Bread punch fishing finds some winter carp and crucians.

January 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Weeks of heavy rain and strong winds had banished any thoughts of fishing over the winter holiday period, but a forecast showing a dry and possibly sunny day ahead, had me loading up my fishing trolley for the 500 yard walk to my local pond.

Only a few days before, fed by a stream that was in full flood, the pond was over the path and into the hedge line, but now it was back within it’s usual boundary and I decided to fish a swim that had been good to me at the height of summer. Then it had been cubes of luncheon meat, that had common and crucian carp queueing up to take my bait, but being early January, bread punch offered on a size 16 hook, under a small 2 No4 waggler was the method, fished out to the edge of a died back lily bed on six metres of pole.

A couple of egg sized balls of liquidized bread and groundbait in a 50/50 mix, soon had the pond’s rudd population interested and after a slow start, some nice red fins up to six ounces were coming my way.

After an hour of steady rudd bashing, the sun came out and the lilies began to twitch, as hoped for carp began to wake. My first one sank the float tip slowly and I lifted into a solid weight that began to move towards me. Without a fight, the No6 pole elastic was at full stretch as the carp surfaced within sight of my waiting landing net, only to explode into life, skating into and out of my net in a second, before turning and rushing at full power towards the middle.  I added lengths of pole, until the full 11 meters was out following the 4lb common as it charged about, throwing up boils of black mud in it’s bid to escape. It buried itself in the lilly bed, but steady pressure brought it out again and having unshipped down to four metres was ready for the net, when the tackle flew back at me, leaving the bemused carp to swim off. My hook had snapped at the bend of the crystal hook. Very annoying!

Another ball of ground bait went in as I tied on a new hook, resisting the urge to scale up to a size 14, the bites were quite fussy on a 16 and a larger hook might not work. A few more rudd, then another steady sink of float brought more solid resistance, this time from a common half the size, that woke up quickly and ran to the middle, needing a couple more pole joints to be added to break the shock of the run. With relief, the net was slipped beneath this battler.

Dressed for cooler temperatures, I was sweating in the bright winter sunshine, as I took this picture, whether from effort, or from the pressure of finally landing this perfect common carp. If I’d lost two on the trot, I think I would have gone home. The carp had now moved over my feed and slight raising and lowering of the float tip indicated crucian carp lifting the No 6 shot, six inches from the hook. I bumped the first two, before setting the hook into my first.

About 10 oz, this little crucian gave it’s all, but stayed on, even though the hook dropped out in the net. Sucking the 5mm pellet of punch in it’s upturned mouth, the slightest amount of pressure can pull the hook out, the float rarely going under at this time of year. My next bite was the opposite, several rapid bobs and the float sliding away, saw the float stay down as a small fish zig zagged round the swim. A beautifully coloured, green tench of a few of ounces needing to be netted.

The sunshine was short lived and a chill wind began to swirl about the pond and I needed to sink the pole tip to stop the lightweight float from being moved around. The rudd didn’t seem to mind, but the carp wanted the bait stationary and an inch off the bottom. When it was right, a bite would follow and another would come to the net.

I lost count of the carp, most were ounces rather than pounds and would have continued well past my lunch time, but that gusting wind now carried rain, which, with no wet weather gear, would make an uncomfortable walk home, so at 2 pm on the dot, I unhooked my last fish and unclipped my rig from the pole tip.

Pulling in my net, there was the satisfying sound of sploshing fish and maybe 10lb in weight, the mixed bag of at least forty rudd  with a dozen, or more carp, being a just reward for making the effort to find a dry window in what turned out to be another wet afternoon.