I just knew I was going to catch! (Bream, entry 517)

For the thinking angler, preparation doesn’t begin the moment you drop your gear at the water’s edge. It starts way back before you’ve even loaded the car, certainly as far as planning the session is concerned. And when you’ve got hemp to prepare, as I have in this week’s bream outing, preparation kicked in the day before.

After boiling a saucepan of seeds, then washing and draining them, I added some corn steep liquor so that they had plenty of time to soak and take on board the flavour. CSL was all the rage a few years back; I’m not sure it’s as popular now. But as I’m not led by the latest fads or crazes (and I don’t say that in a negative way) I’ve continued to use it.

Preparation begins at home
Preparation begins at home

I like additives, dips and flavourings generally and if you get some quality stuff you don’t need much. In fact a small bottle will last you ages. A lot of anglers criticise those who are into their liquids, but I say don’t knock what you’ve never tried, or don’t understand. And ultimately if another wants to fish with ‘extras’, so what?

At the water's edge
At the water’s edge

At the water’s edge, with corn already added to take on the CSL flavour, I mixed in some groundbait. I use sweet fruit for tench and bream. (In fact, so far the preparation is identical for both species.) Not only is it a carrier for the particles, but it has colour and flavour of its own. When you drop some in the margins you see how effective the former is as it certainly looks inviting. The idea is not only to attract fish but to keep them.

Ready to go
Ready to go

So, to let the rubber hit the road, I arrived at the pit late afternoon. I was fishing a spot I have cast to before, but from a different swim. I spent some time making sure I was pitched in exactly the right location, even to the point of going to my original peg and catapulting a ball of bait out. Then quickly nipping back to my new one to see exactly where it had landed. Just 30m away the ripples were still evident.

There for two nights it was an uncomfortable pitch due to the slope. Even with one side of my bedchair’s legs fully extended, I had to search for old wooden planks to level it up. As someone who chooses swims from an angling perspective rather than a comfort one, this is the norm. I’m usually pitched up in a bed of nettles rather a manicured, spirit-level purpose-built peg.

Rods out well into dusk
Rods out well into dusk

I was fishing deep water just five lengths out and over the catapulted balls of bait went SBS corn shaped ‘popper’ boilies. On the one rod I fished 3x corn and on the other 2x tutti frutti. Well, night one saw me get a perfect sleep. Not what I wanted though, I was looking for a totally disturbed sleeping pattern!

I had picked up from regulars that the venue hasn’t been fishing well this year. However, forever the optimist, with a full day and another night to come, I was hopeful. The day was as quiet as the previous night though, but as dusk settled in I felt really positive. In fact I had that sixth sense kick in whereby I just knew I was going to catch!

My confidence was rewarded
My confidence was rewarded

In fact if I were doing a video I would have stated on film that I was definitely going to catch. It wasn’t blind faith, wishful thinking or arrogance, and I certainly had no evidence, but I just knew. So when, with the sun still not quite gone to bed, my indicator rose and fell in typical bream fashion, I wasn’t surprised. However it didn’t develop into anything. Still not discouraged, I merely waited.

The wait took me through to the early hours, past 1.00am in fact. This time though there was no escape for the fish and I lifted into a bream. Not the biggest I’ve ever caught, but as it slipped over the net I was one of those happy bunnies! I was also aware that as I am smack-bang up to date with my Angling Journal, I hadn’t actually had a fish yet for this week’s entry!

Covered in tubercules
Covered in tubercules

The bream itself, as you can see from the close-up on the mat above, was covered in tubercules. If you’ve ever caught one like that you’ll know how they feel when you rub your hand over the fish. I always think the fish must feel uncomfortable, but that’s because it reminds me of the time I had chicken pox! I always find it hard to get back to sleep after a fish but eventually I dozed off

I was woken though at 6.00 by a flashing blue light and noise. No, not the police but my ATT again. Caught, as the previous one, on the corn, I wasn’t surprised as this was on a tried and tested bream patrol route. With the sun now dominating proceedings, hardly surprisingly, this was my last fish of the session. But with bigger bream being elusive at the best of times, I packed away satisfied with my returns.

A bream in bright sunshine
A bream in bright sunshine

And finally, If you’ve read the current Angler’s Mail you will have seen me in ‘Tales from the riverbank’. This was a piece I wrote a few weeks back and I knew it was coming as I had a tweet from Tim Knight, the editor, the day before it hit the shops. I love the caricature and it’s currently (if you’re reading this within a few days of publication of course) the cover on my Facebook angling page.

In this week's Angler's Mail
In this week’s Angler’s Mail

You can check that out via the link on my angling website. It’s one of those you like, so why not hit the button and do just that? I’ve just passed 1,100 likes and every hundred I reach I’m going to run a small competition. This time I had three hand-made angling cards to give away, courtesy of my wife. She makes cards to raise money for the Christian-based charity we run that works mostly in Africa. (Published June 8 2013)

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