With the success I have been having on a certain venue recently, this week would see me return once more. The river levels are still frustratingly erratic so a day pitting my wits against its resident big bream seemed like the best option. I set myself the target of a six pounder. Just something to keep me focused for the day. So, where do these bigger bream patrol or reside? This was the question I needed to find the answer too. I had a sneaky feeling that these bigger bream may be holding slightly further away from the bank or off the main feed area having not picked any lumps up so far. This would be my basis for the days fishing then. Just trying to put the pieces together one at a time.
In the fairly calm conditions I opted to fish the pole. Light floats and lines would be employed, as would small hooks. A size 18 would be perfect for the double or single maggot hookbait that would be used. I mixed up some dark groundbait and added a palmful of dead red maggots as feed. Enough bait to make three tangerine sized balls for starters. They weren’t fed as solid balls though, instead loosely potted in so that they would spread over a larger area of water. The food content more concentrated than the fine groundbait particles and perfect for bream to graze over. The rig though was plumbed up half a meter past this. It was a few inches deeper and here I hoped I would pick up any larger fish, more cautious than the smaller bream in the shoal.
While the swim settled I had some soup. Heinz ‘Cream of Tomato’. I wonder how many tins have been heated up on the bank or poured into flasks over the years? I for one have probably consumed my own bodyweight in it several times over. I love the stuff and its important to keep warm when out in the winter. Today was a fairly mild day though, the suns warm rays warming my face as I watched the water and consumed my food. By now the swim had stopped fizzing. The gasses and oils from the groundbait had dissipated. I wondered how long it would take for a bite this week? Early or late. In went the rig. Twenty minutes later, the single maggot hookbait was taken and the first bream of the day was on its way to the net. Albeit a much smaller fish than I had intended at around a pound. Still there was bream present at least.
Banking on a few better fish being present, instead of going straight back out I fed one more pot of loose groundbait and a few maggots. Risky I know, as bream are not fond of bait raining down on them. I followed this with another fifteen minutes of sitting and waiting. Watching the water and hoping I had not killed of the swim. Eventually I resigned to finding out. Bait this time would be double dead red maggot. I held the rig still. There wasn’t much undertow today. After five minutes the float dipped and rose slightly. It then held motionless. A few moments later came the slowest bite I have ever witnessed. I patiently waited for the tip to slip under the surface film and I struck into a very heavy weight indeed. A big lunge followed and slowly the fish moved away from me. I took things very carefully. It felt like a bream for sure. It also felt very heavy. If nothing else I wanted to at least see the fish. On a 1lb 12oz bottom I wasn’t in the position to bully the mystery attached but I was confident with steady pressure the fish would finally succumb. After nearly five minutes a very broad and deep bodied bream rose from the depths and, just about, slid into the poised landing net.
At 7lb 14oz the fish set a new PB for me beating my old best by just over a pound, and agonisingly close to being an eight, incidentally a target of mine for this year. With a photo taken, I returned the fish in the next peg. It was a marvellous sight to see it amble slowly back out in the fairly clear water. It had made my day and had gone some way in convincing me that my tactics had worked. I repeated the process again. Half a cup of groundbait and a few maggots. This time a full hour went by before I hooked into either a small carp or another big tench. Not really geared up for them however, I battled for ten minutes with the fish before the hook eventually pulled. I didn’t see the fish once in all that time. At dusk I had one last bream at just under five pound. A lovely end to a cracking session. It really is a great feeling when a plan is formulated and seems to play out. There is certainly some cracking fish in this venue and I hope to return soon to see if there are any large perch present.
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Until Next time tight lines