Bread punch mixed bag

December 18, 2015 at 10:27 pm

The mild December continues, but stormy weather is always a threat and was undecided on where to go this week for some fishing, my local pond still fenced off awaiting work to commence. Due to be finished before Christmas. Ha! I opted for a stretch of my local river not visited this year, where I know I can catch a few chub up to a pound on the stick float.

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Crossing the bridge, one look at the river made me think it was in flood, due to the colour, but with the main stream running clear, the side stream feeder was the culprit. A year ago the road skirting the stream ran through farmland, but now that land is covered in earthworks and new house construction, over 2,000 planned, with surface site run off pouring straight into the feeder stream. Continuing downstream, a new culvert has been constructed, draining directly into the river from the site opposite, exactly at the head of my chub swim, sludge carpeting the bottom. So much for my plans.

My initial reaction was to turn round and go home, but curiosity took over, wondering how far down this contamination extended, finding the river still coloured two hundred yards further down, although the heavier deposits had now settled out.

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Setting up on the outside of a bend, the flow pushed into the bank on my side and I was confident that if I was to catch chub anywhere, this would be the place. While setting up, I’d lobbed a couple of balls of liquidised bread in close to the bank and first cast in the float sank out of sight, my 12 ft Hardy rod bending into solid resistance. Big chub! No, a submerged shopping trolley was lurking in the murky water, right on the ideal fishing line. I pulled for a break, the whole rig pinging back, my decision to use 5 lb main line to a 3 lb hook link paying off.

Taking a mental note of the trolley position, I fed further out directly in front of me, an underhand cast dropping the float in behind. Again the float sank away, but this time the rod bounced and a rudd was skimming over the surface, soon to be scooped into the net.

cut 005With the feed going in upstream, fish were taking every cast, a 5 mm pellet of bread on a size 16 hook, finding a string of rudd, each one taking the hook well down, but removed with a flick of the disgorger. I began swinging them in, only to lose a 6 ounce fish, as I lifted off, the barbless hook coming out at the critical moment, the fish swimming off taking the shoal with it. Further down the swim, gudgeon were eager to take their place, as usual fighting well beyond their weight. A few small roach had begun to show and I took a chance, introducing a handful of ground carp pellets to the bread, hoping to bring bigger roach to the punch, but the opposite happened and I was flooded out with gudgeon, getting them one a chuck.

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The sky had now clouded over, the light falling away despite it only being 2 pm; if the forecast was correct, there would be rain by 3. A downstream wind was now ruffling the surface and I had to change lines again, fishing over depth, easing the 3 No 4 stick down toward the waiting shopping trolley.

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Back to plain white bread feed, I set about building another swim close in, a sail away bite welcoming the return of the rudd. In again, the float dragged under. Bang, solid resistance and a run to the far bank, before I could backwind, then a run downstream. Next second, the fish was snagged in the trolley, but it came free running up beneath the overhanging tree behind me. Side strain and it came back, only to dive beneath my bank, pulling hard to reveal a pound chub, which was promptly ushered into the net. Frantic action, that lasted maybe two minutes.

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The hook was barely hanging on by a thin bit of skin in the bottom lip, which considering the pressure applied to land this chub, it’s amazing that it held. Also it shows how easy it would be to transfer the hook to a snag. My lucky day.

cut 013Another rudd, and more gudgeon were still pulling the float under, despite the conditions worsening, the wind lifting the float from the water in some gusts and I had entered the “just one more fish” state of mind prior to packing up, when the float held under as a good roach took the bait. The bight colours made me think it was a rudd as it fought midstream, but once in my hand, the overhanging lip confirmed it’s species.

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Thinking that there was going to be a last minute rush of roach, I fished on for a few more casts, but gudgeon were the only takers and with the first drops of rain already falling, I made ready for a rapid exit. It had been a busy two and half hours of feeding and fishing, the trolley had stopped me making the most of the swim, while the weather had once again literally put a damper on things. It will be a shame, if this little river, already hemmed in by the urban sprawl of a major town, ends it’s days full of silt, or worse still, culverted beneath concrete to suit the town planners.

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The scales pushed round to over 4 lbs, helped by about 40 fat gudgeon and the chub, mostly small stuff, the enjoyment coming from not knowing what will be on the end, when that float goes down.