Bread Punch finds skimmer bream on the Basingstoke Canal

February 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Last week I coped with a flooded Basingstoke Canal at Fleet, for a net of quality roach and skimmer bream, before a rare barge came by and dispersed the fish. I resolved to return for another session soon, not realising that continued flooding of my local rivers, left the canal as my only option this week. With a month’s rain falling in a few days and waiting for another storm to pass that morning, I was prepared for worse conditions, when I arrived on the canal bank this week.

I’d bought a bait dropper to get my liquidised bread down to the bottom, but there was no need, the canal having fallen to near normal level and pace, while the chocolate coloured water had now cleared with a healthy tinge of green. The sun was out with just a waft of downstream wind. Just about perfect conditions. A heavy float was not needed and I pulled out an old favourite, a modified Dubois with a bristle insert, taking  five No 8s shirt buttoned down towards the size 20 hook.

Having caught at seven metres last week, I started with an egg sized ball of liquidised bread on that line and trotted through, the float dipping, then sinking away moments after it cocked. A small roach, followed next trot by a better net roach, both taking a 4 mm pellet of bread. This was looking promising and after about ten, two to three ounce roach, I put in another ball of bread. More roach. I was hoping for skimmer bream on this visit and decided to try along the far shelf, dropping a couple of bait cups over at nine metres, as an investment and came back over to the seven metre line. First trot the float slowly sank and disappeared. A delay, then a firm lift of the pole, saw the No 4 Elastic stretch out, with the slow thud of a skimmer and the flash of silver below the surface. Shipping the pole along the bank, I detached the top three and slid the first of my target fish into the net.

This 8oz skimmer, was followed by an identical fish next cast, a roach, then a 4 oz skimmer. I put in another small ball. A couple more small roach, then nothing. Over fed it? Time to try the nine metre line.

First put over, the float dived back on it’self and I was into a hard fighting roach, the elastic pinging out as it zoomed about, biding my time netting it, as all the fish so far had been lightly hooked, the hook dropping out in the net with most fish.

 Next trot over, the float tip raised, then dived away. Typical little roach?  Not this time. The elastic came out and the float stayed down, seeing the steady flash of a decent skimmer, as it was drawn over to my side of the bank.

A small roach did follow next trot, then no more touches, so I switched back to the seven metre line and hooked another skimmer first cast. I continued to alternate lines, keeping my feed to a minimum. Each time I changed, I seemed to get a skimmer first, or second trot. The roach were still there, but not crawling up the rod, the whole session having a relaxed feeling, a bit like catching the skimmers, a steady fight, eventually ending in the net. Going up to the 5mm bread pellet made no difference to the size of fish, so the preferred 4 mm stayed on. By 3:30 the bites were getting scarce and if I was to beat the traffic, it was time to pack up. Pulling in the net, I could tell I had a decent haul.

A dozen skimmers and double that in roach, made for a busy two and a half hours on this hard fished venue, some of the catch showing the signs of being in more than one net, while others were pristine. A quick weigh in saw the scale pass 7lbs, before the catch being returned.