Bread punch big bream and tench surprise

April 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm

A first visit to any new fishery has an element of wonder and armed only with information from the club secretary, that I would catch on the pole with bread punch, I let myself through the combination controlled gate to follow a wooded footpath leading to the bank of a secluded lake.

First sight filled me with apprehension. There were literally scores of double figure carp cruising around, not my target fish today. I was hoping to be taking roach and skimmer bream on the punch and did not fancy getting tangled up with any of these monsters, the only safety net being my heaviest 12 -18 size elastic through the top two sections of pole.

A 16 g antenna float rig with 2 lb hook line to a size 14 barbless was looped into the stonfo connector at the pole tip and I plumbed the depth, finding 4 feet at 2 metres, dropping to 5 feet deep at 3 metres. I wetted down half a pint of liquidised bread, dropping two squeezed up balls in at the drop off and another a metre further out. With the pole at 3 metres, I swung out the rig with a 5 mm pellet of punched bread and watched the float settle, then lift again, before steadily drifting away and down. A lift and the elastic bounced out of the pole tip as a nice size rudd fought below the surface.

This was a good start. A few more like this one would not go amiss. Another pellet of bread on the hook and I swung out again. An identical bite, a lift of the float, followed by a slow sink away. I raised the pole to set the hook into solid resistance, the elastic now stretched down to the surface and continued out slowly, the pole taking on a bend as the unseen fish thumped rhythmically away on the hook. This had to be a large bream and I added another length of pole to allow me to follow the fish. There was a deep bronze flash beneath the surface, as the elastic exerted maximum pressure. The fish went deep again, swimming toward me and I unshipped the extra metre of pole. It ran out again and I pushed out the landing net as it rolled on the surface. Now on its side, I raised the pole putting more pressure on the bream and it slid toward, then into the net. Phew! It was on the bank.

The hook was just in the side of the lip, pushing out easily with the disgorger. A big male, this bream had white spawning bumps, calcium tubercles covering its head and shoulders, ready to defend its territory from other males, that try to intrude on its harem of spawn heavy females. What a lump, this beast pushing the scales round to 5 lb 12 oz, before I carried it in the landing net to a spot twenty yards along the bank, where I released it.

After the commotion of landing the bream, I dropped another couple of feed balls over the drop off and cast out again. The float settled and sat there for five minutes. I lifted out to check the bread. It was still there. Any rudd, or roach would have taken it by now. I swung the bait out again. The float bobbed, then disappeared down a hole out of sight. The elastic was already coming out as I lifted. Grabbing another length of pole I followed the elastic. Whoa! This fish was shifting. It must be a carp? It then changed direction, boiling the surface. A flash of gold as it reversed again briefly showed a good tench. I hung on, balancing the pole, trying to keep the tip high, the elastic taking the heavy shocks. I’m sure that on a rod and line, I would have been broken by now. The runs slowed and the tench was on the surface and soon netted.

I am not known as a big fish angler and needed to get my breath back after this big female. Once again the hook was just in the lip, this time in the hard tip of the nose. Leaving it in the landing net, the weight was exactly 4 lbs and again carried it away from the swim for release. A cup of tea and a bite of sandwich was needed.

Wiping slime from the line and the shot, I was ready to see what else was on offer, following another couple of feed balls with the float. The antenna sank, then popped up again before I could strike. The float sat still. The bait was gone. I went up a size of punch to 6 mm and double punched a thick pellet then recast. The antenna raised and lowered, then lifted, moving slowly off, sinking away again, until out of sight. A sharp raise of the pole pulled out the elastic again, but this time no explosion, just a steady pull toward the centre of the lake. Another bream? No, the fish suddenly woke up and began to fight its corner, head shaking as it ran, taking out the elastic in spurts, while I added another two lengths of pole to follow its every move. It was being drawn closer as I removed the pole sections again, passing deep across the front of me, but surfacing at the end of its run. An even bigger female tench now lay ready to be netted.

Weighed in at 5 lb 8 oz, this was a new personal best for me, the fact that I also caught it on a so called small fish method, pole with bread punch was an added bonus in my book. I had decided that this and any other large fish would be returned immediately, rather than put in the keep net, avoiding a slimy net being paramount.

The next bite slid away to be met with another explosive reaction from a much smaller, but hyper active male tench that dived and rolled around the swim, until exhausted.

At 2 lb this big finned male seemed like a tiddler in comparison to the previous pair, although what he lacked in weight was made up in sheer muscle power.

I was now ready for anything and when the float sank away again, I guessed it was another tench, larger than the last and just as energetic. To my right was a lily bed and this one kept powering toward it, despite putting on side strain, the elastic following it all the way, until it was in the roots. Several times I tried to pull it free, but each time the lilies pulled back. Time to slacken the line and wait for the float to move off. Minutes later the float tracked away from the bed as the tench swam out of hiding. A long hard pull and the fight was into round two, the tench out for the count, after a few short runs.

This chunky lump of solid muscle weighed in at 3 lb 8 oz. Tench have always been a favourite, the first day of the coarse fishing season on June 16th, being celabrated as a lad, by getting up at 3 am to cycle to the local canal, catching maybe half a dozen tench of a pound on bread, packing up by 7 am to cycle to the newsagents, where I would rush through my paper round, before heading off to school for a sleep!

It was time to top up the liquidised bread feed, have another sandwich and pour more tea, as I was beginning to flag. This was too much excitement for one day.

Rested, I cast out again for the latest instalment, what next? I did not have long to wait. The float dithered, then sank slowly away and I lifted into another big bream with its slow thud, thud fight, the elastic again doing its work, all I had to do was hang on, following each move with the pole, until ready for the net.

Across from me, another angler had hooked a fish as I cast out and was still playing it on rod and line, while I had netted this 4 lb 8 oz bream, weighed it, returned the fish, then rebaited, before he had his landing net out for another large bream.

Bubbles were still bursting over my baited area, when I lifted into another big bream, that kited toward the middle, it being a matter of time, before, on the surface, the net slipped under it.

Full of spawn and round like a dish, the scales dropped to 5 lb 8 oz, this female almost equaling the weight of the first today. Time was now getting on, this had only been intended as a taster session, but there was still time for one more cast and rebaited, the rig was swung out again. They were still feeding, the float taking time to sink out of view and yes, another big bream was steadily pulling out the elastic toward the middle, using its weight to surge away. In a match I would have be trying to get the fish on the bank as quickly as possible, but catching bream is almost relaxing, once hooked in their tough mouths they tend to stay on and it is worth waiting for them to be ready for the net.

Last of the day at 5 lb 4 oz, this was another fatty ready to spawn. I am sure that I could have sat there catching these and more tench for the rest of the afternoon, but that would have to wait for another time, it was time to get out in the motorway traffic, before the rest of humanity.