Live and let live! (Bream, entry 519)

Most fish are creatures of habit in the sense they have a reasonably well-defined feeding territory. Even if it’s just moulded by their environment, you know that the lilies, reeds, overhanging trees and so on are where your target species will feed. Certainly bigger bream fit into that category, with very specific patrol routes being the order of the day. Or night, as is usually the case.

A glorious sunset
A glorious sunset

I discovered one such bream highway on a pit I started fishing a few years back, and it’s been fairly productive. The fish aren’t massive, by national standards, but they’re not small either. Arriving in the evening, following a day of nasty weather, I cast out and enjoyed the glorious sunset. As anglers we are very privileged to be smack-bang in the centre of nature. Enjoy it!

The landing net saw very early action, but only to rescue a moth that had fallen on the surface of the water and was struggling. Placing the handle next to it, the moth gladly saw its deliverance and I lifted it out and carefully placed it in the grass to dry out. It was a brimstone moth and although its wings are closed on the photo, you can still see the markings.

I rescued a brimstone moth
I rescued a brimstone moth

I also noticed lots of common frog tadpoles in the margins. When I was a kid frogs were numerous, but for a variety of reasons they’re now in serious decline. Many years ago I built a small pond in my back garden to attract amphibians and give them a haven. Fish-free, it’s designed to give them a helping-hand in their struggle.

We’ve got a healthy colony of breeding smooth newts, we spot regular toads and frogs, and this spring had our first spawn from the latter in years. We had a total (or so it seemed) wipeout of frogs due to the disease that has ravaged their population nationally. It’s just great to see them back. If you’re a lover of nature why not build a pond? It doesn’t have to be big and will give you hours of pleasure.

Tadpoles in the margins
Tadpoles in the margins

Anyway back to the fishing, or should that be sleeping, as the night was totally action-free. However I’ve had a couple of fish previously at first-light so when I had movement on the indicator I wasn’t really surprised. Typical big bream putting up no struggle at all, it was in the net, photographed and returned in moments.

With a deep-water channel quite close in, I was fishing at just 4-5 lengths out. Both rods were 3x SBS corn-shaped popper boilies and were fished over grains of sweetcorn. Everything was identical (1.5oz lead, size 7 Big T Raptor, Drennan stop) except that I fished fluorocarbon on one rod and mono on the other. The Drennan stops are brilliant for creating a fixed lead rig and they’re totally safe.

An early morning bream
An early morning bream

After a quiet night, just like the proverbial bus, I had a second bream shortly afterwards. With them being shoal fish it’s not uncommon to get them close together. You can fish for bream 12 hours and get nothing, then you bank a couple within minutes of each other. I guess that can happen with most fish but certainly with big bream. It’s often a waiting game with plenty of patience required.

The second fish of the session
The second fish of the session

If you read my Angling Journal regularly you will know I use dips a lot. Not only do they give the hookbait a boost, but they also have the very practical use, that once dipped, a bait straight from water can be re-cast without causing issues with the PVA bag. I’ve been using Tutti Frutti for a while but for this session I switched to All Season Corn.

It looks great, smells great and it works. What more can you ask for? If you use a tub of dip just for that purpose, and not to pour into other baits to flavour them, it will last a long time. There’s nothing wrong of course with the latter, I do it myself, I’m just referring to product longevity that’s all. Dips work well with hemp and meat etc.

Baits dipped in All Season Corn
Baits dipped in All Season Corn

My third bream of the session was landed at lunchtime. However I don’t know when it was caught! I was using six-magnet wheels on my ATT alarms for maximum sensitivity and I did have a single beep some time before, but nothing happened. Deciding to re-cast I discovered I was connected to a fish. It had just been ‘sitting’ there in the water all that time. Typical bream over a certain size!

Bream number three
Bream number three

Targeting the size of fish I do I’m never going to catch large numbers of bream. It’s not like fishing for skimmers, in fact they’re almost like a different species. This session, with three fish (and all caught on the fluorocarbon!) in twenty hours, was actually quite productive. If I can get one in that period I’m usually happy. That’s fishing for you though isn’t it. It can be to each of us what we want it to be.

I don’t understand anglers who criticise others basically because they do something different. Some of them actually get quite judgmental and nasty, but of course, that’s more to do with individual character than angling as a whole. The main thing is to enjoy your own fishing and not to worry about what everyone else does. Live and let live! (Published June 22 2013)

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