Part Five - Specimen bream (Abramis brama)

Fri 01 June 12


Alan with a massive specimen bream

UKMA: What type of venue would you choose and at what time of year and what do you look for when choosing a swim when targeting specimen bream, giving details of preferred habitat in all venues (rivers lakes etc)

Alan Stagg: Most of my fishing for big bream is carried out on the large gravel pits of southern England. These are the venues that excite me the most however, before deciding on where to start your campaign it is worth talking to any carp anglers that are fishing the venues you have in mind. Many will often be more than pleased to tell you the swims and areas that they have been ‘pestered’ by bream in previous sessions and these are always a very good place to start.

Most of my bream fishing is carried out in the spring months as this is when these fish are at their biggest. The months of April and May are THE months that you will find me out on the bank targeting them. Bream are often fond of open water marks and these are the areas that I will often target when first visiting a venue for the first time. Time spent with a marker float locating large clear areas and gravel bars is never time wasted and these are ideal places to place a bait. Watching the water at dawn and dusk will often reveal where the fish are feeding. There is no better indication on where to fish then seeing a shoal of bream rolling over an area.

UKMA: What tackle and tactics would you use and why, giving details of rods, reels, rigs and any seasonal variations when targeting specimen bream.

Alan Stagg: Most of my bream fishing is done at long range and therefore carp tactics are often adopted to present rigs at long distances. When thinking about the tackle you are going to use it is often worth noting that many venues often hold large carp and these bonus fish will often pick up baits intended for bream.

My tackle consists of the following:
Rods – 2 3/4lb test curve carp rods
Line – 12lb – 15lb Gardner Hydro Tuff depending on weed and the size of carp the venue contains.
3 feet of Plummet leadcore or Covert Tungsten Tubing
Covert Lead clip and Tail Rubber
2oz-3oz lead depending on distance
Size 8 or 10 Talon Tip
8 inches of Trickster Braid or 15lb Sly Skin.

bream terminal tackle

UKMA: What baits would you use and at what times of year would you use these baits when targeting specimen bream

Alan Stagg: My number one hookbaits when fishing for bream are small boilies in 10mm to 14mm in size and stacks of sweetcorn. I really rate the range of plastic baits from Enterprise and these are often glugged in flavour and used to critically balance baits.

UKMA: Give an in depth guide to preparation of your baits, the techniques and additives you would use and how you would feed the swim at different times of the year when targeting specimen bream

Alan Stagg: Big bream can eat a lot of food and due to this I always lay down a bed of bait when targeting them. I tend to start a session by introducing 40-50 orange size balls of feed. Groundbait is a great way to keep bream them rooting around in the swim and offers a lot of attraction. My favourite mix consists of Sonubaits F1 groundbait mixed with Sonubaits Method Mix. This heavy mix will carry a lot of food and flavours and can easily be fed at long. I like to add a fair amount of feed to the mix such as small pellets of different sizes, hemp, sweetcorn, dead maggots and casters.
Groundbait slings such as the Gardner Balls Out Bait launcher are a great piece of kit to help delivery groundbait quickly and accurately. They also have the bonus of saving on bruised knuckles. Balls of groundbaits can be easily fed at ranges of over 100 yards with minimum of effort.

UKMA: Do you have any personal tricks or tips that have been past on to you by other anglers or that you have discovered yourself, that would help improve an anglers chances of catching a specimen bream

Alan Stagg: The use of plastic baits hookbaits play a big part in my bream fishing. These baits take on flavour well and can be used to critically balanced hookbaits. Small 10mm plastic boilies and various sweetcorn are invaluable. I like to add these to a small pot with my chosen flavour and let them absorb this for a few weeks at least. These make the perfect hookbaits.


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