Simply the Bread ?

Jonathan Sutcliffe-Bland

Regular member
Site Supporter
Dec 5, 2019
I started fishing in 1983 aged 11, I'm now 47. I generally fish the canal 95% of the year but also the odd river and natural lake. I match fished for years, firstly as a teen then as an adult. I now just pleasure fish as I prefer to fish at times that suit me, in summer that would mean a 4:30am alarm call. I've fished the punch on most of the northern canals with success, and also the Nottinghamshire canals and those around Leicestershire.

Bream Team: I fish for Bream on the punch from March until August. I start the week by purchasing a medium sliced Warburton's Blue loaf on my way home from work on a Monday (£1.05 from Aldi ?). Come Friday evening I 'liquidise' the loaf 4 slices (each slice cut into 4) at a time for around 2 minutes in a food processor this includes crusts. This is then passed through a maggot riddle and the bigger lumps are re liquidised and added to the same bag which is kept in the fridge overnight. My rigs for Bream are slightly heavier than is the norm for punch. I use Preston Slip 5 to this I fish 0.10 match team straight through to a B511 hook in size 16. Floats I tend to use are carbon stemmed as I fish with olivettes and carbon tends to sit better. I usually go for something like a Guru Pinger, Guru F1 Silver, Perfect Bream, or a NG Carbon Finesse. The olivette is set at 18" from the hook with two no 10 droppers 6" apart below. I then fish from dead depth to a foot over depth as Bream tend to feed on their noses upright. Moving the olivette accordingly. Because Bream have big appetites I use big bread bread punches. Some are homemade from carbon pole cut offs, others are purchased like my Korum bait punches. I fish with anything from 6mm to about 26mm. I tend to fish one rig in one spot instead of chasing the Bream around, I let them come to me. After plumbing up I then pot in one hard satsuma sized ball, and another big pot of liquidised bread. I then have a cup of Yorkshire's finest whilst the swim settles. The area chosen to fish is the boat channel as this tends to be the deepest area. My hook bait slices come straight out of a fresh loaf of Warburton's Blue. First put in I generally use a 10mm - 12mm punch and bites are generally sail away and immediate. I would then top up with another ball either after my second Bream or once bites slowed. I would fish for between 6 - 8 hours for anything from one to ten Bream, four being an average.

Roach: I fish for Roach/Bites from September until February, and even when it's thick of ice. I've had 30lb of roach out of the local boatyard when it was minus six. I actually prefer these months more as fish are more confident and most other towpath users stay at home. As above I purchase my loaf on a Monday to use on a Saturday. My roach feed is prepared differently to my Bream feed. For roach I cut the crusts off. I then place each slice through a coffee grinder one at a time. I then pass this through a pinkie riddle. To be honest it usually falls through. This is again stored in the fridge overnight. Again I use Warburton's Blue on the hook, but this time the bait is prepared at home. I take around 5 slices out of a fresh loaf. Cut the crusts off, microwave for 10 seconds, roll flat with a rolling pin, then store them in a clear freezer bag until needed. I only use Drennan punches for this as I believe these are the best. I have the full range from a tiny 2.5mm to a 11m that's perfect for skimmers. I generally use 5mm but also fish 4mm & 3mm when scratching for bites. My rigs consist of 3 or 4 Preston slip, 0.08 match team to 0.06 match team, size 22 B511 with shot fixed shirt button style. Apart from my bagging rig which has an olivette but no shot. Floats I generally use are Guru Silvers Wire and London Punch etc etc ?, Tubertini Concorde, a selection of Hillbilly wires, Drennan Wires/Bloods, Image Cut, and the Guru Pinger carbon for Bagging (incidentally I fish the olivette up to 2" from the hook)(it really works). Again feed is done differently. I place the liccy in a bait bowl and add canal water to just the corner of the liccy. This way I have options of both wet & dry bread to feed. I usually fish my top 3+1 or a 4m whip to hand. This is because I find this distance easier to throw the thumb nail sized liccy to. As roach tend to move around more than bream the feed doesn't have to land on a sixpence, just the initial area will be fine. Feed, Cast, Feed, Cast...but fishing slightly under depth as roach feed horizontally looking at the bait.

I'm looking to catch around 300+ roach in a six hour pleasure session. But in winter I may only fish four hours and catch half of that but be more than happy. ?

In my twenties I fished rivers more than I did canals. And bread again featured heavily but fished on rod & reel. I used to fish the mighty Trent, the entire Aire & Wharfe system, Cod Beck and Swale, and also the Nidd and Ure. Rod one would be a long float rod matched to a centrepin reel. I would set a loafer type float up shotted bulk style with SSGs and fished over depth with two droppers. 4lb Drennan float fish line straight through to a number 12 Carbon Chub hook. Drennan Flake Punch on the hook (all sizes), feeding mashed bread. I would start at the top of each river length feeding bread in each likely looking swim as I went. Fish for 15 minutes. Then move again. Looking to return to each swim before dark. Rod two would be a Daiwa Porky Pig rod matched to the new out Shimano baitrunner at the time. On rod two would be a feeder, now a Drennan gripmesh. Running loose style on 6lb Daiwa Sensor mainline with a 5lb three foot hook link attached to a swivel & bead set up and a size 8 or 10 Drennan super spade. Again flake punch for the hook, but crusts on liquidised bread for the feeder. I've caught Chub and Bream to 6lb+ using these two methods, and also Roach to 2lb.

Some of the London 'old Boys' use both wet bread and salted wet bread on the Thames and are very successful with it but it isn't something I have personally tried, yet.

Bread Paste: I use a plain, sweet and a savoury version. For Roach I just add water to liquidised bread and knead into a basic paste. For Bream I add 50% of white marzipan to 50% of liquidised bread. For Chub it's 50% grated mature Cheddar cheese to 50% liquidised bread.

Flavourings & Colourings: This area is huge. From herbs & spices from your cupboard at home, my favourites being garlic, coriander and fenugreek. Tackle company specials like goo and Brasem, other makes are available. Through to essential oils like geranium and coriander. Coconut and milk powder from the supermarket, not forgetting custard powder and angel delight. White bread, brown bread, punch crumb, white and brown groundbait all have their uses on the day. Add turmeric to dye your feed yellow, or add some bait dye to your hook bait, robin red liquid being a good alternative or almond goo. Add Marcel Van Den Eynde coloured crumb to your winter bread method liccy mix ??

Tight Lines Jonathan


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Regular member
Site Supporter
Jul 4, 2019
Nice read. I never did any good on Bread on Birmingham canals when I used to club match fish them as a kid. Target fish were mainly Gudgeon at that time so it was always squat and pinkie or bloodworm and joker. So it's nice to read a success story with it.

Jonathan Sutcliffe-Bland

Regular member
Site Supporter
Dec 5, 2019
It's all about confidence. It took me a while to just take bread with me as bait. Yes bread is an immediate response bait. Yes bread swims can go off after an hour. But by thinking outside of the box you'll make it work for the full pleasure session/match ??