A game of two halves, a half time switch from lake to river, saves the day

October 26, 2021 at 6:56 pm

A small secluded lake, that lies close to my local river, was my choice of venue this week. A flooded clay pit, that was once part of the town’s now defunct brick making heritage, the lake is very deep, with carp, tench and rudd, plus crucians on offer.

Arriving mid morning, the autumn sun was casting shadows across the surface as I set up my pole, the sight of bubbles from feeding carp further out, spurring me on to make up a sweet heavy mix of liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and strawberry flavouring. Squeezing up several firm balls of feed, I put them in over the drop off into six feet of water, my 2 gram antenna float baited with a 7 mm pellet of punched bread on the size 14 barbless hook.

Fine bubbles were soon bursting on the surface and the float was showing a interest, followed by a sink away. A typical crucian bite. I struck into nothing. How did I miss that? Leave it longer? Still missed. I went down to a 5 mm punch. A bare hook each time. Then I hooked something that rattled the line. A three inch rudd. My heart sank. Late last year I fished this lake and had a netful of decent rudd, today it seemed full of fry. Bubbles were still coming up from the feed. Something was down there. As if to encourage me, a decent carp noisily rolled on the surface only yards away to my left. I bulked my shot closer to the hook and went back to the 7 mm punch. If the micro rudd were going to nibble the bait off, at least it might give something decent a chance before they did.

As if to confirm my action, the antenna gave several dips before slowly submerging, followed by the line. Surely this time? Yes! A fight back from deep down, not a crucian, but a nice rudd. I would be happy catching these all day. It was minus it’s top lip, a sign of barbed hooks and mishandling.

Back over the feed, I missed the next bite, striking as the float submerged. Next time in, I waited for the line to begin to follow the float under again and success, a smaller rudd.

A burst of bubbles on the surface indicated a better fish, possibly a carp over the feed. I dropped the float over the top and watched the antenna disappear down a tunnel, pulling out elastic before I could strike. This was big and fast, relentlessly running to the middle, bending the pole, as I raised it to avoid losing the top two elasticated sections. Then it was gone, the elastic bringing the float back. The hook was still there. Lightly, or possibly foul hooked, there had been no bite, just a run.

I decided to mix up some more feed, worried that it might bring the tiny rudd back into the swim, but it was a chance worth taking. I was right, more tiny rudd and no more carp. The weather was changing, black clouds were forming and the wind got up

The local forecast had said sunny intervals and a gentle breeze, with possible rain at 1 pm. This was a lot more than gentle and it had already started to rain. The tip of the antenna was just visible, flashing off and on in the waves, tensing up for the strike, when it failed to switch on again. Micro rudd were the culprits, throwing back several and I had decided to pack up and move the hundred yards to the river, when a slightly better rudd took the bread.

The hope of better fish to come kept me going, but when the heavens opened properly, I began packing away in earnest, completing the task in time for the sun to come out again.

The lake had kept me busy with little to show for it, landing that, what if carp, would have been different.

Within five minutes I was setting up my pole at a culvert on the river, finding a stick float rig on a winder to suit in my box. I mixed up liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hemp, lightly damping them down to form lose balls, putting a couple of balls over past the middle.  There was little flow and the feed did not travel far to reach the bottom.

With a 6 mm pellet of bread on the size 14 hook, I passed 6 metres of pole out between the trees and followed the float down. Trotted a few feet, the float bobbed and sank with a small roach ready to be swung in from the top two sections.

After a few more roach, a monster gudgeon took at the point of entry, fighting like a much larger fish. It’s a shame that they don’t grow bigger.

The float moved off downstream and the elastic came out as a chub made it’s initial dash for safety.

It was a fish a chuck, the pole more efficient at hooking and playing the fish, laying the pole back parallel with the river, where my trolley stood in for a set of pole rollers, disconnecting the top two each time to bring the fish in. More balls of feed brought a positive reaction from a decent roach, that swam off with the bread. With a six foot drop from the top of the culvert and overhanging branches restricting access, netting was difficult, but necessary for this next roach.

More big gudgeon later, I was playing another quality roach, that had taken under the pole tip.

Small rudd, roach, gudgeon and chub were swinging in one a minute, making up for the frustrations of the morning, while the larger gudgeon continued to put up a fight.

There used to be a dead tree across the river here, which held some very large chub, but it is now gone, cleared by the council as a flood hazard, or actually swept away by the recent floods. More time and feed might have brought those bigger chub out, but then we are back to what ifs? After an hour, I’d run out of holes to punch again and I was ready for home.