It took nearly a month for conditions to settle sufficiently on the Leam for me to put my latest wheeze (see previous post, Saying goodbye to Mr Toad) into action for a second session - and while surprising, the results almost made it worth the wait.
Saturday was gorgeous; warm, blue of sky and gentle of breeze. Unfortunately a family shopping trip could not be avoided, so I spent a day with fingers crossed, hoping for a repeat on Sunday morning. And I just about got away with it - although it had clouded over in the night, it had remained warm and still. With the river still fining down nicely I had high hopes for the big(gish) roach that are my winter target.
And indeed the rod tip was alive from the moment the first flake of bread hit the bottom of my favourite swim, tiny twitches with the occasional pluck, all pretty much unhittable, at least by me. My first thought was of small fish attacking what was quite a large piece of flake, a suspicion that grew as I tried everything I could to hit one, but without success. My frustration grew as I missed a couple of better bites, but then finally I hit into something - and something pretty solid at that.
As the little feeder rod with its 1oz tip arced away to my right, it was instantly apparent that this was no 8oz roach. Had I finally reached my 1lb roach target? Well no, because what I had failed to consider was that it might not be a roach at all.
In fact it proved to be my first bream of any substance from the Leam, a 1lb 10oz fish that gave a good account of itself in what was still a relatively strongly flow. I was pretty pleased - not only a personal best Leam bream, but a personal best Leam fish, an ounce heavier than last February's cracking perch from the Offchurch end.
Any concerns I may have had that a caught and released bream might spook the shoal were quickly dispelled. As soon as the next piece of flake settled the rod resumed its merry dance, and I, more confident now that there were at least some good fish among the fry, continued to miss the bites. There have been too many one-fish sessions on the Leam in recent months and I was keen to avoid making this another, particularly with so many fish evident in the swim. It was a relieved man that finally connected with his second fish about 40 minutes later, a virtual carbon copy of the first, perhaps just a touch lighter.
So it turns out that the EA surveys and other reports were right all along - there are indeed bream in the River Leam. And if those reports are to be believed they get significantly bigger than my modest brace.
I'll be perfectly happy to see them again while I continue my hunt for those big roach.