Although I’m an all-rounder, whenever I go fishing I always target a specific species. With no such thing as a nuisance fish in my book, I’m always happy to catch anything that swims, but ultimately I get great satisfaction from netting something that I set out to do business with.
And with bream on my mind I set off for a pit that I have fished before, but more importantly where I’ve had a few decent enough fish. Considering it was late spring / early summer, if you didn’t know that you’d had sworn it was late autumn or even winter. Wet and cold were words to describe the day and darkness fell earlier than normal.
The key to big bream is location, not only in venue itself, but also where they will be once you find somewhere that has a few nice fish. I ‘discovered’ the bream in this pit a few years back when I was after carp. It’s now one of those places where that’s the dominant target species, with me going against the flow by fishing for something else.
When I first came across the bream I found I was catching them in a very specific spot; I had obviously located a patrol route. From a point, a bar runs out parallel to the other bank, with a deep water channel between them. It’s this 30 metre channel, that goes to 5 metres deep, where the bream move through once they get their walking shoes on.
I catapulted out balls of SBS sweet fruit groundbait / sweetcorn / hemp soaked in corn steep liquor, covering an area as big as an average living room – and waited. Waiting is the name of the big bream game. Lots of patience required! But as long as I’m happy with everything – swim, rig, bait – I’m more than willing to sit it out.
I didn’t have too long either, as at 11.45pm, one of the hangers rose, dropped and rose again. All as if it were a real effort. That’s bream for you over a certain size, no screaming alarms and line being stripped off like you’ve hooked the midnight train to Georgia. They don’t fight either, it’s like hauling in a carrier bag full of water. The thrill is in the capture.
If you’ve been reading my recent tench articles you will have realised my groundbait approach was identical. So was my hookbait as I fished with 3x SBS corn-shaped popper boilies. They’re one of my favourite baits; certainly for big tench and bream they will take some beating. You can see how they sit in the water from the shot above that I took in the margins.
Anyway, no more fish on outing one but I was happy enough. Not a monster fish but not a blanker either. My second session saw me on a gravel pit I last fished about 10 years ago. I had a few bream from there, nothing big, but fish 9lb plus. Which I suppose isn’t exactly small is it really? Anyway my thoughts of late have been bringing back memories so I thought I’d return
It was great driving down the track again, and apart from one wrong turn with my barrow into an undergrowth cul-de-sac, it was like I’d never been away. Last time though I used to have it to myself, apart from a few pleasure anglers who went home in the afternoon. Now there were carp anglers bivvied up everywhere. Not that I’m complaining, just saying.
Fishing just a few lengths out in 10 feet of water, I put a 16mm lobworm popped-up boilie on one rod and my standard 3x corn poppers on the other. There for late afternoon it was dusk before I had any action. In fact plagued by small fish attacking the corn, and whittling it down, to be precise. Anyway, an hour into dark and both rods were fishing the single boilie.
And it wasn’t long after when I netted the opening fish of the session. It’s always good to get the first one on the bank. Not that I ever feel pressured to catch, far from it, just that it’s better to catch than blank that’s all. With the fish returned I settled back in almost complete silence with just the odd car in the distance. I’ve never been one for the city life, give me rural living any day.
Well, my quiet wasn’t disturbed for the rest of the night as no more fish put in an appearance. That of course is not the sort of peace I’m after. At least I caught my target species though, although just the one, which highlights that thin line again between ‘success’ and ‘failure’. With a couple of nights on the agenda for my final outing I returned to see if I could tempt any more bream.
Finding an empty car park this time meant I had the choice of swims, and I decided to head back to my previous one, surrounded by a range of wild flowers, including an impressive bed of red campion. I catapulted hemp, corn and boilies out and settled back. And that’s where I stayed, as night one and the following day proved fruitless.
However, and I’m not making excuses, it was always going to be tough. Gale force winds from the north were the kiss of death, with driving rain and even hail adding to the already difficult conditions. But I’m a believer that as long as your baits in the water you’ve got a chance. Even if your shelter is uprooted three times. Eat your heart out Mary Poppins!
You can see what went on in the final session in the accompanying video, so there’s no need to repeat myself too much. Suffice it to say I left it till the very end before I caught a fish. Two nights and one day without anything at all then as I’m thinking about packing away I get the unmistakable indication of a bream on the one rod. Just for the last night I had changed the bait to two boilies. It may seem excessive for bream, but the bigger fish certainly have the mouth for it. As I proved.
I was just happy to catch, particularly as I had been filming. After all, even though there should be talking and tips etc in an angling video, you at least want to catch something as well. Even if it is just one, at the end. So with three outings this week I had caught just the three fish, but that’s big bream for you. Once they get to a certain size they become very elusive. I was more than happy with what I had banked, and I’d avoided any blanks into the bargain. According to Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad. But in my book, three out of three is even better. (Published June 1 2013)
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