Bream can be taken on all manner of baits. Maggots, bread, corn, boilies – you name it, bream will eat it. Few match anglers would be without worm and casters for bream fishing, however, which are superbly effective. Maggots, including the smaller pinkies and squats, can also work but tend to be less selective. That said, dead maggots are an absolutely firstrate bream bait.
Of course, your hookbait is only the final part of the puzzle for bream Groundbait is often the key to both drawing fish into the swim and keeping them there, and whether skimmers or large ‘slabs’ are the target, the species has a particular liking for a potent mix.
On wide, open sections of canal, the feeder is a useful bream weapon.
Basingstoke Canal Fishing Permit Photo Gallery
The difference a savvy feeding approach makes can be absolutely critical to success. Even an average shoal of fish can eat a lot of bait, so an initial bed of crumb laced with hookbait samples makes perfect sense. This might mean two or three small balls just to test the swim on a tough canal or match conditions, but could also mean a much heavier bombardment where a good net is expected. Your aim is to get the fish feeding vigorously and the advantage of groundbait is that it offers a lot of smell and tiny grains of food to keep a shoal occupied.
Two other useful options are pre-baiting and night fishing. At its simplest, pre-baiting can mean going to a likely spot the evening before your session and introducing a good quantity of bait. This could be several kilos of crumb mix, along with a generous helping of tit-bits: frozen sweet corn or stewed wheat are both cheap and effective.
It’s fair to say that early morning and late evening are prime times for bream, but if you seek a really healthy bag of fish it can be well worth staying on into night. On several occasions, years ago, I would head for a canal basin and brave the attentions of night-clubbers and well-oiled pub goers for the chance to plunder a big shoal of bream, which would appear from nowhere as the light departed, demolishing entire tins of sweet corn and anything else you might throw at them