Bread punch roach never fail to please on the River Cut

November 18, 2023 at 10:08 pm

I had started the day with a long overdue visit to the river Blackwater, which looked in perfect condition following a couple of rainy days. It was flowing fast, but had good colour and I was optimistic of a busy session catching autumn roach on the bread punch.

Having made up a heavy mix of ground bait, I fed a couple of firm balls down the middle on the edge of the flow and another pair in close into the slacker water. I then assembled my 14 foot Browning float rod to give the feed time to work its magic downstream. A 6 No 4 stickfloat was looped on, complete with a size 14 crystal barbless hook. All that was needed was a 7 mm punch of bread and the rig was cast my side of the fast water and checked at intervals on the way down. My finger checked the line on the ABU 501 and the float disappeared. Yes! A good roach broached on the surface when I struck and I began a steady retrieve. A bow wave appeared to the side of the roach and the green, grey flank of a pike arced over and seized the roach, turning downstream as I backwound my reel. Feeling the resistance, the pike accelerated downstream and my 3 lb hooklink parted.

I had expected a pike at some time, but not this soon. A lure fisherman was working the swim as I arrived with no takes, but I have found that a six ounce roach fighting to escape from my hook, works every time! I don’t enjoy feeding pike with pristine roach and decided to pack up and head for home and my local River Cut, which has no pike, yet…….

The Cut was also up and running, with a hint of colour and I was soon tackled up from my ready to fish rod bag, using the same float rig as earlier, while I had emptied the remaining ground bait into a bag, also saving time, but ready to put in a couple of balls along the opposite bank. The move had taken 90 minutes, but I reckoned that I had two hours to make amends. The float had only travelled a yard before it sank away and I felt the resistance of a decent roach, seeing it flashing over on the strike. It was exactly 2 pm.

Another punch of bread and the float was back out there. Bang! The rod was bending over again with another roach. They seemed to be fighting harder than usual, probably due to the higher oxygen levels in the fast water.

These were decent sized roach, not the 6 to 8 oz beauties of the Blackwater, but full of fight and in tip top condition.

Every few roach I put over another ball upstream of my float. There was only two feet of water over there and the roach were taking on the drop, giving sideways bites.

Holding back hard produced downstream bites. I thought that they were chub, but it was their smaller cousins dace, that were hitting the bait hard, requiring a quick lift of the trigger finger to avoid pulling out of these tumbling battlers.

The roach kept coming, this one hooked in the cheek, a sign of a feeding frenzy, not the expected fussy bite of its species.

What a clonker, this roach was spewing fresh groundbait from its mouth, with barely enough room for the bread.

Dace were becoming more numerous, as were some big gudgeon appearing on the scene.

I decided to begin casting downstream of the feed, where the water was slower and deeper and was back among the roach.

Another clonker from the slower water, where I was expecting a carp, but those big gudgeon were everywhere.

I was rapidly running out of holes to punch and searched out the bread squares for spaces. One of the last to be punched produced this big dace from the bottom end of the swim.

There were no dace in the Cut until they were stocked by the Environment Agency several years ago, following pollution that killed thousands of fish. After this session it is clear that have been successful.

The light was going fast and I had to use the camera flash for the last photos. I had been fishing for under two hours and put over 6 lbs on the scales. A non-stop catching spree.

Rudd reward persistance in the calm after the storm.

November 7, 2023 at 5:05 pm

Fishing has been low on my priority list lately, not helped by yet another named storm Cairan, that has caused chaos and flooding across the UK. My local pond at Allsmoor did not escape the carnage, with trees down and a three foot rise over the paths, when the brook that feeds it burst its banks. Being a balance pond, one of several along the length of the brook, it did its job of protecting the housing developments from flash floods. Following two relatively dry days, I decided that now that the pond was at normal level, I would give it a try, despite an overnight frost.

My previous visit to the pond two months ago in September, had netted me a double figure bag of crucian, mirror and common carp, plus several large rudd, all taken on the bread punch.

I set up in the same swim as September, but did not expect too much, as there was no surface activity, also another angler was on the verge of packing up, having failed to get a bite on bread flake, or red worm.

Confident that the finer bread punch approach on the pole would soon get me bites, I mixed up half a tray of spicy groundbait with ground carp pellets and ground hemp, putting four egg sized balls into a one metre square, eight metres out. I then set up my pole with a 4 x 14 antenna float to a size 16 barbless hook. I usually begin here with a size 14 barbless, but due to the cold conditions, opted for the 16, as I felt that bites would be at a premium. If there was a sign of carp in the swim later, it would not take long to scale up. Adjusting the float for depth, I set the bait to to sit resting on the silty bottom.

All I needed now was a bite, but it required another small ball of feed close to the float to encourage movement, this being a slight dip, followed by a very slow sink, which I missed. I went down to a 5 mm punch and dropped the float back over the spot. Another hesitant dip and the float returned to the surface. Was the bread gone? I raised the pole to take up the slack line to the float and the float disappeared. An old trick that goes on producing, saw a rudd breaking the surface in a shower of silver spray. No wonder the bites were so fussy, this rudd felt like a block of ice.

Not a big rudd, but a good start. The feed had woken up a few reluctant fish, but the next bite was the merest of trembles. Again I took advantage of the still conditions and induced the take. The float sank away and the elastic came out as a better rudd arced away to the middle, bouncing the pole tip as I drew the pole back to the top two sections, for the net.

My fourth bite saw the elastic out again, as another decent rudd fought for freedom.

I continued regular feeding into the area in the hope of crucians, or common carp, but the tell tale bubbles of feeding fish never materialised, although the rudd obliged in numbers.

A shoal of gudgeon swam in over the feed, giving positive bites, almost hooking themselves, then they were gone again and I was back to the rudd.

With my back to the tree lined railway embankment, the sun was soon hidden from view and I was appreciating my thermals, coupled with a thick wooly shirt. Clouds had taken over from the clear sky and the temperature had dropped noticeably, my hands were freezing, having handled so many fish in the last three hours, so at 2 pm, this was my last rudd.

These punch holes represent a lot of fish, mostly small stuff, which kept me busy on a cold afternoon.

There were no heart stoppers in this 5 lb net of fat pristine rudd, but they helped keep out the cold.

As I loaded my trolley for the walk back, it began to rain and made it to the railway arch over the lane just as the deluge camedown. A lady dog walker was sheltering. “Did you catch anything?” “Loads!”