Bream fishing

Words: Amer Jawad Pictures: Lloyd Rogers

Amer Jawad explains why you shouldn’t be put off fishing deep reservoirs if you want to catch some big bream…


Beckerings reservoir in Bedfordshire isn’t a big water on the face of it, but in volume it is! At depths averaging 20ft, it is a large volume of water to tackle.


Although the reservoir has a good head of large carp, it’s the resident bream which is my target species today. I really have been on a quest to catch a double figure bream for sometime now, this water holds fish well into double figures. Last winter I managed a net of 13 bream over 8lb but never caught one that pushes the scales into the magical double figures. So today it was about catching bream first and hope for that double figure fish.


I choose an area of the reservoir that’s quite new to me, I wouldn’t normally pick a corner of the reservoir but I know this is a swim that regularly gets carp fished. So I know there is a constant stream of bait that goes in here.


My approach to the deep water is to try and mimic a way of feeding bait through my initial bait up feeder, this is something that seems to work well in these deep waters. I start off by introducing 2 pints of fishmeal based ground bait which contains half a pint of mixed dead red maggots and casters plus a few 2mm micro pellets. The key to drawing these fish into the area and down onto the bottom is to use a bait up feeder with no weight on the sides. I believe that the fish are used to spods and baits falling through the water column which attracts the bream into the area. I count the bait up feeder down at a count of 18. My 30 gram open ended feeder which I start with plus ground bait has a count of 10. The slow enticing fall of the bait up definitely has an affect. The distance I choose for today is 36 metres out, water depth about 22 feet deep. My rod choice is 11ft coupled with a 3000 size reel. 0.10 braided mainline which I’ve attached an 8lb shock leader that measures 6 metres in length. I plan on starting with a 30 gram open ended feeder which is free running and I choose a 0.14 mm hook length which i start at 1 metre in length. Hook size is a size 14 equivalent. Bait choice is 3 dead red maggots. I have worms which I can try but not to start with, I’ll keep them back as a change bait should I need to switch later in the session. I also have other feeders on my side tray should I need to experiment with, these include small window feeders and rocket type feeders.


As you’d expect fishing in such deep water casting out and waiting for the braid to settle takes it’s time. It is important to keep the braid straight when you hit the line clip. I then almost follow the braid down by keeping the reel turning slowly as the line settles. I quite often get bites very quickly which is what led me to feeding with the lead free bait up feeder. No indications on my first cast which I left in for 10 minutes. My plan was to start with 10 minute casts to gauge a response. Although the fish in here are on the big size I still make my mainline choice as braid. The 10 minute casts give me a chance to see any line bite activity which is quite common with fish of this size, plus this depth of water. This will tell me if they are sitting off the bottom or possibly closer in. Braid is the best indicator for reading a swim on the feeder.

We are now over an hour into the session and I am yet to register a sign! I am not overly concerned as it is a large volume of water and quite often takes time for any fish to settle over the initial bait. You must also think about these large bream quite differently to smaller bream and skimmers which are normally found in abundance. The larger fish shoal up in much less numbers, so getting 4-5 bites in a session could result in a weight of 30-50lb! Imagine how many skimmers you’d need to amass that weight?

It takes about 90 minutes before I get my first line bite. This is a good sign which now fills me with confidence. I decide to give my next couple of casts a lot longer waiting time and I am soon rewarded with my first proper bite! A nice gentle pull round and bream number one is on. I put the net under a bream of 8lb plus, we are off the mark.

Another point worth mentioning about this water, when you get your first bite another tends to follow within 15 minutes, so I cast straight back out in anticipation of another bite but unfortunately no signs on this cast. A couple more liners later and a nice strong pull round , bream number two makes its way to my net! Again a fish of around 8lb. The longer waiting seems to be the best approach as the regular casting only seems to get me line bites. I then suffer a long blank spell which gets me thinking about another few casts with the large bait up feeder to get another volume of bait on the bottom and repeat what I had done earlier in the session.


I always believe that if you think it, do it. So I cast out 6 large bait up feeders with a mix of ground bait, casters and dead red maggots plus a sprinkle of 2mm micro pellets. Now let’s see what the response is. 


I was getting the feeling that there were bream hovering around the baited up area but not really getting their heads down to feed. Those six bait ups mid day has really sparked a good reaction. Within 15 minutes of casting them out I am soon getting bites again. Bream number 3 and 4 come in consecutive casts. Line bites start to disappear in favour of sitting on my hands and watching a proper bite develop. We must remember that these fish are very large in size and can mop up a volume of bait in no time. As the day draws to a close I add a further 4 large bream, biggest fish at just over 9lb! 8 bream bagged and all above 7lb.


I hope I have offered food for thought on how we think about the way these larger bream feed, especially in very deep water. I know these large bream sit off the bottom and the aim is not to only attract then into the area/swim, but also attracting them into feeding on the bottom. I felt today was the perfect example of turning a potentially frustrating day into a very rewarding one.