Brad's Bream

BRAD'S BIG FISH BONANZA

By Brad Hancock

Brad's 27lb 14oz linear

Brad Hancock’s campaign for massive bream on a vast Northern water proved fruitful…here’s how he caught a 9.14 bream, an 8 lb tench and his PB carp!

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

Brad's 9-14-0 beast of a bream

Brad's 9-14-0 beast of a bream

The locals call it the dolphin show, scores of huge bream…

I love tackling a new water, but my latest adventure is my biggest challenge yet. On my first visit, I chucked the fish finder out, and it was ridiculously deep, with a bottom like a moonscape and big, dense beds of weed. An old guy walking around the lake told me it is in fact an open cast mine, which was flooded with water decades ago.

Stood on the bank, I was pondering how to tackle such an awkward venue - and was beginning to wonder whether it would even be worth it. Then I saw them. The locals call it the dolphin show, scores of huge bream breaking the surface in the middle of the lake, porpoising. It lasted for about ten minutes, then they were gone. But I just had to have a go at this big, mysterious lake….

1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING

There are three key bite times at this time of year. If possible you need rods in the water for all three to give yourself the best chance of doing the damage.

The first is early morning, just as the sun is rising. The second is Midday - when the water is at its warmest. The last is as it is going dark, and just into the hours of darkness.

2. COVER YOUR OPTIONS

Brad likes to use two rods when possible, to cover more water and experiment with baits. Three baits are all he takes with him. Maggots, which are his go to approach, some of the Vortex Baits Insecto boilies, and pellets. He likes the versatility of Fjuka pellets, as they allow him to change colour, and make bigger and smaller baits when required.

3. COLOUR IS KEY

Not enough people pay attention to bait colour. Black is the traditional barbel bait colour, and while it is great on its day, there are plenty of occasions when barbel prefer other colours. A change between two black Fatboys, and two red Fatboys bought an instant response on the day.

My first 6 visits bought just one fish and I lost it!

I did see a bream caught, and at 9lb it wasn’t to be sniffed at - but, it was becoming increasingly obvious that these fish wouldn’t feed in the daytime - or at least not in the glaring spring sunshine. So it was back with the bivvy for a night session.

As the sun began to rise, I got my reward. A screaming take and a good fish was hooked. The fight was nerve-racking, and with painful memories of my lost fish still in my head, I let out a yelp of relief as I slid the net under a huge, nodding dog.

It went 9-14-0 on the scales - not the double I was hoping for, but an awesome creature.

Brad's bait: Fjuka Wafter in neutral natural with corn

This Brace fell to a change in tactics

Change of tactics…

My approach up to now had been aggressive feeding with sweet groundbait and natural baits, laced with a very sparing amount of Fjuka 2in1. My theory was that this would bring the big hungry fish to feed confidently - but not fill them up too quickly.

With a bed of bait, I reckoned the bream could really get their heads down. And that’s when I hoped one of them would slip up and take my hookbait. But so far all my efforts were met with meagre reward. Time for a change!

I had been fishing in about 20ft of water (though the lake is over three times this depth in the middle) mainly because I found a nice, flat, clean area to present my bait at that depth. But now I decided to move further up the lake, to a shallow corner, where I began to employ a different tactic.

1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING

There are three key bite times at this time of year. If possible you need rods in the water for all three to give yourself the best chance of doing the damage.

The first is early morning, just as the sun is rising. The second is Midday - when the water is at its warmest. The last is as it is going dark, and just into the hours of darkness.

2. COVER YOUR OPTIONS

Brad likes to use two rods when possible, to cover more water and experiment with baits. Three baits are all he takes with him. Maggots, which are his go to approach, some of the Vortex Baits Insecto boilies, and pellets. He likes the versatility of Fjuka pellets, as they allow him to change colour, and make bigger and smaller baits when required.

3. COLOUR IS KEY

Not enough people pay attention to bait colour. Black is the traditional barbel bait colour, and while it is great on its day, there are plenty of occasions when barbel prefer other colours. A change between two black Fatboys, and two red Fatboys bought an instant response on the day.

The Winning Combo…

Instead of ploughing in sweet baits, now it was fishmeal. Pellets, boilies, and a much more generous helping of Fjuka 2in1, boosted with some prototype Sensate™ liquid for extra attraction.

And I continued to use the same boosted Fjuka Wafter as a hookbait, topped with a piece of fake corn.

This move proved fruitful. My next night yielded two cracking bream of 9-9-0 and 9-11-0. Finally a plan was coming together. The fish were obviously moving in shallower water, and showing a definite preference for the fishmeal in the feed. I just had to wonder what would happen if I was to venture into even shallower water? Before long, I got my answer…

One of two monster carp caught in the margins

A bonus 8lb Tench

Oh what a night!

This brings me on to my last night’s exploits - something that will stick in my memory for a very long time. The move to shallow water didn’t bring me a single bream. But it did bring me two very large carp, including what is thought to be the biggest in the lake, a 27lb 14oz linear!

The bite was savage, and the fish took me half way across the lake, stripping half the line off my spool before I was able to bring it under control. I’m not sure why, but there is definitely something about Sensate™ that big fish love. Oh - and then just to prove it - an 8lb tench muscled in on the action too!

I see more anglers targeting the carp on this lake than I do the bream, so to catch the biggest known fish in the lake was amazing for me - fish on!


The locals call it the dolphin show, scores of huge bream…

I love tackling a new water, but my latest adventure is my biggest challenge yet. On my first visit, I chucked the fish finder out, and it was ridiculously deep, with a bottom like a moonscape and big, dense beds of weed. An old guy walking around the lake told me it is in fact an open cast mine, which was flooded with water decades ago.

Stood on the bank, I was pondering how to tackle such an awkward venue - and was beginning to wonder whether it would even be worth it. Then I saw them. The locals call it the dolphin show, scores of huge bream breaking the surface in the middle of the lake, porpoising. It lasted for about ten minutes, then they were gone. But I just had to have a go at this big, mysterious lake….

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

Brad's bait: Fjuka Wafter in neutral-natural with corn

My first 6 visits bought just one fish and I lost it!

I did see a bream caught, and at 9lb it wasn’t to be sniffed at - but, it was becoming increasingly obvious that these fish wouldn’t feed in the daytime - or at least not in the glaring spring sunshine. So it was back with the bivvy for a night session.

As the sun began to rise, I got my reward. A screaming take and a good fish was hooked. The fight was nerve-racking, and with painful memories of my lost fish still in my head, I let out a yelp of relief as I slid the net under a huge, nodding dog.

It went 9-14-0 on the scales - not the double I was hoping for, but an awesome creature.

This Brace fell to a change in tactics

Change of tactics…

My approach up to now had been aggressive feeding with sweet groundbait and natural baits, laced with a very sparing amount of Fjuka 2in1. My theory was that this would bring the big hungry fish to feed confidently - but not fill them up too quickly.

With a bed of bait, I reckoned the bream could really get their heads down. And that’s when I hoped one of them would slip up and take my hookbait. But so far all my efforts were met with meagre reward. Time for a change!

I had been fishing in about 20ft of water (though the lake is over three times this depth in the middle) mainly because I found a nice, flat, clean area to present my bait at that depth. But now I decided to move further up the lake, to a shallow corner, where I began to employ a different tactic.

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

One of two monster carp caught in the margins

The Winning Combo…

Instead of ploughing in sweet baits, now it was fishmeal. Pellets, boilies, and a much more generous helping of Fjuka 2in1, boosted with some prototype Sensate™ liquid for extra attraction.

And I continued to use the same boosted Fjuka Wafter as a hookbait, topped with a piece of fake corn.

This move proved fruitful. My next night yielded two cracking bream of 9-9-0 and 9-11-0. Finally a plan was coming together. The fish were obviously moving in shallower water, and showing a definite preference for the fishmeal in the feed. I just had to wonder what would happen if I was to venture into even shallower water? Before long, I got my answer…

FLOATING NEEONZ - THE ULTIMATE STANDOUT POP-UP

A bonus 8lb Tench

Oh what a night!

This brings me on to my last night’s exploits - something that will stick in my memory for a very long time. The move to shallow water didn’t bring me a single bream. But it did bring me two very large carp, including what is thought to be the biggest in the lake, a 27lb 14oz linear!

The bite was savage, and the fish took me half way across the lake, stripping half the line off my spool before I was able to bring it under control. I’m not sure why, but there is definitely something about Sensate™ that big fish love. Oh - and then just to prove it - an 8lb tench muscled in on the action too!

I see more anglers targeting the carp on this lake than I do the bream, so to catch the biggest known fish in the lake was amazing for me - fish on!

Tough Fjukas - Big Fish

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