Early Season Breaming – Steve Cowley

Bait-Tech’s Steve Cowley has been eagerly awaiting the start of the new river season and made a midnight start on the 16th June on his local River Ouse he tells us how it all panned out here…

Well after three long months, the glorious 16th had arrived and for the first time, I decided to see it in and have a midnight start. The area I chose to target, was on my local River Ouse on a stretch that I have never fished before which in itself was a challenge. I had been to cut out the peg the day previous, where I saw the odd small fish moving and not knowing what to expect, the anticipation was burning at me and I was ready to go.  Getting to the bank at around 8pm, I set about getting everything in order and to hand, so as no fumbling about in the dark was required. First job after this was to have a cast around with a bomb, to get an idea of depth and more importantly whether the bottom was clear or not.

After spending a good 10 minutes casting around I settled on a nice clear and clean area in around 22/24 foot of water, clipped up and set about introducing some feed into the swim.  My chosen groundbait for the session, was the new Bait-Tech Pro Feeder  groundbait mix, which is not only available in a natural version which I was using, but also in a Dark Fishmeal version, both in 1kg bags. I had mixed up three bags of Pro Feeder and also added a further kilo of brown crumb. All this I had mixed up at home early afternoon, so all the particles were fully absorbed, all that was required on the bank was a slight dampen before riddling the whole mix off.

I separated one third of the groundbait, this would be my initial feed where to this mix, I then added around hall a kilo bag of 2mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse Pellet that had been pre soaked, half a pint of caster and around a quarter kilo of chopped worm. This was all deposited into my chosen area, via a big open ended feeder, not having fished here before, I opted for this over my usual balling in approach.

Next was to actually set up the rod I was going to use and I chose a 12ft FXT precision, 2oz tip, 5lb mainline, 0.13 fluorocarbon hooklength and a size 16 eyed hook complete with a hair rigged quick stop, for using hair rigged worms.
With the trap set, everything ready to go, kettle was boiled and I sat back watching the night sky draw in, awaiting the tick-tock of midnight to arrive. On the strike of the hour, the glorious 16th had arrived and first cast of the season commenced. The glimmer of my isotope sat in the night sky and soon was on the move after five minutes, a skimmer of around 1.5lb graced my waiting net and my kick off had started.
Over the next hour three more fish came to the net, including one decent sized bream. The next couple of hours, I suffered with a lot of line bites and only managed two more fish. As the darkness started to lighten, the fish began to feed a little better with a few more skimmers and another bream snapping up the worm hook bait. Between 04.30-06.00, was the best time by far. I switched from worm to double maggot, after suffering a lot of small missed bites, which did the trick, with some big skimmers and a couple 3lb bream all coming to the net.
I decided to end the session, at 6.30, not due to the fact the fish had stopped feeding, but more the fact I was near falling asleep on my box, but it was definitely worth every second. Taking the net out, I was very surprised how many I had actually caught. A mix of several bream and some big skimmers, which tipped my scales around to 52lb 12oz, with the two biggest bream going 6lb 6oz and 6lb 2oz.

This is the first time I had seen the new season in and hopefully this is a good sign for the season to come…oooossshhhh!

Tight Lines

Steve Cowley

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