Dream Bream

Following my patchy results from a month of targeting bream on a large stillwater, I returned with a fresh set of ideas. The first thing to try was to target the water as if I was in a match. I’d still use 2 rods to double my chances of fish finding my bait, but I decided to scale things down bait wise and not spod any bait over the spots where I was fishing.

I also changed the end rigs. I used open end feeders that would have lots of chopped worm in them, plugged with a bit of dry groundbait. All the amino acids of the worms and the cloud of the ground bait would hopefully draw the bream in, but with less food items to feast on, they’d find my hook bait a lot quicker. That hook bait was the tail of a lobworm, a classic bream bait if there ever was one. This was fished on a size 16 hook tied to a 4lb fluorocarbon hook link. Everything was scaled down, but not too much. I wanted to land every fish I hooked.

I started the session by making 10 casts with both rods, just as if in a match. This put a bit of bait on both spots, then I waited for the slabs to hopefully move in on my areas. I was still using alarms and bobbins for bite detection. I didn’t fancy staring at a quiver tip for hours on end then missing a bite when I looked away!

Within 30 minutes the bobbin tightened on my right hand rod and I eased into fish number one. I couldn’t hurry things too much, but bream are hardly the hardest fighters in the British Isles so I was soon landing what looked like a nice fish. I always weight the first decent fish so that I have an idea whether to weigh any more that I may land. ┬áThe needle on the scales went to 11lbs, a pleasing start.

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After the good start, a lull in the action followed. I questioned my tactics, though a series of strange bites soon produced the smallest pike I’ve ever caught!

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I kept on casting my feeders every 30 minutes, making sure there was alway fresh bait and attraction going into the swim. Eventually I had another typical bream bite, which produced a young looking bream that I knew wouldn’t make double figures.

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This signalled the start of a hectic period where the bream moved onto my bait. Most of the action was on the right hand rod, but it wasn’t long before I was struggling to keep both rods in the water, regularly getting ‘double hookups’ I didn’t weigh any of these mint conditioned bream, estimating most to be between 8 and 11lbs. I knew the more fish i caught, the better my chance of a larger specimen.

I’d just re cast the left hand rod after yet another ‘slab’, when the next fish probably didn’t even let the worm reach the lake bed. As I pulled the line to sink it, it was pulled back through my fingers as yet another bream fought for freedom. This time it felt a little heavier, but careful playing soon had the fish in landing range. After the customary couple of rolls before giving up, this bream squeezed into the mesh and I knew I’d got a decent specimen.

On the mat I couldn’t believe the girth of this bream. It was as fat as a carp and very deep. It just needed more length to be a true giant.

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After placing her in the sling and getting the weight, the 13lb 2oz reading was a little short of what I thought it would weigh. It was still a cracking specimen, and it looked a young fish too, so it may grow for a few years yet. It also justified my switch in tactics. So much so, that I returned to the lake a few days later to try ‘more of the same’

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For the next trip I had the lake to myself. That might have been down to the fact that there was a chill in the air. The temperature was only 5 degrees in the morning and the lake was wrapped in a heavy mist overcoat. Autumn was definitely on its way and I knew this would probably be my last day after the bream. Some leaves were starting to turn brown and some were falling from the trees. I hoped the bream would feed hard prior to the cooler months, sensing hard times were on the way.

A steady mornings fishing produced a few high single figure slabs. Some were the smallest bream I’d caught from the lake. At least the feeder tactics and baits were getting me a lot more action than the previous months fishing. I just hoped the numbers game would produce a big fish

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A quiet period followed before another bite saw me bending into what felt like a heavy fish. After slowly gaining 60 yards of line, a hefty slab only just squeezed into my 30 inch landing net.

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Again, after weighing her, I was surprised that it only weighed 13lbs 10oz, not that I was complaining. In fact I was chuffed to bits. My tactics had produced a raft of big bream, topped by this specimen.

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I carried on fishing, but again the bream were smaller than average. Even a blind bream found my worm hook bait though, proving how good the worms pulling power is!!

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The last few hours of the session went biteless and it was time to wrap my bream campaign up for another year. I’d had a great few days bream fishing, topping off a good month. I was pleased that I’d changed tactics, adapted, and caught a few quality bream.

I just hope the rest of the Autumn and winter go as much to plan. Now what do I target next. Big river roach or barbel? Oh how I love Autumn!!!

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Is the ‘Method’ the Method?

Late summer into early autumn usually sees me partake in a spot of bream fishing. The fish can probably sense that colder weather is on its way and they seem to feed a bit harder than normal, making them easier to catch.

I set out to catch some big slabs on a large stillwater. I fished my usual tactics of method feeders with a popped up piece of plastic corn on a short hook link. These were fished at around 50 yards out over a bed of spodded particles, comprising of all sorts of goodies, mainly pellets, corn and Vitalin.

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Just a couple of hours into my first trip and my delkim signalled that something had taken a liking to my popped up offering. I was soon easing a lovely bream into my landing net that turned out to be just short of 12lbs, a pleasing start.

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A couple more double figure slabs soon followed, along with a male tench that was over 7lbs, though it doesn’t look like it in the photos!

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All to soon it was time to pack the tackle away and head for home, but I couldn’t wait to return.

I thought following my first day, where I’d located the bream, that the following sessions would be productive. I was wrong. Things were slow and I even had a couple of ‘bream blanks’ though a total blank was salvaged with a small lure rod that was used to cast jigs whenever fry exploded from the surface to escape their attacker. This resulted in a few nice perch and ┬ácouple of small pike, but I did lose one pike that looked well into double figures

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I was managing to land the odd good bream to keep my spirits up, but I felt I needed to shake things up a bit and change what had worked for me in the past. When you land bream to just short of 13lbs it makes you question whether you’re doing the right thing, but the odd knock and twitch on the rods suggested fish were in the area though weren’t getting their heads down on my hook baits.

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The thing was other anglers were also struggling, or catching a similar amount to me, but the odd one was catching more than most. If you’re in a match and somebody is regularly catching more than you, you either copy what they’re up to or try to make things happen in you’re own peg. I vowed to return in a few weeks time and try a different tactic to try and fool the big slabs into gorging on my baits!

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