In late fall, when crappie leave brush piles in search of deeper water, most anglers go with them and neglect brush until crappie return the next summer. While those anglers may be following their passion, they’re missing out on some of the best bream fishing of the year.  

Chances are, the average brush pile on Lake Tillery already has a sizable population of bream before the onset of winter. But unlike crappie, bream will spend the winter months in relatively shallow water: 20 feet deep or less. With crappie gone, bream pile in and can even be aggressive despite the cold water.

“Bream will stay on brush all winter long,” said Ed Duke of Concord. “It’s pretty easy to catch 25 or 30 in a morning. All you have to do is drop a red worm on top of the brush.” 

While catching bream can be simple enough with one rod, Duke will position up to four 9-foot rods off the bow in tight-lining fashion and hover over the brush for the most action. A small piece of worm hanging off a No. 6 crappie hook and a small-split shot or two is all that’s needed to add bream to your winter cooler and fish fry.