Steve re­veals the tricks you’ll need for Su­per­cup glory

Angling Times (UK) - - FRONT PAGE -

THE count­down is on to the An­gling Times Su­per­cup Fi­nal at Barston Lakes on Septem­ber 17... and my ad­vice would be to ig­nore the bream at your peril.

One of the great things about com­mer­cial fish­eries is that not only do they con­tain lots of carp, but there are lots of other fish to go at. Barston is a prime ex­am­ple.

Take the big lake, for in­stance – yes it’s full of carp and big F1s that will un­doubt­edly fill the top in­di­vid­ual places, but it’s the bream and skim­mers that will be vi­tal if you don’t draw on a carp swim, or they’re hav­ing an off day. You can still win by tar­get­ing the lake’s huge head of sil­ver­fish.

These are fish that are of­ten ne­glected, yet when they’re fished for prop­erly bags of well over 100lb are pos­si­ble.

All of a sud­den these bream can trans­form an av­er­age carp peg into a po­ten­tial match-win­ner.

Here’s how to do it…


While there are lots of baits that will work for bream at Barston there is noth­ing bet­ter than corn when you are look­ing to catch a big weight.

Of course, catch­ing a lot of bream means you’ll need to put in a lot of bait and nor­mally, for five hours, I would want to bring at least five 300g tins of sweet­corn with me.

The beauty of corn at a venue like Barston is that there are skim­mers of all sizes in there, and corn tends to pick out the big­ger stamp of fish.

Along­side the corn I also carry some 6mm ex­panders – which are purely for the hook – and some ground­bait and mi­cros too.

The ground­bait is Ringers R Crush. This is ba­si­cally ground ex­panders to which I also add hand­ful of mi­cro pel­lets just to give the mix that bit more food con­tent.

On the sub­ject of the ground­bait, I like to mix it slightly over­wet­ted so that it gets straight down to the bot­tom.

What you don’t want is your mix to cloud up in the water, be­cause even though Barston is a shal­low venue par­ti­cles fall­ing down through the water can lead to fish com­ing off the bot­tom and line bites and foul-hook­ers turn­ing the ses­sion into a night­mare.


Where you fish de­pends en­tirely on how much pres­sure is on the water.

For in­stance, if there’s plenty of room I will look to try and fish short, at around six joints of my pole. This gives me the op­tion to feed both by hand or via a pole pot. The bot­tom at Barston tends to be harder short, soft­en­ing up the far­ther out you go.

The na­ture of the bot­tom is very im­por­tant – if it’s too soft you tend to find you start to catch a few bream, then the swim be­gins to fizz and grad­u­ally it gets harder and harder to get a bite.

When this hap­pens there isn’t a lot you can do other than look to move your line.

So once fizzing be­comes a prob­lem I will start a new swim around a me­tre to the left or right of the orig­i­nal one.

A lit­tle tip, if you are wor­ried about how soft the bot­tom might be where you are in­tend­ing to fish, is to use a heavy plum­met to try and get a feel for what you are fish­ing over.

For this I favour the Guru 30g ver­sion. What I like to do is plumb up and then, once I have the depth right, lift the float com­plete with plum­met 6ins clear of the water and drop it hard straight back down again.

If the bot­tom is very soft the float will van­ish as the plum­met gets plugged in the silt, and this will be­come ap­par­ent when you try to lift out, as you’ll feel no­tice­able re­sis­tance.


How I feed my peg de­pends on whether I fish for skim­mers from the start, or kick off look­ing for a carp and then pick the pole up an hour into the match.

Let’s say I am go­ing to start on the pole. In this case I will start the match by us­ing a medium-sized Kin­der pot on the end of the pole. This holds two-thirds corn and one-third ground­bait.

I like to feed a bit of ground­bait at the start, purely to try and kick-start the swim that lit­tle bit quicker. Corn on its own of­fers lim­ited at­trac­tion.

Once the skim­mers and bream ar­rive I will cut out the ground­bait and just feed a Kin­der pot full of corn af­ter ev­ery fish to help keep them on the bot­tom.

As ef­fec­tive as ground­bait is, I ac­tu­ally find it too po­tent and it tends to drive the bream into a frenzy. For this rea­son I cut it out

once the fish have ar­rived.

If I de­cide to try for carp first I still need to feed the swim at the off, and will do so with a big pot.

I put in two-thirds of a pot of feed, made up of mainly corn with a sprin­kling of loose ground­bait on the top.

From this point on, while I am not fish­ing the pole line I will look to feed corn by cat­a­pult with a view to then tight­en­ing the baited area up with the Kin­der pot once I drop on to it.


I have al­ways be­lieved that bream are a bit dif­fer­ent to most fish in that they like a bit of move­ment on the float.

So, with this in mind when tar­get­ing them on com­mer­cials, I pre­fer to use light rigs in order to try and pick up any tow there might be.

At Barston to­day I’ve been us­ing a 10x11 MW F1 Slim float in 3ft of water. The F1 Slim is a re­ally ver­sa­tile float and one that I love for this type of fish­ing, as it sits quickly and of­fers very lit­tle re­sis­tance on the strike.

Main­line is 0.15mm Guru N-Gauge to a 4ins hook­length of 0.12mm fluoro­car­bon.

Hook choice is a size 16 Guru F1 Pel­let hook which per­fectly suits baits like corn and ex­panders.

Shot­ting pat­tern is a loosely strung bulk of No11 shot with the bot­tom one 4ins from the hook and the rest of the drop­pers spaced at 1in in­ter­vals above this.


When it comes to hook­baits there are only two for this type of fish­ing – corn and 6mm ex­pander pel­lets. I will al­ways kick off with a sin­gle grain of corn – af­ter all, I’m feed­ing corn so it makes per­fect sense to fish the same on the hook. Of course, things don’t al­ways go to plan and if the fish­ing is a lit­tle bit hard I find that a 6mm ex­pander fished over the top of the corn will bring bites when corn it­self fails.

I’m not sure why this is, but it’s hap­pened too many times to be co­in­ci­dence, so now I al­ways have a few on my bait tray when I’m fish­ing for bream on a com­mer­cial, Barston Lakes in­cluded.


My elas­tic choice for skim­mers and bream in shal­low water is Yel­low Hy­dro.

This is soft enough to al­low me to lift into a bream and ship

straight back without fear of the bream splash­ing all over the sur­face or the hook pulling.

I can then use the puller kit in my pole to gain con­trol once I have the fish down to a top kit.

I reckon I can land bream quicker with Yel­low Hy­dro than I can us­ing a heav­ier elas­tic!

Noth­ing beats corn for a big weight of bream.

Yel­low Hy­dro elas­tic stops bream splash­ing on the way in and dis­turb­ing the rest of the shoal.

Ground­bait and corn for skim­mers.

Hook­bait choices and ground­bait mix.

This net of Barston bream fell to corn.

Use a heavy plum­met to find the right spot.

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