I’d never say that bream are right up there amongst my favourite species but over the years, there have been periods of obsession. And I’ve got to say that a really big bream, nine pounds plus, is always an object of desire and awe. So how do you enhance your chances of catching one?
What I’ve found over the years is that big bream populations tend to be variable. I know that could be said for all fish but it seems especially valid with bream. On the pits around me, which number way over twenty, big bream thrive for a few years and then seem to disappear even though they are a long-lived species. I don’t get it but that’s the mystery of angling.
This spring, I’ve been aware that big bream have come back to at least four, if not five or six, of the pits that I have access to. It seemed a massive shame not to target them.
As far as I’m concerned there are three ways of catching big bream.
First, you can ambush them in what I like to call Bottlenecks, those areas of water where all fish have to pass to access one part of the lake from another. These are commonly narrow pieces of water close to islands, for example. If the water is clear, you can put a bed of bait down and see what goes over it.
Second, if water conditions are right, you can watch for the feeding activity of a big bream shoal. What you will probably see is a big area of stained water where the fish are ploughing up the bottom. Look carefully through binoculars and you will also see bream roll or the tips of their dorsal and tail fins come clear of the water. These are real giveaways and if you get a feeder into the stained area, you will be right onto fish.
Third up, you can bait a ‘breamy’ swim really heavily for as long as it takes. This is probably the least exciting of the three options but very often you are forced into it.
The weather for my big bream quest could not have been more unfavourable. A constant stream of cold winds from the north and northeast meant that spotting fish feeding was pretty much out of the question. What I was forced to do was to go the Big Bait Bash route.
However, it did work, with some staggering successes.