Tracking down large nomadic bream in vast gravel pits is not for the faint-hearted, but this stunning picture of Chris Ladds cradling a 19lb 3oz giant is an example of the amazing spoils on offer for those willing to make the effort.
The huge fish is not only the biggest bream of the year by a considerable margin, but also the third-largest example of the species ever caught.
Chris, from Finchampstead in Berkshire, was targeting a southern stillwater for a two-night session when he banked the personal best smashing specimen, along with a further brace of big bream weighing 16lb 8oz and 15lb 11oz.
Two grains of plastic sweetcorn fished over a bed of groundbait and particles on a strip of gravel proved the winning approach for the 49-year-old bank manager.
“I started to target this fish in the spring of last year and, although I caught a number of specimen bream, this one continued to elude me. I actually thought my chance had gone because the fish was rumoured to have died last summer so I was delighted to discover that it was still alive and well!’ said Chris, whose old bream best stood at 17lb 11oz.
“There are only a relatively small number of bream in this pit, and they tend to be very nomadic, but once you’ve located a feeding area it is sometimes possible to catch a few fish before they move on.
“The all-important bite came at 3am on the first night, and to begin with I didn’t really realise just how big the fish was - it only dawned on me that I had one of the real heavyweights when I came to lift the landing net out of the water,” he added.
Chris used 10lb mainline and a size 10 hook on a Korda Hybrid hooklink to beat his fish, with a 2oz lead on a safety clip completing his set-up.