How to catch specimen bream

Bottom fishing for bream is, without a doubt, the best way of catching this species of fish. The bream is a prolific bottom feeding fish that scavenges the lake or riverbed looking for food. Bream will sometimes venture in to mid water on the search for food, although the bream spends the majority of the time on the water’s bed. 

When specifically targeting bream you should fish your hook bait on the bottom of the water. If the water is shallow, less than six feet, you can choose to float fish to catch bream. If the water is deeper than six feet, float fishing for bream becomes difficult and it is best to use bottom fishing methods, such as ledgering or using a swim feeder. Bottom fishing methods also work in shallower water. So when faced with shallow water you can choose to use float fishing or bottom fishing techniques for bream and when faced with deeper water bottom fishing is the only option. 

Bottom fishing, as its name implies, is placing your hook bait on the bottom of the river or lake. In order to get the hook bait down to the bottom of the water and keep it in place you are going to need a heavy weight, known as a sinker or ledger. Sinkers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes and different types of water and water conditions require different types of sinkers. 

In fast flowing rivers a large flat bottomed sinker of around 3oz may be needed to keep the hook bait in place, whereas in a small still water a small bomb shaped sinker of 30g is likely to be heavy enough to keep the hook bait in place. The weather also plays an important part when bottom fishing and the more wind the heavier the sinker needed. Because of the amount of different scenarios you may encounter you are going to need a large selection of sinkers so you have all eventualities covered. Fortunately, sinkers are not expensive so it is not going to be a big investment. 

Bottom fishing is a simple method that requires the most basic of tackle and equipment. The best bottom fishing rig for bream is a simple running ledger rig that involves threading the sinker on the main reel line, threading a rubber bead on and then tying on a barrel swivel. The bead acts as a buffer to stop the sinker jarring and damaging the fishing line. Next tie the fishing hook on to a length of braid and then tie this on to the spare end of the barrel swivel. The running ledger rig is very safe and if the line snaps whilst reeling in a bream the sinker will fall to the bottom of the water. There is a danger the sinker is permanently tethered to the bream if it is tied directly on to the main fishing line, which is likely to lead to the premature death of the bream. You should never tie the sinker directly on to the main fishing line when bottom fishing for bream, or any other fish for that matter.

A simple running ledger rig is a good way of bottom fishing for bream. Note the minimal amount of tackle, including  a sinker, a rubber bead, a barrel swivel and a hook link.

Running ledger and hair rigCredit: yackers1

When bottom fishing for bream a hair rig is another rig you should use in conjunction to the running ledger rig. The hair rig is a great rig for all bottom feeding fish, including bream, tench, carp and barbel, as it allows the fish to investigate the hook bait and play around with the hook bait without feeling the fishing hook and being spooked. When using the hair rig for bottom fishing you simply tie the hair rig on to the spare end of the barrel swivel instead of the braid and hook. 

Bream have big mouths so don’t be afraid of using big baits and big fishing hooks. I find a size 8 hook along with a 12mm trout pellet on a hair rig is a killer combination for bream. This size hook and bait is too big for the smaller silver fish but not too big for smaller bream. There are many other fishing baits that can be used to catch bream, such as maggots, worms and corn but I find a trout pellet works the best when bottom fishing for bream. 

Trout food pellets are an excellent bait for bream. Fish them on a hair rig for the best results.

Trout food pellets - one of the best baits for breamCredit: yackers1

Bream swim around in large shoals that will devour a lot of food all in one go. When bottom fishing for bream the idea is to get the shoal of bream around your bait and keep them there feeding. In order to keep the bream interested you are going to have to use ground bait and quite a bit of it. A good way of introducing ground bait in to your swim is to use a method feeder or a swim feeder. Both of these devices have a sinker built in to them so they are used instead of a sinker. Both the method feeder and the swim feeder should be used on a running ledger and hair rig combination when bottom fishing for bream. 

The sinker can be replaced by a swim feeder, which is fished in exactly the same way, i.e. on a running rig.

Swim feeders on a running rigCredit: yackers1

When bottom fishing with a sinker, or a swim feeder, you need to keep the line tight after the rig has been cast in to the water. When you get a bite the rod tip will quiver or bend right round on a violent bite. Bream usually give what is called a drop back bite. This is where the bream picks up the hook bait and the lead and moves towards the river bank, hence making the line go slack. When you are bottom fishing and see the line go slack this is a bite so make sure you strike and bring the fish in. 

A bream caught using bottom fishing methods. Follow the advice above and you will soon find fish like this bream easy to catch.

A specimen bream - The target fish

In conclusion; 

1) Bream are bottom feeders and the best way of catching them is by bottom fishing with a sinker or swim feeder. 

2) Always use a running ledger rig combine with a hair rig when bottom fishing for bream. The running ledger rig ensures safety and allows the sinker or swim feeder to fall off if the line breaks. The hair rig ensures the bream don’t get spooked. 

3) When bottom fishing for bream always use big baits, such as trout pellets, and big fishing hooks to ensure you don’t get plagued by small nuisance fish. 

4) When bottom fishing for bream you need to get some ground bait in your swim to keep the shoal of bream interested. The easiest way of doing this is to use a method feeder or swim feeder. 

5) When you are bottom fishing for bream and a bream takes the hook bait it will usually swim towards the river bank and the line will go slack. Always strike at these drop back bites.