River Axe fishing skimmer bream dominate on the bread punch

August 27, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Staying at Diamond Farm Touring Park beside the River Axe for a second night, I had intended a longer fishing session, than the two hour tryout the evening before, but a bus trip to Burnham on Sea and a late afternoon meal at the Park’s restaurant ruled out that idea. To prove to myself that the previous evening’s catch was not a fluke, I decided to try a swim much further along the river, climbing down the bank between bramble bushes that hung over the water.

Like the evening before, the wind was howling along the river upstream, although close in was in the lea of the bank. Plumbing the depth I found a foot less water, 3 feet dropping to 4 feet a dozen feet out. Shallowing up on my 16 x 4 rig, I started off with a 5 mm pellet of punched bread on the size 16 hook, feeding an initial ball of feed inside and another over the drop off.

Being shallower, there was more pace on the river and after 10 trots without a bite, I fed a couple more balls of liquidised bread further upstream on both lines, dropping the float into the cloud on the inside. The float went straight down and I was playing a nice roach.

That extra feed switched them on, a better roach diving away with the bait, pulling out the elastic.

The next cast struck into a decent roach-bream hybrid that fought slow and deep at first, before exploding into life, stretching out the elastic with a powerful downstream run.

A small ball of feed was dropped in followed by the float, which disappeared in seconds and another quality roach fought for freedom.

Yet another hybrid. Having the depth of a bream and the thickness of a roach, these fish fight harder than either individual species, testing the hook hold at every turn.

A sliding bite, like a rudd, turned out to be the first of several skimmer bream.

This one WAS a rudd.

This skimmer gave me an old fashioned lift bite, striking when half the float body lifted up, a delay in the hook going home telling me that there may be others well off the bottom. Shallowing up by 6 inches, I dropped in again and the float dived with a clonker roach, that took some getting into the landing net.

The float popped up again as the bulk shot was lifted by a fish and I was playing a definite skimmer, the silver flash of its flank, each time it rolled beneath the surface, giving the game away, steady pressure guiding it to the net.

I love catching skimmer bream, when I was a kid, my local canal was full of them, a porcupine quill float and a piece of crust, torn from a loaf, on a size 12 hook accounting for many of these slimy beauties.

The roach had been pushed off the feed by the skimmers and I was happy to take advantage, netting a few more, before this slimy individual.

I had fed again, after netting the this last fish and dropped into the sinking cloud, again the float lifted and I was into something big, that just sat there, bending the pole and holding out the elastic. Then it woke up, heading up and away from the bank in a sudden spurt of power. Twice I had it close to the landing net, but each time it swam under it, into open water, the dull bronze flash of a big bream visible, when it rolled. The elastic was too light to lift the weight of the bream into the net and watched it swim round for another pass of the net this time on its side. Just right, but no it turned again and headed downstream, with the elastic stretching out, kiting out across the flow, its deep body acting like a sail. Ping! The hook came out. It was gone. My hooklink and weights were one mass of slime, unusable.

It was close to 8 pm again, almost two hours fishing. The 5mm punch had worked all evening, the fish happy to suck in the bread particles, some with my hook in. Sometimes I caught hard on the bottom, at other times around mid water. It had been an interesting evening, at one time I had a family watching from the bank above “Look he’s got another one!” I had learned a small amount about the Axe, and wondered if the wind had not been so strong, the long pole would have found a regular supply of the larger bream. Maybe another day.

A 6 lb net.