Monday 3 April 2023

Transient Towpath Trudging - Pt.53 (Bream)

Many anglers seem bream as a bit of a pain really, especially the carp angler that want to catch Bob Big Belly but end up with Slab Senior in the net that has a belly full of spod mix and just pooped out some boilie crumb. On the canal(s) local to me though they can offer a bite from a decent sized fish where the other fish are still cold and not quite ready to take off their onesies just yet.

With the temperatures set to drop again they can often be about the only fish that will be biting. Now experience has taught me that it is possible, by choosing certain swims and fishing them with methods that are designed to catch bream, to catch them more often than if one merely fishes for anything. 

The very fact that one has made a deliberate choice of quarry is of some importance because it means that all one's efforts and knowledge of the water are being directed towards the attainment of a specific aim - and this is always helpful. Vagueness and lack of purpose in angling may not be a crime, but they do reduce one's chances of catching specific fish. 

Observation of bream shoals can also make an important contribution to the total effort. As the angler's knowledge of his chosen water and fish mount, so will his ability to single out and catch his chosen fish increase. Locating bream in canals is not always an easy matter. The shoals tend to roam up and down the boat-road in search of food. 

Very rarely will there be only a few bream in any swim. If one bream is seen or caught, it is a practical certainty that there will be others in the vicinity. In the clearest of water, bream can sometimes be seen browsing slowly along the bottom; and sometimes they can be caught by tossing a bait to them or by laying one in their path. I have caught a few like this while using a small red worm on a weightless cast.

I would not advocate this method as a good way of catching a quantity of bream, however. Indeed, when the water is very clear and the sun is bright, bream are often lethargic or shy and can be most difficult to tempt. 

The dullest days, with low cloud and perhaps a little breeze to ruffle the surface, are better. In general, I prefer not to be able to see my bream. I find they bite more boldly then. They also often bite better at dawn and at dusk.

In fact, if the day is bright and there is little wind on the water, my advice to the would-be bream-catcher is to wait until dusk before commencing to fish, or to rise with the lark and get down to the canal before the banks are crowded with other towpath frequenters and land mine creators. All my experience indicates that one's chances are much higher at these favourable times.

Groundbaiting in the form of prebaiting can help. I have often introduced groundbait into a swim where I had previously observed bream, and then gone back later to find the bream feeding there. Perhaps I was only able to catch a few of them, but that was not important. The bream had been found and caught, progress had been made.

I decided to return to the same swim where I caught the 4lb hybrid and bream from yesterday but also do some double dipping to try and catch a zander or maybe even a pike.

I arrived at 6.45am and hot footed it to the swim where I was surprised that the water had coloured up considerably in 24 hours. It took ages to get the first bite which came when I swapped from bread to a couple of small worms and within minutes a bite came.

What I didn't expect was a tiny ruffe that decided to get in on the bream act. Proper angry it was too, all fin and fluster. Where the heck were the bream ? I had initially fed some supercrush green groundbait and some bread mash so after rebaiting the float with bread I baited up again and decided to give it an hour before moving on to somewhere else.

My hands were starting to get cold at this point as when I tend to rove around that isn't usually an issue but I decided to bring a chair for this session as I fully intended to stay put.

Nearly two hours in though the float buries under and a fish is on !!! It came completely out of the blue and I knew it was a bream as soon as I hooked it. Not a bad one either and where there is one, there is often more to be had.

The next fish was a hybrid though and considering it was only 2lb or so it put up one hell of a fight. I'm still amazed how they fight every time I catch one. Anyway oddly the swim went dead after that. Nic from Avon Angling was fishing not far away and he was struggling for bites as well. 

Anyway after a peloton of MAMIL's went through I upped sticks and on route back to the car decided to drop the deadbait in to a lock mouth for a last gasp Zander. It was even more coloured down here so I didn't expect another hard fighting hybrid that snaffled up the bread fished tight to the reed lined far bank. And that was that, no more fish and I called it a day when the first boat was headed my way. The predator rod, nada, what's going on there, it's usually quite productive here !!!


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