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How To Catch Bream

A number of varieties of fish from around the world are called by the generi name of Abramis brama, a member of the Cyprinidae family of freshwater fish, is the species known as bream in the UK. This type of fish is distributed throughout northern Europe, as far west as Ireland and as far east as the Urals. This fish is also found in parts of the Balkans.

Although the fish has a deep body and a high humped back, it has a very narrow cross section when viewed head-on. The head lacks scales and is relatively small in proportion to the rest of its body. Young fish, known as 'skimmers', are silver in colour but their colour changes to a lustrous dark brownish bronze when they reach around 5 years of age. Older specimens can be almost black in colour. The fish has a protruding mouth that is very well adapted for sucking items of food from the mud at the bottom of ponds and rivers.


When mature, this type of fish can be expected to grow to between 12 and 25 inches (30 to 64 cm) in length, weighing between 4 and 12 lbs (1.8 to 5.5 kg). The UK record is 18 lb 9 oz (8.44 kg) for a fish caught in 2001.

How And Where To Catch Bream

These fish prefer still or sluggish waters with muddy bottoms. They can be found in lakes, reservoirs, ponds and the lower reaches of slow moving rivers.

Breeding Habits

This variety of fish spawns between May and July. The water temperature must reach around 15?C before spawning takes place. A mature healthy female can lay up to 300,000 eggs in a season. The yellowish coloured eggs stick to aquatic plants or gravel, usually in fairly shallow water, where they hatch after 3 to 4 days. The fish take between 4 and 7 years to reach full maturity and can live to be more than 20 years old.


The natural diet of these fish is algae, plants, small invertebrates, insect and aquatic larvae. Worms and maggots are the most popular baits, but bread, sweet corn and processed meat are also effective. The use of groundbait is widespread to attract these fish. Many anglers believe that this variety of fish likes its food sweet, so molasses is often added to the groundbait in an attempt to make it more appetising to the fish.

These fish usually congregate in shoals, so using groundbait can encourage the shoal to stay together, which should make it easier to locate and catch a good specimen. These fish tend to move into shallower water to feed during the late evening or early morning, so these are the best times to try to make your catches.


Float fishing or ledger fishing are the common methods for catching this type of fish. A 12 foot (365 cm) coarse fishing road would be ideal for most water conditions. For float fishing, waggler or slider floats are the most effective. As they are not the most aggressive of fish, a line with a 4 lb breaking strain should be adequate, even when targeting large specimens. Apparently, the secret of this type of fishing is to give the fish sufficient time to get on to the hook before making the strike. Striking too early usually results in disappointment.


Several different rigs have been developed to attach to the end of the line, in attempts to encourage the fish on to the hook. Three different rigs are commonly used for catching this kind of fish.

Ledgering Rig

A ledgering rig consists of a baited hook attached to a lead weight or a swivel that is a short distance from the hook. The main problem with this type of rig is that the lead weight has a tendency to fall off, warning the fish as it starts to take the bait.

Paternostering rig

Many anglers recommend the paternoster rig for this type of fishing. This rig consists of a lead 'bomb' attached to a short line that is attached to the main line about 3 feet (90 cm) from the hook. This allows the baited hook to be positioned optimally in order to increase its attractiveness to the fish being pursued.

Hair Rig

The hair rig is conceptually simple. The hook is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the edge of the bait, so when the fish initially takes the bait, from a thin lightweight 'hair' line, the hook is outside its lips, so it doesn't feel it. As it takes more of the bait it then finds itself hooked.

Groundbait Feeder

Because of the popularity of groundbait for this type of bream fishing, side weighted plastic cylinders, known as groundbait feeders or open end feeders, are often used. The groundbait feeder is attached to a paternoster rig or to a swivel through the main fishing line about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) from the hook. The groundbait is mixed with water and pressed firmly into the cylindrical feeder, so that it is not dislodged when the cast is made. After the cast has been made, the groundbait is gradually released into the water near to the baited hook in the hope of attracting a fish to the hook.

Books And Websites On How To Catch Bream

Fishing for Bream ( is the definitive website for this type of fishing. It features information about fish anatomy, habitat, feeding preferences, fishing locations, bait, tackle and other related topics.




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