Floating bread carp action at the pond

August 23, 2016 at 6:41 pm

A couple of weeks touring in my campervan, with strict instructions to leave the rods behind, had me weighing up the many options on my return, ending with indecision and no fishing. Living in a town that is blessed with cycle paths, my afternoon health kick saw me detour to the banks of a local pond, which I had discounted due to a large and growing population of Canada geese, which make baiting and fishing impossible. This time, no geese and very few ducks, while carp and rudd were topping all over the surface. On the cycle ride home, the fishing trip took shape, bread from the freezer would be thawed in time for a couple of hours after tea, while hooks had to be tied and floats inspected.

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Walking down to the pond I saw another angler in my chosen swim, a bay flanked by overhanging bushes. He, like me had been tempted to fish, while out cycling, his chosen bait a can of sweet corn from the kitchen. He had not caught anything due to the cursed rudd knocking the bait. I don’t mind catching rudd, in fact any carp would be a by product of catching them on the bread.

I’d obviously been a bit too casual getting ready, as the only angler free swim was on a bare bank with open water, but if needs be I could make the cast toward island. The water here is only about 18 inches deep over thick black mud and I intended to fish a short 2 AA waggler with no weight down the line and 24 inch tail.

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Being used to bread fed to the ducks, the carp often cruise just below the surface sucking in the half sunk morsels missed by our feathered friends and my method is to compress the bread punch into the slice, then drag a ragged piece of flake with it. The hook sits in the compressed pellet, while the flake is buoyant, allowing the bait to float up close to the surface, which can produce some exciting fishing. I made up a tray of sloppy mashed bread and sprayed it out toward the middle, then cast in among it. Dragging the float back a foot brought an immediate response with the float skidding under. A silver flash on the strike saw the first and smallest of many rudd to come across to my net.

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Eager to grab any bait, these rudd are the main target during the school holidays and it’s good to see boy and girls fishing as a diversion from their iPhones, although rod in one hand and phone in the other is a common sight. The rudd got better, a few rod benders among them.

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Several times a carp would nudge the bait, the float not moving, while at others the sunken line would give a line bite with no fish. A broad back rising out of the water was the first sign of a large carp as it sucked in the bread, the strike meeting instant acceleration and a spinning reel handle, black mud rising in the direction of the island. After a 30 yard run, this fish went to sleep, allowing me to reel it slowly over to my bank, but then the switch was pulled and it zoomed by unseen in the mud, to find refuge under a bush out of sight, wallowing in the shallows. Once again I reeled it back, my 12.5 foot Normark float rod bent double, parallel with the surface, until the big common made a break for the open water, running through the baited area, scattering rudd and carp alike. Keeping the rod high, pressure was beginning to tell and the fish started to roll with short runs. The landing net was out. It turned for one more burst of speed and the hook came out. The forged size 16 barbless had opened out, the 90 degree crystal bend, now being 130 degrees. A gasp from behind stifled the curse on my lips. A couple out for an evening walk round the pond, had stopped to watch the battle, unaware of the size of fish beneath the dark waters.

I gathered my thoughts, tying on another hook and link. I usually fish here with a size 14 forged hook, but again opted for the lighter size 16, which would allow the bread to float better. The last remnants of mashed bread were thrown out into the now blackened water and I cast out again, waiting five minutes before the float sank again. Poised for a carp, another nice rudd was skimmed over the surface. They were still there, the stirred up bottom acting like a magnet, as more rudd fell to the method; cast in, allow to sink, wait, then draw the float back a foot, the float going at any time during the process. I missed a few, but not a slow sink that saw more hectic action with a smaller common clattering clear of the surface with a roll that wrapped the line around it. By comparison to the first carp, this settled into a routine, that I would win, drawing the 3 lb fish over the net, before it could run again.

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It was now past 8 pm and the light was fading fast as the sun sank below the houses behind me, the float tip just visible in the gloom. It vanished trailing line. I struck and missed. Carp, or rudd? Casting again, the bread was taken as the float cocked. I was into another carp, this time a runner stopping in his tracks to observe the rod bending fight, that went in ever decreasing circles, sinking the net and lifting as it passed. About the same size as the last, the hook sat just at the edge of it’s mouth, a decent tug would have pulled it free.

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Time to pack up; I’d had two hours of constant bites, 20 odd battling rudd and two respectable carp on light tackle, plus one near double, that was almost mine. A lesson learned? Instead of thinking about it, go fishing more.


Evening trout river small rewards

August 15, 2016 at 10:43 am

Following a busy day finally getting round to completing a variety of small “must fix that someday” tasks around the house and garden, I was still restless and the thought of watching the Olympics all evening did not appeal. My local syndicate trout river has been hard work this season, but scores higher than a gold medal in my books, so with a fishing pass from my wife, I was on my way towards the setting sun.

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The full flush of spring is now long gone and with no rain for a couple of weeks, the river was low and clear, allowing me to wade in safety. Studying the surface, no rises were evident and opted to fish a compromise method, a Black Devil nymph fished under a  heavily greased leader, that suspended it a foot beneath the surface.

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In seasons gone by, I would have expected to have seen fish rising all along this stretch, but today I was happy to go through the motions, as I waded upstream, casting the nymph to all the likely holding areas as I went. Casting to the outside of a bend, the nymph had barely begun to sink, when the line straightened and I was playing a tail-walking juvenile brownie, that dashed across the surface towards me, as I set the hook. Being the first wild brown trout I’ve hooked from this end of the water this year, I was relieved, when it dived to fight at my feet, putting a decent bend in the rod, as I reeled back my surplus line. The net was in the reeds behind me, but soon under the fin perfect, brown.

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Spurred on by my success, I waded up under the trees, where a bed of exposed gravel caused the river to rattle over the stones into a fast run. In ones and twos, fish were rising in the disturbed water and I cast the Black Devil to drift back down among them. After a few short stabbing missed takes, the nymph was ignored. It was obviously dace, but decided anything was better than nothing and tied on a size 16 Deer Hair Sedge. I couldn’t see what they were taking, but the sedge is a good allrounder at this time of year and rubbed in with floatant, it would ride the rough water. Casting almost onto the stones, the fly spun round in an eddy and was gone in a splash; a flick of the wrist and a silver dace was hooked and swung to hand. Another 5 inch dace followed and I dropped the sedge short into the slower water to be met with solid resistance as I lifted off. The surface foamed, then the hook flew free. Another trout, or a large dace? My chance of a better fish from this pool was gone and I moved on.

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Working my way upstream, the sedge was cast blind in the hope of inducing a take, the only rise coming from a chublet that raised my hopes briefly of something better. Where are the small trout that used to plague this stream? With the sedge waterlogged, I tied on a gold head Hares Ear for a last throw of the dice, it being down to chance, as the nymph bumped along the bottom, a once productive pool finally coming up trumps with a positive take and a bend in the rod from a small perch.

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Try as I might, I could not persuade any of this little chap’s brothers to take and with a last minute hatch of flies failing to bring anything to the surface, made my way back to the van. Not a spectacular result, but a pleasure to be out on a warm evening in high summer.