A bream doubleheader

Bluegills and shellcrackers are collectively lumped into the category of bream, and these are the favorite target of many Sparkleberry Swamp anglers. Even though these are two different species of fish, they do hang out together, and anglers often catch them both in the same area, especially in shallow water.

Most anglers agree that bluegill prefer crickets over worms — it’s vice-versa for shellcrackers — but both species will often bite either when the offering is easy. And while bluegill are usually found somewhere in the middle of the water column, shellcrackers spend most of their time on the bottom. Much of the most-productive water in Sparkleberry Swamp is between 2 and 4 feet deep, so catching both species in one sitting is common.

Dalzell’s Mike Spinks goes after both species at once with a unique approach. Using an ultralight spinning outfit spooled with 6-pound test line, Spinks ties on a small barrel swivel, then connects a leader with two snelled hooks. The leader length varies, but he likes to keep it close to the depth he’s fishing. When he’s in 2 feet of water, he snells one of the hooks at 12 inches and the other at about 20, then adds a small bank sinker to the leader.

Mike Spinks’ two-hook bream rig allows fishermen to target shellcrackers on the bottom and bluegill higher in the water column.

Spinks uses a clip-on float above the barrel swivel, suspending the top hook, while the bank sinker keeps the lower hook at or near the bottom.

“I thread a nightcrawler on the bottom hook and a cricket on the top hook. This has me fishing at the right depth, with the right bait, for both species,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.