Bread punch chub and roach feed, despite pollution and cormorants on the Cut

March 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Following my outing last week, when I netted some big chub from my local River Cut, I decided to have a last session on the town water, before the end of the river fishing season. Controlled by the Braybrooke Community Nature and Fishing Club, the river here has been recently cleared of fallen trees and the banks tidied up by the Environment Agency and I walked down to a swim, that I’d not fished for many years.

A tree had stretched across this swim, restricting the trot, now it would be possible to run a float along the tangled bushes reaching down into the river on the right. It looked very chubby. I mixed up a simple 60/30 combination of liquidised bread and ground hempseed, which I damped down enough to form compressed balls of feed, dropping one down the middle and the other over to the opposite bank.

I set the float shallow to follow the first ball and watched it slide away as the float cocked, when a roach took the 6 mm punch of bread, a good roach, that had obvious signs of being attacked by a cormorant.

Despite the injuries, this roach fought well.

The following cast alongside the bushes saw the float hold down, the strike bending the rod into a chub, that dived into the snags. Side strain pulled the chub out to the clear water and the waiting landing net.

This had all the makings of a good session, when the third cast produced a rudd, three species in three casts.

I put another ball along the opposite side and followed it down, the rod bending over again as another chub unsuccessfully tried out the right hand snags, only to switch to the near bank in a charge downstream toward a log, thankfully steering it away, bringing the net out once more.

The river had been coloured, when I arrived at noon, but now the flow picked up with a flush of brown water. I had come to fish in the afternoon, as most mornings suffered from the influx of this dirty water, but here it was at 1 pm. The effect was immediate, the bites faded away. A small roach and a tiny gudgeon were the only fish in the next twenty minutes. Time to get out the sandwiches.

This is a deep swim with four feet down the middle and so raised the float to fish over depth, resting the rod and laying on. Ten minutes later the float bobbed and sank, while I had a cup of tea in one hand and a sandwich in the other. The float popped up again. Missed it. The bread was gone. Oh well, that was a good sign. Refreshments over, I held the rod and studied the float. I waited. Eventually it bobbed again, then went under. A small gudgeon. Then another. Next a good sign, a roach.

Time to set the float higher and trot through again, following a ball of feed. A small chub, then another.

The dead period was over, lasting an hour. The flow receded and the brown stain washed away. This has been reported to the Environment Agency on numerous occasions, but nothing is found. Over an hour the discharge must be many gallons washed down the rainwater drains, or from a sluice upstream. No fish seem to die and no action is taken, but if like me, you are investing in time to build up a swim, it is annoying. Some people have turned up to fish, only to find no fish biting at that time and pack up again, not realising that an hour wait will see them taking the bait again.

It was not fantastic fishing, but the float was going down, even if it was only a few small gudgeon, roach, or even dace.

The landing net came out for a better sized rudd. It was still early and there was a chance to redeem the session yet.

The rod was bending again and I was backwinding a running chub, that turned and swam back to me.

Now a decent roach was fighting all the way to the net. I was back in the catching groove.

These fish were a long way down the swim, bobbing the float as they followed the bait, before they took the float down. More dace, then a better roach.

The float skated sideways across the river and I assumed it was a small rudd, but I was pleasantly surprised when the rod arched over into another good chub. It made for the downstream log along my bank and snagged itself. I got up, landing net in hand, to persuade it out again. My 14 foot rod caught in the alder above me. The chub came out of the snag, flapped on the surface mid water and came off. The line pinged back becoming more tangled in the tree above. I’m sure, that if this had been filmed and put on Youtube, it would have gone viral, very funny for some, but not for me. I managed to retrieve the float, which was wrapped in line and shot. Cutting the line allowed me to pull the rest through from the tree. I had other float rigs, plus another rod made up ready to fish in my holdall, but decided enough was enough and packed up.

Walking back to the van, the river was now clear, but the bottom was sandy. Was this building sand and cement washed off the roads of one of the many new housing estates surrounding the town?

Not a good way to end an improving session. Rain is forecast for the next few days. Monday will be my last opportunity to fish. Where will I go?

Not a bad result considering.