Bread punch nets carp and skimmer bream from the autumn farm pond

November 13, 2022 at 1:06 am

It is a while since I visited a local farm pond and had been advised that it had not been fishing due to low water levels and cormorants. Well I like a challenge and set off anyway. Rain was unlikely for a change and winds were blowing all the way from North Africa, bringing an unseasonal heatwave in mid November. The pond is set among trees and always provides a bank in the lee of the wind, having a free choice, as the fishery was deserted as usual.

Plumbing the depth, there was less than two feet at twenty five feet out, about a foot down on usual. Intending to fish the bread punch, soft balls of feed were made up, the mix being one third each of liquidised bread, ground carp feed pellets and ground hemp. There was no surface activity, apart from the occasional carp breaching around the island and I was unsure how much to start with. It did look dead and so started off with just one small ball, literally to test the water. Casting my 4 x 14 antenna float to the middle of the feed, I had to wait over five minutes for the first slight dip of the float. Eventually the float tracked away and a skimmer bream surfaced on the strike, then dived away, before rolling again. Convinced that I was about to lose the the fish at any moment, I took my time to guide it to the net.

The skimmer was only just hooked in the bottom lip by the size 16 barbless, the bread hardly touched after five minutes of dithering around. I noticed an area of fine bubbles around the feed and cast in over them. The float settled, then lifted, dipped and lifted again. I struck. Missed it. No, contact just below the surface and a minature skimmer swung to hand.

Once more the punched bread was not being taken in, the hook in the bottom lip. I switched the 6 mm punch for a 5 mm, maybe a smaller bait would encourage a more positive bite?

Top lip this time. I had shallowed up by a few inches and strung out a few shot from the bulk. An instant bite and a well hooked fish. Small yes, but they all count.

I was now on a production line. Dip, dip, lift, strike. Another ball had encouraged smaller skimmers and roach into the swim, so tried a firm ball six feet to the right. I had also increased the depth again with 3 inches on the bottom. It seemed to work.

This skimmer pulled out the elastic and fought along the bottom, before kiting to the surface and the landing net. These were a better stamp of skimmer and tried another firm ball over the original feed.

Splashing at the far end of the pond drew my eye, seeing a trio of cattle had entered the pond through a gate for a lunchtime drink. It was now 1:30, half way through my session, time for a cup of tea and a sandwich for me. My wife prepares half a sandwich, then cuts it into four bite sized pieces, so that I don’t need to interupt the flow of fish on a day like this one was turning out to be. A fish a chuck.

There were plenty of bubbles coming from the first area and I dropped the float in over them. The biteĀ  was bobs and dips ending in a slow sinking run. The strike saw the elastic out as the unseen fish fought deep (in two feet of water???) and a golden flash confirmed my guess, a crucian carp, which came spinning up to the landing net.

There were hoards of crucians here once, a double figure bag of these on the punch not impossible, but then I wasn’t complaining, although a small roach gave an identical impression of a crucian bite next cast and I was complaining.

That crucian was not alone, as a smaller version came to the net the following cast.

A bumped crucian and they were gone. Not to worry, the float was still going under, this time with a skimmer.

Small roach and the occasional gudgeon were now intercepting the bread, so it was back to the other area. A steady lift and cruise off saw the elastic out again with another dencent skimmer.

With no pike in the pond, this one was obiously a survivor of a cormorant attack, the still bleeding flank and tatty dorsal fin evidence of these carnivorous birds, that usually arrive at a water before anglers and can devastate a fishery.

There were some better skimmers this side, but several small roach then put in an appearance.

The biggest roach of the day. Where have they gone? Cormorants again? They call them the Black Death for a reason.

With the sun behind the trees, a cool breeze was driving out the sub tropical air of earlier and my camera was beginning wash out the colours as 3 pm approached. Bubbles were rising again in the original fed area and decided to have one last cast into the bubbles. The float dithered and bobbed before slowly sinking. The elastic came out again and I knew it was a crucian before I netted it.

OK, one extra last cast, the crucians were obviously back. Sure enough the float dithered and slowly sank away. Strike! Solid, then the elastic zoomed out in the direction of the island. It was a decent carp, powering across the pond and I bent the pole into it. It slowed and turned. Not that big then? Soon I was down to my top two elasticated sections of pole, ready to slip the other sections on, if it went for another power dive. It rolled in front of the net and I scooped it in.

Four pounds of pure muscle.

The carp was a bonus. I have often had carp in the last half hour here. It was tempting to try for another, but at this time of year it gets dark quickly, and I had to pack up, then walk back to the van through the wood.

The bread punch had accounted for over fifty fish in the last three hours from a rarely fished pond.