Bread punch and stick float catch quality roach and chub from the weir

July 8, 2020 at 8:19 pm

Since the pollution on my local River Cut six weeks ago, I had been intending to test fish the down stream weir pool to see if it had been affected. Three years ago an oil based spillage had wiped out the river beyond the weir and I had suffered my first blank session from the pool. This time it had been a sewage leak that had killed thousands of prime fish and I was keen to find how far it had reached.

With a forecast of rain for the rest of the week on the TV that morning, I negotiated with my wife, that the morning’s work in the garden would wait until the afternoon, but promised on pain of death, that I would be home before 2 pm. This did not leave long to fish, but enough time find out if there were any fish left in the river for a longer session later.

I had never seen this swim so low, the river from the left barely moving, the foam eddy extending well upstream. The outfall is from the town water treatment works, which spills over a sill and rushes off downstream, holds a wide variety of fish, including carp and big chub, this public bank being littered with empty luncheon meat and sweet corn tins in evidence. The river in front of me was only 18 inches deep and controlled by the action of the eddy, rotating back towards me, then sweeping into the foam on my right. The foam along this bank is usually the hot spot, but today it was full of snags and I lost my first hook before I even had a bite.

I had mixed up my usual feed of liquidised white bread, ground carp pellets and hempseed, dropping some tight balls in close under the high bank, my first bite being not the big chub that I first thought, but a large sunken log, that once released from the bottom, drifted relentlessly off down the outfall, pinging the float back without a hook.

A new hooklink tied on, I trotted through again under my rod top and was soon playing a small chub.

This was a good sign, a hard fighting healthy chub. Then a couple of smaller examples, before gudgeon moved in on the feed.

Every other trot brought up a twig, or branch along my bank and a trot too far into the foam saw another hook lost. This strange looking plug was attached to one of the branches that I pulled up.

To avoid the trouble spot, I fed across the stream ahead of me into the eddy, retrieving line to stay in contact with the float. Apart from the occasional gudgeon, or mini chub there was nothing here. Where were the roach? At this rate I would be putting this expedition down as a fail and going home early.

In for a penny, in for a pound, I decided to up the feed rate to attract fish into the river from the outfall. More gudgeon, then the juddering fight of a roach as it sped around the shallows back to the foam. It stayed on and I leaned out from the bank and netted it.

A perfect roach full of fight, just what I came for. I had gone up to a 6 mm punch from a 5 mm, maybe that was the answer? Next cast the float was gone in seconds, the rod bending over as a chub dived toward the snags. Due to the shallows, these fish can only run, which makes for exciting fishing.

Not a big chub, but good sport on light tackle. The next one was bigger, fighting hard into the snags.

A small ball of feed every other cast had the fish coming one a chuck and now the roach put in an appearance again.

The roach were now lined up in the middle of the eddy, this big one causing me to back wind as it dashed out into the fast water, but my 12 ft Hardy took the shocks and bent into every lunge.

More perfect roach, then a decent chub was rushing round the swim, trying hard to get under my own bank, which was lined with branches, but I won and the snags lost this time.

As someone, who loves catching roach, I was now in my element, my 6 No 4 Middy stick float with the bulk shot under the float and only three No 6 shot down to the hook, the right set up for the wavering eddy.

Yet another decent chub took the punched bread, fighting frantically, but staying on.

Beautiful roach after beautiful roach were proving that this part of the river was healthy, the outfall providing a clear aerated refuge for many fish.

I netted this roach dead on my cut off time of 1 pm, then decided to have one last cast and bang, hit into another chub, that took me off into the fast water, causing me to back wind, when it pulled my rod flat as it skated across the foam of the outfall. Turning, it swam upstream and dived into the bunch of branches at the far corner of the swim. It was stuck solid. Time to release the line and wait. The line moved off and I pulled hard. It was back in the snag, but came free and the landing net was ready.

Netting this chunky chub had cost me the loss of my last Middy float, it having been broken in the snag.


I had several sets of these Middy floats from 3 to 6 No 4 and this was the last survivor, the body shape, ali stem and the long thick tip just right for my rugged style of fishing, which do not appear to be available with the modern range of bodied stick floats. Time for a change.

There is nothing wrong with these fish, proof that the pollution petered out further upstream.

The bites were still coming thick and fast, when I stopped for the day. I was home by 1:30 and my lunch was waiting, served up by very understanding wife. I live to fish another day.