fishing rods are commonly used when fishing for Black Bream.

A rising tide and after dark are both great times to fish for Black Bream. That being said, ample fish can be taken during the day and on the lower half of the tide. The best baits are prawns and yabbies but many baits work well, including beach, blood and squirt worms. Anchovies and Blue Sardines work well as well as other flesh baits.

Because Black Bream are timid biters, it’s a good idea to let them a short distance to the nearest cover before setting your hook.

As for lures, small minnow lures or soft plastics are best fished close to cover and dropoffs.