Bread punch best for carp on evening pond

July 31, 2017 at 11:00 pm

I had been promising myself an evening on the local duck pond all summer, but scorching temperatures, not pleasant at the best of times, followed by storms and heavy showers sweeping across the the country had limited fishing time. Finding a free evening when it wasn’t raining, I took the short five minute drive to the pond. It takes longer to load and then unload the van again, than it takes to drive to the car park nestled among the estate’s houses. In my younger, fitter days, a brisk walk with the trolley would have completed the task, but today it’s what it is.

There were already several anglers set up around the 2 acre balancing pond, some more committed than others. No one seemed to have caught so far as I walked round, finding an open space opposite the island and next to a proper carp fisherman huddled in a chair watching his rods in a gap between trees.

Not having fished here since the winter, a white tide mark on the rocks lining the island, indicated that the level had dropped by at least 6 inches, not good in this already shallow water. I had heard that Thames Water had been doing work at the site. Lowering the outlet height would allow more water to be released during heavy rainfall, no doubt protecting the local houses, but not improving the fish habitat.

As usual, I had only brought bread for the punch and about half a pint of liquidised bread for feed, to which I mixed in a dusting of ground pellets. Wetting the feed mix, I threw out four loose balls along a line twenty yards out, that broke up on contact with the surface.

By the time I had tackled up my 12.5 foot Normark rod, bubbles were already beginning to appear in the baited area. Double punching 7 mm pellets onto the size 14 hook, the tip dipped seconds after my modified pole float hit the water. With no weight down the line and set to 15 inches deep, the bread was being pushed around by a fish, causing the float to dance around the surface without going under. Last summer the rudd in the pond were a nuisance, although worth catching once hooked. The float eventually stopped moving and assuming that the bread had been sucked off the hook, I lifted the rod to retrieve the float, only to find briefly that a carp was still holding the bait. The rod pulled down to the surface, then a bow wave heading toward the island said that the carp was gone.

The silly bites continued, the rudd seemingly doing a disappearing act this year, had left it to the carp to test my patience. Many times the float sank, to reappear a second later before a strike could be made. I lost count of the missed fish. One bite sailed away behind a bow wave, the line following. I tightened and leaned into thin air. Very frustrating.

Finally, the float held down long enough to make contact and the rod bent double into a running carp that trailed a slick of black mud, as it headed for the overhanging branches of the island. Back winding against the strain, the carp’s tail broke the surface in the shallow water, picking up a washing line of twigs, when it burrowed into the mud. Turning, it came back into the open water, where it was soon on its way to the net, although close to the bank it was almost beached, getting my net under it at full extension.

The commotion brought the serious carp man on the left to my side. He was yet to catch. The hook was just in the bottom lip of this five pound common. A lucky fish indeed. I like to keep my fish in the keepnet, until I finish, but the water was too shallow to cover the back of a carp, so it was returned without weighing.

My new companion stayed with me for a while, giving a running commentary on the iffy bites, uttering reassuring gasps every time I missed a fish. He talked of wafters and popups, artificial maggots and sweet corn, all foreign language to an old bread man like me. The Bread has done me proud so far, so why change.

A single pellet on the hook brought another rod bender, this time a barrel shaped mirror carp that ran hard to my right, out of sight behind a bush, where it wallowed on the surface like a stranded hippo. Sinking the rod tip into the mud in front of me, I reeled in and it followed, before running for the middle one more time. More back winding soon sapped its strength, turning on it’s side ready for the net.

It was still only 7:30, two carp in a hour and plenty of action in between. This mirror was the icing on the cake, but having intended fishing into the dusk, I rebaited with another single pellet and cast out. The baited area had given up its last fish and I cast another ten yards close to the island. The float sat without movement for five minutes, then vanished. Missed it! A boil spread out, where the carp had been.

Same again next cast, but this time the fish stayed on, relentlessly speeding toward the island, then running parallel to it. Everything went solid. Keeping the rod up, I could feel the carp the other side of the snag. Lowering the rod and giving line got the fish moving, but lifting in again, the line went solid, with the carp making waves the other side of the snag. The 6 lb line parted and my precious float bobbed to the surface. I will have to make up another one before my next outing.

Time to go home. I offered my fellow angler a couple of pieces of bread. He said he had missed a run on his floating artificial double sweetcorn pop up rig. He took the bread.