Doing The Double – My first double figure bream

Having never caught a Bream over 3lb, as you may expect, the thought of a double-figure fish was mind-boggling! Teamed up with my dad, we decided to tackle the North West’s prolific 40-acre Redesmere venue, where specimen carp, tench, bream and pike reside in numbers, and where my dad has already banked several bream over the 10lb mark!

Our first session was midweek in mid-August and we travelled halfway up the lake, dropping in an area known as The Stream, which offers five different pegs to choose from on one point. I opted for the furthest left peg, with my dad taking The Front. We both got setup and spodded bait to our respective spots at around 60 yards range; a light covering of bird-seed particle mixes, topped with pellets and boilies.

Redesmere: 40-acres and full of specimens!

As I waded back in I saw some large carp beached on the sandy margins just feet away, sunbathing without a care in the world, fascinating stuff, but they soon slipped back to the depths as the sun dipped below the hill on the far bank, and it was all eyes on Bream fishing once more. My first night ended with no success. I awoke next morning, with the sun beaming through my bivvy door as the mist rolled off the water. The birds were singing, whilst flies and bees worked along the marginal plant life along the edges of the swim, but unfortunately, the bream were not feeding.

The next planned session was a week later, and I could not wait to get back on. We arrived around 4pm in the afternoon, and on walking round, saw some fish in front of a couple of swims known as The Pines. We decided to fish a baited area between the two swims at 60 yards, each of us placing a rod on it. To do this we put out the marker and found a clear spot, and then got the spod out!

I opted to fish a Peach Melba bottom bait, on a helicopter rig, with a small PVA bag of pellets, and my dad opted for a halibut pellet hookbait. My other rod had a counterbalanced maize hookbait and was fished over small amount of particle at a similar range. I backleaded my lines and lowered my tips to eradicate any false indications from drifting surface weed. We sat and had our evening meal and watched the water in front of us, looking for signs of fish as the sun set on another glorious summer’s day. Due to the swim I was in, I was close to the lane behind, and struggled to sleep in anticipation of fish, not helped with the odd car going past behind. I lay on my bed looking at the silhouette of my rods against the street-light-orange blur of the night sky. Then suddenly, without warning, I received a single bleep on my left hand rod; my heart started beating, and as I received another couple of beeps, I was automatically on the rod and bent into a fish, without even thinking.

I shouted to my dad for assistance with the net, and after a brief tussle, the fish rolled around 15 yards in front of us, and before I new it, my dad was congratulating me on a new PB Bream. We rested the fish in the margins while I wetted my unhooking mat, and my dad zeroed the scales and prepared the camera. When the unmarked bar of gold took the scales round to exactly 10lb, I was overjoyed, and was quite literally shivering with adrenaline and excitement, I could not believe it!

We took a few shots, and I was soon stood in the margins cradling my new PB. I couldn’t believe the size of the fish, when people say they are like ‘dustbin lids’ you don’t believe it being true, but they really are massive! She kicked a few times, and I released her back to the depths and looked at the clock, 11.45pm. I was chuffed to bits with the capture, and struggled to sleep for the rest of the night!

Over the moon - My first 10lb bream!

Favoured Bream Tactics
We usually fish mini boilies (bottom baits & pop-ups) or maize hookbaits. Previous baiting and rig choice centred around fishing carp-style baits, i.e. beds of pellets and boilies or beds of particles. However of late, beds of groundbait, with pop-up boilies have produced the goods.

To compliment beds of groundbait, method feeders offer the casting weight, hooking resistance, and bait application that is second-to-none, and in some situations are great for fooling wary fish. It’s a case of changing your approach bit at a time until you start catching.

Simple helicopter or bolt rigs on scaled-down carp tackle provide great sport, with smaller hooks and lesser diameter lines also proving successful. Other than this no other specialist tackle is required. At the end of the day, the Bream will generally be feeding similarly to carp, so match the carp lad’s tackle and bait on your water, to find yourself hooked to into a specimen bream.

Nige Weston
March 2006