Fishing for Bream and Tench - Edited

To me the summer is all about variety. So during the summer I don’t normally target anything in particular, but I have taken a liking to going after big Still water Bream and Tench.

In this page I take you through how I have been targeting them on the still waters I fish.

Rods and Reels (edited April 2014)

To start with let’s talk about rods and reels. I like to used specialist rods for this as I have found in latter years that the lighter carp rods don’t always have the right action for casting medium method feeders or of 2oz bombs whilst keeping the sensitivity in the tip. They normally start at 2.1/4tc and tend to be abit on the heavy side. But the barbel rods, turned out to be far too light after a 2 years used and they certainly don't have enough backbone in them for loaded 43g methods feeders. So I gone back to light carp rods, and found the JRC Defenders in 2.5tc 12ft to be ideal for lake and reservoir use. Barbel rods are find for the maggot feeders, but they simply not up to the job for chucking 43g method feeders out.

The 5000RE have been moved on, whilst I like them I did get tempted by the 40000 size baitrunners and eventually got three of ST revision. I would have preferred the DL, but sometime you have to buy what you can afford.

Line and other Bits
These have been filled out with mono of 10lb Diawa Senor. An excellent mono for the money and you can get a bulk spool for under a tenner.

As for the other tackle, I use size 6-14 hooks depending on hook bait and what ever method, open or closed end feeder I can find from the local tackle shops. I not a tackle tart, so I tend to buy what I like and stands up to the job.

Bite indication is simple case of a electronic bite indicator and hanging bobbin. If the wind gets up I used the Fox micro swingers, but I try to use the bobbins as they are more sensitive for bite indication. The Gardner Micro bugs with screw in weights and the longer chains are now my number no choice.
I tend to fish my rods on a pod. Mine is a dutch made 3 Construction Pod from a company called Soul. They are based in Netherlands, but there gear is great.

The best way to thing of what tackle you need is what you would need for carp. So a unhook mat is a must along with weight sling, scales, and a camera for that all important photo. 

Bait & Ground bait
I use a variety of hook bait depending on the water, but I do find on larger waters which are not overstocked with small silver fish, you can’t go wrong with the humble red maggot "oh natural" or flavoured. If there is a heavy presence of silver fish then I go for halibut pellets, size 10 – 14. I also use small boillies of a fish flavour variety and on occasion tutti fruit. Other than that I do on occasion used corn and worm.
If the silver fish become a nuisance and constantly nick the red maggots or corn, then simply switch over the a fake bait.

My mix for ground bait is a base of brown crumb, usual I buy  it in a 20kg bulk bag. I will then add 1-2kg for halibut or expro mix for a day session mix. This will then have either crushed 10mm halibut or 1mm coarse pellets depending on the silver fish stocking. I will then mix in halibut flavouring to give it a very pungent smell. I make it into quite a sticky mix for the feeder, as I like to have the hook bait embedded in hit.

It also means that when it hits the lake bed it tends to release the ground bait straight on the bottom rather than in a cloud which attracts the smaller skimmers and silver fish.

Depending on the casting range I would go for a running lead/feeder or semi-fixed leger rig (either lead or feeder) on one rod and a helicopter rig on the other. Both are capable for a 60-80yard cast, but if I'm after a very tight grouping on the cast, I opt for a lead in place of the feeder and spod the ground bait out on a third rod.

This is an example of the semi fixed lead rig. Nothing special really. Just a scaled down carp rig. Hook links will be 6-8lb rating depending on the water and amount of weed/snags present. End rings is again straight forward either the bait is hair rigged or hooked directly.
(Left) Inline method (Centre) flat bottom method (Right) Open end feeder

I like to keep my fishing simple and for most of my tench and bream fishing I'll use the ledger rigs behind bite alarms and bobbins.
However on smaller waters or were I'm limited to traditional methods, you can't beat the lift float. This is a simple rig, but you must ensure you have plumbed the depth properly. I like to use this on small decoy lake were they are deep in the margin and the fish like to come close into the lilies or cabbage beds. But you will need a strong float rod, avon type rod or you could at a push use the barbel rod


This is something that you will have to find. Good big tench and bream waters are hard to find. When I mean big, I talking double figures.

Also, don't be put off from fishing small pond and estate lakes again in the mature venues they sometime hold a surprise number of big fish that have not been fished for.

One final point is have a read of a great book by Bob Church. Its Called "Big Tench" and is available from good book store or amazon.