I recently asked Sidney Kennedy (Lee Reservoir Angling Services, County Cork) to keep me in the loop on the next Bream foray, and typical of this man, it was not long before he gave me the nod regarding an up-coming adventure. My angling buddy, Andrew Wolsey had also been hankering for a “Bream bash” and was cordially invited. Two days, including one over-nighter is a relatively short stint when it comes to Bream sessions in general, but it was all the time we could afford. Bringing my 19ft McA Lough boat along would serve well as a means to transport the mountain of gear necessary, and by using the sounder; we could also spend a few hours hunting down potential bream shoals close to land. Hopefully this would fast-track us to some big-fish action.
We soon found a deep gulley within casting distance from the shore; and I am happy to say, with the sounder showing plenty of markings directly below the boat. Hoping these were our target species, we dropped four H-Block marker buoys in a straight line at thirty yard intervals denoting four separate “swims”. Back on shore, bait preparations were in full swing. With the aid of my boat, we accurately dropped approximately 20-30 large balls of feed between our designated markers.
Taking long-term shelter in our bivvies, it was a full five hours, and shortly after midnight, before Andy’s alarm signalled some interest. A few small beeps were audible over the relentless roar of the wind, then a positive, single tone that had Andy bounding through the undergrowth towards his rods. This seemed like a decent fish, and with net waiting, a genuine “bin-lid” slipped over the lip into safety. I have taken a lot of Bream over the years, and this was the largest I had ever seen in the flesh.
Carefully lifted from the un-hooking mat and into the weigh sling, my calibrated scales put Andy’s fish bang on the ten-pound mark. What a fantastic achievement, and immediately it seemed, with our first fish landed, the trip was a resounding success. An hour later, and he was into a second fish. It sounds in-plausible, but this fish also topped the ten pound mark. Andy was now one of the very few anglers in Ireland to land a brace of ten pound Bream in consecutive casts.
My rods were next to see some action as the shoal moved in. They were obviously making their way from the right hand side of our baited area to the left, as Sid and Derick had yet to receive a bite. My first fish pushed the scales past eight pounds, and a new PB for me. The following fish topped nine pounds, almost hitting the ten pound barrier, but not quite. As far as specimen Bream were concerned, this was without doubt my finest Bream session to date, and we had only started!
Andy and I shared the Bream action throughout the night until they finally moved on to the second course, Sid and Derick’s offerings. It was dawn by this time, and as the head wind continued to gain strength, even my carp rods were un-able to drop the large feeders into the baited area. Using plain leads, we still managed to pick up fish, but with Sid and Derick using specialised distance feeders, they were able to continue quietly topping up the swim, and began to catch up on lost time.
The Bream numbers slowed as Roach-Bream Hybrids made an appearance, but not before another ten pounder and a few nines were safely landed. Un-believable angling! The shoal of Bream and Hybrids graced us with their presence throughout the day, on occasion giving way to some hard-fighting Tench averaging four to five pounds. When the swim quietened, a few accurately placed spods kicked it back into life again. Some of the larger specimens were placed in a keep-net for a group photograph, but similar quantities were released immediately after capture to avoid over-crowding.
The activity was such that none of us had any sleep whatsoever, and it was almost a welcome break when the following night produced nothing at all! We now had hailstones beating down between the rain showers, and a quick water reading showed the temperature had plummeted by two degrees. The long, lazy summer days of yester-year that suited Irish Bream fishing so well seem to have left us these days, and our angling windows of opportunity are extremely narrow, but when the ingredients manage to come together, jeeze, can Ireland produce the goods!
On this occasion, we landed over seventy fish between us, with an estimate of around 450lbs, amazingly with only a dozen falling short of the specimen barrier. The Bream tally included an astounding three tens, three nines, a dozen eights and over twenty, seven and a half pound fish. The Roach-Bream Hybrids included two over six pounds and seven over five pounds, along with at least a dozen Tench between four and five and a half pounds. We all agreed that we had never seen the like, and chances are, will never experience this once in a life-time angling session again.