Oxfordshire gravel pit produces specimen bream and tench

It’s official! spring is here and the nation’s bream and tench stocks are beginning to get on the feed.

While many specimen anglers are still reeling from the coldest winter in decades, Dai Gribble began his campaign for the traditional early season species in fine style by banking a 15lb 4oz bream on his first session of the year, backing it up with a cracking tench of 9lb 5oz.

The 46-year-old Environment Agency employee had spent the past few months stillwater roach fishing, taking fish to 3lb 7oz in the process, but switched his focus during a recent three-day trip to a large windswept Oxfordshire gravel pit.

A clear spot among heavy weed at 100yds proved the killing zone for the Stafford-based rod, who took his brace soon after his arrival, before a cold front swept in and all but put an end to the action.

“It was my first session of the year after bream, and I wasn’t expecting too much because it’s always a bit hit and miss at this time of year, and the run of events proved just that,” said Dai.

“I had both the big fish on the first night, followed by three small tench on the second night, and that was it. The temperature dropped dramatically once again and the bites dried up,” added Dai, who has a bream personal best of 18lb 12oz, taken in May 2008.

All his fish were taken on snowman hookbaits made from Sonubaits strawberry and esterberry boilies, coupled with small plastic boilies from Enterprise Tackle.

He presented these on helicopter rigs over a bed of groundbait and small halibut pellets, mixed together with molasses.