Having spent the last three months at Lemons Hill, I decided it was time for a move. There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, my sessions at Lemons had become a little predictable. Secondly, I’d had my radar on Birchwood for a while having walked it a few times.
I guess, I best explain predictable so as not to sound arrogant. I believe, because Lemons is shallow by comparison with the rest of the reservoir – 10-14 feet – the bream, carp and tench are largely nocturnal. With the nights so short, I’d found myself sitting during 48-hour sessions for long bite-less periods. Yeah, for sure, I had some great fish, and in particular, large Bream, the size I had targeted. However, all my decent fish had fallen during darkness. There is only so much time you can spend playing games on your phone.
Birchwood Bay, for those of you, who don’t know it, is a large bay – around 10 acres – that opens out directly in the middle of this 340-acre venue. Last week, during that heat wave, I had a walk around with a marker float checking depths. On the left-hand side as the bay opens out into the main part of the reservoir, I’d found a consistent 21 to 25 feet of water. From my previous sessions elsewhere, I was confident the fish here would be day-feeders. It also helped that I spotted a couple of decent Bream role with the sun at it highest.
The wind did eventually drop
I arrived, as usual Sunday afternoon, and had a walk around checking depths in various swims with a little more detail than last week. It wasn’t long before I found what I believed to be the perfect area. It was a nice comfortable swim, with big trees either side, which would shelter me from the 15-20mph winds. The depth at 14-rod-lengths (56-yards) was 21-foot-6-inches, gradually sloping away on a smooth sandy bottom to around 23-foot at 16-rods (64-yards). The abyss, as I call it – where the depths drop to in excess of 40 feet – was around 120 yards out. To my mind, it was perfect bream territory, and boy was I right.
On a venue of this size, the wind is exaggerated and can be a real problem if it is blowing straight at you. As a side note, it is also worth considering the impact the wind will have on your baiting and casting.
While marking up, I’d seen a fair few fish role at around 100 yards, and was feeling optimistic. I knew, however, that I would need a decent amount of feed, firstly, to draw the fish in and secondly, hold them there.
The reason, I chose to fish 40-yards away from what appeared to be a big shoal, was because I had recently discovered that the bigger specimens would leave the main shoal, and give you an increased chance of a proper sized example.
Before mixing up all my ground-bait balls, and considering the crosswind, which was blowing from left to right, I tried a couple of testers to see which size would hit my marker float comfortably. Having sorted that, I mixed up 80 two-inch (50mm) balls of ground bait, which was around 3 kilos in total.
This is around 20 of the 80 that went out…
It was 6pm by the time I’d cast out. I had barely started setting up my bed, bivvy, etc and had my first indication on a boilie rod. I was again using the Nash Key Cray, which was a bait that had proven very successful at Lemons Hill, having spent months trying to establish a boilie that the fish would take naturally. So I was delighted this appeared to be working here, all-be—it early doors. The second rod was on Maize and the third on corn, both proven reasonably successful.
I continued setting up, and the boilie rod indicator slammed to the top. A couple of minutes later and the fish had come free over some weed that went out about 20 meters. I recast, and made a cup of coffee, which always works, and so it proved. The same rod slammed to the top again – and this time mindful of the weed – I was soon slipping the net under a good conditioned, reasonably sized 8lb bream.
Now, if I was to go through the details of every fish, I’d had, this article would end up like a novel, suffice to say, within two hours, I was only using two rods. By 7am Tuesday morning, I had slipped the net under 54 bream between 7lb and 9lb with a couple just over the magical 10lb mark. I estimate, that in 36 hours, I’d had, 20 minutes sleep and over 400lb of fish. By anyone’s standard, that’s a red-letter session.
Here are just a few, after all, how many photo’s can you take on a phone haha… You will see, all shapes, sizes, and age.
I used in total, 2 kilos of white crumb, plus the same amount of brown. In addition, I added 2 kilos of sweet corn, 1 of maize, 1 of 4mm trout pellet, 1 of 2mm light-oil pellet. I also added a kilo of crumbed Key Cray plus a kilo of Key Cray powder and a kilo of scopex pellet. Twelve kilos in total, which is a lot of bait, but accounted for a lot of fish.
As a side note, I used the new Kodex GenomicMGP wide gape size 10 hooks tied to their supper soft hook-length braid and have to say, they proved brilliant. In fact, the hooks are so sharp, it is hard not to spike yourself while tying your rigs.
So, if you fancy filling your boots with some quality Bream, then get yourself over there.
Here’s link for ticket details.
As always, my intention is to encourage you to get out and enjoy all that Alton and fishing in general has to offer. Go-Catch SteveD