Britain’s big-bream anglers couldn’t have been happier, with a string of huge fish landed across the country.
Less than ideal conditions saw bright skies and temperatures over 20ºC, but that didn’t stop the nation’s ‘slabs’ from going on the feed.
Angling Direct-backed ace Justin Grapes was the first angler to find success when a 48-hour visit to Norfolk’s prolific Bawburgh Fisheries helped him to a 13lb 2oz personal best.
Targeting an eel-grass bed at 75yds, Justin introduced a bed of pellet, casters, chopped worm and maggots to draw a response.
He told Angling Times: “I caught this lovely two-tone bream at 1.30pm in bright sunshine using a heli-kit and black cap feeder combination.
“With this I used a short mono hooklink and a D-rig featuring a Korda maggot clip – which was mounted with two fake Enterprise maggots, chopped worm and live maggots.
“This tactic also helped me catch six tench to 6lb 12oz.”
Angling Times News Editor Ian Jones was the next angler to break his personal best when an overnight visit to Vauxhall Angling Club’s Sharnbrook Pits yielded a 13lb 3oz specimen.
The 27-year-old found an area of gravel at 50 yards and baited it with 20 balls of Dynamite Baits Marine Halibut and Betaine Green groundbaits mixed 50/50, which he laced with damp pellets and dead maggots.
“Due to the hot weather I only planned to fish the night and received my first take at 1am from a 9lb 11oz bream, which was taken on a fishmeal boilie topped with fake corn,” Ian said.
“At sunrise I thought my chance of a bigger fish had gone, but just 30 minutes before I intended to pack-up the popped-up fake maggot rod was away, with the 13lb 3oz fish proving to be the culprit.
“I couldn’t be happier with the new personal best!”
Ian used a combination of Korda Method feeders and E-S-P helicopter rigs to help catch both fish.
An undisclosed Welsh water played host to the next big bream catch in the form of another 13lb 2oz specimen, taken by Tom Parker.
It was a new personal best for the all-rounder who cast a maggot feeder outfit around 2ft from an island.
The local angler said: “As the lake is in the region of 40 acres and sparsely populated, you can often go through a whole session without so much as a nudge on the rod tip – so I’m over the moon with this catch.
“The initial take was so savage that I immediately thought I’d hooked into a decent-sized carp!”
The final big bream in the list fell to respected County Durham angler Simon Ashton in the form of a 11lb 3oz beauty.
It was the pick of an eight-fish haul for the Drennan-backed angler who had to scale down his rigs on a tricky south Yorkshire reservoir to produce a bite.
He said: “The fishing was rock hard – there were nine rods to my right and three to my left and they all blanked.
“I had to scale down to 8lb Drennan Supplex mainlines, 5lb Supplex hooklengths to Size 18 and 12 wide gape specialist hooks to catch in that sweltering sun!”
All of Simon’s fish fell to worms or flavoured red maggots fished over a bed of mixed Sonubaits particles.