reveals his bait tricks and tips for bigger bream catches
Slabs adore pellets and boilies
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.
SET OUT YOUR STALL
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.