Back to basics on autumn pond

November 12, 2015 at 1:30 am

Heavy showers of rain had forced me to abandon any thoughts of fishing last week, even with breaks in the clouds occasionally, there was not enough time to devote to a decent session. My one visit to a small river new to me, only resulted in a brief reconnoiter, it’s usually clear flow, transformed into a turgid rush of brown water and I returned home without taking the tackle out of the van. With regular storm fronts sweeping through, the weather forecasts have been erratic, but today’s seemed reasonable with just light showers forecast, and I rattled around at home getting my gear together, to visit a small lake fished this time last year.

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Leaves were falling like confetti, the wind driving them round the pond in rafts, in contrast to last year, when the surface had been clear of obstructions. Like then, I only had two very basic baits with me, bread punch and a few worms taken from the compost heap that morning. It was already past midday, as I plumbed up my rig, a long wire stemmed pole float, which should cut through the heavy surface drag to keep the bait stable near the bottom. The depth was a level 3 ft and I set about mixing up some liquidised bread with a propriety goundbait to add a bit of extra attraction, putting in half a dozen eggsized balls 6-7 metres out, hooking a 7 mm bread pellet to the size 14 barbless.

As expected, the first few fish were tiny roach, knocking at the bait, often stripping it without getting hooked, the first positive bite being a scrapping rudd.

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A couple of balls later, the float lifted and sank away slowly and I lifted into an energetic skimmer bream, the landing net coming out for the first time.

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Bubbles were now beginning to burst among the leaves, the trick being to drop the bait on top without snagging them. The float sank away again, this time the elastic coming out and staying there, a better bream hugging the bottom.

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Another ball of feed went in and I dropped the float right over to follow it down. The float slid away without cocking and I lifted expecting a small roach, but the elastic chased the float across the surface, a much bigger fish had taken on the drop. For several minutes I had no clue what it was, as it powered back and forth through the swim, until pulling hard against the elastic, it surfaced. A bream of maybe 2 lb was flapping on the top, the hook in the gill cover allowing it swim forward, while I had no leverage to turn it’s head back toward me. Eventually the bream tired enough for me to start bringing it back to the landing net, only for it to spurt away again, swimming in a circle. The bream rolled on the surface in front of the net and came off. That was a good fish. The punch had proved it’self again though.

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Putting in another two balls, it was obvious that the swim had been disrupted, the bites had stopped, along with the bubbles. Time for a change. Putting on a brandling fresh from the compost heap, I was confident that this lively, smelly worm would entice something to take. It did in minutes, the float sinking out of sight, but I struck too soon and missed the fish, forgetting that it takes time to suck in a two inch worm. Dropping it back to the same spot, the float followed the hook down, the line speeding in pursuit. A carp had taken it, running hard away from the bank. I had two more pole joints made up, pushing them on quickly to slow down the charge, trying to keep the fish out of the baited area.

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The fight was over in a few minutes and the 2 lb common carp lay in the net. Another worm was soon selected and on the hook, the float dipping and sliding a way again, a smaller fish this time, the roach giving a good impression of a crucian carp.

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Another cast and the worm found a small common, that took as long to net as it’s bigger brother, the fish being very slim, but dashing all over the swim.

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The next two fish were  small skimmer bream and despite bites on the worm, switched back to the bread punch. Pin prick bubbles were bursting on the surface and my first cast back on the punch saw a bobbing take, that developed into a glide under and an 8 oz crucian carp bouncing on the end.

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By 3 pm the bites were tailing off again, more skimmers, rudd and crucians had fallen for the bread. I was considering a switch back to the worm, when the sky blackened, as rain, drizzle at first, then stair rods made up my mind to pack up. Of course, once the pole had been put back in the bag, it stopped raining, but it was time to go anyway, the light fades rapidly at this time of year and I still needed to be able to see the tumblers of the two combination locks to get out of the fishery.

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The big bream lost, would have made a difference to this bag, but 7 lb in three hours was a respectable pleasure fishing weight, which resulted in most members of the carp family.