Black bream

Angling Times (UK) - - MARTIN BOWLER: ANGLING ADVENTURES -

HURST Cas­tle has faced out to the Isle of Wight’s fa­mous Nee­dles since Henry VIII had it built in 1544. The pro­ces­sion of rocks was per­haps one of the last views Charles I en­joyed dur­ing his im­pris­on­ment here in 1648 be­fore he faced the heads­man’s axe.

A mile-and-a-half of shin­gle – Hurst Spit – sep­a­rates the cas­tle from the town of Mil­ford-on-Sea, where I met up with fa­ther and son, Gra­ham and An­thony In­wood. Gra­ham had of­ten spo­ken to me about the black bream fish­ing here, so I couldn’t re­sist his of­fer of be­ing shown the ropes.

Thank­fully he had warned me to travel light, be­cause the shin­gle bank seemed to go on for­ever and the cas­tle was a dis­tant blurred out­line that never seemed to get any closer.

The good news was, we’d only be walk­ing half­way along it to start with. Soon the chil­dren on the foot­bridge with their orange crab­bing lines were left be­hind, and each step brought our first fish closer.

A 30-yard cast would reach the black bream. Gra­ham ex­plained that a carp rod would be more than ad­e­quate. I, how­ever, had lugged along a pair of 15ft Con­ti­nen­tal-style beach­cast­ers with fine glass tips.

I teamed these with fixed-spool reels hold­ing 15lb E-S-P Syn­cro XT line and Greased Weasel shock­lead­ers. I was us­ing two-hook pa­ter­nos­ter rigs made up on 6ft of 40lb fluoro­car­bon with three-way swivels gen­tly crimped in place at the 2ft and 4ft marks. I used these

to con­nect hooklengths of 12lb fluoro­car­bon and size 4 Cryo­gen Clas­sic hooks.

As for baits, I could choose from prawn, rag­worm seg­ments, squid or mack­erel strip – all read­ily avail­able and cheap. With four hooks at my dis­posal I de­cided to use them all and see which the bream pre­ferred.

I was ad­ding to the scent trail by ex­chang­ing my leads for 6oz feed­ers.

To fill these I had con­cocted a mix of Sticky Krill pow­ders and liq­uids laced with trout pel­lets and tuna.

The smelly of­fer­ings were cast to the 40 and 80 yard marks, cov­er­ing the wa­ter in front of me, and with rod-tips point­ing sky­wards I waited for a sign.

An­thony was the first to con­nect and soon all our rod tops were rat­tling, alert­ing us to bream at­tack­ing the baits. We caught just a hand­ful of mod­est-sized fish but it was great fun, and when bites dried up we sim­ply moved, mak­ing our way to­wards the cas­tle.

Weed snared on the line by the rac­ing tide meant there were few mo­ments to re­lax, but de­spite no big black bream show­ing I could fully un­der­stand the at­trac­tion of fish­ing like this.

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