Big Pit Fishing For Bream

When I hear anglers making out they know how to catch big bream it brings a smile to my face. Big bream are frustratingly unpredictable.

For weeks I had been picking up reports from the Great North Fishery (formerly A1 Pits) suggesting that the bream were feeding really well. So well in fact that the regular carp crew couldn’t stop catching them.
Shoal fish here range from around five pounds to about eight pounds. Good fish by Northern standards, but Pit 6 has the potential to throw up a huge lump, certainly double figure fish turn up each season but it can be a numbers game. The more you catch, the greater your chances of landing a big one. So, all I had to do was turn up when I was ready and slaughter them.

Ha! Some chance! It had been a while since I fished seriously for bream and, to tell the truth, I’d forgotten how contrary they are. One day they can be ridiculously easy to catch, the next they are impossible and from the day my campaign began the place switched off completely.

Carp anglers went from landing twenty bream in a night to just getting an odd fish. Proper bream anglers were really struggling and I couldn’t find my magic wand.

Quite honestly, my Friday night sessions resulted in as many blanks as successes. Confusingly, I started catching an odd fish in the middle of blazing hot days, but even that was topsy-turvey. Fishing method feeders with corn on one rod and 10mm Rosehip Isotonic boilies on the other, I caught carp on corn and bream on the boilies.

Because the lake has a good head of carp to mid thirties, I had begun my campaign using quite heavy tackle. This involved carp rods and 14lb BS Infinity Duo line, which has a low diameter – partly to take the strain of casting heavy method feeders but as much to ensure I landed any carp I encountered.

I also attacked the place, spodding out loads of particles (Pidgeon Seed Conditioning Mix, pellets, sweetcorn and 10mm boilies) and balling-in anything up to 50 balls of groundbait. Of course, the penny eventually dropped; I was going at it like a bull at a gate and the fish simply didn’t want it. Had I been a long stay angler I’m sure it would have paid off eventually. It would certainly have worked earlier in the season but the wise angler responds to the prevailing conditions and this was not the most sensible time for all-out attack.
It was time for a re-think.

For my next trip I had a word with the fishery owner, Glyn ** who just happens to be a worm breeder. An hour later I had a kilo of worms delivered to my swim. Despite it being the hottest day of the year and there not being a cloud in the sky, a switch to chopped worm in the feeder and worm tipped with corn on the hook, saw me bank 5 good bream when I had no right to expect anything except sunburn and maybe a few mosquito bites.

It was all the prompting I needed. A plan was emerging and it was time for a huge scale-down in my approach to match sized method feeders, light baiting and ‘proper’ bream tackle. Specialist angling is not all about thick lines, big hooks and time on the bank. Sometimes you actually have to fish for them!

The two-and-three-quarter pound test rods were replaced by one-and-a-half pounders; the big Richworth in-line feeders with smaller Middy ones and hook lengths scaled down to 6lb Super Shinobi. The size 14 hooks now looked tiny by comparison to the eights I had been using.

Baiting was cut back to lightly spodded particles on one rod and a dozen balls of groundbait on the other. Because fish were responding in daylight, swim choice became easier. Arriving after work for a Friday night session meant competing with carp anglers to get on the end of the wind, but now I could turn up on Sunday morning as they were leaving and enjoy a choice of swims.

It worked like a dream. My scaled-back approach produced fish in the least likely conditions; baking hot, flat calm, it didn’t matter. Sooner or later a fish or two would turn up. I didn’t quite make the double but never mind, it’s a nice excuse to come back another time when conditions change.

Of course, by then the bream will have changed the rules and the thinking cap will have to go on again. But isn’t that the fascination of bream fishing?

Bob’s Tackle
Rods – Daiwa Powermesh PMS2112B
Reels – Daiwa SSII3000C
Reel Line – Daiwa Infinity Duo – 8lb Test
Hook Link – Daiwa Shinobi – 6lb Test
Feeder – Middy in-line
Hooks – Size 14 Drennan Super Specialist

Five Tips
1. Find the fish – sit with the wind in your face and watch for signs of rolling.
2. If you experience line bites, try fishing at closer range.
3. Don’t be blinkered. Bream may feed at any time in any conditions.
4. Keep trying different hookbait combinations till you find one that works.
5. Keep your feed pattern accurate but not too tight. About five metres square is a good starting point. Bream like to graze and a shoal will not fit on a dustbin lid!

Five Bream Waters
1. Great Northern Fisheries, North Muskham, Near Newark
2. Suffolk Water Park
3. Dam Flask Fishery, Sheffield
4. Ferry Meadows, Peterborough
5. One of the Oxford Pits – perhaps Dorchester Lagoon

5 thoughts on “Big Pit Fishing For Bream

  1. Great article!
    I’m targeting some big bream at the moment and failing.
    This article sounds alot like my situation, what sized middi feeders was it? I’m using drennan better method Fedders in 25g with A 5″ braid hooklink and a Gardner size 10 talon tip. Fishing drennan specalist avons 1.5tc with 10lb mono. I’m currently using bite alarms but I am unsure wither bite alarms or quiver tips were used ?


  2. I’ve been fishing for bream for the last 15 years my personal best is nearly 14lb I. Fished bawburgh waters last year in Norfolk my biggest bream from there was 11lb 4oz I’m fishing St Ives in Cambridgeshire at the moment ‘Mr Gordon Howard who runs St Ives is a complete genterman I’m fishing the lagoon for a week starting from the 13th I’m conferdent I will catch bream well over ten pounds what a water its brilliant it’s a shame there is not a bream society’like there is for barble’tench’carp and so on anybody out there interested in starting one please let me know out there all the best”’dream bream”’chris hancox

    • I totally agree with what you said about st ives fishery it’s absolutely beautiful place,
      I fished the lagoon for 3 years solid,
      My biggest bream what is still my personal best is 15lb 12oz from the lagoon
      I’ve been really ill for the last 3 years so couldn’t fish,
      But now I can return to my beloved specimen bream fishing just got to sort something out with that gentleman Gordy at st ives fishery,
      I love to be apart of a specimen bream group,there’s nothing like catching double figure bream,
      They are not slimy at all if anything they are quite rough to the touch like sand paper
      And the colours are fantastic dark chocolate brown with blackish purple fins absolutely beautiful looking fish

  3. Its good to see something about big bream for a change. I fished a big pit in Yorkshire for them and had a few good doubles up to 12.5 a few years ago. Even with a fairly low stock you are best advised to put a bit of pudding out. I used basic brown crumb and added about half a gallon of small particles – wheat is good. Unless you’re fishing a heavily fished water i wouldnt use boilies – i dont think anyone ever had one on a boily on the venue I fished! Use sweetcorn, worm, maggot, bread or cocktails of those. The actual choice of hookbait would largely be down to which nuisance fish need to avoided. Eg. Dont use maggots or worms if the lake abounds in small perch.
    I know bream can be caught in varied conditions but it definitely helps if your fishing in “bream weather” – mild and overcast is ideal. Where possible target your session for these conditions. If you are an allrounder I would have my bream campaign around August time on the big pits. The bream will probably be easier to find. A decent size clear area is the obvious starting point. Unlike carp that will disappear into the weed and be harder to catch at this time, the bream seem to like feeding in the clear areas. In the 75 acre pit I fished it made location easier as there were only two good sized clear areas on the lake. If you pick a nice, overcast mild night in August and fish one of the larger clearish areas you had a reasonable chance of a result even on a quick overnight session. Earlier in the year before the weed concentrated the shoals the big breaming can be more of a lottery, unless you know where they like to be.
    If the shoal come in and give you lots of indications try not to strike unless the bobbin actually remains at the top and holds up for a couple of seconds. With a liner it will drop back down again. The last thing you need is to be striking at line bites and recasting all the time – the shoal may well spook and leave before you get a chance to hook one. As they say in the old bream books “sit on your hands!”

  4. Really goo article!

    “Find the fish” – still not enough anglers take this on board before setting up in a ‘nice looking’ swim…..

    Moving around is key to having a good session 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *