Hans Moolenaar banked nine bream up to 6kg during a recent session on a Dutch stillwater.
“I have been chasing big bream, and this weekend some of these ladies came to the net!” the Dutch specialist angler informed us. “In all I had nine bream, only one a little bit short of 4kg, three between 4kg and 5kg, and five were even larger than 5kg. The biggest two were 6kg (13.23lb) and 5.8kg (12.78lb). A little bit short of Simon Ashton’s amazing catch, but I had a few more!
“The water is 170 acres and despite the cold Northern winds, rain and dropping water temperatures, if you know they are there, waiting for the right moment to spawn, you have to be there too. Make an ambush at the right spot and sit it out.
“The tools used are 45g In-line Flat Method Feeders and Specimen Plus size 10 hooks.
“I was more than pleased with the 6kg bream, which is one of the biggest I have ever caught, but I am still chasing a 7kg bream.”
Mark Doherty bagged an estimated 100lb of bream and tench last week from a local stillwater using Method Feeder tactics.
The Swindon-based angler was fishing at Moulden Hill in Wiltshire and his 21 fish included 11 bream to over 8lb and 10 tench, including several over 6lb.
Mark’s successful feeder setup consisted of a Matchpro Medium Combo Feeder rod at its longest 12ft 6in length, casting a 35g Drennan In-Line Flatbed Method Feeder around 40 yards out in to open water. He use soaked micro pellets around the feeder and dead maggot hook bait on a size 18 hook.
Simon Ashton defied the odds after landing two of only three known specimen bream from Manor Lake on the Linear Fisheries complex.
This great brace consisting of 14lb and 13lb 7oz fish was landed within minutes of each other at the Oxfordshire venue. Both came at dawn after Simon spotted a fish roll and recasting at distance.
Simon caught both fish on helicopter rigs fished on 10lb ESP Syncro XT Loaded main line with large 70g Oval Blockend feeders. His short hook links were made up of 10lb ESP Soft Ghost Fluorocarbon and Boilie Hooks. One rig was baited with worms using a Pushstop and the other with Buoyant Maggots, both great bream baits in their own right.
Simon’s maggot rig.
The biggest of the two bream set a new personal best for Simon, making the long journey south well worth the effort.
Simon commented: “I was gobsmacked when I saw the first giant slab slide over the landing net. There are only three known bream in the lake, so to land two of them in one session is unbelievable!”
All-round specialist angler Simon Ashton set his sights on landing a double figure bream from a new venue this Spring and succeeded on his very first session!
Here is Simon’s account of the trip:
One of my angling resolutions for 2017 was to target some specimen bream with the hope of landing a new personal best along the way. The problem with living up in Durham from a specialist angler’s perspective is that you have to travel and by that I mean 90 miles or a lot more in some cases, so the right venue is a must.
With a new venue in mind, plans were made to do a recce trip. All I had to go by was a tip off from a friend that it had done a couple of bream upwards of 8-9lb in recent weeks. So, on Friday morning, I set off and headed south on the A1, van packed to the roof with the kit.
I opted to fish off the back of a cold easterly wind that was set for the duration of the session. I began by spending some time with the echo sounder to scope out the lake bed. I found a big change in depth, going from 26ft to 8ft quite rapidly. This sort of feature can never be overlooked when bream fishing, especially when the wind is blowing into it.
I set up on the point swim leading into a large shallow bay. After a few casts with a 3oz lead, I clipped up at 45 yards just at the bottom of the shelf. The whole area was relatively clear with some lovely clean gravel. Presentation is always paramount, so if you can find clear spots like these, fish on them.
Stu Lennox took a break from specimen carp hunting to spend a productive afternoon after bream and skimmers.
Fishing alongside match ace Dean Barlow, the pair decided to target Newland Angling Club‘s Bents Pool in Oxfordshire. Arriving just before lunchtime, Stu was soon catching lots of small hybrids and roach on the pole before deciding to try and single out some of the lake’s bigger residents. A timely switch to the In-line Method Feeder brought a string of bronze-flanked bream over the next two hours.
Michael Woods from Norfolk and his brother Kieran had a memorable night’s feeder fishing on the River Yare, catching an estimated 200lb of bream to 9lb. Here’s his account of a red letter day:
Following Storm Doris I heard the local rivers were high with surge non-salt tides pushing through colour on both the Yare and Waveney. Because of this I had a feeling one of my all time favourite river stretches on the Yare could be on good form.
I have a love and hate relationship with Thorpe Green as it’s a beautiful stretch of slow moving river in lovely surroundings but at the same time can be incredibly difficult with blanks commonplace and busy, being close to a road and popular with dog walkers and duck feeders! It’s pretty much all about the bream fishing, but only when colour pushes through. When it’s clear (as it usually is) you can get roach but they are not very plentiful or big fish.
I could see the river was not too dark but a perfect cloudy brown and a nice flow. I knew it was worth going for it during the evening. The plan was to fish from 7pm onwards and attack the peg with one feeder line, putting in plenty of bait. Out went 10 XL cages full of groundbait, containing lots of casters, corn and chopped worm. I then fished two full worms and a dead red maggot on the hook.
An ounce feeder was holding bottom perfectly and the first 45 minutes was good with four decent bream in the net and Kieran had two. They were all proper bream over 5lb each, so I upped the feed to hold the shoal. From the second hour onwards the fishing was superb. The Bream kept coming and many were 6lb to 9lb+ fish! I lost count but must have had approximately 40 slabs and Kieran had at least 15.
With rain forecast in the early hours we decided to stop fishing by midnight. It was a shame as, although the tide was now ebbing, the fish were still feeding well and getting bigger! The fish all went back safely and we didn’t want to mess about weighing them, but estimated 200lb with the average size of fish. It will have to go down as one of those rare red letter days that keeps you coming back for more. It’s a pity we only have two weekends left of the river season now!
Join Dean Barlow on the towpath to learn how to catch quality fish from a winter canal.
Despite the bitterly cold conditions, Dean still managed to catch an astounding net of bream for the cameras, passing on some excellent tips and advice along the way.
Dean fished the Oxford Canal with special thanks to Oxford & District Angling Association.
Watch the video >>
Alan Scotthorne kicked off the year in style with an impressive catch of bream from the Stainforth & Keadby Canal. We got the England star to explain how he did it:
I always fish the Stainforth & Keadby Canal matches through the winter months and it’s the only canal I know that almost guarantees you plenty of bites, even on the coldest of days. It’s always been known as a bloodworm mecca, but over the last couple of years it’s been very difficult – maybe almost impossible – to make the frame using only his bait. You now really need to catch on hemp in the closing stages of the match or strangely on casters in the opening couple of hours of the competition.
When the first matches start in October, a good ploy is to start on caster and finish on hemp if you are looking to win the match, discounting bloodworm altogether. I have tried a lot of times with slightly different approaches to catch a winning weight on bloodworm alone, but with the fish being very small and the canal being quite deep it’s difficult to put big numbers of fish together, given that they don’t seem to come in closer than nine metres of pole. One match I caught 286 fish for just short of 14lb but only won the section as 36lb of bream won the match. As I said, plenty of bites but you need to be more selective to actually win.
This season, match organiser Lee Kerry decided to try a competition where you needed to win your section to qualify for a big final match which guaranteed a good pay day for the winner. After three matches I was looking like I might not make this final. This included one near miss by just two ounces and really not having a chance on the other two qualifiers with end pegs dominating my area. With two qualifying matches left, the pressure was on a little!
Maurice Prijs has been enjoying some excellent sport on Holland’s vast shipping canals this winter. Here’s his expert advice for targeting coldwater skimmers on the feeder.
Catching skimmers on deep shipping canals in Holland can lead to a very enjoyable day’s winter fishing. The Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal can offer plenty of bites on even the coldest days of the year, as the heavy boat traffic and deep water encourages the fish to keep swimming and feeding. Let me take you through a feeder session on this big canal!
The Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal is a main route for the big ships that go to Amsterdam and back. It is a 100m wide canal with about 3.5m of water down by your feet and over 7m in the middle, so you can call this a challenging venue! In general there are three main swims to target: the slope at about 25-35m, the slope at about 65-75m and the opposite side of the canal, where you need to cast a good 95m!
On a day like this I solely choose to fish the slope at 25-35m. The main reason for this choice is that I would like to determine how I fish and feed my peg instead of frequently winding my feeder in when a big ship passes. Fishing at longer distances means that whenever a ship arrives I have to reel in, wait and cast out again. I therefore cannot leave my feeder in the swim as long as I would like to.
Martin Harwood shows you how to catch more bream and skimmers in the latest issue of Coarse Fishing Answers.
The experienced river enthusiast explains everything you need to know during a busy session on the Thames near Donnington Bridge. Visit the Coarse Fishing Answers website to learn more.