Summer Slabs – August 2018

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With summer nearing an end and after having spent twenty four nights on a huge gravel pit in search of a special eel with little success I needed a change of species to keep me engaged in my angling. It’s difficult to get motivated when you invest a great amount of time into something for little reward but that’s fishing and sometimes you have to accept failure, look at what you did wrong and then improve to achieve your goal. During my campaign for a monster eel I would watch the water every morning and evening and managed to see a number of large bream rolling at a reasonable distance from the bank on this one particular water. With a bank holiday approaching I decided to attempt to catch them and set about planning a three day trip.DSC_0084

Before my session I carried out some basic research to find out what size the bream had been caught to and what baiting tactics were productive. Information was hard to come by and with so many conflicting snippets of information regarding the lakes stock I didn’t know where to start. In reality the only way I was going to find out the true size of the fish that the water contained was to fish it.

With a westerly wind pushing in I choose to fish on the far bank and set up with a warm breeze blowing directly into my face. With the lake being so large, ninety acres, I was confident that the wind would have an effect on the bream’s location and I had previously witnessed fish rolling at fifty yards from this bank in similar conditions. DSC_0038

I arrived at the lake Friday evening and just about managed to get all rods out and the bivvy sorted before the sun disappeared behind the alders on the far bank and darkness set in. I managed to find a clear plateau at approximately fifty yards distance in sixteen feet of water. It is an unusual feature and I was confident that the bream would visit such an area to feed and having seen bream roll in this area previously I was confident I could winkle one or two out. The plateau gradually fades into deeper water for around thirty yards and then descends into the abbess plummeting to a mind boggling ninety feet. The only concern I had was a large weed bed that was directly in front of my swim immediately thick from the margins out to at least fifteen yards. The weed was so thick that I questioned the possibility of heaving a bream over the top but I had no choice.

My tactics would be simple and all rods were tied up with inline method feeders and short fluorocarbon hooklinks of 8lb. I had a metre of tubing up the line from the feeder to minimise tangling. As for bait I used a halibut boilie on the hair with halibut pellets moulded around the feeder with the hooklink buried in the feeder which ensured excellent presentation.DSC_0021

The first night didn’t produce a fish and I decided to move one rod to a new spot closer in around twenty yards from the back of the weed bed. As evening set in the newly positioned rod let out a few beeps, a typical bream bite and I picked up the rod that bent over confirming a fish was hooked. The fish went straight towards me and buried itself in the weed which really did cause some concern but after some gentle persuasion I managed to get the fish up in the water and over the obstacle. It’s not easy trying to get a dustbin lid out of such thick weed but I had succeeded, proved it was possible and with this decided to move all my rods on this particular spot. The fish weighed 9lb 4oz and it was a great start to the session. That night produced another two fish with weights estimated at around 8lb. I was catching but not the stamp of fish I was after.

The third and final night arrived and with some more bait spombed out accurately to the spot I was feeling confident. The bite started to come as soon as the sun went down and I managed to get amongst some better fish. I was feeling confident that I could catch a monster but the biggest I managed was 10lb 8oz which is still a great fish but not really the stamp I was after. I will be back to try for a bigger one in Autumn.

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