Commercial bream on the feeder
There’s more to carp lakes than big weights of mirrors and commons says Guru’s Adam Rooney, who shows how to bag-up on neglected bream shoals
WITH the popularity of carp fishing on the rise, many commercial complexes have a dedicated ‘specimen’ water. But as well as being home to big carp, like all waters these pools often have loads of silverfish you can target. Frequently ignored by fishermen, they are growing massive on the scraps overlooked by carp and therefore offer some truly great angling opportunities for the dedicated seatbox angler. This is why Adam Rooney, former England Feeder Team member, can often be found setup on the banks of carp-filled waters enjoying a spot of light tackle feeder fishing. It was at Lake One on the Makins’ complex, with his seatbox placed between the bivvies, that we joined the Guru brand manager. “This is typical of the type of specimen lake that abounds on many commercial match fisheries. And what’s even better is that it is a water brimming with slab-sided bream and millions of skimmers and roach to back up these big fellas!”
The beauty of carp lakes
Often the biggest lakes on the complex so the carp have plenty of room to grow, this is something that also plays well into the hands of the bream shoals. As most anglers are looking to actively avoid silverfish, they loosefeed piles of boilies, pellets and sweetcorn, all baits that are adored by big bream. So, if the carp are not fully on the feed, the shoals of slabs home in for a free meal. This does two things. First, they grow enormous on carper’s scraps and, secondly, because they are very rarely, if ever, fished for, they are not at all hook-shy. “It is easy to take large bags of pristine silverfish with little effort. I can never understand why more match-style anglers don’t fish on here,” said Adam.
Makin’s Lake One is quite atypical for a commercial pool. Around five acres in size, it is fishable from both sides but, unlike most commercials, it has a number of underwater features similar to a gravel pit. The bank opposite the café is deeper, dropping into a 15-foot trough, while as you travel across the lake it rises to a plateau at around 30 metres before very gradually
deepening off towards the opposite bank. “I like to fish deeper water because it gives me more options,” Adam told us. “I can fish into the real depths or cast a little further on to the plateau in the middle.” Casting around halfway across is a good place to start because it is the furthest bream can get away from either bank. Even on a water as prolific as this, early season you still need to find the fish and go to them rather than waiting for them to come to you. For this reason Adam plans to slowly build the swim throughout the session rather than baiting heavily like he would in the height of summer. “The other aspect regarding location is to observe where the more popular carp swims are,” he continued. “These areas regularly see lots of loosefeed, so bream won’t be far away.”
A traditional approach
Fishing at range and being an expert in the tactic, the 36-year-old looks no further than traditional feeder tactics. A quivertip rod is matched with 5lb Guru Pulse mainline. This is perhaps a little on the light side, but to take the sting out of the cast and to help keep his terminal tackle pinned to the lakebed, he attaches a 4ft length of 0.25mm (7lb) Guru Pure fluorocarbon to the end. “Fluorocarbon is very heavy as well as being almost invisible in water,” advised Adam. “Skimmers and bream can be easily spooked if their fins touch the mainline and, being shoal fish, if one or two mooch off, they all follow. I like to twist the last few inches to create a length of doubled-up line. This makes a stiff section which prevents tangles on the cast.”
The medium cage feeder he used to start the day was set-up to fish freerunning on a clip swivel, allowing for quick and easy changes. Adam’s hooklink was also Pure fluorocarbon, a 50cm length of 0.14mm (3lb 4oz) to a size 16 Super LWG hook. “This sounds a little heavy for traditional bream fifishing, but there is always the chance of a bonus carp, and I fifind that baits such as dead maggot present better on a slightly larger hook, than the more time-honoured size 20 and 22s.”
Give ’em some grub!
Even early season, with the water still relatively cool, bream can still eat a massive amount of loosefeed. For the base of his feed, Adam uses the new Dynamite Baits’ Silver X Skimmer mix, a bespoke groundbait totally devoid of fifishmeal, offffering skimmers and bream a much more traditional sweet crumb. Adam reckons this helps deter the carp. But, to almost contradict himself, he likes to mix this 50:50 with Dynamite Baits’ Swim Stim Milled Expander. This adds a familiar fishmeal scent without adding any significant food value. He then adds particles as he goes along rather than simply adding a pint of maggots and/or a tin of sweetcorn right at the start. “The problem with mixing all your particles and groundbait together at the start of the
session is that once it’s mixed, it’s mixed. The way I do it means I can tailor every feederful to contain exactly what I think the bream prefer on the day. One ingredient I always add is 2mm or 3mm hard pellets to give the shoal something more substantial to graze over.” Rather than kickstarting the session with 10 to a dozen casts, Adam prefers to cast every two to three minutes for the first 45 minutes at this time of year, priming the swim without piling in too much. Once the bites begin, the casting regime will self-regulate but, on a slow day, he will still re-cast every five minutes. The only difference being that he will reduce feeder size. On the day we joined him, he started well, having a carp well into double figures. But after this, the bream turned up and it was then pretty much a fish every chuck! Catching steadily, he amassed around 40lb of big slabs and skimmers. Not bad from a ‘carp’ water!
Fin-perfect bream like this deliver fantastic sport in many ‘carp’ waters
Adam’s bumper bream catch included bonus carp