Battle plan made, car packed, bream… i’m coming for you. Sunday evening and the river was quiet. Not just the still weather but no other anglers, boat folks or cyclists and don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t moaning about that. I was on a well known stretch that can get busy with families, exercisers and the like so I was expecting a bit of noise but I must have timed it perfectly.
First things first get my seat box comfortable. Next comes my bait tray. I lay out my hemp, level up my casters with river water and open a tin of corn. I have poured the liquor from the corn and most from the hemp into a spare bait box thats full of the venue water – just to use within my ground bait. If i’m adding liquid flavours it’s also added to the water at this stage but today I had ran out and no pennies left to replace. Next the ground bait itself. Today is all about skimmers and bream (hopefully) and i’m going a bit gungho so lots of base feed. My mix is a third Dynamite Baits Silver X Bream, a third of Gardons Noire and a third or Terre. I want to fish hard and solid on the deck. The Silver X is great for a bit of feed and the Black Roach not only adds the colour I want but in itself is a fantastic silver fish attractor. Terre is a hard mix to get to grips with. The important thing to remember is this does not contain any feed. Its sole purpose for me is to get particles down to deep water. I much prefer dark ground baits on natural water so the soil helps keep the mix dark. Again, the swim is deep so the Terre helps weighing the feed down. Over the years I have tried a number of ways of adding Terre to a ground bait and for me the best way to do it is with great care. My two “normal” ground baits are mixed together dry, then add a little water until it binds and breaks back down to a fine mix. It then passes through the riddle and left. Then I riddle the soil and damp with a spray. I then run it through the riddle again on its own. I’m now left with two separate feed elements. This is now left under my seat box until the rest of my gear is set up. So it gets about 15 mins to rest and absorb the water. On checking the mix I may need to add a touch more water to both and if this is the case its done with a spray. Once I’m happy I then put a hand full of the groundbait mixe into my bowl and then a handful of the soil on top and mix by hand. This actually leaves me with half soil to quarter Silver X and a quarter Gardons Noire groundbait. Sometimes though, i would do it the other way round so it would be 3 handfulls of groundbait to one soil. All depends on how much feed i need or want in to start with. I then do this till i’m left with one bowl containing the two groundbaits and soil feeds equally mixed together. Then two other bowls of the feed still separate. The soil may take a bit of water out of the mix so it may need to be sprayed again. The reason I don’t just combine it all is to give myself options while the session goes on. Especially with bream, its always twitchy bum time when it comes to re-feeding especially if you have had one or two. For this reason I may just use the soil but mixed with particles such as hemp and caster with worm. This way no fizz, just a little cloud and actual feed for the bream to dine down on.
I’m fishing about 8 – 10 foot deep at 13 meters but have my 14 meter section behind me so I can follow the rig down in a straight line should I need to. That’s a handy tip I learned on the canals. As the rig follows the flow, if you keep your pole at the same length and just point and move the pole tip pointing at the rig it then pulls rig from a straight line and ends up coming closer in. By following the float with the tip of the pole and edging the pole out as it goes it keeps the line straight behind the rig and stays true. This keeps for a much more natural and longer “trot”.
Straight away I have mixed up 6 solid balls which include a mix of worm, caster, hemp and a tiny bit of corn. This all goes in about a foot down stream and around that area. One a little further out to try and give myself a good area to work with. I then put in two more balls right in the middle of my other balls. Once is heavily packed with hemp and the other work and caster. Once the last one goes in its time for a quick cup of coffee and watch the heron oposite.
My float patten of choice is a RF29 Rizov at slightly heavier then I would normally go for at 1.50 gr. This is because I want bream, I need to hold the rig still and the 275mm strong float meets all my needs. Main line is GURU N-Gauge 0.13mm down to a Preston Reflo Powerline 0.09mm. I have an inline 1.00gr inline olivette about a foot and a half from a 18 Kamasan B911. Shotting is simple bulk and stringed out 10’s. I start off fishing about 50mm over depth on a single buried caster.
It took about 30 minuets to register my first bite and was pleased with a 8oz skimmer. Right species just need to find its bigger pals. After an hour of fishing I had half a dozen skimmers all the same size and decided go for broke and put a large ball of soil and caster in and went over on worm. I finicky bite missed and I put that down to a perch and my heart sank. I thought I had blown it and spooked the skimmers but straight back in the float slowly sank that and I lifted into that solid unmistakable lump of a real bream. I had also gone another float length deeper and by this point.
Over the next few hours I had over 12 good bream, no huge specimens but all around and over 3lbs and in the depth with the flow it was great fun on my solid 5’s elastic. As the light faded with the bites I cabled with another ball but all i had to show in the last 30mins was exactly the same as I started, a small skimmer.
I’m loving this river at the minute.