Bread punch roach dominate at Braybrooke

June 7, 2019 at 6:05 pm

Reports of tench being caught at Braybrooke Park drew me to Jeanes Pond this week, a sunny afternoon being a last chance before a forecast week of rain. A strong wind was blowing across the pond, which would have made fishing difficult in a favoured swim next to lily beds, so I settled for the easy option in the lee of the clubhouse.

There was only one other angler on the water and he was in the next swim. Fishing the feeder with maggot over toward the lilies, he was catching a succession of quality roach, topping his session with a 12 oz tench. There are much larger tench in the pond, but intending to fish pole and bread punch, I would be happy to catch a few of the smaller tench that had been introduced by the Environment Agency a couple of years before, plus a net full of prime roach.

This year the pond has been plagued with tiny roach and rudd and my plan was to feed tight balls of liquidised bread and ground fish pellets, while using a 4 x 16 antenna float with No 8 shot strung out close to the 3 lb hook link, to drop straight through the small stuff. That was the theory anyway, the proof would be in the pudding.

Plumbing the depth, the main shelf was only three metres out, dropping off again at four and I fed four balls to start in a square over the area, setting the float to fish just off bottom. Dropping the float in the centre of the square, with a 6 mm bread pellet, I watched the float dip and glide away and I swung in a small rudd.

A good size for the first fish and I was soon back in with a few smaller rudd and roach. A burst of bubbles over the feed promised something else and I lifted the float, dropping it dead centre. In seconds the antenna dipped, then popped up again, dithered then dived as a small tench made off with the bait, stretching out the elastic, making me think that I had a better fish.

This little battler was covered in some sort of lice, which had no effect on its fighting abilities. Bubbles were rising steadily from the feed and the next drop in saw the elastic out again as a better rudd stormed off.

I resisted putting in more feed, as so far the tiny roach and rudd had kept away, bubbles were still bursting in the surface and decided that less was best. Another pretty rudd followed.

The next fish stayed deep, fighting hard as it moved around the swim, thinking that it was another small tench, being surprised to see a good roach surface for the landing net.

Before coming to fish, I had put two “waterproof” plasters on my finger to cover a dermatitis sore, they lasted twenty minutes. Should have read the instructions. Probably said “do not get these waterproof plasters wet” Ha!

Another couple of balls of feed kept the bubbles and the fish coming, another nice roach responding to the bread punch. A friend had fished the pond on the punch at the weekend, saying that he had only caught very small fish, but I was still having success on, or just off bottom. I did have a brief spell of catching the tinies, but going up to a size 7 mm punch seemed to solve that.

The float shot away and the unmistakable rolling fight of a better tench had the elastic touching the water as it ran round the swim, the net eventually catching up with it. The fight had be brief, but there was still plenty of energy left, its muscle power making hook removal difficult. This was the only other tench of the late afternoon apart from another similar fish dropped earlier. This may have been it.

I tried more feed and got another cracking roach next cast, the float barely settling before it cruised under.

The landing net was out constantly, the 3 metre long handle needed from the high fishing platform. This was becoming a workout. Who said fishing was a lazy man’s sport?

 Rudd were making up the numbers.

Now the local school was disgorging, teenage pupils crowding around a sunken shopping trolley at the edge of the pond opposite. They were trying to pull it up the bank, when one of them tipped head first into the green water. Did he fall, or was he pushed? The answer was that half a dozen of his mates ran back up the path, before he could extract himself, the other half stood and laughed, until he climbed out with punches flying. In full school uniform, his mother would not be pleased!

As the afternoon went on, the bites got cagier, the sailaways of earlier, now became like those of winter, light dips and pauses, giving way to eventual slow sinking of the tip, the setting of the hook being a surprise to both fish and angler.

Changing the punch for the smaller 6mm seemed to speed up the bites, maybe the fish had had there fill, but I had put in less than half a pint in total, so that was unlikely to be the reason. Small bubbles were still rising and the keepnet was still filling.

Grape sized balls of feed had maintained interest for the fish and I was waiting for another tench.

I had intended packing up at six, but the float continued to sink and I was stuck in the “just one more fish” syndrome, forcing myself to stop thirty minutes later.

It had been an enjoyable four hours, no pike trouble for a change, plenty of sizeable fish and the threatened showers had held off, although the wind had created an anti-clockwise surface drift.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horam Manor Fishery entertains on the bread punch

May 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm

The East Sussex village of Horam proved the ideal place for a spot of R & R this week. Still suffering with a painful ankle, I booked my campervan into Horam Manor Country Park for a couple of days, seeing that a fishery is among the facilities, which include nature trails and horse riding. Only fit for sitting beside a lake for a few hours, I opted for Great Pond, close to the parking area and overlooked by The Bistro, with a selection of food and drinks available all day. What more can you ask for? Oh yeh, all this for a two rod fishing ticket of £5.

There are nine lakes and ponds to choose from, relics of medievil iron working along a stream, where the ore was exposed down the steep valley, the ore once dug out and smelted on the spot, the ponds getting the name of hammer ponds, where the rough iron was taken from the charcoal kilns and forged with hammers into ingots. Now tall pines and bluebell woods mask this once early industrial site.

Setting up along the dam, I mixed ground carp pellets with 2 mm krill pellets and liqudised bread, then added water to make up several soft balls, that I put in 4 to 5 metres out over the deeper water. Using a 7 mm bread punch pellet on a size 16 barbless, the float cruised off with the first bite and a rudd came to the net.

Several rudd followed in rapid succession, before a slower, steady submerge of the float indicated the first of many carp, that strung out the elastic, letting the fish have its head, until ready for the pole to be pulled back to the top two joints, the landing net ready and waiting.

This mirror was quickly returned, the no keepnet rule going against the grain with this ex-matchman.

Another hard fighting carp. Its a pity that the barbless hook rule seems to have been ignored here, many fish being without their top lips.

A better sized mirror carp, that fought well on the light pole tackle, 3 lb hook link, to 4 lb main line. With carp above double figures in this pond, I was taking a chance, but preferred these tactics to those of many around me fishing matching twin stepped up carp rods, when if they hooked fish of this size, skimmed them back across the surface. There was one bivvy set up on the pond, most of the more serious carp men and ladies seeking out the isolation of the lakes further down the valley.

The bread punch continued to take its toll of the residents of the pond, this common making an effort to reach the reed bed opposite, before the elastic persuaded it to do otherwise.

There were plenty of greedy little tench eager to get to the punch first, the bites and fight unmistakable.

A silver ghost carp put in an appearance.

These carp would be a match angler’s dream, free feeding with enough fight to make life interesting.

A bit of a lump. My wife (tackle carrier) asked if I get bored catching so many fish? Er, Never.

Mirrors were one to every three commons, interspersed with small tench and rudd. There are supposed to be some crucians in the water, but I never saw one, although several big perch were busy chasing small rudd in and out of the reed beds.

Look at the tail on this tench. I lost one of about a pound at the net trying to bully it in.

I had started at 1:30 pm, now it was nearing 4:30, but the fish were unrelenting, a couple more balls of feed had kept them coming, the commons mouths full of mud as they hovered up the fine particles.

I had stopped taking pics of the fish long before, but this chunky common carp and my last fish of the day, another pretty mirror warranted the effort.

I had honestly lost count of the number of the various species, as I attempted to fill in the returns form, say twenty rudd of around 4 oz, a dozen small tench to 8 oz, eight, or nine mirror carp to 12 oz and twenty five common carp to 1lb 8 oz. All in three hours. All on the bread punch.

 

 

Bread punch roach and rudd shine at Braybrooke closer

May 1, 2019 at 3:30 pm

Having injured my ankle, I had been out of action for a couple of weeks, but was determined to get down to my local Jeane’s Pond at Braybrooke Park for a last chance at the roach and rudd, before its annual month long close season was imposed on May 1st. With the carpark only a 100 yards from the pond, I had reduced the tackle in my box to a minimum, needing to pull my trolley, while hobbling along using a walking stick in the other hand. This was a slow painful process and had never noticed before how uneven the path was, twisting my ankle at every step. A dog walker coming the other way gave me a smile “Don’t worry mate, you’ll get there”. Get there I eventually did, justifying my choice of peg 18, the nearest of the disabled, wheelchair friendly pegs.

The scene was welcoming, little breeze and bright sunshine, while the pond had a soft green tint, the only downside being branches and logs that had been dumped into the water at my feet, the disadvantage of a public park frequented by bored teenagers at night. I spent the next ten minutes removing these with my landing net, tipping them onto the bank, ready for tonight’s revellers.

Intending to fish my reliable bread punch method, I gathered everything I needed to within hands reach, selecting a light antenna rig to a size 18 barbless hook, choosing to begin with a 6 mm bread punch. Plumbing the swim, the ledge was 3 feet deep, sloping down to 4 feet, 5 yards out.

Ready to begin, I squeezed up a small ball of liquidised bread, dropping it in just over the shelf, intending to create an area of feed that would roll down the slope into the deeper water. With my pole at 3 metres, I cast in and pulled back to the shelf, the float skating away immediately as a small rudd took the bread on the drop.

Half a dozen of these made me think that I might have chosen the wrong method, but then the following rudd began to get bigger, as the feed attracted in better fish.

More better rudd took confidently, the bites sliding away, then a different bite, the antenna giving a few dips before slowly sinking out of sight. The No 6 elastic came out as a good roach flashed in the green water, following it with the pole as it ran from left to right, sliding the landing net out ready for it to give up on the surface.

At last, the first decent fish, the size 18 fine wire hook holding firmly in the top lip. At this stage I had not introduced any more feed for fear of encouraging the tiny roach and rudd that had plagued me earlier, but now I chanced another small ball to the top of the drop off, fishing to the left of the cloud.

Another nice roach sank the float and the landing net was out again, followed by the best rudd so far.

Good fish were now coming every cast, some from the top of the shelf, some half way down.

The midday sun was so bright, that I had to hold the fish in the shade of my body, the glare from the silver scales, whiting out the images. Fishing either side of the feed kept the bites coming steadily and the landing net in constant use.

These rudd would take the bread and run back out to the deeper water, but I was not tempted to fish further out, while I continued to catch these clonkers close in.

Another good roach followed a ball of feed, beginning a run of the hard fighting fish that were taking the bait close to the bottom.

Then it stopped. The water erupted as a pike chased a roach, that almost jumped into the landing net as it tried to escape, the pike grabbing the fish through the net, pulling it down. I dragged the net free and the water boiled. The fish were panicked and would not take, more forays causing good sized fish to scatter across the surface.

Time for a cup of tea and a sandwich, while I reflected on my efforts so far. I had been fishing for two hours and reckoned that I already had six, or seven pounds of fish in my net, but it was too early to pack up, the sun was out and the birds were singing in the trees, accompanied by the staccato hammering of a wood pecker. I would stick it out. Putting in another couple of balls of feed five metres out, took the pike further away, while I fished along the edges, picking up smaller roach and rudd, although rapid swinging in caused a few to drop off, when the pike came visiting.

There were still a few decent fish to be had, this rudd avoiding a mauling as I hussled it to to the net. By 3 pm the local school had begun disgorging its pupils, several deciding that throwing logs and branches into the pond was a good idea, and after landing yet another big roach I called it a day.

Pulling out the keep net, I knew that I had under estimated the weight before, the number and quality of the fish pushing the scales well beyond 9 lbs and considering all the small roach and rudd that I had thrown back, 10 lbs would have been in sight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread punch finds quality roach and rudd at Braybrooke

April 2, 2019 at 3:45 pm

Despite bright sunshine, a bitterly cold east wind was sweeping across my local pond at Braybrooke Park, when I arrived before noon for a few hour’s fishing this week, hoping that a recent warm spell had brought a better stamp of roach and rudd on the feed. I walked round to get the wind at my back, pulling my hood up over my cap to keep out the the worst of the chill, while I set up a short pole.

Plumbing the depth I found there was a narrow shelf of about four feet wide by four feet deep, that then dropped off a cliff into six feet, or more. In the lee of the bank, with only the top two sections of the pole, I followed a small ball of liquidised bread with the antenna float and waited for a bite. After a couple of minutes the first tell tale rings radiated out from the float as a fish showed interest, the float slowly sinking below the surface. A firm lift and the elastic came out in response to a fighting roach.

This was a good start, the 5 mm bread pellet on a size 18 barbless hook finding a better roach first cast. Dropping the rig back in saw a carbon copy bite, this time an even bigger roach, that stayed down, before making a run for the deeper water, testing the elastic on the short pole.

Several more decent roach followed, before I ventured in another ball of feed, following the cloud down with the float, that just slid away as a rudd took the bread.

Not a monster, but a hard fighter on the light tackle all the same. Next cast was different, the thudding fight of a much larger rudd taking elastic from the pole tip, as I followed its every move. My net had been out for every fish so far this afternoon and I was careful to get this one in.

The rudd had moved in on the bread, another decent one coming next cast, that fought as hard as the last.

Again the elastic was out as an even larger rudd was flashing beneath the green tinted surface, running along the shelf beneath my feet. It went under my keep net and transferred the hook near the bottom of it. There was nothing for it, but to lift out the net and retrieve the hook. Putting the net back in scared off the shoal of rudd, my next cast seeing the float sit motionless. Time for tea and a sandwich. I dropped in another ball on the shelf and another over into the depths. Adding another joint to the pole up to 3 metres, I increased the float depth by 18 inches and swung it out over the deeper water. Immediately it slid under, but instead of the expected clonker, the line jiggled as a tiny rudd was swung to hand.

Tiny rudd followed tiny rudd, each one returned, probably to swim back for another go. I got out a fresh bag of crumb and squeezed up a couple of tight balls, again dropping them over the edge of the shelf, then threw out a couple of loose balls further out. The tight balls were for the larger fish in close, the others for cloud and the tiny rudd. That was the theory and it seemed to work as the bait fished deep soon had a steady sinking bite and another proper roach came to the net.

There was no doubt that the distraction had worked, when my next bite put a bend in the pole as the elastic was dragged beneath the surface, when the best fish yet fought for freedom.

I took my time before breaking the pole back down to two metres for the landing net, this beautiful roach in perfect condition, determined to escape. The occasional very small rudd and roach still made it through to the hook, but the edge of the drop off continued to bring 3 to 4 oz fish each cast, topped off by another big rudd, that fought like a fish twice as large.

The wind had now dropped and I was feeling overdressed in the sun. I had proved to myself that there were now plenty of bonus fish to be had on the bread punch, although a tench or a crucian carp would have been the icing on the cake. Setting my finishing time at 3 pm, I was rewarded with one last quality roach from the top of the shelf, the fish below being it.

At the end of the three hour session on this council owned pond, there were some good fish in my net.

 

Bread punch quality chub and roach season closer

March 15, 2019 at 12:31 pm

As storm Gareth swept across England toward the North Sea, I made a last minute decision to fish my local river whatever its condition this afternoon. This was my final chance for some winter chub, it being the last day of the UK river season. The day had begun with heavy rain, but bright sunshine and strong winds were drying the roads as I drove into the carpark. Unloading my tackle onto my trolley from the van, I was unsure of the state of the river, but arrived at my swim after 2 pm to find a pacey flow, but good colour, fining down after the rain.

Setting up an ali stemmed stick float, I plumbed the depth to find a channel three feet deep running along the opposite bank in the main flow of the river. Throwing in two balls of liquidised upstream of my swim, I cast into the sinking cloud as it swept by, missing a rapid bite as it passed the tree downstream. The 5mm pellet of bread was gone from the size 16 hook, so I rebaited and trotted through again at half speed. This time the float buried with the line following and my 12 foot Hardy rod bending into a hard fighting chub.

I put in another ball and repeated the process, the float dipping then diving. In again, but this time the bouncing of my rod top indicated a good roach, taking my time to bring the fish to the net.

More roach followed, putting in a small ball every other cast keeping the bites coming every trot. This one another specimen.

The roach were getting bigger, this one rushing off downstream like a chub, but that characteristic tumbling fight needing caution to avoid the barbless hook coming free.

There was no doubt about the next bite, the rod bending round when contact was made, as a big chub charged off down stream. The chub turned and swam back upstream hugging the bank, then passed me at speed making for roots on my bank. It nearly reached its goal, but side strain pressured it away to turn downstream again, eventually getting its head up to the net.

What a lump. This chub far exeded my expectations from this small river, having taken a tiny 5mm pellet of bread. The feed was breaking up into small particles and the fish were swooping through the cloud sucking it in.

The roach were still there including another clonker.

I had been missing bites from the off, this small dace hanging onto the bait as it ran through the swim.

Another decent chub stormed off before turning back to be netted.

The pace now picked up and the river turned orange, the local building site was washing off their roads again, the tankers discharging into holding ponds, that are full due to the storms, which then overflow into the river.

The bites stopped. Following the clouds of feed down had no result. It was time to have a snack and a cup of tea. After fifteen minutes the river began to clear again, the float sank and I was playing another chub.

I was back in the groove again catching roach among nuisance dace and mini chublets, but then a bigger roach tested my rod again, when it ran away at the bottom of the trot, needing a rapid backwind.

Having netted this good roach, I cast in again, just holding back to settle the float, when it sank away downstream and the rod was at full bend again with a chub under my rod tip, backwinding to ease the strain on the hook, biding my time to get it to the net.

It was now approaching 5pm and the wind was picking up again. The main road a hundred yards away was already filling up with traffic and I decided to pack up in ten minutes time. A small chub came to the net, then next cast it was action stations again as a another big chub made off downstream against the backwind.

With this chub in the net I packed up. I have had many memorable last days of the season, but this one is up there among the greats.

A pint of liquidised bread and half a slice of medium white were all that I needed for three action packed hours.

Thirteen pounds of quality fish from a river that was destroyed by pollution a few years ago.

Roach bread punch Braybrooke backstop

March 12, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain, rapidly raised river levels over the weekend and with only strong winds forecast for Monday, before yet more stormy conditions in the days ahead, I took the opportunity to check out my local river. With the river season about to end on Thursday, it was now or never for a chance at some winter chub. One glance said it all, the weir was at full flow, while the feeder stream was a churning mass of brown water. The river would have to wait for the new season in June and decided to fall back on Jeane’s Pond in Braybrooke Park.

On arrival I found another pair of refugees from the river huddled in the wind, the bright sunshine counteracting the wind chill slightly. They were fishing running line waggler rigs with maggot bait and seemed content catching three inch rudd.

I moved round the pond to where the north west wind blowing over my left shoulder, was defused by a high bank and set up a pole to fish the bread punch. I had not fished this peg before and was surprised how shallow it was, the shelf extending two yards out at two feet deep, only dropping another six inches further out. I considered moving round to a deeper swim, but it was comfortable out of the full force of the wind and opted to stay put. Setting the float at a few inches over two feet I was ready.

Putting in a couple of small balls of liquidised bread, one over the shelf and another a few feet further out, I dropped the rig in with a 5 mm bread pellet on the size 18 hook over the second ball, letting the wind bring the float round to the shelf. This will usually result in a bite, but this time nothing. No bites for ten minutes, apart from a couple of tremours of the float antenna. Fish were there, but not that interested in feeding. There had been a lot of sleet and hail overnight, maybe the water was too cold?

Ten minutes is a long time to go without a bite on the punch, so I tried something else. In the past on frozen canals, a sprinkling of vanilla powder had upped the bite rate, so this was my next move, adding water to make a sloppy mix, that I put in with a couple more balls. Dropping the float in over the sinking yellow cloud, the float trembled and sank.

Only a small roach, but better than the other pair were catching. As I swung it in there was a cheer from the other side “At least you haven’t blanked!” I cheered back. Over the feed the float dithered and sank again, this time the pole elastic pulling out of the tip. It was a nice roach fighting deep, but breaking down to the top two sections, I guided it into the landing net.

“Nice one!” came the call from the others. The vanilla seemed to be working, the float going down as the float cocked each time. Mostly ounce fish with the occasional better roach.

I added a couple more balls, taking a few fish off the shelf edge, then back to the outer line. The float went down, but before I could strike the elastic zoomed out. A pike had taken the roach. I had seen fish jumping ten yards to my right, now one had moved in and was stretching the elastic toward the middle, curving round to my left, before it came off. The hook was still in place. A couple more balls went in and I followed with the float.

A small rudd came to the net, then nothing. The pike was back in the swim putting the fish down. I got out my sandwiches and poured a cup of tea. It was a sunny, if breezy day and it was better than working.

Fish began jumping to my left, the pike had moved on and I began to catch again. I fed the last of my bread mix and fished over it. The bites were slow to develope, but the fish were bigger.

A few more rudd began taking on the drop, one quite decent.

More fish, then the pike returned chasing a roach, but not before I swung it out of reach. This was a nuisance, hook it and I could lose my rig, leave the pike alone and it might go away. I picked up my flask of tea and walked round for a chat with the other anglers. They were still catching very small rudd on their maggots, with the odd decent fish. One had lost a large specimen, possibly a tench. They were happy enough.

Returning to peg 16, I continued to catch again, fishing over my feed until 3 pm. It had seemed a long four and a half hours, the sun was down behind the trees and I was getting cold.

The vanilla seemed to have worked, bringing fish into the swim, but it also seems to have brought a pike with it.

These silver red fins had kept the float going under all day.

Blackwater bread punch roach

March 1, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Temperatures in the 60s, broke all the records for February this week and I made an effort to get to my club’s stretch of River Blackwater, while the sun shone. Having unloaded my tackle from the van, it was early afternoon, when I walked downstream looking for a suitable swim, finding just what I was looking for on the outside of a bend.

A tree had fallen into the river, diverting the flow and I set up my Hardy twelve foot float rod with a 4 No 4 Drennan ali stem stick float to trot down to the ivy covered snag. I could clearly see the bottom and initially set the float to two feet deep, but with the flow dragging it under, brought the depth down to eighteen inches. Very shallow, but with a small holly bush between me and the fish, I punched out a 5 mm pellet of bread and fed in a couple of balls, following down with the float. The float had only drifted a few feet, when it dived under and a small roach was bouncing at the end of the line.

First cast. There were three others fishing, as I walked to my swim and they were all without a bite, so this was a good sign. The following six trots put another four slightly larger roach in the net, before the bites stopped.


Had I fed it off already? The float now reached the tree, before it sank away again, another roach flashing in the sunlight as I set the hook. A green flash, a swirl and the rod bending over, as a small pike seized the fish, made my heart sink. It dived back beneath the sunken tree and sulked there, while I pulled the rod back under pressure. It came out, a small one of about two pounds, swimming over to the opposite side, before breaching in the shallows and cutting the two pound hook link. Pike are a nuisance to the float fisherman, putting the fish down and ruining the swim, their razor sharp teeth usually making short work of the hook line.

This is one Blackwater pike that did not get away!

I dropped a ball of liquidised bread in close to my bank, watching it break up in the current, then got out a size 16 barbless, that I had whipped to nylon only the day before, while sitting at the garden table in the sun, having made up a couple of identical Drennan stickfloat rigs at the same time. One of those float rigs was now getting a new hook, which baited with another 5 mm pellet of punched bread, was cast back in. The float sailed on untroubled, until it ran out toward the middle along the dead tree, then it sank. Fish on!

The Hardy bent round, as this small chub made the most of its first run in the pushing current, thinking it was bigger than it was, but once held, the chublet soon gave up the fight. A couple more followed, then the roach came back.

This had taken just ahead of the tree on the inside and rushed to the middle, zig zagging in the shallow water, taking my time to reel it back to the landing net. Next trot same place, another nice roach.

I was on a roll, next trot another quality roach was on its way to the net. A swirl and the pike was back, taking the roach, the hook pulling out. At this point I felt like going home, as I watched the pike slink back over to the far side to swallow the roach.

A couple more balls of bread soon got the roach going again, small ones at first, then I struck into a 12 oz skimmer bream, that rolled off the hook, just as I reached across from the high bank with the landing net. My next roach fought all the way back, this time staying on long enough for me to net.

I kept my eye on the pike for some time, eventually getting engrossed in catching roach, mostly 2 to 3 oz fish, with the odd clonker in there to wake me up.

One of the other club members had packed up and now sat down beside me, putting the World to Rights as I continued to fill the keepnet. My feed had concentrated the fish in an area just ahead of the tree, settling down to a rhythm, trot down with the flow, slow the float with a finger over the open face of my ABU 501 reel, watch the float tip bob and sink, draw back, rather than strike, then reel in.

My club mate left and with the time getting on for rush hour, I decided one more fish would do it, a quality roach topping an enjoyable session.

It had been a glorious afternoon, the low sun just beginning to lose its warmth by 4 pm.

A busy time on the punch, early on the 5 mm punch was best, but in the end the 6 mm found the better fish.

Catching at around two pounds an hour, this made a fitting end to the 2018 -19 river fishing season.

Bread punch common carp in the winter sun

February 21, 2019 at 2:23 pm

Days of double figure temperatures and a bright sunny afternoon, promised a few hours of successful carp fishing at a council owned lake a short drive from my home this week. With a car park at the waters edge, it is ideal for the casual angler, although the shallow, silt filled water is not the easiest to fish. Being a magnet for local mums with bread to feed the many ducks and Canada geese, the carp are used to bread being readily available as feed and I arrived with only bread as bait.

The council have recently trimmed the trees opposite the top of the island and I set up a float rod to fish through a gap, out into the channel. The float is a cut down antenna pole float carrying about 3 AA, the main line 6 lb and the hook link 4 lb to a size 16 barbless hook.

I mixed up a pint of coarse processed bread, adding a teaspoon each of curry powder and the same of vanilla powder, wetting this down to form sloppy balls. With so many ducks and geese around, I waited for an obliging mum to arrive before throwing the balls in three quarters over toward the island. With the ducks preoccupied on the adjacent bank, my feed was able sink onto the silt without being gobbled up by the feathered hordes.

Casting out into the fed area, I sunk the line to avoid the wind drift, the antenna soon showing signs of interest in the double punched 6 mm bread bait fished just above the silt. The float slowly sank away trailing line and I struck hard to lift the sunken line, the rod bending over into an explosive carp, that headed back over to the island snags. This was not a big fish and I held the run without any need to backwind, the clutch staying silent as the carp dashed from side to side, being brought closer to the landing net each time.

I have netted several commons to eight pounds from this small lake in the past, but I was happy with this three pounder, my spur of the moment decision to come fishing justified.

I now managed to miss a couple of unmissable bites, then striking into a tiny common, which it seems the lake may now be infested with. Back in November I had caught several baby carp, commons and mirrors and here was another nibbling at the bait.

With a few more of these micro carp returned, I decided to mix up some feed in the hope of attracting some of their larger brothers, but the extra, instead of feeding them off, brought in a greedy shoal. Each bite had to be treated like the real thing and striking into thin air, to see a tiny carp spinning on the hook was becoming tiresome.

I had gone up to a 7 mm double punched bread pellet, but this was no deterrent, the soft bait easily sucked into their mouths. The float disappeared again and I struck into a running carp. At last. It had been two hours since the last decent fish and this one was fighting harder, making long runs against the reel, stirring up a trail of black mud in its wake, then diving under the bank into the roots, eventually rolling repeatedly to the net.

About four pounds, this wild common carp made the most of its extra weight and satisfied my desire to continue; I had been sitting in the shade all afternoon and was now feeling cold. Time to pack up and head home for a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake.

 

Kingsley Pond bread punch roach and skimmer bream

February 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

I had just finished scraping the ice from the windscreen of my van, when my friend Peter arrived to join me for the drive to Kingsley Pond in East Hampshire. Peter is a member of Oakhanger AC and I would be fishing on a guest ticket, available at the community shop across the road to the pond.

Bright sunshine was burning off freezing fog on the drive and we hoped that the pond would not be covered in ice as it was on our previously abandoned visit. Still shrouded in mist when we arrived, the pond seemed ice bound again, but a thin covering of algae over the still surface proved to be an optical illusion, much to our relief, having both invested a fair bit of mileage to get there.

By the time we had arranged the guest ticket and tackled up, an east wind was ruffling the surface, but this did not bother the fish, my first cast following a small ball of liquidised bread, the tip of my float dipping several times before slowly sinking away. The first few casts brought a one ounce roach each put in, then the elastic came out with a better fish staying deep, breaking the pole down to the top two to net it.

The size 18 hook dropped out in the net, all the fish so far taking a 4 mm punched pellet of bread offered under 4 g antenna float. When I plumbed the depth, I found three feet at 5  metres and I fed a couple of small balls along this line 2 metres apart, fishing out in front of me, when the wind dropped and to the right holding back in the wind.

The extra feed began to attract skimmer bream into the swim, the fussy bites reliably resulting in a slow sink away of the float, the slab sided silvers beginning to fill my keepnet.

A surprise catch was a golden rudd among the roach and skimmers.

A hard fighting roach/bream hybrid also got in on the act.

Peter had been sitting without a bite all this time, his double maggot on a running line waggler rig untouched, until a change from a size 14 hook to a size 18 and a single maggot, produced bites. Shotting the float down close to the tip, improved his chances of hooking fish, although not as effective as the bread punch and pole combination.

The down wind feed area was now full of skimmers and a small ball of feed every three fish held them there.

We set a time of 3:30 to finish fishing, despite us both catching at a regular rate, one of my largest skimmers coming just before the dead line.

In the cold water the 4 mm punch produced more positive bites, even the skimmers preferring the smaller bait.

The warm a wind hardened up the punch bread quite quickly and I had to change to fresh slices during the five hour session to avoid missing bites.

Considering the frosty start, I was pleased with the end result of about a hundred fish, the punch out fishing the maggot ten to one. Peter was happy with his day, having caught a few nice roach and a decent skimmer, while we sat within chatting distance in the sun.

Bread punch silvers brighten the gloom

February 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Heavy rain, then snow and ice, followed by more rain, had kept me away from fishing for too long and with a brief gap in the weather today, I took the short drive to my local Jeanes’ Pond in Braybrooke Park, to see if bread punch would coax the roach to feed. Bearing in mind that the pond had been covered with ice, then snow only a few days ago, I was not convinced, that I would catch, but at least I was giving it a go, instead of sitting at home staring out of the window.

On my way, I passed through a heavy shower of rain and as I tackled up, force 5 winds were driving a massive black cloud my way, blocking out the mid day sun. Scrambling for my waterproof jacket, I was just in time to avoid a soaking, as sleet filled rain hissed across the pond, keeping me pinned down for ten minutes. No sooner had the rain gone, the sun came out into a clear blue sky, my choice of the north bank being justified by the fact, that the wind would be blowing warmed surface water over to my side. That was theory anyway, the first ten minutes without a bite making me think otherwise.

My setup was a light canal antenna float, dotted down to just below the tip, a size 18 barbless hook being tied to a 1.7 lb bottom line. I plumbed the depth, seeing that a shelf dropped down to 3 feet, 4 metres out, then dropped again to 4 feet 5 metres out. I put a small ball of fine liquidised bread over each shelf, fishing over the near shelf four inches off bottom, the 4 mm pellet of bread untouched each time that I lifted out, when the float drifted up to the shelf. Another small ball over the near shelf saw the tip dip slightly, as the rig drifted into the cloud, the antenna silhouette against the surface switching on and off, then off as the float held under. I lifted and was surprised to feel the resistance of a decent fish as the pole bent with the elastic pulled clear of the tip. This was a net worthy roach, the bite indicating a much smaller fish.

Ice cold to the touch, the fish must have been barely awake, the next bite merely trembling the antenna before holding it down. These roach were generally bigger than I expected, considering the feeble bites and I settled into a slow, but steady rhythm of hooking fish, only interrupted by another short burst of rain.

The sun was reflecting on the water dead in front of me, moving across to the right as the session progressed, the tiny float tip black against the glare, switching on and off in the surface, a good bite indicator. The inside line went dead after an hour and I added depth to the float, plus another metre to the pole to fish over the next shelf, getting a bite immediately over the feed.

Not a monster, but a hard fighting roach all the same, this one of several that continued to take the 4 mm punch pellet, a step up to a 5 mm resulting in missed bites, rather than bigger fish. Waiting longer for bites, I shallowed up again and came back onto the inside line, resting the swim bringing another good roach.

Two anglers had set up opposite me fishing wagglers, but failed to catch, while I steadily lifted small roach from the cold water, the pair gone before the hour. I was now feeding very small balls every fifteen minutes, one to the left and fish to the right, then the opposite, which brought a good bite and two, or three fish each switch. Not speed fishing, but the keepnet was filling.

I began catching small rudd on the drop, a sign that the water was warming, then it went dead again. The bites had dried up, so I went back out to the far line. It was very slow, a small fish every five minutes. I had fed the inside and came back over it, but again waited five minutes for a sign of a bite, the float dipping several times before it slowly sank. I struck into a moving fish, that powered away taking out the elastic and I added another metre of pole to follow as it ran toward the old lily bed, putting on side strain, turning it to arc toward the middle. As the fish ran across in front of me, I saw that it was a small pike of about a pound, and unshipped the extra length of pole, drawing the pike across the surface against the elastic to my landing net. A roach was held across its jaws, which came free when the pike rolled in front of the net. The pike had taken the roach as I struck and not been hooked, dropping the fish by accident, or design. Apart from scale damage, the roach swam off without a second look.

I continued to fish, taking a few more small roach every five minutes, or so; maybe the pike was back. It was now 3 pm and the sun was behind the clubhouse, the air temperature dropping away, so I packed up.

Around fifty silver fish in under three hours, when the bread punch proved its worth in cold water conditions.