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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


05/08/2018 - A Day The Bream Were Suicidal.

The last of one of sixteen bream

I have done hardly any fishing since my first week of the season on the River Beult, except for a couple of trips to a large still water. For the past two weeks I have been in Sussex at my daughters new house helping in the garden which I suppose is about the length of a cricket pitch and a bit larger in width, which also looked like a jungle, this even after the tree surgeons had been at work for two days. I reckon I spent at least eight hours a day working, when it’s your only daughter you can't sit around on your backside, while she tries to take control of the garden. Though I was well rewarded with a days fishing I want forget in a hurry.

It was around 1000 hrs when Sharon dropped me off at a local still water fishery, reputed to be good for roach and rudd, I could see plenty of evidence the water did have plenty of ‘goer’ size fish of both species, I had also been told there was a good chance of catching pound plus roach and rudd. With the sun beating down, I was thankfull there was a good strong south westerly wind blowing creating a good ripple on the surface. After twice walking around the water for around an hour I decided on a swim with the wind full in my face. The swim I chose was gap about fifteen feet between two large beds of lilies, tackle set up was a 13 foot rod matched with a centre pin reel holding 6lb breaking strain line, some might question the strength of line, the reason was I had been told there were some good tench in the water, I certainly don’t believe in hooking and losing fish through inadequate tackle. I chose to use a small cork bodied wagler made my George Hollands many years ago that needed a single AAA also BB shot lightly pinched on the line two feet from a size 12 wide gape hook which I find perfect when fishing corn, on the hook link I added a BB six inches from the hook. Plumbing the depth I found an average depth of four feet, with a small area of deeper water the size of a family dinner table with around five feet of water. I made up a ground bait mix of brown and white crumb with two pints of hemp also a small tin of corn, after thoroughly mixing the lot I put in four golf ball size of feed into the swim in a diamond formation, then scattered another pint of hemp. Having got everything ready I made a brew then sat back enjoying the peaceful waterside environment, you don’t have to catch to enjoy the surrounding but it does help.

Roach and Rudd a Cast

It was just after 1300 hrs when I made my first cast with a grain of corn, I doubt if it had dropped through the water more than a foot when the float shot across the water surface, my first fish of the session a rudd about 8 ounces, this fish was followed by a dozen more in as many minutes, I then had some nice roach around 12 ounces, every fish was caught on the drop.

A Brace of Carp

I then added another AAA to the BB on the hook link hoping to get the bait on the bottom where hopefully I might get a better class of fish, before casting out I added more feed and loose hemp, this was followed by a quiet session lasting some twenty minutes, suddenly the float shot out of the water then dropped flat before moving across the water surface. Striking I set the hook into a powerful fish which shot down the lake, then moved towards the lilies, I switched the angle of the line several times which had the desired effect of taking the carp of balance, (an idea from Dick Walker describing his friend Pete Thomas playing a big fish) lowering the rod tip using it as part of the line I cramped on the pressure while the fish was trying to work out what was happening then bullied it towards me, soon a common around 8lbs was netted, not was what I was hoping for but good fun while it lasted, naturally the swim went quiet, time for a brew with a cheese and tomato roll.

Sitting back enjoying my lunch I was joined by two know-all’s, one said “You want catch anything fishing like that” the other said “Float fishing isn’t any good you have to leger with bolies” I then said “I’m just learning how to fish with a twinkle in my eye, so I was treated to a lot of nonsense about carp, I then said “I’d read in a book where the author described bread as a good bait for carp” I was then told it's an old fashion bait that carp don’t eat these days, it’s all biolies. I immediately threw some bit of bread in the lilies where I’d seen carp, within a couple of minute perhaps less a carp poked its nose through a small gap clooping down the bread. I got told its rare fish eat bread, you want boilies legered on the bottom, isn’t the word leger from France? After a minutes silence, I said “Have you heard of Richard Walker” they hadn’t a clue, so I gave them a history lesson ending with, “He was the man who popularised carp fishing for better or worse but it all started with bread being used to catch a record 44lb fish in 1952 it’s still good bait today for most fish. They stalked off down the lake, returning an hour later fishless, enough said.

While I am talking with these know-all’s I could see my swim was fizzing like a jacuzzi, not by tench bubbles but bream. On my first cast after lunch I connected with another corn caught carp similar to the first one. Dropping the corn baited hook into the mass of bubbles I was being defeated in getting the bait to the bream by rudd catching one after another even on two grains of corn, changing bait to paste, bread flake and crust it was the same result, more rudd. I then covered the corn with paste this defeated the rudd but didn’t interest the bream.

                                                            sixteen bream in the session

Corn and a red plastic gentle was the answer, I don’t know why this should be, but within minutes I had my first bream around 4lbs, quickly followed by three other fish of similar size, then added some more feed corn and hemp to keep the fish interested, with so many bream rooting about, I had lots of line bites which I couldn’t defeat, but I was catching bream quite regularly making it interesting fishing, soon the total reached a dozen, then fifteen, in between I tried to fish corn without the plastic gentle but the bites ceased, I asked myself “How could such a tiny pieces of red plastic make such a difference” I didn’t know that answer, then as Sharon arrived with Jessica my granddaughter, I hooked and landed my sixteenth bream of the session. It was time to pack up and return home for dinner, Sharon wanted a picture so I placed the net with the fish on the mat, then shot a pic. All in all a most enjoyable day, I certainly loved the thought of letting the know-all’s think I was a beginner and never let on.


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Martin James Fishing
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