Roach catching spree interupted by a pike at Jeanes Pond.

September 30, 2023 at 9:42 am

This week has been total disruption at home, while a new more efficent boiler, plus a hot water cylinder were fitted and the sludge removed from the radiators, which meant rooms being emptied of contents, while others became storerooms. Even the loft did not escape, where assorted suitcases blocked access to vital pipework and water tanks. While the West of England and Wales suffered the full force of storm Agnes, our part of the South East enjoyed days of sunshine, but for me no fishing, until this afternoon, when my wife kindly volunteered to repaint the utility room, where the new boiler had left a bare wall.

With other jobs completed, I had little time remaining to travel for my fishing fix, but with my tackle stored in the van and liquidised bread in the freezer, I was soon on my way to Jeanes Pond a couple of miles away at Braybrooke Recreation Ground.

My first task on arrival at peg 5, was to mix up some groundbait of liquidised bread, ground hemp with ground carp pellets and a light covering of a spicy aniseed additive, that I was trying out. With the groundbait damped down, I set about assembling my pole with a 2 gram antenna float to a size 14 hook. Plumbing the depth, there was a steep drop off into five feet of water and I fed a couple of firm balls of ground bait three metres out and another at four. Due to a layer of three inch roach and rudd, I bulked the full 2 grams of weight above the hook link, so that the bait would pass quickly to the bottom avoiding the tiddlers. First cast proved that this was effective, when the float slowly sank and the elastic came out of the pole tip, as a roach reacted to the strike.

A sign of fish to come, the first roach.

Cast back in, another good roach had taken the 7 mm pellet of punched bread and was on the way to the landing net.

The roach were over the feed and the float was going down like clockwork, fishing by numbers, cast in, the float showing interest rings radiating out from the antenna, as the tip sank lower on the surface, before gliding down out of sight and a successful strike.

There was a loud splash twenty yards to my right, as a 5 lb pike lept clear of the water amid a circle of scattering fish. Knowing my luck, it would not be long before the pike came snooping around my swim. Ten minutes later my fears were confirmed, when a swirl disturbed the surface, after I had introduced another ball of feed. I moved my float and feed a few yards to my left, however my next roach was soon flapping on the surface in panic. Ignoring the landing net, I swung it in.

I dropped the next fish as I swung it in and a green flash followed by a surface boil set the mood for the following minutes, as the roach ran the gauntlet between me and the pike. The bites dried up and I scratched around for a fish, going back over my original area to the right. The float sank and I struck, lifting the good roach toward the surface. Suddenly the elastic streamed out. The pike had taken the roach. I had two lengths of pole waiting for such an event, but I struggled to align the pole joints as the pike powered away. The joints slid together just as the elastic swept into an arc and the pike dived along the bottom throwing up a row of bubbles. Small fish scattered in all directions, when the pike surfaced, due to the pull from the elastic. The roach was still across the pike’s jaws. I got the landing net ready. This would be the first of many Braybrooke pike, that I would finally net. As if by magic, when I had this thought, the pike released it’s grip and the battered roach slid out. I netted it for safety and placed it in my keepnet.

Understandably there was nothing doing in close and I squeezed up a couple more balls and lobbed them twenty yards out, adding more lengths to the pole to fish over this feed. Whether my original fish had moved out away from the pike, or not I don’t know, but the float sank and I was playing another roach. The dilemma was, do I bring it to the landing net, or skim it across the surface away from the pike. I skimmed this one back.

It was a rudd.

The pike was now around the outside line and fish were jumping all over, so I moved back inside and caught my last fish, another roach.

The 7 mm punch had kept the smaller fish at bay, giving the better fish a chance at the bait.

Anglers at Jeanes Pond complain about the tiny fish stealing their bait, but the bread punch fished deep, worked well for me in attracting some better fish. If it had not been for the pike in the swim, I’m sure that I would have doubled my catch during the brief two and a half hour session.

I arrived home to find that my wife had completed her painting of the utility room and baked a carrot cake. Lucky me.

Bread Punch roach bonanza on a flooded River Cut

September 22, 2023 at 10:34 am

A storm of biblical proportions had battered the UK for two days, with thunderstorms and winds of 45 miles per hour, but the morning dawned bright and clear with no sign of wind, so I made a last minute decision to fish my local River Cut, before afternoon thunderstorms were due to arrive. Walking over the bridge, I could see that the weir was flooding straight across with no drop, as the joining river was higher than the weir.

On view was the new blue sewage outlet. I was expecting signs of use, but this is connected to a multi gallon storage tank, which will only discharge when full and only after after the waste water has had all th solids filtered out, much more environmently friendly than the old outlet opposite.

I was looking for a swim on the inside of a bend, but they were all still flooded and continued downstream to one that showed signs of violent flooding, but apart from a layer of wet silt, was fishable.

There was a crease between the fast and slower water and I fed a few balls of heavy groundbait just upstream on the crease, expecting them to break up along the bottom in a line with a bush on the opposit bank. With feed mixed and introduced into the swim, I then setup my 14 foot Browning float rod with a 6 No 4 ali stemmed stick float to a size 14 barbless hook.

My keepnet can just be seen through the brown floodwater, swept downstream into what is usually a couple of inches of water. First cast the float sank just yards downstream and the first of many roach was on its way to the net.

Only small, but a welcome sight.

The following cast was a better roach.

Even bigger.

I had bulked three No 4 shot a foot from the hook and easing the float down the swim allowed the 7 mm pellet of punched bread to lift and flutter in the flow. Running the float through without slowing it, rarely produced a bite, probly because the water was so murky, that the bait was gone before it could be attacked.

Gudgeon and rudd were now taking their turn going into the net, and I stepped up the feed, dropping a small, but firm ball a yard upstream every trot, soon had the roach queuing up again.

The three No 4 bulk shot on view with this roach.

A couple of hours into the session, the sky darkened and a flash of lightning warned of a loud clap of thunder, that made me jump. It now tipped down with rain. This was a couple of hours earlier than forecast. Fishing in a thunder storm is dangerous, when waving a 14 foot lightning conductor about, but the lightning was a single event, although the rain continued and I pulled my hood over my cap.

The roach kept coming.

 I hit into a carp right under my rod top. It must have been first in line for the balls of feed. It was not happy with being hooked and zoomed off upsteam. I know that there is a sunken shopping trolley there and put a bend in the rod to turn it away, watching it take line still heading upstream to an overhanging tree. It slowed and rolled, showing its bronze flank and big scales. It was about two pounds, and still full of fight as it passed downstream. It turned again heading for the bush and I raised the rod, the line cutting leaves from the overhanging tree. It was now wallowing and I got the landing net ready as it slowly came toward me. Feet from the net, it turned again and headed for the opposite bank, pulling the rod down and the hook from its mouth. I had a tight line as I led the carp to the landing net. I had assumed that the hook link had broken, but at least I didn’t have to tie on another hook with wet hands.

I piled in more feed after losing the carp and a pair of chub paid me a visit, their mouths choked with groundbait. Small dace were also snatching at the punched bread.

The roach kept coming.

This was my last.

Rain had begun falling again and it was time to pack up. The sky was turning black again and I rushed around putting stuff away.

Over six pounds in under four hours, a busy afternoon on the bread punch.





Crucians, Mirrors and Common Carp take the bread punch at Allsmoor

September 14, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Not fond of sitting baking in the sun, or being soaked to the skin during a thunder storm, has meant no fishing for me lately, but this week the rain stopped for long enough to chance an afternoon at my local Allsmoor Pond. Although within walking distance from my home, I tend to ration myself to only a few visits a year, as this prolific water, within a public recreation ground, has a tendancy to flatter the competant angler.

Arriving at 1 pm, I was not too impressed with the look of the water. Heavily stained with run-off from overnight rain, there was no surface activity, not a sign of cruising carp, or even rudd. I wondered whether there had been an oxygen crash, due to the sudden drop in temperature. Oh well, let’s mix up some feed and get the pole out. I have never fished this section of bank before, as it continues to get silted up from the inlet, with bull rushes soon to meet in the middle.

I damped down a mixture of coarse liquidised bread, ground hempseed, and a spicy ground seed mix with a scattering of mixed 2 mm pellets, that had been lurking at the bottom of a ground bait tin. They are not fussy in this pond and I have had equally good nets with curry powder and liquidised bread. Convinced that the fishing was going to be hard, I fitted a rig with a 4 x 16 antenna float, to a size 16 barbless hook, the overall depth being set at two feet, with the bait resting on the soft black mud.

I had put a couple of balls of feed out on the 7 metre line, before setting up the pole and could see bubbles rising already as I made my first cast. The float cocked, then lifted and I struck into a small rudd.

That was quick. Maybe it was going to be better than I thought? Into the area again and the float dithered and dipped long enough to strike and the elastic was out for a decent crucain that burst onto the surface, then came off. Wait for them to take it away next time.

Bubbles were everywhere in the baited area and there was no messing with the next fish, when the float disappeared followed by the line.

Wow, a beatifully scaled mirror carp put on a turbo charged performance, as it rushed about trying to avoid the landing net.

What next? A small common, that’s what. This one swimming in an arc away from the bank.

A small ball of feed to the left, or the right of the float each cast, kept these commons active, while they sifted through the mud.

The bites were still very cautious and leaving them to develope to a sink away was the answer.

Schoolboys had started arriving armed with rods and landing nets, some on foot, while others cycled. One was still in his school uniform. The peace of the pond was now filled with chatter, reminding me of similar times years ago, when I would have been shoulder to shoulder with friends and strangers, fishing with hempseed for roach and dace on the bank of the River Thames near Windsor.

Small carp were coming out at a predictable rate now, with all eyes on my actions, rather than their own. A couple attempted to cast over into my swim, but fell short, their floats like bouys compared to my fine antenna. I never saw any of them catch a fish. Hopefully they will learn.

Despite the distractions, I was zoned in and the commons kept obliging.

A small mirror seemed to throw a switch, as crucian carp moved over the feed, sending up bursts of tiny bubbles.

This hard fighting crucian had a massive growth on it’s side and was returned immediately.

Brown goldfish, or crucian/common hybrid?

The carp came back with a bang, larger carp pushing the crucians off the feed. This one taking my breath away, when it flashed through the swim hooking itself.

By now it was nearing my going home time and I had a pair of polite goal hangers asking questions. They already had slices of bread and I persuaded them to add weight to their floats to dot them down to the surface.

I hit into a much larger carp, that took some playing, as it was trying to reach a post standing up in the water to my right. This brought the rest of the tribe round to my swim to watch me land, or lose it.

A nice common landed. About 2 lb.

A fat crucian was followed by another fat crucian.

With five minutes left of my four hour session, the elastic was out for the last time and I was playing a decent common, with this band of eger beavers breathing down my neck, one standing on the landing net preventing me from using it.

That was the end of a busy session and I sat back drinking a cup of tea, while the hoarde jockied for position, keeping my head down, while rods swished overhead. The lad in the school uniform asked what I had been using. “Bread”. “We’ve got sweet corn!” He began ladling it in.

My humble bread punch had been enough on the day to get them all shouting at once, when I pulled my net out, the quiet pair holding the landing net open, while I emptied the keepnet.

The scales bottomed out at 6 kg