BREAM. Abramis brama

Waters: Sluggish rivers, reservoirs, lakes, ponds, pits, canals.

Baits: Worms, maggots, bread, sweetcorn.

Techniques: leger. Leeder-leger, float.

The common bream, also known as the bronze bream, is a fairly weighty fish, with specimens reaching over 12 lb (5.4kg), but a good average is 5-6 lb (2.2-2.7kg). It has a very deep and strongly hump-backed body, a long anal fin. A short dorsal and a deeply forked tailfin. The lobes of the tail fin are assymetrical. The lower one more rounded than the upper.

In colour, the bream is dark on the back, shading to a pale greenish-brown on the sides. The body is covered by a thick layer of mucus. Compared with the rest of the body. The eve is small.

The fish congregate in huge shoals which signal their presence by rooting around in the mud for food items. Stirring up the water in muddy swirls. At other limes the shoal will be seen as the fish roll and sport on the surface. When the experienced angler sees this behaviour, he knows he has time to tackle up, ready for when the bream go back down to feed.

In rivers, legering and float-fishing are equally effective, but several factors- speed of the current, whether the fish are feeding on or off the bottom, whether they will accept a stationary or moving bait-determine which method is likely to prove best.

A high, humped back, a generally oval-shaped body with flattened sides, and a comparatively small head make the common bream an easily recognizable fish.

Where legering is decided upon there are two successful baiting methods. One way is 10 fish maggots or casters in conjunction with a blockend feeder packed with hookbait samples; the oilier is to pack the feeder with cereal groundbait and use a variety of hookbaits.

The blockend feeder (the Drennan Feederlink is recommended I is either fixed to the main line or allowed to slide along it. The distance at which the feeder is stopped from the hook is often critical, but a hook link of 18-24in. (45-60cm) is adequate.

After packing the feeder with maggots, casters or hemp, cast it into the selected spot. It should be weighted just enough to hold bottom. A size 16 hook is used, attached to a 2 lb (0.9kg) b.s. Hooklink. If bites prove finicky reduce the length of the tail and lie on a smaller hook.

Always keep a keen eye open for bites as the hookbait is dropping through the water, and also immediately it touches bottom. Bites will not always occur at these times. Far from it, but be prepared. If you know bream are in the swim and bites are just not coming, keep experimenting. Often it is the bait presentation that is at fault.

Bites will vary from small pulls to heaves that bend the rod-top right over. If a quivertip is being used, the thickness should be such that when the feeder is on the bottom the quivertip is only slightly bent.

Obviously you will get the same effect when using a carbon-fibre rod with a very line tip. Do not delay the strike if the tip just moves a little. Providing that it moves slowly. Small. Insignificant bites often come from large bream.

Worms, breadcrust and flake can be presented on a size 12. 10 or X hook (the size, of course, depending on the bait), attached to4-6lb ( 1.8-2.7kg) b.s. Line. Groundbait can be breadcrumbs, hemp or both, introduced either in a swimleeder or by a catapult.

One factor often overlooked is that bream feed in very confined areas, often no more than 4fl (1.2m) square. Although the bream may be rolling over an area of, say. 15Yd (14m)their feeding area is very confined and success can only be assured if the bait is cast accurately into the same place every time. Where bream are concerned the ability to cast accurately is very important.

Another point to remember is the sequence when baiting up. Always place the maggots on the hook first, then fill the feeder. Filling the feeder first will result in many of the maggots falling out through the holes while the hook is being baited.

In recent years so-called ‘high protein’ baits have been extremely popular. Those with molasses and maple syrup flavourings are reckoned the most successful with bream. The flavourings are mixed either into bread paste or with maggots, and will often encourage bream to pick up a

Bait which they would otherwise ignore. The choice of flavourings is vast and increasing all the lime, but they will not, despite their reputation. Guarantee success.

When float fishing, a waggler with a shot-loading of about two swan shot (SSG) should be enough. The shotting is important because no more than 1 in.(25mm) of the float should show above the surface. Maggots and casters are presented on a size 16 or 1X hook, attached to 1 ½ (0.7kg) b.s. Line, or bread and worms are used on a size 12 or 14 hook, attached to 3 lb (1.4kg) b.s. Line.

The float is set so that the bait either trips along the bottom or travels just above it, the length of ’tail’ about 20in. (50cm). Bites are usually decisive and the float either dives straight under or disappears slowly. Sometimes, if the fish lifts the bait, the float will rise a little out of the waier.

If bites do nol materialise, move the float down the line a little, so that the bait is riding higher in the water, or up the line so that the bait is fished lower. This will slow the bait down in a swim with flowing current. Vary the length of tail, or reduce the size of bait and. Possibly, the hook size.