Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Gravel Pit Bream - The Big Bream Puzzle

It's interesting to note that after catching three PB tench on successive trips that my interest in catching an even bigger tench has vanished. I went out after one, of course I did, but on the bank I found myself scanning the horizon for signs of bream, of all things. I set up and cast out only to sit down and find myself wondering what it was that a big bream might like
as opposed to what I already knew any tench liked, whether or not my rigs were the correct ones, whether the bait and feed was likely to attract them or put them off and if I was striking altogether the right attitude for a bream angler as opposed to a tench angler, because of course, the two animals are dissimilar in both outlook and purpose.

I didn't catch a thing, despite Lee and kids turning up with some much needed bait supplies (the session was a snatched opportunity, I picked up whatever I could find in the kitchen as method mix, bread & corn mostly - lee had the real thing, so thanks mate, I owe you) and I only had a few line bites and one aborted take in seven hours hard work on the new pit. I sat in three swims and got frustrated in each. Some might say that I should have toughed it out in one peg and just waited for the fish to arrive there eventually but to my mind that's a recipe for boredom and failure: I wouldn't practise such a thing on a river or canal and don't see why pits should be any different especially when I hear that out of seven or more anglers fishing for tench the very next day, only one caught loads and most blanked outright.

Only thing is, I'm not entirely sure with specimen bream fishing whether constantly moving around is a good thing or whether just laying down a trap and waiting for the roving bream to pass by and fall into it is the best policy. From what I can ascertain, from books and articles by leading experts past and present, they don't really know either! I have never come across so much specialist non-advice in my fishing career - they bang on about gravel bars and plateau and this feature and that and then fail to tell you exactly where's best to cast. How's a novice s'posed to make sense of that?

Hmmm... according to the textbooks, this'll be as good a place as any...

It's as if when bream get very big indeed they become a great, great mystery to everyone concerned with them, or, conversely that it is so hard to gain any real knowledge about big bream that when you do find anything consistent and substantial you don't want to tell a soul. I'd prefer to think that they are simply a mystery, but...

It's gonna rain...

I don't believe it for a moment. Big bream are no mystery, they are just very few and far between and live in outsize waters where they are able to apparently vanish for weeks, months, and even years on end.

The trick is to keep moving, I'm sure of it...

We'll see.


  1. Sorry to hear that you have decended into the abyss of fishing for big bream. After literally thousands of hours on the bank chasing the dinner plates, I would dread being at the begining of the long journey today.
    Feature fishing is the way, drop offs, bars [top of], change of bed make up, ie silt to gravel. Normally at range from the bank and I would favour sweetcorn as bait. I have caught on bread, lobworm, maggots, boilies and various combinations of these. Bait up your chosen swim and sit on it, I feel moving off your bait and going to another swim is not to your advantage. The bream shoal will be browsing along and hopefully they come across your feed area, job done.
    Of course you might also be in one of those periods of weeks or months where rolling bream are seen but just not caught, that's what makes them the challenge they are.

  2. It's a sad truth that once you catch a few big fish of any species, the experience loses a bit of its shine. I wish I could recreate the feeling I had when I first caught a 5lb wild brownie, but I've had a few now (and a few quite a bit bigger), and now they're just big brownies rather than the jaw dropping miracles they were at first.
    Classy writing as usualJeff. This fluff chucker for one, is an avid reader.....

  3. Food for though there Phil - describing bream fishing as 'the abyss' and using terms such as 'dread' may be designed to put off the weak of constitution, but I am made of sterner stuff!

    I intend to catch at least a few of these manhole covers 'by design' this summer.

    As for tench, well if a biggy comes along in the meantime...

    Matt, I've always harboured a desire to catch a monster ferox from Windermere or somewhere equally deep and meaningful

  4. Hi mate, get yourself a copy of The Stillwater Angler By Tim Ridge (myself) & Dave Tipping. Honestly finding big bream is easy (if a little time consuming).

  5. I have a Dave Tipping book, Tim. The Lagoon chapter I read back and forth last year. I'll see if I can find a copy of your collaboration. Cheers!