All dou­bles, to a 10lb 13oz best

Angling Times (UK) - - 50 GREATEST CATCHES -

TWENTY two years ago John Wil­son made his great­est-ever catch – nine dou­ble-fig­ure bream while float­fish­ing from a small boat.

The ac­tion was caught on cam­era and be­came one of the Go Fish­ing star’s most pop­u­lar and talked-about films ever.

Angling Times spoke to the man him­self and he gave an ex­clu­sive and unique ac­count of that mem­o­rable day on the ‘for­got­ten lake’ that was topped by a per­sonal-best 10lb 13oz bream.

“That amaz­ing morn­ing felt like I was in the per­fect fish­ing dream.

I re­mem­ber peer­ing through squinted eyes into thick fog to see the black backs of the big­gest bream I’d ever seen break­ing the sur­face inches from my marker float. My grip be­gan to tighten on the oars as I just knew that I was in for some­thing very spe­cial.

The ‘for­got­ten lake’ in Nor­folk was my cho­sen venue to film a pike fish­ing episode of Go Fish­ing, but af­ter spot­ting some truly mas­sive bream dur­ing the win­ter of 1993 I just couldn’t stop think­ing about them.

I made a pact with my­self that I’d re­turn the next year and if we got the pike footage in the can early (which we did) I would al­ready have my swim baited up and the bream would be there in the deep wa­ter wait­ing for me.

On the morn­ing of that very spe­cial Septem­ber day I was on the wa­ter by 5am and I’d ar­ranged for the four-man team, who were armed with two cam­eras, to meet me on the lake at around 6.30am. My marker was in place, made from an old Coke bot­tle and held in place just on the out­side of my pre­baited area with a weight and a length of heavy line.

In or­der not to spook the fish, I an­chored up 20 yards away from the marker. Two rods had al­ready been com­pletely made up, so I could make that very im­por­tant first cast as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Chopped worms had been one of the of­fer­ings I’d added to my pre­bait­ing mix, so my size 8 hooks were nicked through the ends of two big lob­worm tails, which soon found their way to the bot­tom.

Those hook­baits, that have caught me more big bream over the years than I care to re­mem­ber, were sit­ting at dead depth where they would re­lease their at­trac­tive juices over the re­mains of the bed of ground­bait, stewed wheat, casters and mag­gots that I’d tipped over the side of the boat on two con­sec­u­tive evenings prior to my ses­sion.

That was it – the trap was set and al­most a year of plan­ning would cul­mi­nate in this morn­ing’s fish­ing.

Only been a few min­utes af­ter cast­ing my first slider rig out, the bright or­ange float tip van­ished and I was in. The rod hooped over and that tell-tale nod of a big bream came puls­ing down the 4lb reel line and into the han­dle of the rod, con­firm­ing that my ear­lier hopes of a red let­ter day were to be re­alised.

Now, many an­glers say that bream don’t fight, but many of the big­gest slabs caught th­ese days are landed on carp rods and big reels filled with heavy line.

On lighter, per­fectly-bal­anced gear this species can fight with the best of them, and this thing went off like a train.

I’ve caught fish from all cor­ners of the globe, but the sight of that first huge fish weigh­ing over 11lb slid­ing into my net was one of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments in my fish­ing ca­reer.

It was at that point where I thought I was go­ing to wake up to find this had all been a dream.

By the time I’d sensed the pres­ence of an­other boat on the wa­ter and heard the calls of ‘where are you John?’ from the crew who were strug­gling to find me in the fog, I’d al­ready landed three dou­bles.

As four fig­ures loomed into view I struck into the big­gest fish of the ses­sion and the cam­eras were now rolling… magic!

The guys were de­lighted and some­what re­lieved to have some great early ac­tion shots in the bag. It jus­ti­fied their early start, as you have to re­mem­ber that it had only just gone 6.40am, de­spite my al­ready hav­ing caught four bream for al­most 50lb.

The area I was fish­ing was around 13ft deep, so it was im­pos­si­ble to tackle it with con­ven­tional wag­gler tac­tics, but I wanted to catch th­ese fish on the float.

The slider was the only an­swer. In this day and age, when faced with this kind of swim, many an­glers would get the feeder rod out and sit there watch­ing the tip or lis­ten­ing out for a bite alarm.

But be­lieve me, there’s no more ef­fec­tive way of catch­ing big bream than with a slider, it’s that sen­si­tive.

My 4lb main­line was tied straight through to the hook, and 6ins above that I pinched on a BB shot.

The bulk of three swan shot was po­si­tioned 12ins above this. That might seem heavy, but you need suf­fi­cient weight down the line for the rig to work ef­fec­tively.

On the cast the float sits on top of the bulk shot and then, as soon as this hits the wa­ter, the weight pulls the main­line through the eye at the base of the float un­til it rests against a small bead and a slid­ing stop knot set at the fish­ing depth. It’s as sim­ple as that. Even the dis­tur­bance caused by the other boat didn’t af­fect the qual­ity of the fish­ing – in fact I had to reel in one rod as there were just too many bream in the swim.

As the morn­ing pro­gressed I kept a steady stream of bro­ken worms go­ing into the swim – the last thing I wanted to do was pile a load of feed on top of their heads.

By 10.30 am the fog had be­gun to lift, and as the guys got their fi­nal few shots I had a quick tot-up in my head.

I’d landed nine dou­ble-fig­ure fish, in­clud­ing my big­gest-ever bream weigh­ing 13 lb 10oz.

I also had a hand­ful of fish to 9lb, a roach/bream hy­brid of 4lb 8oz, plus a perch well over 2lb… what a dream day.

To be hon­est, if I’d been there on my own I’m con­vinced that I could have caught 20 or 30 dou­ble­fig­ure fish, but I think it’s pos­si­ble to catch too many big fish at once. Even­tu­ally it be­comes dif­fi­cult to re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate each one.

As we rowed back to the shore I felt so elated and up­lifted from the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

Look­ing back now I feel proud be­cause this amaz­ing catch was taken at a time when bags of huge bream, carp, tench, bar­bel and chub were nowhere near as com­mon as they are to­day.

And to do it on the float just put the ic­ing on the cake of a catch that still leaves me shak­ing my head and chuck­ling to my­self to this very day.”

To watch the amaz­ing footage of John’s catch use this link: watch?v=rb­vd4aZt7B4

View­ers of the Go Fish­ing TV show were cap­ti­vated by John’s catch. 3

Just one of John’s nine dou­ble-fig­ure bream taken on one spe­cial morn­ing.

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