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Exe-treme Bream - 07/03/12

Following a Chub Study Group book launch, I met Simon Cooper who invited me to fish a stretch of the Exe run by a syndicate. despite living in Devon for nearly 20 years, I had never fished it and so couldn't pass the opportunity to fish a different river.

Simon showed me around the stretch, where to try for barbel and few other swims, including one that was good for bream. I arrived and started to fish at about 10.30 and spent the first couple of hours fishing for barbel without success using a variety of baits. I then tried the other side of the weir pool with a feeder and maggots, again with little success except for a bullhead. Noow most people would look down their nose at this, but I have never taken one on a rod and line so I was delighted and also suprised - it was on a size 10 with three maggots.

After an hour, I moved downstream to where the flow slowed and fished with the feeder rod using maggot and worm, but also used a small lead fishing worm on a barbless hook kept in place with a small piece of spam. I had two or three bites on the leger rod and missed them all, then when the next bite came, I gently lifted the rod and let a foot of line out, only striking as this tightened and was rewarded with a massive bream. Now, I never have regarded myself as a bream angler and have never really fished for them so my PB was only around 4lb, so you can imagine how gobsmacked I was when a big slab came to the surface. It weighed 8lb 11oz. I didn't think they grew that size in a relatively minor river.

I foshed a bit longer catching another of 7lb 6oz, and had another kite behind an obstacle. However, the lure of potential barbel got the better of me so I returned to the swim I fished initially in the morning with the same result - nothing!

However, what a fabulous days sport which will live on in the memory. Perhaps Simon will be kind enough to let me fish it again in warmer weather for barbel and bream.