Bread punch finds the roach at Jeanes Pond

April 21, 2021 at 1:37 pm

A full week of sunshine, despite frosty mornings, drew me to Braybrooke recreation ground again this week in the hope of a few tench and crucian carp before the annual May fishing shutdown. Arriving at 2 pm a cold east wind was blowing across the pond and I set up with my back to it, while the sun heated up my front. People say that anglers are half baked and in this instance I definitely was.

There was no sign of surface activity, while the pond had a green algae bloom, which was strange for this time of year, but a ball of liquidised bread over the shelf  into five feet of water induced a positive bite immediately. The No.5 elastic came out of the pole tip as the fish flashed through the mirk and I netted a 4 oz roach.

I had set up a 4 x 16 antenna float to fish a 6mm punch of bread on a size 16 hook, only the top two pole sections needed to fish over the drop off and next cast saw the float bury again with another decent roach.

With the float set just off bottom, the roach kept coming, nothing big, but enough to keep me entertained.

Small rudd were now beginning to intercept the bread on the way down, despite bulking the shot close to the hook.

I decided to make up a heavy mix of  feed, liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and fine fish meal, which had produced a net full of crucian carp from another local pond the week before, putting in three balls four metres out, where there is another two feet of water, in the hope of attracting some better fish.

After twenty minutes, bubbles began bursting on the surface above my new feed area and I added depth to the float, plus three sections to the pole, to place my bait on target. The float settled, a ring radiated out from the antenna before the float slowly sank. I lifted and the elastic came out as a better roach fought back, keeping the tension on as I shipped the pole behind, sliding the fish into the landing net.

The next cast, the float bobbed then sank. Missed it. A tench? In again and the float dithered for minutes, before finally sinking away. The float stayed down with the elastic out, as the unseen fish rushed around. Crucian? Tench, or small carp? I was almost disappointed, when a good clonker roach, flashed beneath the surface, taking my time to tire the fish, ready for the net.

Not the desired species, but welcome none the less, the hook coming out in the net, it having been in the tip of the lip, evidence that the water was probably too cold for tench.

I was on a roll, another good roach came to the net, that heavier feed had done the trick. Then it happened. Having hooked another decent roach, the elastic suddenly stretched away as a pike seized the fish, the float thankfully pinging back, when the hook came out. I put in a couple more balls of feed, but the swim was dead, the shoal had gone.

There was nothing to be had near the bottom and I shallowed up again, coming in closer, taking smaller roach and rudd, scaling down to a 5 mm punch, after dropping a few as I swung them in.

The local middle school had now finished for the day and a large rowdy crowd occupied an area close to me, arguing, shouting and generally showing off to the opposite sex. A football was taken from its owner and booted high in the air into the pond, logs were retrieved from the woods and thrown in. Oh, what fun. I decided that it was time to go, when three lads appeared carrying a ten foot branch. I persuaded them to not throw it into the pond. They left it and wandered off, only to sneak back while I packed up, throwing it in before running off. Note to self, come earlier, or later in the day to avoid a repeat performance.

Maybe it was the pike that had ruined my afternoon, not the antics of the local school kids, after all we were all young once. On the plus side, the bread punch continues to give me consistent results.



Bread punch crucian carp come in from the cold

April 18, 2021 at 1:36 pm

A frosty morning followed by warming afternoon sunshine, persuaded me to try the shallow pond a short walk from my home for a late afternoon session this week. There was still a chill wind from the north east blowing, but settling down in a sheltered corner with the sun in my face, I could believe that spring had finally arrived.

Setting up the pole with my usual 3BB modified canal waggler rig, to a size 16 barbless hook, I added water to a mix of liquidised bread, ground trout pellets and fine fish meal, plopping four soft balls into a square metre, seven metres out. The rig was set to fish off bottom at two feet deep with a 6 mm bread pellet and swung out to drop through the baited area. The float sank immediately and a rudd was first in the net.

I had expected small rudd to start, but this was above the usual size, my next above average too.

The rudd were getting bigger with each cast, maybe this is the new normal?

The net came out for this one, the bites being predictable, a few dips followed by a slow sink away.

Another beauty followed, the keepnet beginning to fill as the landing net came out again.

A less positive bite indicated a change of species, sharp bobs of the float, followed by a slow submerging run confirming a crucian carp, that pulled out the elastic, the fight belying it’s size.

The rudd were worth catching, but crucians are a favourite of mine, the little battlers always giving a good account of themselves. Next chuck and I was in again, breaking the pole down to the top two each time.

Faced with another crucian bite, I struck earlier, not waiting for the sinkaway and paid the price, losing the fat crucian at the net, which dashed back and put the shoal off the feed, allowing monster gudgeon to get in on the act.

I put in two more balls of feed and began to catch rudd again, another clonker coming below.

At last the crucians came back, pinprick bubbles bursting on the surface, heralding their appearance.

This little barrel of fun gave me the right run around, diving in and out of the landing net in quick succession, before I scooped him in third time lucky. A local angler had arrived with his daughter and set up covering a couple of swims across from me. For every small rudd that they caught, I was catching three crucians, Jim coming round to see what I was doing, asking about the advantages of the pole over a rod and line, while showing him the bread punch in action.

Crucians tend to push the bait around, often sucking on the bread until it is gone. Most are hooked just in the top lip and I can’t ever remember one needing a disgorger.

The crucian haul continued to grow, the small area packed with competing fish, encouraged by the occasional ball of feed spreading out on impact with the surface. I was now in the swing with the crucian bites, when the float bobbed violently, then disappeared to be met by an elastic stretching run, as a black tail broke surface.

This tench did not play ball, diving under the landing net among the snags, before I fished him out, a very firm grip needed to remove the barbless hook. Small tench were abundant in this pond a few years ago, but seemed to disappear. If they are back it is good news, as this one is about 8 oz larger than before.

With my packing up time fast approaching, I made this gudgeon my last fish of the day, but the just one more cast rule was invoked and I hooked a juvenile common carp.

A burst of large bubbles over the feed and with no more rules in the book to break, I cast into the middle of them. On the drop, the float slanted sideways and sank out of sight. The strike was met by the characteristic straight line run of a much better common carp, which stretched out the elastic toward the opposite bank lily bed, following the fish with the pole, until it turned back in my direction, requiring rapid feeding of the pole into the bushes behind me to stay in contact, while breaking down to the top two sections to play it to the net.

With carp in the swim it was tempting to stay longer, but my bread squares had run out of holes, this common carp a fitting end to a very busy three hours.

The splashing sound of my keepnet being pulled from the pond brought Jim back for a photo opportunity, once the mixed bag was poured into the landing net for my last shot.


Over 8 lb of quality fish in three hours to wave goodbye to Winter.

Skimmer Bream save the day at Kings Pond

April 10, 2021 at 5:54 pm

Feeling like I have just come out of hibernation, I ventured out to fish, when the temperature was due to scrape into double figures at a promised 11 degrees Centigrade warm spell this week. A Jet Stream that often wanders down from Iceland, has kept the UK suffering with wind chills down into the negative zone and fishing has suffered accordingly. Being officially Spring, I had put my thermals away a month ago, but regretted it when I arrived at Farnham’s Kings Pond. Winter work parties had cut back the trees that form a windbreak between Badshot Lea Big Pond and an ice cold wind was now sweeping across the 0.7 acres of Kings.

Walking round in a fruitless search of a swim that was out of the wind, I was met by glum looks and shaking heads, when I asked how it was fishing. So far only one of the six hardy souls fishing so far had a fish, a single 3 oz roach. This time last year I had been lucky to find an empty swim, now I was spoilt for choice.

In my hibernation, I had removed a troublesome No 5 light elastic from the top two telescopic sections of my pole and replaced it with a shorter length in the top section. Expecting a range of fish from roach, bream, tench and crucian carp, this would prove a good test of the tension of the elastic, but judging by the reactions so far, I would be lucky to catch anything.

Today bites would be at a premium and I set up with a 4 x 14 fine antenna float rig with a size 18 barbless hook, to fish a 5 mm bread punch over the shelf into the deeper water, this starting 4 metres out at a metre deep, falling away to 2.5 metres at 6 metres. Feeding a couple of small balls of sieved liquidised bread over the shelf produced no bites in fifteen minutes and I replumbed the depth to just off bottom at 6 metres, holding back against the drift. Another couple of feed balls and the float dipped and slowly sank. I struck. Missed it. Another 5 minute wait and I missed again. This repeated a few times before I switched to a 4 mm punch.

Next cast the float dipped and sank away and rattle at the end produced a very small roach, that was cold to the touch. No wonder these fish were not interested in a bigger bait.

A few more even smaller roach followed and assumed that the feed ball was breaking up early, attracting the smaller fish, many falling off the hook in the wind. I mixed up a heavier mix of bread with some Haiths sweet spice mix, forming a tight ball that dropped straight through to the bottom. Bulking the shot close to the hook, I lowered the bait in over the top and the float cruised under. A lift of the pole and a roach was bouncing the pole top.

This was a better roach, but I would have expected the elastic to have come out a few inches to absorb the shock as I struck. The next roach did not test the elastic either.

The next bite proved to me that I should have adjusted the elastic, striking into a good fish, maybe a crucian, or a roach that bounced deep under the pole, bending the top, but not extending the elastic. Laying the pole over to one side, I began steadily working it back to me along the bank, due to bushes behind. It came off the size 18 barbless. The elastic seemed free enough, pulling it through the tip by hand, but being already stretched over its metre length, it was obviously too tight. I carried out a quick bankside mod by removing the top two telescopic tips, sliding out the top and removing the elastic bung in the end with the orange No 5 elastic attached and unhooked it. Cutting a spare piece of blue No 6 elastic, I formed a loop, passed it through the orange loop to pull back and reattach the linked pieces to the hook. This has relieved the tension by 40 mm. If I feel that I need even less tension, I can add a longer loop of blue.

I carry a screw in my tackle box, which acts as a handy extractor that fits into the end of the bung.

Back to the fishing. The wind had increased and holding the pole against the crosswind was hard work, while the ripples made bite detection an all or nothing affair.

The next roach stayed on, the elastic coming out a couple of inches on the strike. More adjustment was needed, but not today. My fingers were now cold, the temperature having dropped further as the wind swept across the Big Pond. There were now only two of us left on the water, the others seeing sense and retreating home. Deciding to give it another hour, I fed two more tight balls of the spice mix and dropped the rig in over it.

The bite, when it came, sank slowly, taking the last metre of line to the float with it. I struck and the elastic stayed down. Thud, thud. This felt like a decent skimmer, the pole tip following the elastic as the fish fought back. I lowered the pole, bringing it round parallel with the bank, feeding it through my fingers, until I reached the top two. The elastic was out of the tip with the weight, while responding to the dogged fight. By now the skimmer was on the surface and slid into my landing net. The hook dropped out in the net. The elastic had done its work.

This skimmer had been worth the wait. A couple more roach followed and stayed on, but I also missed a couple of unmissable bites, where the float sank slowly out of sight and I braced for a decent fish, only to see a bare hook. Lack of practice?

Another unmissable saw the elastic out again, that thudding fight taking the fish out toward the middle before the elastic brought it back, a better skimmer bream rolling several times on the surface, as I eased it to my bank and the net.

Again the hook came out in the net, this fish just hooked in the skin of the mouth. I kept going for a little longer, but pleasure fishing is supposed to be just that, I have endured too many Winter League matches, where points are everything and the smallest gudgeon can make a difference to your team’s result. I don’t need to do that anymore and after this last roach, I packed up.

It was hard to judge the amount of feed needed, probably feeding no more than 6 oz of liquidised bread, plus a sprinkling of flavouring, double punching with the 4 mm punch to conceal the size 18 hook. A 20 may have been better.

On a cold blustery day the two skimmer bream saved the day and I look forward to my next visit, when I hope that the tench and crucians will be in feeding mood.

Roach and rudd shine at Braybrooke

April 1, 2021 at 8:12 pm

A week of  warm weather had transformed fish activity at my local Jeanes’s Pond at Braybrooke Recreation Ground late in the afternoon this week, with the surface alive with topping fish. Having fished only ten days before and found the fishing hard, but rewarding with some decent roach on a size 18 hook and 4 mm bread punch, I was hoping for some early tench and crucian action, plus maybe a bonus carp, or two.

Setting up a 4 x 16 antenna float rig to a size 16 hook, I plumbed the depth to find the 3 ft shelf dropping away to 4 ft with the pole at 3 metres. Mixing up about 4 oz of heavy liquidised bread with a liberal sprinkling of halibut micropellets, I damped the lot down and plopped in four balls between three and four metres out, watching them fall through quickly to the bottom. Starting with a 6 mm pellet of bread at three metres there was a bite first cast with a sail away from a small rudd.

A few more like this and smaller, saw me bulking the shot 15 inches from the hook, with the float deepened for the bait to rest on the bottom in an attempt to get away from the small stuff. It didn’t work, there was a layer of small rudd that intercepted the bread as it sped to the bottom. The float would bob up, I would lift then make contact half way up, these small fish gorging the hook in seconds.

I decided to scrape together my remaining feed and put it in, while throwing in a couple of decoy balls of lighter straight liquidised bread out further to take away many of the smaller fish. This seemed to work, as although I was now waiting longer for a bite to develope, they were generally better rudd.

Roach had moved in on the feed on the 4 metre line, the bites when they came being more positive.


By now it was obvious to me and the other three anglers, that we were still too early for tench and carp. At least I was getting bites and the occasional net roach. I continued, they packed up.

In under three hours I had knocked out about 50 silvers, roach and rudd, the bread punch bringing a steady flow of bites.