The Picnic Seabream (Acanthopagrus berda) belongs to the Sparidaey, or the seabream family. Like most fish, the Picnic Seabream has a few common names, however, one the most popular name it is commonly called is the Yellowfin Seabream, a name that best describes the bright yellow fins contrasting the darkish body of this fish. Shaam is its Arabic Name.
They are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters and are bottom-dwelling carnivores. Most species possess grinding, molar-like teeth. Some of the species, are overfished
, however, the yellowfin Seabream is marked as OK to fish for according to choosewisely.ae.
Where to find
The Yellowfin Seabream is a native of the gulf and is probably one of the fish with the widest distribution. It is commonly found schooling in estuarine waters and other sheltered areas such as docks and jetties. It is a shallow water bottom dwelling fish preferring structure and sandy muddy bottoms.
How to catch
Although easy to find, you will discover that they are often picky biters. As these fish are often bait profiling, meaning, they will only eat the bait or lure when it is the same size of the fish or crustacean they are foraging on in that particular day or week. We do know for certain that they will not bite big lures, which cut down on a lot of guesswork. A few lures work on them just remember to cast your lure as close to structure as possible.
Since the areas they inhibit are a challenge to bait fish in without snagging, a lot of fishing for the Yellowfin Seabream is done with lures and flies. If you find yourself fishing for them with bait, the standard up and down dropper rig works well, use just enough weight to get your baits down to the bottom. They will eat pieces of shrimp, squid and if you can find them, small crabs.
Small jigs dressed with soft plastic bodies of about 3 inches (7.5cm) work well for them, the same size for any subsurface lure works well. Poppers and stickbaits work well in dawn, dusk and very cloudy days. When this condition presents itself, catching them on topwater lures makes for some serious fun.
Because of the small lures and weights and because they don’t really run long distances when hooked, you can effectively catch them with light tackle. A long rod will help you cast a good distance and longer rods have sensitive tips that help you detect them as they peck on the lure. Lines of up to 12lbs (6kg) paired with a reel of a 2000 to 4000 size (Shimano or Penn Sizing) round up the ideal tackle for them. Staying within this range gives you an efficient and sporting outfit that will make the fishing more exciting and enjoyable.
Availability and conservation
A thing to note about any Seabream is the fact that they are slow growing fish; good specimens such as those pictured in this article are about 10 years old. This means it is very easy to do some damage on the stock if you take out the breeders (the big ones!). The main challenge with this fish is also the fact that they are good table fare.
Choosewisely.ae have listed this fish in the green and that it’s ok to harvest them. I personally return most of the big ones I catch because I know how slow they grow. Just keep in mind that detail when you catch a few of them. Leave some for our children to enjoy so we can take them fishing for these great fish when they are old enough to fish with us.