Carp make up for missing roach on the River Cut.

July 27, 2022 at 8:27 pm

When morning showers failed to materialise, I decided to try my local River Cut for an afternoon fishing, my wife Julie helping with the tackle on the long walk down to my chosen swim, where I hoped for a carp, or two. Although my knee surgery has been a success, it was good to have help getting the trolley down the bank and in position in the swim.

I was sorry to see that a couple of long branches had been  forced into the far bank bush, cutting off access to the edge, where trotting a float close to the foliage results in most bites. I tried to remove the nearest branch, but it remained firmly stuck in place. An act of vandalism, or someone with access to a grappling hook saving the swim to themselves? This is a club water, but without effective bailiffs, it is something that members must expect. I also counted three shopping trollies in the river on my way down too.

The river was very coloured, but casting the 4 No 4 ali stemmed stick float rig in, with a 6 mm punch of bread on the size 16 hook, saw an instant response, small rudd and gudgeon taking the float under repeatedly.

I had mixed up a few ounces of coarse liquidised bread, with ground hemp and ground carp pellets added, this being lightly damped down to form loose balls, which were put in upstream of the bush, in the hope of drawing fish up away from the obvious snags.

The bottom was alive with small fish, but where were the decent roach that live under the bush? Getting the float in close to the bush resulted in sailaway bites, but missed fish, or snags. My bankside was soon  covered with branches. I scaled down to a 5 mm punch and began hitting into small dace, most of which shed the hook before I could lift them clear of the water.

As my wife was getting ready to walk back to the car, to shop in the town, my float sank slowly and stayed down. “I’m in!” The twelve foot Hardy float rod bent double, as the golden shape of a carp turned over beneath the bush. I could not afford to let the carp run down further into the sunken branches and keeping the rod flat, put on full pressure. A couple more flashes of gold and it was running upstream, while I back wound to slow it. In the shallow river, it zizagged all over, while I kept on the pressure, until it was ready for the net.

Weighed in at 1 lb 12 oz, this little battler was soon returned, once Julie had done the honours with the camera. Now late for her visit to Marks and Spencers, she promised to return as soon as possible. I mixed up some fresh feed, again putting it a couple of yards above the bush. I was lucky to persuade that last one to come out.

I now began to catch small roach among the gudgeon, but nothing big again.

I had gone up to a 7 mm bread punch in the hope of another carp, spreading the bulk shot, but rudd were taking on the drop.

This rudd had predator damage on both sides. With no pike in the river, it is probably the survivor of a cormorant attack, the bush giving refuge from these hungry birds.

My wife had just returned from her shopping spree, when my lightweight Hardy was doubled over again. This carp was bigger and just as mobile, fighting hard beneath the bush, before trying to find snags along the far bank. Stirring up the mud as the runs shortened, the net was ready when the carp breached and number two was on the bank.

This chunky common carp was weighed in at 2 lb 8 oz, a 7 mm punch on a size 16 hook had done the damage, but falling out in the landing net.

Once this still fighting carp was returned to the water, it was time to pack up. This had given me an appetite and I was ready for my dinner.

Bread punch had kept the bites coming, although the chub and roach that I usually take from this swim were missing and just hope that the cormorants haven’t scoffed them all.

Tench, rudd and roach on bread punch from the margins at Jeane’s Pond

July 22, 2022 at 5:23 pm

It being eight weeks since my knee replacement surgery, I decided to try going solo for my third outing since the operation. With more bend and strength in the new joint, it is now safe to drive, so the two mile drive to my local Jeane’s Pond was no problem, as was the flat walk from the car park with my loaded trolley to disabled peg 17. Following the recent heatwave with record temperatures, overnight rain had cooled the air and the pond looked in good condition, improved by a week of aeration pumps to disperse a thick layer of algae on the surface.

I stopped to chat with fellow Braybrooke Fishing Club member Bill in the next peg, who was happy to show me pictures of a 6lb 8oz common carp, that he had landed from the swim a few weeks ago. Quite an effort without specialist carp gear!

I settled down in my swim, with everything to hand for the short two hour session, just a few ounces of damp ground bait mixed up, including liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hemp. There is a shallow shelf, that drops off into four feet of water in this swim and dropped a couple of tight balls along the line. With just one pole section into the top two and a 16 x 4 antenna float, the shot bulked within a foot of the size 14 barbless hook, a 7 mm punch of bread completed the simple rig.

First cast in was a pleasant surprise, the float sinking away and a palm sized rudd swinging to hand.

The surface layer of this pond is patrolled by thousands of small rudd, and the bulk shot punched its way through them to this better rudd.

A couple more small rudd were swung in, then a much better fish was pulling out the heavy elastic. As I reached for the landing net, the 8 oz roach rolled on the surface and came off. I had given it slack reaching round for the landing net, allowing the barbless hook to lose grip. My wife had been my net person on my previous couple of sessions, ready, while I steered the fish in. I had got fishing rusty during my recovery. Lesson learned, I moved the net close to the water’s edge.

Kicking myself for losing that roach, I was consoled by the next fish, a roach half the size, but netted successfully. Half of it’s tail was missing. Pike attack?

Fishing a few inches off the leaf covered bottom, the float sank slowly and I was into another good roach, that fought well, running deep before coming to the net.

A real clonker. A good sign that whatever was wrong with the pond this past winter, all seems to by ok now. As if to confirm my previous thought, on the next cast, the float bobbed and cruised under, the pole bending as the elastic streamed out from the tip following a rapid run. “This is definitely a carp”, I called to Bill, when the fish changed direction to rush by close to the bank, holding the pole out as it disappeared beneath the bankside bushes. It turned again and rolled on the surface. A decent tench! The net was out and the fish was in. With the hook removed from the tough top lip, I got out the scales for a quick weigh in. 3 lb 4 oz, a good average for this one time clay pit, supplying material for the town’s once thriving brick making past.

Once called the Doctor Dish, this was just what the doctor ordered for me, when he advised more exercise for my knee, going fishing can be hard work, especially when landing a tench with such a thick powerful tail.

I rebaited the swim with the last of my ground bait and connected with a good rudd, that had dived into the ball as it broke up, the float zooming off as the bread punched bait sank. It ran outward, then panicked across the surface, when a pike swirled behind it. With no time for the landing net, I swung the rudd away from the pike to my hand.

The pike was not interested in the small roach and rudd that I caught, but the next decent fish brought it to the surface again, these struggling fish an easier target and a worthwhile meal. Another quality roach, swung in without a net.

It now went dead as the pike began swirling and chasing through my swim, scattering fish in all directions. Fishing close to the bush to my right brought bites from small silvers, but over the baited area, the float registered only timid knocks.

I switched from the bush, then back over the bait, the slow sinking bite producing another quality roach. The pike had gone and the better fish were back on the feed, but it was now close to my home time and I made the next roach my last of the afternoon.

This had been well worth the effort, having run out of bread to punch.

My wife had accused me of being a fishing addict, when I went out to load up my tackle, but with a net of fish like this in a couple of hours, can you blame me?



Big crucian carp on the bread punch, makes up for lost time on the River Cut

July 7, 2022 at 8:59 pm

Still unable to drive due to surgery on my left knee, I was pleased, when my wife offered to take me to my local River Cut this week, loading up the car with my fishing gear, then pulling the loaded trolley from the car park down to the disabled pegs at the head of the river. Still on two sticks and partial weight bearing, I was unable to help, until we reached the peg and my box was positioned on the bank, then began to set out my stall with my 12 ft Hardy float rod, ABU 501 reel, 6 No 4 Ali stemmed stick float to a size sixteen crystal barbless on a 2.8 lb hook link. A 6 mm bread punch would supply the bait.

As we reached the river, my heart sank to see a grey discharge coming from one of the three outlet tunnels, that flow under the upstream industrial estate. It had only begun to discharge over the weir into the clear river, which had little flow and would not reach my peg for at least 20 minutes. With this in mind, I was determined to get fishing as soon as possible, as this stale smelling water puts fish off the feed in an instant.

Two small balls of coarse white liquidised bread were put into the bay beyond the fallen tree, followed by the float rig showing interest, once I had straightened the line. A couple of slight dips of the float preceded it sliding under. The Hardy tip bent over and nice sized roach was flashing beneath the surface in the then clear river. By my left side, my wife was sliding the landing net out to receive the red fin.

A quick unhook of this roach and the float was back out. It dipped and sailed away as the fish rushed off downstream. The rod bent into the running fish and I back wound the 501. “Get the net ready”, I commanded, “this is a good fish”. Then it was gone, no it wasn’t, I had forgotten how fast small chub can run in a shallow river. I guided it to the net and Julie lifted it out.

The grey water was already beginning to taint the main flow and I was keen to get as many fish in the net before its effects took hold. Next bite I missed, the following one was a decent gudgeon.

The gudgeon got smaller, then the bites stopped. The grey water had arrived. The float dragged under. Yes! Weight, but no fight.

Yuk!! A disgarded face mask had been waiting for my hook to drift by. Thank goodness for barbless hooks.

With nothing doing, It was time for a break. Cool soft drinks and biscuits helping to pass the blank period. I continued going through the motions, catching the occasional tiny gudgeon, while the river slowly cleared.

Then a decent gudgeon was running away with the bait. I was back in business, this being followed by a hard fighting roach.

I had introduced a couple more balls of feed into the bay with instant results. More roach, dace and chub, plus the inevitable gudgeon, beginning to fill my net

Holding the float back as it approached the back of the bay, the tip submerged and I lifted to feel the weight of a good fish as it sped off downstream. I was instinctively backwinding, as the fish threw up bursts of bubbles and black mud on its way underneath a bush twenty five yards away. The rod was bent double. Any further and the fish would be in the waterside brambles. It turned and charged back, then rolled. It was golden, with large scales. A big crucian carp. Another run countered and it began kiting in the narrow river. My wife could only hear my commentary as to where the carp was, it being downstream and hidden from her. She got the net ready, then froze, when she saw it. “It’s too big for the net!” I took the net and guided the crucian in. It was very broad and deep. The hook sat just inside the cheek and came out with the disgorger. I weighed it at 3 lb 12 oz. Julie took a few pics, then carried it off upstream in the landing net to return it to deeper water.

This river is full of surprises, common carp, koi and mirrors and tench swimming among the silver fish, including good sized bream.

By now the river had cleared completely and a few roach were showing among the gudgeon.

I was in the just one more cast mode, when I cast too close to the bush and broke the float. That was it. My wife reminded me that, if we had packed up, when she asked, the float would still be intact. Unable to fish for so long, I had got greedy.

Despite the quiet period brought on by the pollution, it had been a busy session, without the appearance of that crucian carp.