Experienced all-rounder Paul Garner was finally rewarded for persevering at a tough gravel pit complex with this sensational 16lb 6oz bream, one of the largest examples of the species landed this season.
The impressive fish was taken towards the end of a two-night session at the Berkshire venue, which the Redditch-based angler has been targeting for the past three years, and beats his old best of 14lb 2oz set at the same complex last May.
After struggling in previous trips, Paul thought he was in for another frustrating time after failing to entice a bite for most of his stay. However, his fortunes changed in dramatic fashion after a tense hour of twitches and line-bites eventually culminated in the all-important bite.
Paul told AT: "Most of my time on the complex has been spent on the adjacent lake, which holds a good head of very big bream that are notoriously difficult to catch. On this trip though I decided to fish the neighbouring lake as my first choice venue has been exceptionally slow for several weeks. The lake I was fishing has perhaps an even smaller head of bream, but seems to respond better when the conditions are poor."
Rather than adopt standard bream tactics and launch a huge barrage of bait into the lake, Paul decided to adopt a different approach. "The bream in these lakes are often found in small groups, and if you introduce too much bait you can ruin your chances of getting a bite. With the water still being quite cold I used a small Nash spod to introduce just two pints of Scopex Squid flavoured maggots spread over the gravel and then used a medium sized block-end feeder to top up the swim from time to time.”
Paul was targeting a narrow seam of gravel surrounded by thick silt 30yds out into the lake when he received a steady lift on the bobbin followed by line slowly being taken from his reel.
"The fight was one of the best I have ever had from a bream. The fish held deep and took line before kiting to the left and I had to give it the rod butt to stop the fish from snagging me,” he added.
Paul's tackle consisted of an 11ft Nash Peg One Transformer Carp Rod, Shimano Baitrunner reel loaded with 10lb Nash Bullet line. His rig comprised a 1.5oz inline block-end feeder and 8ins of 10lb fluorocarbon to a size 14 forged hook baited with four maggots.
"Complicated rigs are not required for big bream - location and inducing the bream to feed are the most difficult aspects of catching them. I am convinced that the complex holds bigger bream than this and I will be continuing my campaign over the next few weeks," Paul concluded.