20lb 2oz bream sets new British record for the species

The official British bream record has been broken by a gigantic specimen weighing 20lb 2oz.

Caught from a well-known 50-acre southern gravel pit, the immense fish was landed by specimen angler Simon Lavin during a week-long session targeting the species.

The fish breaks the current official best for the species by 8oz, with Simon, who also once held the grass carp record with a fish of 33lb 12oz caught from Horton Church Lake in 1999, confirming to AT that he will definitely be submitting the capture to the British Record Fish Committee.

Believed to be only the second bream ever caught over 20lb, the landmark fish should also end the furore that has existed since the capture of a 22lb 9oz specimen in 2009 that went unclaimed.

The new record fish is no stranger to Simon, who landed it two years ago at 17lb 10oz – the 50-year-old’s previous personal best and a capture that first alerted the civil engineer to the potential of the small head of bream in the water.

“After I caught it in March 2009, it came out again to another angler that April at 19lb 6oz. I knew then that this water could produce a record if this fish was caught at the right time of the year,” Simon told AT. “The bream here spawn around the third week of May so this year I fished solidly for that week with the intention of catching this one fish. I knew if I could hook it there was a chance it would be very big indeed.”

Fishing a swim with a reputation for producing specimens, Simon baited up a small gravel hump 60yds out towards an island in 8ft of water.

Using a boat for accurate feeding, the Sunbury-on-Thames angler fed 7kg of hemp, mixed pellets, parti-blend and sweetcorn over a bivvy-sized area every evening of the session, then presented hair-rigged maggots on a feeder rig over the top.

“The bite I’d been after came at first light four days into the session,” continued Simon. “For a bream it put up a fair fight, rolling by the net a few times, but it wasn’t until I saw it in the mesh that I knew it as the fish I was after.

“My scales showed it at between 20lb 2oz and 20lb 3oz. I sacked it up in the margins and got two other anglers to witness the fish. We weighed it again on another set of scales which showed 20lb 2oz, so that’s what I settled on.

“It was an amazing fish, and I’m over the moon my plans to catch it paid off. That’s the bream box well and truly ticked,” he added.