How To Catch Specimen Gravel Pit Tench and Bream

Author: Team CCM
Categories: Tactics

Targeting Gravel Pit Bream & Tench- Phil Spinks

Most anglers instantly think of carp and carp fishing when they see the CC Moore brand, but for me being an all-round angler, the bait has endless uses and is suited to a number of different species and applications.

Each spring I like to target tench and big bream on large gravel pits. Having a good quality bait in my armoury is definitely a huge edge, as these waters can be demanding and the fish, at times, particularly finicky. 

Living the bream

Although most out and out carp anglers find bream a blooming nuisance, for me when they reach double figures in weight, they start to look very impressive. Add to that the venue I'm currently fishing, a large crystal clear 100 acre sailing lake, I then become interested in targeting them. 

Location, location, location....

From past experience I have found bream to prefer the open water on larger gravel pits; in particular gravel bars and higher spots on top of plateaus and raised areas.

There’s an awful lot of open water in 100 acres of water, so looking for rolling fish and following wind direction is a good start. A lot of the lake I am currently fishing is around 14ft to 20ft deep in open water, but in the deep open water there are several bars that can be as shallow as 6-7ft on the top of the bars. These gravel bars are best thought of as dinner tables, in order to grab the attention of any passing shoals of big bream you need to use a fair bit of bait.

My chosen bream mix is very simple. Bream absolutely love pellets, so the bulk of the mix is pellets. I use a mixture of 2mm & 6mm Pacific Tuna pellets along with some plain course pellets that have had a generous glug of Tuna Bait Booster glazed over them. I then add some sweetcorn, 10mm Pacific Tuna boilies and some Tuna boilie crumb to the pellet mix.

The shoals of big bream in the sailing lake are massive so I often need large quantities of bait to keep the swim active. Hence bulking out the mix with plain pellets boosted with liquid. 

My bream rigs are basically scaled down carp rigs. Fox Submerge leaders to combat the savage gravel bars and zebra mussels, then a standard lead clip arrangement down to 10lb fluorocarbon hook links with a simple size 10 hook attached with a knotless knot.

Rigs are normally dropped with a boat due to the gravel spots often being very long range. A small mesh pva bag of Tuna boilie crumb and Tuna pellets are nicked onto the hook before dropping the rig to give it even more attraction. My hook bait is a 10mm Tuna boilie tipped with a piece of plastic corn.

I’ve honestly lost count of how many double figure bream I've caught this year on the big pit. I’ve fished around 5 overnight sessions and the action has become fast and furious once the bream move in.

The bream turn up in huge numbers and I have had several double and triple takes. My best bream so far has been 12lb 12oz followed closely by several other mid 12’s.

I’ll keep dropping onto the big pit for the odd bream night well into

the Autumn this year as I feel there’s bigger bream to come.

Time for Tench..

Tench have to be my favourite species during the spring although this spring I haven’t targeted them as much as I would have liked due to filming and work commitments.

For me, targeting tench is very different to the big bream fishing. The tench prefer to feed very close in or even in the weedy areas, and the bream seem to hate the weed, preferring large open areas barren of any features.

My baiting approach for gravel pit tench is different too. I prefer much smaller food items such as 2mm Tuna pellets, hemp, maggots and casters. The smaller baits keep the tench grubbing around in the swim longer, increasing my chance of a bite and potentially a hit of fish!

Maggots play a massive part in my tench fishing and I have a simple way of giving them an extra kick. I riddle off any sawdust or maize and give them a light dusting of GLM powder.

I bait up in a little and often manner. Starting off with around 10 medium spombs and recasting the feeders every 30-40 minutes. Normally line bites come first, closely following by unmissable screaming takes.

Plenty of nice tench came my way this spring although no huge ones, probably due to the fact I was sidetracked by some incredible carp fishing later in the Spring, but that’s another story...

I’m looking forward to some barbel fishing this Autumn then I have some chub fishing plans later in the year. Hopefully I'll have some tales to tell....

Good luck & tight lines

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