Bread punch crucians and common carp oblige after Lockdown

May 27, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Constant blue skies and 25 C temperatures have not been the ideal weather for sitting on the bank fishing, the nearest I have got is to my local pond, when my wife and I have been taking our daily morning Lockdown exercise. The walk through a small wood to a seat, that looks down the pond, is rewarded by the sound of birds singing, blackbirds being the most vocal at this time of year. Since restrictions were eased two weeks ago, the pond has had a succession of dads and lads, plus the occasional older angler occupying the swims sweltering in the heat. Not for me.

I have to admit that I have been searching the weather forecasts looking for rain and cool weather, but while those North of Watford and in Scotland been deluged with rain, we in the South have continued to wilt in the sun.

I got my chance last evening, when my wife decided that it was time for her to brave the queue of shoppers at Tesco waiting to be admitted to the supermarket. Intending to shop after 8 pm, it gave me the chance of a couple of hours fishing at the pond after Tea. Having trundled my trolley down to the water at 6:30 pm, the heat was still intense and I was sweating by the time I reached my favourite swim, only to find it crowded out by a dad with three young sons. They were busy catching small rudd on maggots, dad spending his time moving from one to the other taking out hooks and undoing tangles. Oh, happy memories.

The only swim available is shallow, half covered with lilies and overhung by a large tree, which is already adorned by a collection of fishing floats. I never fish this swim in the summer due to the lily bed, yes it holds fish, but it is also the obvious bolt hole for any fish capable of stretching pole elastic. It was time to bite the bullet and give it a try.

Three balls of damp liquidised bread, mixed with a quarter measure of ground fish pellets were thrown 8 to 9 metres out, a metre away from the lilies and by the time I was ready to fish at 7 pm, bubbles were already bursting on the surface. With the pole at 7 metres, I swung out into the baited area a short 3 No 4 waggler with a 6 mm punch of bread on a size 16 barbless hook. The float dipped and slid away toward the lilybed  and I lifted into the small rudd. Not! The elastic streamed out into the mass of lilies and I pulled hard round in the opposite direction to get the assumed carp back out. I say assumed, because after much tail wagging and splashing, the hook pulled free of the fish.

This attracted much attention round the pond, the dad looking over and asking what it was, while another angler the other side of my tree came round for a chat, by which time I was already playing my second fish, a nice crucian, which embedded itself in the lilies at my feet. Several attempts later, I had broken the lily and netted the fish. “Didn’t know there was anything that big in here?” he said, sipping on his can of beer.

Everything in the pond seems to be a hybrid of something else and this was no exception, having the colouring of a crucian, but the shape and mouth of a common carp. Now followed a quick tuitorial on the use of the bread punch, as I netted another crucian variant.

These I find are the hardest to catch. They attack the bait with dips and bangs, then seem to leave it, but are actually just holding station sucking the bread without moving off. As you can see in this image, the crucian is barely hooked in the lip. If the bite does not develope, I strike anyway and usually one is there, although lightly hooked they are often lost. My newfound friend was intrigued by the punch, having only caught small rudd on his maggots, while my elastic was out again with another nice crucian, that I had to bully away from the lilybed, raising the pole and stripping back to the top three to avoid snagging again close in.

Netting another of the bait stealing crucians was a signal for my beer drinking friend to comment, that he was surprised that such an old fashion method could still catch fish? Fish are fish. What worked 50 years ago will work today. Better presentation on the pole, just makes the punch an even deadlier method.

I could now concentrate on the job in hand, putting a ball of feed in at regular intervals bringing a response of even more bubbles, some bursts indicating that common carp were now in the area. My next fish was a rather tatty looking crucian that ran into the lilies, then out again.

The float zipping away meant contact with a proper carp that rushed out to the middle before rolling off the hook, leaving a black slick of mud behind. Another ball of feed and a true crucian was fighting at the end of the line.

As the evening went on, I had been shallowing up the float, going from two feet up to eighteen inches. This was giving more positive bites and the heavy crumb used in the mix, resulted in pieces of bread drifting around just off the muddy bottom. Stirred up by the fish, these were causing competition and better bites.

Another rush off bite brought a small common and I raised the pole high and let it fight to a standstill before bringing it to the net.

A lone gudgeon was followed by a pole bender that stripped out the elastic and made it to the sanctury of the lilybed, but firm pressure brought it back out again, stripping down to the top three quickly keeping the 12-18 elastic under pressure, the barbless hook hanging on to the net.

Very strange. As I said before, there are hybrids of all types here, this fan tail monstrosity no exception. Despite it’s looks a hard fighter none the less.

A fat, silver common hybrid was next, the hold the pole high method and the strong elastic doing the trick in the shallow pond.

Got another one! An even bigger fan tail battled it’s way to the net, followed by the smallest crucian of the evening.

Beautiful colours on this variety of crucian, the image here capturing the iridescent scales as the sunset.

This small common was the last photo that came out as the light reduced, switching to the flash on my pocket camera glaring out the image due to the silver scales. A few more of these found there way into the net, before I packed up dead on 9 pm.

What pleased me about this catch was the number of crucians, although in recent years small tench had grown to acceptable sizes, but now they seemed to have disappeared, but then who knows with this little pond in the corner of a housing estate. A final word. My wife drove to the Tesco supermarket to find the queue longer than ever, the customers spaced every two metres stretching for four hundred yards around the car park. She did not stop. Today the queue was even longer.

The madness continues out in the real world, when fishing, the only reality is the float going under.