Heavy groundbaiting is usually carried out with a large amount of breadcrumb as groundbait, either brown or white. I personally have never found any difference in either colour though brown has a more prominent smell to us as humans and there may be truth in the possibility that a carpet of white groundbait scares fish as they feel exposed as they feed over it as they show up against it to predators. Therefor I must admit, given the choice, I plump for brown. I have fished several waters for bream and tench over the years and have used heavy groundbaiting techniques on all of them successfully so I think although it may not be as ‘sexy’ as some of the in vogue methods borrowed from carp fishing, it is one that will, if done thoroughly, produce the results.

Depending on the size of water and the amount of fishing we can do, will depend on the amount of groundbait we buy. It is cheaper to buy in bulk so if 25kg bags can be purchased it is better. This can then be broken down to smaller bags if necessary. As long as sacks are kept away from damp and mice they will last indefinitely. I always mix my groundbait at the waterside and always with lake water. Without doubt tap water is different to lake water and the fish can tell the difference.

The first thing upon arrival at the swim is to locate the feature we plan to fish, a gravel bar or plateau perhaps. This is done with a marker float and the float, once in position, will be the target we use to introduce the groundbait. Presuming the feature is within 80 yards of the bank we can put the groundbait in by catapult. The balls of groundbait should be around the size of an orange, smaller if the distance is getting on for 80 yards or it is windy, but they must be all the same size.

I use a medium size bucket to mix the groundbait in and introduce around 5kg of dry breadcrumb; I then slowly add lake water to this to get the right consistency. It should be stiff enough to survive the flight but soft enough to break up quickly on the bottom of the lake. Once the mix is the right consistency and still in a loose mix I add whatever loose bait I want to introduce, laced-in to the groundbait. Maggots are the obvious choice but lively ones will break up the ball in flight so half dead or dead ones are better. Sweetcorn is good, as is hemp. I like to go one better and add grains of boiled rice as well. This is sticky and if left damp begins to ‘go off’ a bit and mixes with the groundbait well. Bream love rice, it really holds them well in a swim as they search out each grain. I even used them as hookbait for a while, around 15 on a size 10 but found it was not necessary, the other rod baited with corn produced just as many bream.

Mix the loose feed with the groundbait and squeeze up the balls well and uniformly. I make up 10 or so at a time. This means when catapulting them out you can keep in a rhythm firing them out, pulling the catapult back the same distance and at the same angle every time. If you pause each time to make up another ball the accuracy goes haywire.

For a night session I start with around 20 balls and wait a few hours, at dusk I introduce another 10 balls. Do not put every ball right on top of the marker float. Spread them around a few yards, right and left. This area is fished with two rods, there is no point baiting up two areas as that will only split the feeding area. For rigs I use a big, open-ended feeder stuffed full of everything, plugged with groundbait at each end. The reason I use feeders is because it gives a big casting weight for distance and accuracy. Also the feeder acts as a small feeding area in itself, like the method feeder; bream home in on the splash even if they are already feeding and the little pile of bait it introduces is always inspected. Short hooklinks ensure the hookbait is right in amongst the loose feed. The feeder also gives a bit of resistance when the hookbait is taken, a sort of bolt rig.

Feeding bream do not move far when feeding as there is a lot of food in the groundbait patch so a bite-off or swallowed hook is common and undesirable, so a bit of resistance to make the bream move gives a good unmissable bite and a lip hooked fish. Hookbaits - I like using a big ball of maggots, as long as there are not too many small fish, or sweetcorn.

A lot of serious bream and tench anglers use double hook rigs and biggish leads. Do not be too hoodwinked by this, double hook rigs do not cast well, are prone to tangle and if they do not land neatly on the bottom, can cause all manner of problems. So, how do they do it then? Simple, the rigs are rowed out in a boat and dropped off on to the baited area. Which is fine if we are on such a water where this is allowed, own a boat, and fish with someone else. However I am writing for the average angler so a feeder with a single hook is a better option.

This does not mean that we will catch less - just be thorough and accurate with your groundbaiting and with your casting and the results will come. Quite often big bream will not play ball on the first night of a session so it is a good idea to do a second night. Again, bait heavily despite no action the first night, the bream will have seen the baited area and had a small feed the first night but will visit it to feed heavily on the second. This has happened to me so often I am convinced this is what happens. Of course if you fish the same spot every weekend then the bream eventually will be waiting and action will come both nights.

With bream getting bigger and the first 20lb bream on the cards, bream will become a more targeted species, no longer having the 'slimy dustbin lid with no fight' tag. A big bream does fight and is not slimy; it is though the size of a dustbin lid!

Have fun!