Busta’s Big Bream Haul!

Many thanks to the Durham-based Simon “Busta” Ashton for sending us this great report of a recent session resulting in some fantastic bream. 


The session began on Thursday afternoon on a huge northwest water I’d fished exactly a month before – back then it was truly disappointing with only one bite resulting in a hook pull. This time round however I had a feeling the bream or tench might respond as in the week or two leading up a mate had scored well with big bream.

A 10mph southerly wind blew right into the bay I was fishing and with temperatures quite high I knew the fish would be moving.  Timing I figured couldn’t have been better and with this in mind I armed myself with a variety of goodies from the van including 2mm Krill pellets, 4mm Code Red pellets,  Supercrush Green groundbait, Krill Crush groundbait and a good helping of hemp & corn. Also in my arsenal I had a gallon of flavoured red maggots (krill) and half gallon of caster plus a kilo of dendrobaena worms.

A quick blast with the marker setup in my chosen swim for the next few days revealed a nice depth of 7 feet at 30 to 35 yards; the bottom was virtually clear of weed and smooth. This was to be my tench swim for the weekend and a pair of Drennan XL inline Maggot Feeders fished with fake caster on one, and artificial rubber maggots (red) on the other, would fit the bill. Hook link was 7” of the superb Gravel Braid in 10lb. Hook choice was a size 10 Drennan Specimen Plus which was ample in terms of strength and gape.  My trustworthy distance Tench and Bream rods (2lb tc) were coupled to Shimano baby pits loaded with 12lb ESP Syncro XT Mono.

My plan was to introduce about 2 pints of the caster, pellet and hemp via a large spomb then cast my rigs and mark the lines at the exact distance the spomb hit the water. Now I know anglers cast slightly past their marker to compensate for the ark in which the feeder or lead settles on descent to the lake bed, but at only seven feet deep and the fact I was using mono with quite a lot of stretch in it there is simply so need.  Drennan Marker Power Gum with a simple 4 turn water knot ensures allows you to clip back up on the same spot every time. Casting the maggot feeders every hour would keep a steady trickle of bait going into the swim but before I reeled in the line was clipped up where the Power Gum was tied. Once cast, the clip is removed and the rigs are bang on the money and ready for action.

Without wanting to throw all my eggs in one basket and targeting just one species I still had big bream in mind and this particular water produces some big kippers up to 14lb plus. Rod number three was to be fished at distance – in this case 70 to 80 yards and with a 40g method feeder. The lake bed was still featureless but being well away from my tench swim I could fish differently to the latter and proper hammer in the groundbait laced with a banquet of Sonubaits goodies. Hopefully the slabs would move in and give me some extra action.

After the third boat full of bait was deposited on the mark I sat back and pondered what to eat for dinner but before I’d even fired the stove up both tench rods received quite savage liners resulting in the weighted bobbins smacking into the carbon of my rods. Thinking it might have been a small pike in the margins catching my line I waited for a bite to develop. I didn’t wait long as it happened for the second time just a few moments later. This time my hand was on the rod faster than a gunslinger drawing his six-shooter!!

However, my problem was the strike was met with thin air. Even though this unseen culprit stripped line off the spool it soon become apparent that all I was getting were line bites. A huge shoal of bream had descended into the bay I was fishing and with every angle covered all I had to do was keep casting every hour and sit on my hands waiting for the bream to get their heads. All afternoon I received huge liners on all rods until about 9pm.

Whilst admiring one of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen on the bank, the first of the evenings guests decided to dine and up went the illuminated bobbin and out went the line. This time the rod arched over and the fish was on. About blooming time too! At 9:15pm I was delighted and happy my first fish from the new water was banked. Before I’d even released her the long range rod ripped off and so did the other tench rod! This is no joke either – I played the close range rod first and slightly panic-stricken too but in this situation the best thing to do is to remain calm and restore order. I somehow managed to scoop the bream into the awaiting 40” net without noticing its size. Then I picked up the other rod and slowly coaxed this fella to the same landing net to join his new mate. All the while the first bream sat in the margin wondering what was going on!


Both fish were weighed and were in fact over my target weight. At 10lb 1oz and 11lb 3oz it was a fab start but only the tip of the iceberg.  The next few hours went mental and my middle rod had to be reeled in and put to one side for safety of the fish! The method feeder at range on double worm certainly got the most of the action so a constant flow of fresh bait was needed to keep the shoal feeding in the area.  At 1am having had my fill of huge bream a weary angler set the alarm for first light and called it a day.

For more information on the Specimen Plus hooks range, as used by Busta, click here.