Rivers and still­wa­ters are see­ing sum­mer slabs go on the munch

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK - JAKE BEN­SON News re­porter

DE­SPITE scorch­ing con­di­tions, an­glers across the UK are en­joy­ing some phe­nom­e­nal bream cap­tures from both rivers and still­wa­ters.

Less than a month into the new sea­son, dou­ble-fig­ure fish and 100lb-plus hauls are be­ing taken by an­glers on a va­ri­ety of meth­ods.

The tidal Thames around Kew Bridge is in fine form, and cur­rent Thames TideFest cham­pion, Mike Smith, cashed in with a ses­sion on the feeder at this free-to-fish stretch.

He told Angling Times: “I had a lovely day, tak­ing sev­eral bream in­clud­ing six over 8lb – a cou­ple of which were prob­a­bly 9lb at a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate.

“There are loads of bream all along this stretch, but hardly any­one fishes for them. I was the only one on there.

“All my bream were caught on a ground­bait feeder with three mag­gots or a worm on a size 14 hook.”

But it’s not only in the South where bream are on the munch.

On York­shire’s River Don, lo­cal rod Paul Bil­ton fished through the hours of dark­ness to max­imise his chances of suc­cess – a wise move dur­ing pe­ri­ods of high pres­sure and clear skies.

Watch­ing an iso­tope on his quiver tip, Paul went on to bank 27 bream av­er­ag­ing 6lb-plus dur­ing the overnight ses­sion, all of which fell to a worm and red mag­got hook­bait.

Paul said: “I’ve spent a lot of time lo­cat­ing these fish, but it paid off on my first ses­sion as I took 110lb of large slabs. I used a mix­ture of tra­di­tional baits – cast­ers, chopped worm and sweet­corn – over a bed of brown crumb with mo­lasses.”

De­spite the cur­rent good form of our rivers, many an­glers in search of dou­ble-fig­ure bream still pre­fer to tar­get still­wa­ters.

Af­ter a dif­fi­cult spring, spec­i­men-hunter Phil Smith took a stag­ger­ing 10 fish over the mag­i­cal 10lb mark to a best of 13lb 15oz from an undis­closed venue.

A mix­ture of mag­gots and 10mm boilies played a role in the down­fall of the fish and, like many big-bream cap­tures, this one was taken at night.

A mod­est Phil said: “I was more than pleased with this re­sult.”

Mike Smith with a tidal Thames nine-pounder.

Phil Smith’s 13lb 15oz bream.

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