What do you do when you run a syndicate lake containing big tench and bream, but after a flurry of activity for the tench when the season opens on 16th June then more often than not there are no anglers to be seen? I wanted to know how the bream were doing and after seeing a few from the boat in early June decided the time had come to try for them myself.


I think there are about 30 bream in over 40 acres of water, so to increase my chances the first step was to start baiting a swim. I baiting up four times with generous amounts of a variety of Sonubaits 2mm and 4mm pellets together with a couple of bags So Natural Bream and some frozen casters that I’d had in the freezer for ages.

With an overcast night forecast I decided the time had come to see if the pre-baiting had had the desired effect. I baited up at 6pm and then set about getting my rods sorted. The lake is quite weedy with large patches of hornwort, so I opted for 12lb GT-HD main line and a helicopter rig with a Size 10 Covert Dark Wide Gape Talon Tip hook. Two rods were baited with Sonubaits Original Wafters, one Krill and Squid and the other Peach and Black Pepper. The third rod was baited with 4 buoyant rubber casters.


The sound of an alarm within half an hour of casting out took me by surprise, but not as much as the sight of a good bream coming over the net! It had taken rubber caters and at 11lb 2oz it was a pleasing start. Apart from a tench at midnight I slept well until just before first light when I had another bream of 11lb on a krill wafter.


I decided to make the most of the bream visiting the swim and returned in the evening. A friend popped over for a chat and just as he was leaving the bobbin on the left rod dropped and I struck into a bream. After a steady fight a decent bream rolled three yards from the net and soon after John did the honours, although I did berate him for not pushing the net out to its full extent – if you’ve got a 9-foot handle use it! The bream weighed 12lb 6oz and was closer to the 13lb+ fish I was hoping for. A ‘9’ and a ‘10’ followed, both on wafters, together with a couple of tench.


John fished the swim on the Saturday night and surprisingly blanked. The water was clear enough for him to see some pellets still in the swim the next morning, so on the Sunday night I opted to bait with more groundbait and less pellets. Although I only caught one solitary 10lb 2oz bream I couldn’t wait to get back. I felt that if I carried on catching consistently a bigger one would soon make an appearance. Two more ‘10s’ and a relative skimmer of 8lb kept me up on a wonderful moonlit night. As I laid on my bed looking over the lake with the moon shining and mist rising it made me realise how lucky I am to be able to fish wonderful places, and whilst I want to catch big fish it is just as important to be fishing nice places. I’ll leave urban angling for other anglers!

I had considered leaving the swim for a few days and keep baiting up, but on the Wednesday the conditions were as close to perfect as you could wish for. Overcast, warm with a light breeze blowing straight into the swim. I rearranged my plans and arrived in plenty of time to bait up well before I thought the bream would be in the area. I added a good squirt of krill liquid and once again opted for groundbait over pellets in the hope my hook baits would stand out and be taken more readily. Within an hour of casting out I had four good tench on rubber casters and I was left hoping they’d left some bait for the bream, though in reality I knew there would be plenty left, that’s the advantage of baiting with groundbait.

At just after midnight the alarm sounded and I saw the bobbin rise slightly before dropping to the end of the chain – a good reason to use long chains when targeting bream as the vast majority of bites are drop backs. With a short chain you get a couple of bleeps and then nothing which can easily be missed if you are fast asleep. The fish kited to my right and I didn’t think it was particularly large until it came over the net. On lifting the net I knew immediately it was my biggest of the campaign and was delighted to see the scales hold at 13lb 6oz. An hour later it was followed by another good fish, a lovely two-tone bream of 12lb 11oz.

I shall continue to keep some bait going into the swim and will fish it later in the autumn but for now after a trip for catfish my thoughts will be turning to Upper Trent barbel.