The last few springs have seen me bream fishing on a particular gravel pit. There is a regular trickle of carp anglers on there, but it is certainly not prolific in terms of quantity of fish caught. In fact I would describe it as a ‘hard venue’, as they get far more blank sessions than trips where fish are caught. So combine that type of water with the very elusive big bream, and you definitely end up with a challenge on your hands.
But I much prefer that sort of situation than say a venue where all you need to do is turn up, cast out – and as much as is possible in angling – be guaranteed a fish. That is not a criticism of ‘easy’ waters – far from it. The great thing about angling is that you can make it be whatever you want it to be. And the thought of pitching up at the side of a natural gravel pit for two nights pursuing big and elusive bream really appeals to me personally.
And that’s exactly what I did in the first session in this week’s Journal entry. It had been the best part of ten months since I had last cast a bream line on the pit, and it was really good to be back. Whilst preparation is important wherever you fish, on a gravel pit it is essential, particularly in terms of feature finding.
I have already done the hard work though, so when I dropped all my gear into a peg, I knew exactly what faced me across the vast expanse of open water. Directly in front, covering a reasonable sized area was a plateau, rising two-feet above the rest of the surrounding bottom. And it was on that feature that I catapulted balls of brown crumb/dead maggots/corn. I will cover rigs etc in more detail in future weeks, as this first article is a basic run-down of how things went.
It was not until the second night that I had the unmistakable sign of a bream bite, as the swinger moved gently up and down. However, as I struck I felt something really solid. I have never encountered a snag before on the venue so I had no idea what it was. But the harder I pulled the more immovable it seemed, until eventually the line went slack as I had a clean break.
It disturbed me, as there’s nothing worse than the thought of losing all your tackle when it’s connected to a fish. But I do put safety first when considering rigs, so I consoled myself with the fact that the very worst scenario was a hook and trailing line. However, read on and you will see that there was a happy ending to the story.
The session itself was a blank (apart from a female tufted duck that went back unharmed), but I had another two nights a few days later to redeem myself. And so once more finding that I had the gravel pit to myself, I dropped into the same peg. It was pretty much the same plan of action, although I did position the left rod a few more metres to the side, placing it in the deeper water to the side of the plateau.
At 9.40 pm the fish drought was over, as a couple of bleeps on the left rod had me striking into a fish. A typical bream bite and a typical bream fight – or should I say lack of it – as it was simply a case of just reeling the fish in. However, as I brought the bream to the net I was really surprised to find that I was looking down at a tench. The fish itself was just short of 6lb, so a decent enough specimen to kick things off.
It proved to be the only fish of the trip as well, as the second night drew a blank. It’s been a slow start to the bream campaign this season, but it’s not how you start but rather how you go on and more importantly how you finish. But regardless of what happens along the way, I will enjoy it and that’s what really counts.
And finally, reeling in I found that the right rod was into a snag. ‘Not again’ I thought to myself, only this time I managed to uproot a massive clump of weed. Contained within were my lead, hook and even hook bait from the first session, so that was a nice way to end the session, knowing that there wasn’t a fish swimming around trailing line after it.
(Originally published March 2007)