Patience is a virtue

Tue 29 September 15


Feryy Meadows is arguably one of the most productive bream and silver fish venues in the UK. This stunning venue set in the picturesque Nene Park on the outskirts of Peterborough, attracts huge numbers of anglers from all over the country, in search of the bountiful sport this natural venue has to offer both pleasure and in particular, the match angler.

Ferry Meadows Gunwade

As autumn approaches and the night time temperatures start to plummet to near freezing. Like all natural venues the masses of bream and skimmers that dwell in this stunning river fed venue become much hard to catch. To win matches at this time of year you have to be prepared to sit on your hands and wait for your bites.

To find out how to target the venue at this time of year, the UKMA team contacted one of the many venue regular and asked if he would allows us to spend a day on the bank with him, to find out how he went about targeting big bream in a match fishing situation in late September.

Anglers Name – Ian Wilcox Burdett
Age – 43
Occupation – Shop manager at Match Catch, Leicester
Sponsors – Frenzee & Ringers

Ian Wilcox Burdett

Ian’s tactics

The draw took place at 9.00 hrs. and Ian drew peg 3 on Gunwade, which is a noted area with a solid reputation for producing big weights of bream up to 8lbs plus. After we arrived at his peg, Ian explained in detail that his plan off attack would be two feeder lines, line one was fished at 80 yards at 11 O-clock and his second line was fished at roughly 60 yards at 1 O-clock, making his lines roughly 50 yards apart.


Ian made it perfect clear from the off that as the larger bream were his primary target, his two set ups were beefed up accordingly. His chosen rods for the session were the Frenzee 12ft Power feeder, fitted with a 4oz carbon tip for his 60 yard line. Mounted on this, Ian opted for the Matrix Super Feeder 5000 reel loaded with 8lbs Matrix Submerge Feeder Braid.

60 yard set up

For his back up distance set up, Ian once again took no chances, yet again utilising gear that offers reliable performance, with masses of power. His chosen rod and reel combo were the Matrix Horizon 4m Feeder, fitted once again with a 4oz carbon tip. His reel choice for this rod was the superb Daiwa Castizm 25QD loaded this time with 8lbs Maver Profile 8 braid.

80 yard set up.

We asked Ian why he chose to use this beefed up gear and he told us “As my plan of attack is to specifically targeting big bream, I’ve learned that accuracy of casting, bite indication and durability of line are essential”. He continued “Braided reel lines are a must because of the zero stretch, which enable me to see everything what is happening under the water, registering all line bites and most importantly, every positive bite is virtually impossible to miss

We also asked him why he opted to use heavy carbon tips on both rods (4oz), Ian explained that “When these big bream pick up your hair rigged hookbait, they’re instantly hook and by using a heavy tip, this ensures that you hook is well and truly set on the take, resulting in fewer missed bites, plus the stability of the tip ensures you get less vibration down the line when the wind is trying to throw your rod tip around”.

End tackle

Both of his rods had identical feeder rigs. Attached to the braided reel lines he had a 7lbs shock leader, to cushion the impact on the feeder when casting, as well as ensuring that there is an element of stretch in the rigs, to prevent hook pulls or breakages whilst playing fish. His distance feeders were attached to the rig using a 3’‘ Dean Barlow Feeder Attachment, and his 18’‘ long hooklength were made from 6lbs Frenzee Vertex rig line and featured a speed stop on the 15mm long hair. His chosen hook pattern for his bream fishing are the Guru MWG size 14.

Bait Table

Ian's bait table

As with all Steel City match, pellet and boilies are banned as hookbaits, with only natural hookbaits like maggot, caster, worms, corn being permitted. Ian opted to use corn as his chosen hookbait for the 60 yard line and this would be his main option to target the big bream. His chosen feeder freebies included Ringers Method Micro’s, with a dusting of Ringers Dark and Ringers Carp Mix. This is mixed using a minimal amount of water, to produce an instant release of colour and flavour over his baited spot.

Ian's Feeder Mix
60 yard feeder mix

On the 80 yard back up line, his plan was to fish for skimmers and hybrids if the big bream didn’t show up. In the feeder he would feed chopped worm and caster, mixed with the semi dry groundbait mix to bind the worm and caster together, ensuring the bait reached its destination, without leaving the feeder in mid cast. The hookbaits for this line would be small worm pieces on the hair, to sort out the better quality skimmers and hybrids.

80 yard feeder mix

The Match

As it is permitted in all Steel City matches, Ian spent 10 minutes before the all in introducing several large feeders loaded with bait on both lines, feeding minimal food content, so once the all in was called, his hookbait would be the predominant food source. Dead on 10.30 the all in was called and on his first cast, Ian filled his feeder with pellet, grooundbait and roughly 10 grains of corn. His hookbait was two grains of corn mounted on the hair so that the curve of the hook was just touching the corn mounted below.

The loaded feeder bursting with pellets, corn and groundbait

Once his feeder was on the spot, He then placed the rod on the rest and let his braided line sink naturally, by doing this Ian had piece of mind that as he was fishing on top a shallow weed, his feeder and baited hook would not be moved. if he over tensioned the braid, this could potentially drag his feeder and hookbait, masking the hook or even burying the hookbait in the weed, rendering it useless. Once he was totally happy that the line had full submerged, he then little by little turned the handle of his reel until the tip showed a slight movement and left it to rest until his tip dropped back to a straight position, ensuring that his feeder was not under too much tension, whilst remaining in direct contact with it.

Ian opted for heavy 4oz tips for stability and perfect bite indication.

Once he was totally happy with his presentation, Ian then adjusted his butt rest to make sure that his rod tip was just above the surface of the water. He then set the timer on his watch and waited until he got an indication. One top tip Ian passed onto the UKMA team was to record the time you wait between each bite. This gives you a guide to the amount of time you should leave your rig out per cast, this is something that Ian lives by and has proven to be a very good method of keeping the fish coming on a hard day.

Monitor the time between each bite

After 15 minutes of the match had passes and Ian’s tip started registering positive line bites, and after 20 minutes, his tip flew round and he was into a proper fish. After a steady retrieve, ensuring the fish wasn’t being bullied, he slipped his landing net under a good bream of roughly 5lbs. Once in the net, he filled his feeder, hair rigged another two grains of corn and recast. he reset the timer on his watch and meticulously when through the process of settling the line and yet again, 20 minute passed and the tip flew round again!

One of two proper bream in the first 40 minutes.

With 3 big bream in the net, the bites then slowed down to 40 minute intervals over the next two hours but the big fish were still putting in an appearance. To keep the bites coming, Ian alternated between single and double corn hookbaits, just in case the bigger baits were making the bream feed cautiously. But after three hours the bites simply dried up and Ian had to make a change, to keep himself in contention.

Changing to small worm baits produced only small skimmer

Ian decided to visit his 80 yard line and fish with chopped worm on the hair. As he had predicted, this approach only produced small skimmers to 10 oz and a small hybrid but whilst his main line of attack was not producing, he was able to put 2lbs plus in the net to keep his weight building steadily. With reports coming around the venue that peg 122 was catch good fish, he knew he would have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to stand any chance of taking top spot.

Last hour produced two more big fish

With an hour to go, Ian returned to his big baits for big fish approach and cast back out. He basically then sat on his hands and waited and this patient approach paid off, as the last hour produced two more good bream. However, with a lost fish in the last five minutes, he was kicking himself because he thought is may have cost him the match. So it was now all down to the scales, as the all out was shouted dead on 4.30.


Once packed away, the weigh in took place and the scales proved that Ian had comfortably won his section with a very impressive 37lbs 11ozs, which included 9 proper bream, two skimmers and a small hybrid. All he could do now was wait to find out if the angler on peg 122 had pipped him to top spot.

Ian with a well earned 37lbs 11ozs

Once back in the car park and with all the anglers weighed in, Ian’s sit and wait tactics had paid off and he secure top spot beating the angler on peg 122 into second place by the smallest of margins. A well earned win in what can only be described as far from perfect conditions for bream fishing.

1 – Ian Wilcox Burdett (Frenzee/Ringers) Peg 3 Gunwade – 37lbs 11ozs
2 – Harry Murphy _ Peg 122 Gunwade – 36lbs 4ozs
3 – Rob Scotting – Peg 8 Gunwade – 28lbs 12ozs

Not a bad days work, £80 in the bag

Final Thoughts

You have to admire the total confidence Ian has in his approach. He made the decision to stick with his plan and he reaped the rewards. This is a perfect example of being patient and weighting for your bites, and at this time of the year, Ian’s positive approach will more times than not, produce the goods on hard days. Ian’s attention to detail and monitoring of times between bites, enabled him to make essential changes to his tactics at critical times, enabling him to catch quality fish, when anglers around him we scratching for bites.

It just goes to show that “ Patience is a virtue”.


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