Bread punch roach amid the autumn leaves

November 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Following last week’s aborted visit to my local urban river, due to oil pollution, I had decided on a brief test session today to see if the fishing had been affected. Walking over the bridge, a distinct old oil smell was in the air and looking down onto the sill of the outlet, additional anti-pollution booms were in place. From the central outlet pipe an oil slick was swirling into the river.

I phoned the Environment Agency hotline to report the incident and returned to the van, seeing that a sheen of oil covered the surface. Fishing here today would only result in oil coating my line and nets.

As with last week, a change of plan was called for, the easy option being Braybrooke’s Jeanes Pond a mile away. Fortunately I had a pole with me and my intended method was going to be bread punch anyway, so my gear was loaded back into the van for the short drive to Braybrooke Park, then unloaded to walk to the pond.

A chill wind from the northwest was blowing leaves onto the surface, causing them to rotate around the pond. Finding gaps for the float would be interesting. Due to recent frosts, I decided on a slow start, selecting a 4 mm bread punch and rolled bread, while feeding a single small ball of liquidised bread every dozen fish. I was limited to just three lengths of pole, as the leaves were right up to the bank and casting was not possible, needing to lower the rig down into the water. As the float settled, a ring radiated out from the tip showing interest in the bread pellet, moments later it sank from sight.

This roach was cold to the touch, but his shoalmates were not put off and I was soon getting into a catching rythm, only interupted by progress phone calls from the AE and Thames Water, the latter saying that they had an engineer wading back up into the tunnel trying to trace the origin of the oil, although his words “like looking for a needle in a haystack” were not encouraging.

Having lost time moving venues, I settled on a three hour session, averaging a roach a minute, swinging them to hand. Missed bites from smaller fish prompted a step up to a 5 mm punch, which began to select slightly better fish.

Bites on the inside began to get fussy, when a change in the wind moved the leaves away from my bank and adding another pole length up to 4 metres, put the bait in a free biting area. It was about half way through the session and I’d only used a quarter a pint of liquidised bread for about a hundred fish. Topping up the feed bowl, I kept the feed to a minimum. It is always a risk in cold weather to overfeed with the bread, while sometimes heavier fish will often move in.

The change in the wind direction had dropped the air temperature significantly, blowing hard on my back, passing through my hoody, making me shiver. A cup of tea helped and I pushed on into the final hour still swinging them in, although this was a netter.

With minutes to go before the three hours were up, the net came out again for the final roach of the day.

Earlier in the year, this pond yielded some near pound roach to me on the bread punch, but the cold weather has probably put them down, however I was more than pleased to pull out my net to put seven and half pounds in weight on the scales.