One man’s far bank is another man’s margin (Bream, entry 524)

I’m a great believer that angling should be fun and as far as my own fishing is concerned I practise what I preach. I don’t fish a venue or target a species based on rotation but do whatever I fancy at that time. So with bream occupying my thoughts quite a lot this spring and summer so far, I incorporated appropriate time in my weekly schedule to continue pursuing them.

A view from my shelter
A view from my shelter

I set up in dry conditions but not long after there was an almighty downpour that made me happy to be undercover. Then guess what? I had a fish on! Not that complaining though, far from it, just saying. I ended up quite wet but the air temperature was decent so I soon dried off. Along with my sleeping bag. Fishing off a steep bank, as I made my way to the edge, it fell off my barrow and rolled into the pit!

An early bream and I'm off the mark
An early bream and I’m off the mark

It was great to get the early fish though. Not that I’m frightened of blanks but I’d sooner catch of course. The fish was taken on my current top bream bait, 3x corn-shaped popper boilies from SBS. They were dipped in All Season Corn and fished over sweetcorn flavoured with SBS Tutti Frutti dip. Fishing fairly close in, with deep water coming to within 3 lengths of the bank, the corn was catapulted.

The rig - simple but effective
The rig – simple but effective

With it being clear you can see right across the margins and as it starts to deepen, then it suddenly falls away. Although we often think of big bream as needing a cast to the horizon, deep water close in should never be neglected. One man’s far bank is another man’s margin!

There are some decent bream in the Severn
There are some decent bream in the Severn

We also think of big bream as stillwater fish, and rightly so, there are some rivers that contain a few slabs. As a lower Severn barbel angler I know all about that. So while I had my bream head on I thought I’d tackle the river ones. Apart from pop-ups my approach was similar to the pits I’ve been fishing

Thinking that if I did get amongst the bigger fish it would be into dark, I was pleasantly surprised to pick a fish up well before head-torch time. Just like their stillwater cousins, although they live in a different environment, once hooked they’re just as lifeless. But regardless of venue I’m just very happy to catch them.

A lower Severn bream
A lower Severn bream

Inspired by my river fish I again set off for the lower reaches of the Severn. Fishing hair-rigged halibut pellets I didn’t catch any nuisance barbel but I did have a couple of bream, the best of which you can see below. And I’m joking by the way about the barbel, just in case anyone takes that comment too seriously.

Another lower Severn fish
Another lower Severn fish

You can see the stillwater set-up I use below. It’s been a pretty standard rig that I’ve used for both tench and bream. It’s also very straightforward as well. I’m very much of the opinion that if something isn’t broken don’t try to fix it. I think sometimes, and certainly on rigs, as anglers we go in too deep when we don’t need to.

Certainly in the carp world that is true, and that then spills over into other fishing. Now of course there’s nothing wrong with thinking about our approach, it’s actually a good thing. But we don’t need to complicate things unnecessarily when simple will do. I’m not being critical just sharing my thoughts.

The business-end of my set-up
The business-end of my set-up

I have really enjoyed my bream fishing this week and that sort of brings me full-circle to where I started. Angling must be about enjoyment; anything less and I don’t see the point. I’ve done more bream fishing this year than most others simply because I have wanted to. And that should be the motivation behind what we do.

Fishing isn’t work, being told by a third-party to do things we don’t really want to do. It’s about you and I, the angler, being able to fish for what species we want, when we want, and by using whatever method we fancy. Of course I’m talking within the framework of rules etc, but I’m sure you get my point. (Published July 27 2013)