Braybrooke season closer beats the forecast

May 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

An invite to join friend John at Braybrooke Fishing Club’s Jean’s Pond, for an end of season roach and rudd catching session would not have happened, if we had believed the weather forecast. Strong north winds, driving sleet and thundery showers were promised by the TV weathermen, backed up by images of early morning snow falls in northern parts, but prepared for the worst we went anyway to be greeted by sunshine.

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In a dip, the north wind roared through the trees above us, passing overhead to leave the pond virtually untroubled, while we baked in the sunshine, only reminded of the forecast, when clouds passed over the sun to be replaced by an icy blast.

While John settled into peg 11, where he had netted 16 lb of roach and rudd on the waggler with maggot a fortnight before, I chose to set up in the unknown peg 10 to his left, which is set back in a bay. Having plumbed the depth and found it shallow out to 8 metres, I considered moving to the deeper pegs to John’s right, but decided to learn what I could for the future, while he wanted to top his previous best weight from 11.

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John started off with his 8 metre elasticated whip and long line, waggler combination, fished out over flouro maggots, while I as usual was set up for the pole and bread punch, feeding a couple of egg sized balls of liquidised bread out to the drop off in my swim. Both of us were into roach from the start, the punch out pacing the maggot in quantity and quality.

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Always competitive, John was getting worried that I was ahead, as I was netting all fish over 2 oz, due to them being lightly hooked and dropping off, when swung in, much to his amusement. I was experimenting with a much lighter elastic, which on the canal with size 20 hooks, set the hook easily, but now a larger size 16 was barely hanging onto the skin of the lip. My spare pole top with heavier elastic was in the van. I adjusted to the lighter elastic, which gave security, once the better sized rudd moved in over the feed.

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A pike took one of my roach as I was bringing it in. The swim went dead apart from tiny roach, which I threw back, not wanting to damage them in the net. Shortly after this John chuckled “Look at this clonker Kenny!” as he brought a 12 oz roach to his net. I responded with another small “clinker” roach as John swung in another “clonker”. His weight was beginning to outstrip mine, as I watched the pike flash over into yet another roach. This was a relatively small pike of about 3 lb, but it had a taste for larger fish, coming up to the surface to snap at the tail of a good rudd, just as I was about to net it.

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Finding deeper water closer in to my right, I decided to leave the pike to it’s slaughter and build a new swim and began to catch small roach, while John continued to swing in clonker roach and rudd, until the pike moved into his swim, chasing fish to the surface. He countered this by feeding further out to fish the waggler on rod and line, although these were smaller fish.

We had both been busy catching for over two hours, when we stopped fishing for a lunch break, while we guessed what weight we had. I had been counting my fish in and had over 60, while John had far fewer, but better average size. From my vantage point behind him, I could see all his landed fish, while he could only see mine from the corner of his eye. My fish were brought back with the pole tip sunk, letting the elastic do the work, breaking down to 3 metres of pole to net the fish at the last moment. He was convinced that I was ahead on weight, but I knew better. The pike had seen to that.

With an hour to go we started again, he going back to the whip, while I put another couple of balls into my original swim. The roach and rudd were coming steadily to both of us, one of mine spewing maggots, which proves how much these fish move about, as I hadn’t any to put into my swim.

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Bang on 2 pm we stopped fishing, John had been catching some real clonkers, while most of mine had been smaller clinkers but twice as many. I estimated I’d had two and a half pounds in that last hour, while John guessed he’d had four pounds.

I weighed my net in first, which topped 8 lbs, a good weight for the bread punch in four hours fishing.

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John then pulled out his net, the two of us tipping them into the weigh net, seeing the scales swing round to 12 lb.

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John had hoped for more from this swim, but he was happy to have beaten me into second place again, the wag and mag beating the punch on this occasion.

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As we packed up, we watched a 3 ft long pike cruise through John’s swim on the surface. Now that was a pike!