Autumn – Bream Fishing at Arley

Late September, the days get shorter, the temperatures plummet and the wind and rain start to drive, for many Anglers is a time to stay in bed rather than venture out in search of fish.  Its this time of year when my mind turns to a spot of Bream fishing, unluckily for my Dad who detests the snotty devils I manage to convince him to accompany me, our chosen venue Arley reservoir, one lake of the choice of 3 at Worthington Lakes, Wigan.

Now we have never fished this venue before so fully expect a blank on this trip, especially when my internet search turned up rumours of fish deaths in the venue just a few years ago, on a plus note some kind Angler had left some fishing tips on a Angling forum which came in handy.

After a slow start, namely getting the car stuck in some mud on the way to the venue, we arrived around 10am, temperature 10C with a strong wind in our face and heavy cloud cover – perfect Bream weather in my opinion.

We both set up, occasionally getting a drenching by the regular rain showers whilst observing around 8 Cormorants perched on the blue pipe on the next lake, now I know that blank was looking even more probable!

Ever the optimist I continue with my plan, groundbait feeder around 30 yards out just where the bottom levels after the drop off.  Bait of choice, dead red maggots and corn.   I start with 5 feeders put in the same spot by using the line clip on my reel, then bait the size 16 hook with 4 juicy dead reds, trap set I sit back and wait eagerly.  In the mean time my dad is getting bites, fishing the way he only knows how, don’t ask! No fish, but bites none the less, the blank is looking less likely.  On my second cast the tip hammers round only for me to miss the bite, back out to the same spot the feeder goes, after a 15 second count to the bottom I settle the rod only for it to be nearly wrenched from my grasp, this one was in the bag – a lovely Bream around the 3-4lb mark, mission accomplished although not the personal best I hoped for, although a good start for me. Meanwhile dads bites have dried up and fishing closer in has him getting snagged on the rocky walls of the reservoir, after a few lost feeders I try to convince him to fish further out, turning to see him bend into something huge – well I’m sure you would say the bottom is huge!  Another feeder lost and its time for him to change to the float, as I said don’t ask, I leave him to it and soldier on with my plan.

Since the Bream it has gone a little quiet with only the occasional bite, I decide to add a few loose offerings to the groundbait, just dead reds for now, this brings a bite a chuck from Perch around 4-8 ounces. Whilst they give a good account of themselves on light tackle they are not my target species, so another change as I decide to put corn in the groundbait, big mistake, as this kills the swim for a good couple of hours, I try every hook bait in my armoury without success, I’ll I can do is keep casting regularly in the hope the Bream come back on the feed, eventually I start to get bites and hit into a fish, skimmer around a pound, I’m overwhelmed with relief but as I can only get bites on the dead red maggots I have to stick with them, its a bite a chuck at this point but the Perch are back, after around 10 of the prickly predators I decide enough is enough.  I add more dead reds to the mix in an attempt to feed them off, it takes a while but it works with a lovely Roach just under a pound coming to the bank.  Then a dead patch as the sky clears and the wind drops, this gives me chance to chat to the thoroughly nice baliff who tells me the double figure Bream are in the Cormorant lake, he has caught them to 6lb from Arley and also informs us that the Carp run to over 20lb with rumours of much bigger fish, with renewed optimism I continue plugging the same spot and with the return of the wind and driving rain manage the squeeze a few more skimmers from the swim before the Perch plague strikes again and its back to a bite a chuck. Eventually we call it a day.  By the way, that was about an hour after my Dad packed up, he managed the blank I had predicted.  Just goes to show a little knowledge can go a long way and if something isn’t working then a change can bring results.

We will be back the Worthington Lakes again in the future, maybe to try for one of the double figure Bream or Carp.  Good luck if you decide to try your luck at this venue.  My advice is keep the feed going in throughout the day, this is no easy commercial water, it is challenging, however the rewards are there if you work for them. Tight Lines. Neil

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