Specimen Bream on the Feeder  

Sometimes it’s really refreshing to get away from the carp dominated commercial match scene and head somewhere new, especially when the venue contains some very big bream and potentially a personal best is on the cards. So recently I headed off for a session in search of specimen bream on the feeder.

Homework pays off

Having never fished the venue before I’ve done a little homework and found out that the bream average around seven pounds with the occasional bigger fish into double figures possible. Although these fish have grown big on a feast of pellets and boilies introduced by the carp anglers it’s still quite early in the year and I’ve been advised to fish maggot on a rig I’ve never tried before, the Helicopter Rig. A little searching on YouTube goes a long way and although I’m somewhat apprehensive just how effective this rig is, it would be nice to get an early fish to boost my confidence.

Decision time

Unfortunately two hours into the session and no so much as a tremor of the tip has come my way and I’m just beginning to think I’ve made a fundamental error when I notice some disturbance on the far bank and on closer inspection find the bream have gone into their mating ritual somewhat earlier than expected. Its decision time, do I stay put in hope or head to the smaller lake next door, one I have know little about apart from it does contain bream?

gravel pit fishing

Mature gravel pits make an interesting change from commercial fisheries.

sphere bomb rod

The Sphere 10’ Bomb +10%, a true all-rounder and will cope with a wide range of bomb and light feeder fishing.

cenex method mono

Cenex Method Mono is an incredibly tough, fast sinking, line that I use for a lot of my bomb and feeder fishing.

Personal best

Half an hour later and after casting a dozen feeders out containing a good quality fishmeal groundbait laced with maggots the decision to move to the smaller lake has paid off as I’m into my first fish and by the feel of it, it’s a big bream. As the fish nears the net the weight increases and I have to admit that I’m getting nervous, please, please don’t fall out hook! In the net she goes and straight away I know it’s a personal best weighing over 7lb, happy you could say that! Fifteen minutes later and with two more big bream in the net the swim dies, time for another six feeders cast and retrieved quickly to hopefully get those fish back in a feeding mood. 

Simple but effective

The tackle I’m using consists of a Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% Power Rod teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 930 Reel loaded with Cenex 0.20mm Method Mono. The rig itself consists of a size 10 swivel trapped tightly between two float stops and the hooklink which is created from Cenex 0.16mm Hybrid Power is attached to this. This hooklink has a size 16 barbless Sphere Beast hook attached along with a tapered sleeve threaded onto it which pushes up and covers the swivel creating an anti-tangle boom and tied directly onto the mainline is 20g Big Pit Standard Feeder. At first you would look at the rig and think, that won’t work but believe me it’s really is effective and has opened my eyes to modern day bream fishing and I’ve been told works equally as well for big tench!  

helicopter feeder rig

A simple Helicopter Feeder Rig is easy to make and very tangle-free. Ideal for bream and tench fishing on still waters.

XENOS feeder 2

A Big Pit Feeder is the ideal choice for the Helicopter Rig. Choose the size and weight based upon the amount of bait you want to feed and the distance.

helicopter rig stops

Use two Rig Stops to semi-fix the short hook length in place about 20cm above the feeder.

"After half an hour I'm into my first fish, and it feels like a big bream..."

Attention to detail 

Although this rig is devastating, to get the very best from it you do need to pay attention to bait and bait application and accuracy is very important, especially early in the year. Before casting out and with the use of marker sticks I clip the mainline in the reels line clip at a distance of forty yards which just happened to be in line with the edge of an island in front. Bream love plenty of bait, especially a fishmeal groundbait so I decided to be positive and attack the swim by casting out the feeder twelve times, hitting the reels line clip firmly before waiting a few seconds for the bait to be released then sweeping the rod back and winding in. 

Top up time

Fortunately by topping the swim up with a further six feeder loads has worked and the bream are back resulting in a five more to 7lb 15oz, what a session. I just wished I’d not spent those early hours on the big lake, but then again if I hadn’t have moved I could have well blanked. It really is all about making the right decisions, being positive, having confidence in what you are doing and some days like today it all pays off.

If you haven’t tried the helicopter rig yet and have a lake close by with some big bream within then I can honestly say you need to give the Helicopter Rig a go.


Ethan Etherington

Ethan’s Tackle

Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% Power Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

Cenex 0.20mm Method Mono Mainline

Cenex 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono Hook Length

Sphere Beast Barbless size 16 hook

Big Pit 20g Standard Feeder

Sixe 10 Swivel, Two Float Stops, Tapered Sleeve 


Ethan’s Bait

Sonubaits Super Feeder Fishmeal Groundbait

Red and white maggots

bream catch

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