Social and Specialist Angling are a group of like-minded anglers based in the Thames valley area of the Southern United Kingdom who have been fishing together for several years. The general idea of the club is to be a small membership organisation, a ‘specimen group’ if you prefer.

The Four Seasons Cup was a new fixture on the club’s calendar for 2010. As the name suggests, the cup spans the calendar year and is made up of 4 matches targeting species most associated with the time of year. The first match was to target Pike on Reading & District’s Whistley Mill lake. In the second match, the target species were tench from Wylies lake. And so we come to the third section of the event…

In these days of custom-made venues stuffed with Carp, the humble Common Bream has somewhat waned in popularity from match winning staple to nuisance fish. Gone are the days of crowds of spectators lining the banks to watch anglers by their hundreds catching bronze slabs from waterways throughout the UK. Here are the days of monster Bream often released unweighed and unreported, a snotty interruption in the night on quests for other species. So it was that many an odd look was given when it was announced we were having a dedicated 24hr Bream match for Round 3 of the SAS Angling 4 Seasons Cup.

For those that have never targeted river bream, only having encountered their stillwater cousins, the river fish is a little more interesting to catch. They use those deep flanks in the running water to maximum effect. In short, caught on appropriate tackle they put up a good fight.

Chosen venue for Round 3 was the woods section of Beat 1 on the Mapledurham Estate stretch of the River Thames between Reading and Oxford. Famed as containing a priest hole and for its background in Where Eagles Dare. An enigmatic venue that has the potential to fish very well for many species typical for the river, particularly the bream which are often in such abundance that fishing for other species thru them is hard, if not impossible.

Midday on August 14th was the allotted start time, draw at 11:15am, and the 6 starters (Sy, Will, Dave, Vince, Jim & Jezz) were joined early on for a day session from our resident roving angler Chris, back for a month from his new home in Oz. Timing for the match couldn’t have been better as everyone had just enough time to get brollies and bivvies up before the heavens opened with the first of many showers!

Quivertipping was mostly the order of the day, with a range of baits from maggots, worms and corn thru to pellets and boilies being employed by all present. Throughout the afternoon of Saturday, Jim, Sy, Jezz and Vince enjoyed some light entertainment catching perch and roach. No bream were forthcoming, though we didn’t really expect to be seeing them until after nightfall. Early evening saw a shift change with Chris departing and Duncan arriving for the night, fresh back from a family holiday. At around 7pm the rain finally stopped and the skies cleared, as per the forecast, allowing everyone to come out from beneath their shelters and for a bit of a social to get started.

As night fell the anticipation was high as the nightlights came into play and the party boats became the sole traffic on the Thames. I shan’t go into the details of Jezz’s bankside entertainment, but he certainly went down a hit with one of the passing cruisers!

10pm ish and there was a burst of excitement around Dave’s swim as he’d had a result on one of his rods. Not a bream but a very long and lean barbel of 9lb 12oz , his second from the venue and something of a rarity this side of September in this area. A result none the less and we were all buoyed up by his capture as we returned to our nightlights and alarms.

SAS4seasonsr3bream_677723226.jpgThe night came and went in uncharacteristic breamlessness for most of the crew, with only Dave banking a fish around 2am that weighed in at 5lb 13oz. In fact it was Dave again who caused a stir on Sunday morning with a surprise 2lb Brown Trout making a bankside appearance! We fished thru until the allotted midday finish, but other than more roach and perch no more fish were forthcoming, so it was Dave’s lone bream which took the full 10 points, everyone else packing up with zeroes on the score card.


Sy Heighes