This is a picture of the biggest bream ever caught by design, weighing in at a huge 18lb 12oz.
Taken by Dai Gribble during a three-night stint at a southern pit, the giant specimen was the pick of a superb five-fish catch which also included a 15lb 8oz bream and three others over 12lb.
The 44-year-old Environment Agency officer and Korum consultant banked his new personal best on the second night of his stay, after first baiting his swim with a mix of groundbait, pellets, stewed wheat and a few hookbait samples.
Although there have been two bigger bream banked in the past, namely James Rust’s 19lb 10oz British record and Mark Neal’s 18lb 15oz 3dr specimen, both those anglers admitted they were targeting carp at the time.
It marks a fantastic start to the new campaign for Dai, who recently finished third in the 2007/08 Drennan Cup.
“At 2.30am the bobbin started dancing up and down and I was on it in a flash. I could tell it was an above-average fish from its sheer dead weight,” he said.
The capture is testament to Dai’s meticulous approach to finding suitable ‘clear spots’ on which to present his baits at the weedy venue. Using a boat and glass-bottomed bucket to scour an area over 100yds from the bank, Dai settled on a 6ft wide gravel seam in 12ft of water.
“Bream hate pushing through weed, so when I found this clean area I knew I was in with a chance,” said Dai, who also believes his reluctance to include more than a handful of hookbait samples was key to his success.
“I only ever scatter a few around the area because I want the fish to home in on them. I’m convinced this makes all the difference – it’s like offering them smoked salmon instead of sausage rolls!” he added.
Staffs-based Dai, who is no stranger to big bream, having banked them to 17lb 6oz last summer, took all his fish on 10mm Tutti Frutti-flavoured paste-wrapped boilies made by Sonubaits, tipped with red artificial corn. He presented these on 4ins nylon hooklinks and size 10 Korum S3 hooks.