re­veals his bait tricks and tips for big­ger bream catches

Slabs adore pel­lets and boilies

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

CARPERS might hate them, but big bream of­ten fall for traps set for their larger cousins.

I for one rel­ish the chal­lenge of catch­ing big slabs us­ing baits and tac­tics more associated with carp fish­ing than tra­di­tional bream­ing, and I’ve had some fan­tas­tic re­sults in the process.

Throw into the mix the Method feeder, bor­rowed from match carp fish­ing, and you can see just how much bream fish­ing has changed.

These days, pel­lets and boilies have be­come a sta­ple part of the bream an­gler’s ar­moury. Bream of all sizes adore pel­lets, but just why is some­thing of a mys­tery. I would haz­ard a guess that their senses are par­tic­u­larly at­tuned to these pro­tein and oil-rich baits.

Pel­lets don’t last long in your swim. As they soften in wa­ter over a few hours, in­ver­te­brates gather on them and start to break them down. While film­ing un­der­wa­ter I have no­ticed that pel­lets are al­ways the first bait to dis­ap­pear while corn, hemp, boilies and other tougher baits will last 24 hours or more.


It would be a rare bream ses­sion that would not see me lay­ing down a car­pet of feed in readi­ness for the ar­rival of the fish.

Bream shoals can num­ber any­thing from a cou­ple of dozen fish on some of the low-stocked big-fish venues to many hun­dreds on more prolific lakes and rivers.

Ei­ther way, when they ar­rive, hav­ing some bait out there will hope­fully hold them long enough for you to catch. I don’t go too heavy with my ini­tial bait­ing, though, even if I am ex­pect­ing a big catch.

A kilo of bait is plenty for a start, with reg­u­lar re­cast­ing of the feeder top­ping up the swim as the ses­sion pro­gresses.

My feed con­sists mainly of 6mm and 8mm hard pel­lets, along with a good help­ing of corn and 10mm mini-boilies. This can be in­tro­duced with a spod or be balled in by mix­ing it with fish­meal ground­bait.

A spod will be more ac­cu­rate at range, ideal if the bream shoals are small, but if I am ex­pect­ing a lot of fish then a ground­bait bom­bard­ment is faster, and spreads the bait out more.


One rea­son I pre­fer to bait up us­ing a spod filled with pel­lets and boilies is that it al­lows me to fish a ground­bait-loaded Method feeder over the top.

This might sound a bit strange, but I want the feeder and hook­bait to stand out. Of­fer­ing a dif­fer­ent bait can work won­ders and bring bites fast.

The only ground­bait in the swim is around the feeder and I will mix it very stiff, so that it takes any­thing up to a cou­ple of hours to break down. On night ses­sions this means that the feeder can be left out and still be work­ing as an at­trac­tant for long spells.


It is the con­ve­nience of boilies all the way when it comes to hook­baits, and I will of­ten carry sev­eral types with me and swap

the hook­baits around un­til I find the best one. Fish­meal-based baits are an ob­vi­ous start­ing point, and I have a tub of slowsink­ing boilies that are made from ground-up pel­lets so that they are as sim­i­lar to the feed as pos­si­ble.

Go­ing com­pletely in the other di­rec­tion, bright yel­low and white 10mm pop-ups can also work re­ally well, and I will of­ten com­bine a bot­tom bait and a pop-up to give a more sub­stan­tial hook­bait that can be trimmed to sink ever-so-slowly.

Some boilie flavours have reached clas­sic sta­tus among bream an­glers. The Source, Scopex Squid and Ester­berry are all con­sis­tent bream baits that I have a lot of con­fi­dence in.

When bream go this big, it’s no sur­prise that they take baits in­tended for carp! HOOK­BAITS Boilies are ver­sa­tile and con­ve­nient. Take a se­lec­tion of colours and flavours. I’ve en­joyed a lot of suc­cess by com­bin­ing a bot­tom bait and a brightly-coloured pop-up to sink slowly. I pre­fer boilie crumb to whole boilies in my feed mix. My spod mix con­tains plenty of grub to draw in and hold the fish.

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