Big surprises at Jeanes Pond

June 3, 2024 at 11:43 pm

The one month close season ended at Braybrook’s Jeanes Pond this week and I went down to try my luck. Since April the bankside vegitation has burst into life and the swim options were limited, although arriving at 10 am, I was the only angler present and walked round to “Lucky” peg 13 and set up my pole after mixing up a strawberry flavoured ground bait. Using a baitdropper, half a dozen fills, were deposited close to my side of the lily bed, this also giving me a good idea of the depth.

Hoping for a tench, or two, and wanting to avoid the tiny silver fish, that plague the pond, I selected an 8.5 mm bread punch, folding it over the size 14 barbless hook for extra security. Casting in the 2 gram float, with the weight bulked to within a foot of the hook, the bread sank quickly and a positive bite saw a rudd sliding toward the net.

With another rudd in the net, the float slowly sank away and the elastic was stretching away toward the middle. At this point I realised, that I had left my heavy pole in the van, this elastic had too much give and I had to keep the pole at 7 metres in an attempt exert enough pressure to control, what was a fish larger than expected today. It was like a tennis match out there, with the carp running hard to the left toward the roots of a bush, then turning and running for the lily pads. Back and forth, until the float came in sight, then the broad back of a carp, as it rolled on the surface, before making another run. At last it turned toward the landing net and it was lifted clear of the water. The size 14 barbless hook was just in the top lip, pushed out with a disgorger. A quick photo then weighed in the net at just over 6 lb and it was returned. My biggest Jeanes carp.

Time for a quick cupper, then I cast in again. I couldn’t believe it, I was into another whopper. A powerful run toward the middle stripped out elastic again, but this time the unseen fish decided to stop and fight, looping and diving against the taught elastic. I guessed that it was a big tench, playing it for several minutes, before it’s black green back broached on the surface. Once more a few ends of tennis were played out, before I was staring down into the landing net at a fat female tench. Once again the hook was in the skin of the top lip and detached itself in the net. Weighing in at 5 lb 4oz and 18 inches long, it was another Jeanes PB.

My next bite was so quick that I could barely lift the pole against the pull of the elastic disappearing across the pond. I thought that this running carp was going to wrap around the electric pond aerator, but it veered away, coming back in an arc, running just below the surface creating a bow wave. This is a known fish in the pond, a big white koy carp. It suddenly began zigzagging toward me at speed and I raised the pole to full height to stay in contact. It turned left heading for the pads. I forced the pole in the opposite direction. The pole bent with the strain and the hooklink parted. A trail of bubbles tracked through the lily bed. I had only been fishing for half a hour. Phew!

I filled the baitdropper a few more times and lowered the bread punch into the baited area. A slow dithering bite followed by a steady sink and I was ready for another battle, but the rattling fight produced a nice roach, which was soon netted.

After that anticlimax, I was in again, a powerful fish again, another tench, which was soon rolling on the surface in front of me. I hauled back on the pole and it sped toward the landing net. I don’t know exactly what happened next. Disaster no 1. The tench was in the net, but as I lifted the hook flew out, being cattapulted high into a tree behind me. Without the tension of the elastic, the landing net dropped back with the weight of a 3 lb tench into the water and the fish swam free. Disaster no 2. I could not see the float and pulled the elastic with my jacket wrapped around my arm. An angling friend had recently had his float ping back from a bush and had the float enter his thumb, causing painful bruising. The elastic snapped, the loose end flying back inside the pole, while the float was still high in the tree. The pole was now out of action and I did not have a relacement float made up with me. I began to pack up.

A couple had been watching me playing my fish and now walked around for a chat. I explained what had happened and asked them if they could watch my tackle, while I walked back to the van for my spare pole. They agreed and I set off back to the carpark. My problem also was that I had no replacement heavy float. Searching through my made up rigs, I found a 2 gram Bolo float. It had a size 14 barbless hook, bulked shot and an antenna, a bit thick, but it would have to do. A heavy river float for fishing deep water, it was not ideal, but with an additional No 4 shot close to the hook, it worked a treat.

The sun had come out and the tench and carp had faded away, but the roach and rudd were still feeding. Out in front of me, I fed the last of my ground bait, where I found free biting silvers, although they were very adept at bait removeal. Without a fine antenna, bites were either off, or on, but my keepnet was slowly filling with roach.

The local school had now turned out for the day and it was time to go. Using an 8.5 mm bread punch had kept the very small fish at bay. Having to go back to the van for my other pole has cost an hour of fishing time, when tench and carp were feeding in my swim. Oh well, better luck next time.


I had been kept busy all afternoon by better sized roach and rudd, although the pond is not a patch on its past glories. What happens to those fish? Surely the cormorants and pike haven’t eaten them all?