Roach compensate for great expectations of carp and tench at Jeanes Pond

April 27, 2023 at 9:52 am

Following a day baking in the sunshine, while filling my keep net with carp and roach last week, I invited a friend to join me this week for a bit of social fishing at Braybrook’s Jeanes pond, now that the weather and fishing had improved. Meeting the bailiff in the car park, he spoke of big roach and tench being caught at the weekend, so we were keen to get going, despite heavy rain overnight and a frost that morning. Setting up in adjacent pegs gave us a chance to catch up on our news and to discuss tactics, John using a 5 metre elasticated whip, with a waggler rig to fish a variety of hook baits, red worm, sweet corn and maggots over a bed of hempseed. I would start at 3 metres on the pole with bread punch, having put in two palm sized balls of heavy ground bait to bypass the small rudd. As with last week, the feed mix of liquidised bread, ground hemp and pellets was liberally sprinkled with strawberry flavouring.

There was an immediate difference from last week, when the bottom of the pond fizzed with fish feeding on my ground bait, today nothing. Oh dear, it was going to be hard. With my float rig over the feed, a ring radiated from the antenna. A bite. The float indications of interest progressed to a slow sink and I lifted into a three ounce roach. Wow, this fish was cold, the water temp must be really low? The hook was just in the skin of the lip. They were just sucking at the bait.

The sun was shining on our arrival, but clouds soon blew a cold north wind in our faces. At least I was getting fish in my net, while John was suffering with sucked maggots. I decided to not put any more feed in as the roach were obliging, still fussy bites, but they were coming in at a steady rate.

All much of a muchness, these roach were hard fighters, taking a 6 mm punch of bread on a size 16 hook.

John was ringing the changes on his bait, taking a nice rudd on worm, along with a small perch, but most of his fish came to double maggot.

We had at least expected a tench, or two, but by 1 pm our enthusiasm had evaporated, having expected better things before the Braybrook season ends this weekend on the May bank holiday. Looking forward, the enforced one month close season on this pond will soon be over and I will be hoping for better fishing on June 1st.

Two hours was enough time to accumulate two dozen roach.




Strawberry carp surprise in the sun at Jeanes Pond

April 21, 2023 at 2:53 pm

A blue sky and sunshine greeted me for an early start at Braybrook Fishing Club’s Jeanes pond this week, intending to cram in three hours fishing, before forecast strong winds and rain swept in during the afternoon. A cool breeze was already howling through the trees behind me as I tackled up at 10 am, but the pond is in a hollow and peg 13 was already a sun trap.

To my right the lily bed was just beginning to grow after long winter and carp were  basking in the sun, nudging the pads as they slowly moved around. With carp in mind, I mixed up a tray of heavy groundbait; liquidised bread, ground hemp and trout pellets, laced with strawberry powder, this damped down enough to hold together. Plumbing the depth, there was a drop off going down to four feet close to the lilies and put in two walnut sized balls. There was no surface activity and the water was a thick olive green, which was not encouraging, and opted for a 4 x 16 antenna float, with the weight bulked to within a foot of the size 18 hook to avoid any small rudd, starting with 6 mm bread punch.

The first bite was a slow dip of the antenna, which held before slowly sinking and I lifted the pole to make contact was a 3 oz roach. The tiny hook was just in the skin of the top lip and netted the roach for safety.

Back over the baited area, I lowered the bait down and watched the float dip, lift, then steadily sink away out of sight. Again, a 3 oz roach putting a bend in the pole tip, but very lightly hooked. It had been very cold overnight and the roach needed time to take the punched bread.

I put in another walnut sized ball of feed, watching it sink quickly towards the bottom, then followed it down with the float rig. The float sat for  a few minutes undisturbed and I thought that a pike had moved into the swim. A slight dip of the antenna preceded a lift, then a steady movement to the right. A rudd, I thought and lifted. The float stayed down and the elastic came out. Something big was waking up on the bottom. Convinced that a pike had taken a roach, I drew the fish away from the lilies, which responded with a burst of power, that stretched out elastic from the pole, running to my left. As the fish turned, I followed it with the pole, expecting the size 18 hook to pull free, or the 1.5 lb breaking strain hook link to fail. The elastic was doing it’s job and soon the fish rolled on the surface. It was a carp. Breaking the pole down to the top three sections, the carp was soon ready for the net.

A very deep 3lb common carp

I put in another ball of groundbait, then it was time for a cup of tea and a sandwich to get my breath back.  Dropping the float in next to the lilies, I did not have long to wait for another typical rudd bite, unfortunately it was a rudd!

Dropping in again I was ready for anything and this time it was a typical tench bite, rapid lifts and bobs, then the float sank away out of sight. Ooops, the elastic was out again as the fish ran out toward the middle of the pond. This felt like a tench, with dives and rolls deep beneath the surface, the elastic following down. The float appearing on the surface let me know that I was winning the battle. It rolled, showing a golden belly and a deep bronze flank, surely not a big bream, there aren’t any in here, are there? Only breaking the pole down to four metres, the strange fish was guided to my landing net. It was a big fantail!

This barrel of a fish weighed 4lb 4oz and I wondered if it was the same fantail, that I caught at Jeanes in June 2021.

This one was 2lb 8oz

Although the bites had been slow on the size 18 hook, I decided to go up a size to a 16 on a 2lb hook link, just in case I encountered any more big fish, swapping over to a 7mm bread punch at the same time. Having fed another ball of the strawberry flavoured groundbait, bubbles were now bursting over the area and I was on tenter hooks waiting for my next fish. Gentle raising and lowering of the float antenna showed interest amid the bubbles, but the bite took time to develope. Was it the bigger hook and bait? Eventually the float sank and the tip bent over with the anti climax of a seven inch roach, again only just hooked. The sun was hot, but the water was cold.

Bubbles were coming up in bursts, and I was convinced that tench were now in the swim, but each time a roach had taken the punched bread.

These roach were not  big, but worth catching, proof that the pond is at last coming out of the winter doldrums. The sky continued to clear, while the temperature climbed in my little suntrap, drying out my ground bait and mini slices of punch bread, needing to resort to dropping water off the landing net into the bait tray, to keep the bait soft. By now large carp were cruising the surface, not my target fish today with only a pole, but a tench, or two would have been welcome; still, beggars can’t be choosers and I continued bashing out roach.

My cut off time was 1pm, by which time I was overheating, having started the day wearing two thick jackets. It had been an interesting three hours on the bread punch, having tried out a few thing, but I was glad to pack up. It seems that I had enjoyed a mini climate at Jeanes, my wife complaining of the cold, when she walked to Tesco that morning.

A worthwhile net of roach on any day, without the bonus carp.


Carp and rudd wake up from the cold against the clock

April 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

A wet morning was transformed by a bright afternoon sun this week and my thoughts turned to my very local pond. Would the carp and crucians be feeding at last, following weeks of alternating weather systems of wet storms, then frosts and snow? With many of my domestic chores completed, I gathered up my tackle and headed down to the pond for a few hours fishing, arriving at 3 pm in time for black clouds to hide the sun. The surface of the pond at this time of year is usually alive with rudd and cruising carp, but today it looked dead.

This was my first visit to the swim this year and spring growth has turned it into a parrot cage, with bushes intruding on either side and a tree growing behind catching the pole tip of the top two sections. Note to self, bring the croppers next time. Having balled in some groundbait of liquidised bread, ground hemp and ground carp pellets, I set up the pole with a small 2BB waggler float and cast in over the feed, the float tracking away immediately, when a small rudd took the 7mm pellet of punched bread on the size 14 barbless hook.

I was surprised just how cold this rudd felt, the heavy rain of late must have chilled the water. This pond is one of a chain of balance ponds, that was set up by the council to absorb flood water from the flood plain of a local brook, allowing housing estates to be built along its length.

Despite the lack of surface activity, there was plenty of action below the surface, once the better sized rudd homed in on the feed.

A welcome sign was a small common carp that made off with the punched bread at speed, pulling out the pole elastic for the first time today.

These small commons are from the lake upstream, washed down in floods a couple of years ago and now growing on in this pond. My next cast hooked into a much bigger carp, that dived into the roots at my feet, while avoiding the landing net, becoming snagged. Allowing the line to go slack, let the carp burrow deeper into the tangle, the opposite of what I had hoped and I was forced to try to hand line it out.  It went solid and the line broke below the float, ending with a tangle. I lobbed in a couple more small balls of feed to keep the carp interested, then searched in my box for a suitable replacement float, finding a short top and bottom float, that would cope with the surface drift created by the strong breeze.

The new float worked well, being held back in the drift and the rudd kept coming, some of them a better size.

A dithering bite, with dips and bobs of the float indicated a crucian carp, but when it slowly submerged, the surface exploded as a small common carp stormed off.

Time was ticking by and this was to be a brief visit, until 6 pm, then back for meal being prepared by my wife. To be late would not go down well the next time that I wanted to nip out for a quick fishing session.

The rudd continued to oblige.

A dithering bite and at last a crucian, which came off. I’d felt the time pressure and struck too soon. They just sit there and suck the bread and need time to swim off.

In again, it was now five minutes past six. Another dithering bite and a smaller crucian was pounding away. It was only a few ounces, but I decided to use the landing net to make sure of a photo for the blog. It too came off.

The crucians had finally woken up and I was determined to catch one. Missed a bite. One last cast, then I must pack up. Bob,bob, dip, gone! Yes! A solid fish, but not a crucian, a small common.

I packed up as quickly as I could. The crucians will have to wait for a warmer day.

I can’t complain, I had caught from the off, ok nothing big, but had put over sixty fish in the net in under three hours and got home in time for a very enjoyable meal. What more can you want?