Jeanes Pond roach queue up for the bread punch.

November 23, 2022 at 9:18 pm

Heavy rain gave way to a cloudless sky this week, a pattern that is becoming familiar as November comes to an end. With other commitments, a short afternoon session once again was my only option to fish and I decided to keep local with my choice of venue. Jeanes Pond is only two miles from home and I was pleased to see very few floating leaves on the surface, when I arrived after lunch, being set up by 2 pm.

I chose peg 5, which juts out into the pond, giving deep water in close, allowing just the top two sections of my pole to cover the drop-off down to four feet deep. The air temperature was 8 degrees C, but the autumn sun was strong enough bring added warmth as it shone across recreation ground, although I was sure that I would appreciate my thermals and extra layers later on.

The pond has been ignored by club anglers lately and with no local knowledge available, I started off causiously, dropping a single ball of plain white liquidised bread over the drop-off. On impact with the surface, a ring of bread spread out and slowly sank through the crystal clear water, casting my 14 x 4 fine antenna float through the cloud. Despite a 5 mm punch of bread on a size 18 barbless hook, I had to wait a few minutes before the first sign of a bite, a single ripple radiating out from the antenna. A gentle dip of the antenna and a slow sink into the depths was responded to by a firm strike, the flash of a roach clearly visible deep beneath the surface. A short fight and a scoop of the landing net put a decent sized roach in my hand.

The fish was freezing to the touch, but the following bite was instant, a few bobs of the float and a steady submerge resulting in another hard fighting roach.

I rationed the amount of feed that I put in, very aware that at this time of year, little and not very often is a good policy, it being too easy to feed them off.

Due to the clarity of the water, I moved my tackle box back from the edge; if I could see these fish the instant that the hook went in, they could certainly see me. Into a rhythm catching fish, this was demonstrated to me later, when a mother and young child approached to watch. Wearing a purple coat, she stood alongside. The bites stopped. With no fish biting, they walked away and the bites started again. Another exagerating fisherman, who had said of the dozen roach taken in the first half hour!

A heron flew down to wait for small roach hiding beneath the water aerator. Being so cold there was no surface activity and I think that I was the only one catching fish that day.

This old soldier of a roach showed evidence of a pike, or cormorant attack, with ragged fins and scale damage.

This was one of several rudd taken.

As the sun began to sink behind the houses, the temperature dropped along with it, and it was time for a cup of hot tea, although each cup took at least four fish to drink, due to the float constantly going down too.

The roach were like peas in a pod, sunset at 4 pm dictating my time to pack up, the light was too dim for more photos and the cold was beginning to creep into my body, despite hot tea and my thermals.


Just a few ounces of plain liquidised bread had been all I needed to keep the red fins feeding today. I dropped several roach, that were just hanging onto the bread, many hooks falling out once in the landing net. A 4 mm punch may have been the answer, but it was hard enough hooking the 5 mm pellets of bread with cold wet hands.

Over forty fish on a cold afternoon from a water often ignored by Braybrooke Fishing Club members.

Roach feed on the bread punch despite the floods.

November 18, 2022 at 7:58 pm

Unable to fish all week, I nipped down to my local river Cut for a couple of hour’s fishing after lunch and was surprised to see the river over the banks. Fortunately the controlling Braybrooke club, had helped finance a disabled fishing platform a few years ago, which was still above water, just!

Time was tight, as sunset was just after 4 pm and darkness follows soon after, so appreciated having my 12ft Hardy float rod already made up in its holdall. Having no idea how it was going to fish, I only made up a small quantity of ground bait, liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hemp, this damped down and squeezed into a couple of firm balls.

The area in front of me is usually only inches deep, but now my keepnet was being dragged to one side by the flow. The swim is on the inside of  a bend and the main flow was rushing along the opposite bank, so I dropped in two balls of feed upstream of my rod top. Having plumbed the depth at two feet, I set my 5 No 4 ali stemmed stick float six inches over depth and cast in with a 7 mm punch of bread on a size 14 barbless hook. Allowing the float to run down with line feeding off my ABU 501, the bait was lifting off the bottom as it trotted down, a finger on the spool stopped the float and the float went down. First cast a fish!

Not a big roach, but a good sign. A small roach a cast continued, the fish coming from a slack area at the end of the trot. Then I found a snag. A big willow branch had drifted into the slack and I had hooked it. I began dragging it upstream toward me. It went solid against the bottom and I lost the hook. With a new hook link looped into place, the roach were coming again, another ball of feed attracting some better fish.

The roach were further down the trot and it wasn’t long before another hook was lost. A few more roach and I was in the snag again, managing to bring it over toward my bank. I walked down with my landing net, determined to  pull it out, but this time it lodged on the bottom under a larger branch. At least it was now clearly visible, sticking out of the water. I pulled for a break, but the line was now wrapped around a willow branch and a loud crack signalled the main line broken. It was gone below the float with only a few shot left. It was easier to get out another float rig, than reshot the rig. This new one was 6 No 4, better suited to cope with the increasing flow.

I mixed up some more feed, as I wanted to bring the fish up away from the snag, firming up more balls to drop in ten feet upstream. This brought gudgeon into the swim.

The roach had also moved up, taking several right under my rod top, which made for a few frantic battles on the short line.

Dace also put in an appearance, I caught three on the trot, then no more. Their name derives from the Old French dart, which describes them perfectly, dashing in and out after the bait and rapid bites. Mine all gave unhittable dips of the float, but dragged it under, when I held the float back.

The dace were very plump and fought all the way to the net.

By 3:45 the light was going rapidly, despite a glorious sunset, this quality roach was only just in focus, with the colours washed out.

Minutes later, I held the float back and the rod bent into what I thought was a chub, which dashed off downstream. Wary of the snag lying in wait, I stopped the run, controlling the pressure with my finger on the rim of the reel, with the little Hardy rod bent double. The fish turned and came back upstream with just the odd shake of it’s head, sliding into the landing net, a perfect roach. Visibity was still good to the eye, but the camera did lie in this instance.

They say that good things come in threes and so it was with my last fish, those big roach were waiting for low light and the last one buried the float half way down the trot, fighting all over the river, getting in the main flow and requiring rapid backwinding of my 501. Fish know when they are lightly hooked and fight accordingly, the lightweight Hardy taking all the shocks to bring the roach to the net, the barbless hook barely holding onto the skin of it’s snout. No picture, but it’s in here somewhere.

It was good to see these quality roach.



Bread punch nets carp and skimmer bream from the autumn farm pond

November 13, 2022 at 1:06 am

It is a while since I visited a local farm pond and had been advised that it had not been fishing due to low water levels and cormorants. Well I like a challenge and set off anyway. Rain was unlikely for a change and winds were blowing all the way from North Africa, bringing an unseasonal heatwave in mid November. The pond is set among trees and always provides a bank in the lee of the wind, having a free choice, as the fishery was deserted as usual.

Plumbing the depth, there was less than two feet at twenty five feet out, about a foot down on usual. Intending to fish the bread punch, soft balls of feed were made up, the mix being one third each of liquidised bread, ground carp feed pellets and ground hemp. There was no surface activity, apart from the occasional carp breaching around the island and I was unsure how much to start with. It did look dead and so started off with just one small ball, literally to test the water. Casting my 4 x 14 antenna float to the middle of the feed, I had to wait over five minutes for the first slight dip of the float. Eventually the float tracked away and a skimmer bream surfaced on the strike, then dived away, before rolling again. Convinced that I was about to lose the the fish at any moment, I took my time to guide it to the net.

The skimmer was only just hooked in the bottom lip by the size 16 barbless, the bread hardly touched after five minutes of dithering around. I noticed an area of fine bubbles around the feed and cast in over them. The float settled, then lifted, dipped and lifted again. I struck. Missed it. No, contact just below the surface and a minature skimmer swung to hand.

Once more the punched bread was not being taken in, the hook in the bottom lip. I switched the 6 mm punch for a 5 mm, maybe a smaller bait would encourage a more positive bite?

Top lip this time. I had shallowed up by a few inches and strung out a few shot from the bulk. An instant bite and a well hooked fish. Small yes, but they all count.

I was now on a production line. Dip, dip, lift, strike. Another ball had encouraged smaller skimmers and roach into the swim, so tried a firm ball six feet to the right. I had also increased the depth again with 3 inches on the bottom. It seemed to work.

This skimmer pulled out the elastic and fought along the bottom, before kiting to the surface and the landing net. These were a better stamp of skimmer and tried another firm ball over the original feed.

Splashing at the far end of the pond drew my eye, seeing a trio of cattle had entered the pond through a gate for a lunchtime drink. It was now 1:30, half way through my session, time for a cup of tea and a sandwich for me. My wife prepares half a sandwich, then cuts it into four bite sized pieces, so that I don’t need to interupt the flow of fish on a day like this one was turning out to be. A fish a chuck.

There were plenty of bubbles coming from the first area and I dropped the float in over them. The bite  was bobs and dips ending in a slow sinking run. The strike saw the elastic out as the unseen fish fought deep (in two feet of water???) and a golden flash confirmed my guess, a crucian carp, which came spinning up to the landing net.

There were hoards of crucians here once, a double figure bag of these on the punch not impossible, but then I wasn’t complaining, although a small roach gave an identical impression of a crucian bite next cast and I was complaining.

That crucian was not alone, as a smaller version came to the net the following cast.

A bumped crucian and they were gone. Not to worry, the float was still going under, this time with a skimmer.

Small roach and the occasional gudgeon were now intercepting the bread, so it was back to the other area. A steady lift and cruise off saw the elastic out again with another dencent skimmer.

With no pike in the pond, this one was obiously a survivor of a cormorant attack, the still bleeding flank and tatty dorsal fin evidence of these carnivorous birds, that usually arrive at a water before anglers and can devastate a fishery.

There were some better skimmers this side, but several small roach then put in an appearance.

The biggest roach of the day. Where have they gone? Cormorants again? They call them the Black Death for a reason.

With the sun behind the trees, a cool breeze was driving out the sub tropical air of earlier and my camera was beginning wash out the colours as 3 pm approached. Bubbles were rising again in the original fed area and decided to have one last cast into the bubbles. The float dithered and bobbed before slowly sinking. The elastic came out again and I knew it was a crucian before I netted it.

OK, one extra last cast, the crucians were obviously back. Sure enough the float dithered and slowly sank away. Strike! Solid, then the elastic zoomed out in the direction of the island. It was a decent carp, powering across the pond and I bent the pole into it. It slowed and turned. Not that big then? Soon I was down to my top two elasticated sections of pole, ready to slip the other sections on, if it went for another power dive. It rolled in front of the net and I scooped it in.

Four pounds of pure muscle.

The carp was a bonus. I have often had carp in the last half hour here. It was tempting to try for another, but at this time of year it gets dark quickly, and I had to pack up, then walk back to the van through the wood.

The bread punch had accounted for over fifty fish in the last three hours from a rarely fished pond.

Autumn carp, crucains and rudd feed on bread punch between the showers.

November 5, 2022 at 7:01 pm

Chosing a day to fish without being deluged by showers, has become a matter of pot luck recently, despite whatever the weather forecasters say. Earlier in the week “a dry, sunny morning, with light winds” saw heavy showers swept in by gale force winds before lunchtime, dismissing my planned fishing session. I kept an eye on the local forecasts and saw that heavy showers for the rest of the week in my area, showed overnight rain clearing, before the next weather system blew in from the west. Well, in the morning, the overnight rain was still clearing, but a glimmer of sunshine at midday saw me taking a chance to fish, raiding the freezer for my bread, gathering up my pole and loading the trolley for the ten minute walk to my local pond.

By the time that I was set up at 1 pm, the sun had found a gap in the clouds and the chill wind had dropped. It reminded me of the saying “the calm before the storm”, a thought dismissed, when the float lifted and sank, with a small rudd being drawn back to my waiting hand. It was surprisingly cold to the touch.

A mix of liqidised bread and ground carp pellets had been formed into four balls and lobbed into an area seven to eight metres out, attracting instant bites from small rudd, but ten minutes in, solid resitance promised a crucian carp. Not so, it was a very nice rudd extending the elastic.

A steady stream of decent rudd had found the baited area, but a good crucian had nosed it’s way among them.

More rudd and even some big gudgeon were keeping the interest going. A cold wind had now begun blowing into my face from the west, making bite detection difficult, keeping an eye on the line for movement.

I put in some more balls of feed and watched the line zoom off, when a small common carp took on the drop.

An identical bite and the elastic was out following a fish toward the lily bed to my right. It slowed and turned as the elastic took the strain. It was not a big common and I began pulling the pole up and back to clear the wooded bank behind me, detaching the top two sections to play the fish to the net, this being when it woke up, proving that it was bigger than I first thought!

These small commons were now crowding round foraging for the bread, next year will be more interesting once they have put on a few more ounces.

Black clouds were now filling the sky and gusts of wind were bringing droplets of rain. I checked my watch, ten minutes to four. I would pack up soon. Another crucian kept me going. They tend to prefer half light.

My camera was already washing out the colours, this golden rudd looking quite pale.

Bites were still coming, but so was darkness, the sun long gone behind the railway embankment. The last small common looking very greyed out, when I called it a day at 4 pm.

It had been a busy three hours, varying the punches between 6 and 7 mm haing no effect on the size of fish taken. Apart from the occasional flurry, the rain had held off, but the temperature had dropped dramatically in the last hour, summer has gone and winter beckons. I made it home before the next storm system raced through into the night.

The final tally, roach, gudgeon, rudd, common and crucian carp, all from a public, stream fed pond.