Bread punch roach beat off the maggot challenge

January 26, 2018 at 12:51 am

George, the latest storm to strike the UK, lashed the southern counties with relentless rain this week, keeping me busy with household chores and giving me the opportunity to top up my supply of liquidised bread, ready for a session on the bread punch against two of my fishing pals, who would be fishing the waggler and maggot on my local pond.

Arriving at 10 am, I found my friend Peter already in “the Flyer” peg 13 and exmatchteam mate John in Peg 16, his favourite. I had hoped that they would have chosen swims further round the pond to allow us to fish alongside each other, but I was happy to slot in next to John at peg 17. Although we all want to beat each other, these are social occasions and being close enough for a bit of banter is what it is all about.

Both fishing out on the waggler with maggot feed, the two early birds had failed to get a bite yet and I was quietly confident that once I had put in a couple of balls of liquidised bread, the roach would come to the punch. After what seemed an age, but was only minutes, my pole float tip radiated tell tale rings, then held down slightly without going under. I was soon playing my first fish, a reasonable punch roach. It was icy to the touch.

Bite now followed bite in rapid succession and the other two were protesting as I vocally counted them into my net. “Look he’s got another one!” Peter broke the maggot drowners duck, when his rod bent into an 8 oz roach, which he lifted from the water, the low winter sun flashing on its silver flanks, straight into his hand. I was still catching steadily, many of my fish in the 2 to 3 oz range, with the occasional better roach.

John was now leaning back into good roach, which cheered him up. At one time he had psyched himself out. Not getting a bite at any method he tried, while I was into a rhythm; cast out float, watch it cock and sink, strike and swing it in every minute. With John concentrating on his long range waggler tactics, regular feed was now bringing bites and fish, while Peter continued to swing in some lovely roach. I was not bothered, I was well ahead on fish and weight, enjoying myself demonstrating the superiority of the punch over maggot on a hard day. John sang a ditty “They call him the Breadman”. Oh how we laughed!

I had been catching off the end of my top two sections of pole on the drop off into deeper water, when the fish switched off. Adding depth and two more metres of pole, I cast over another ball of feed and had a bite first cast. They had moved out. A decent roach suggested the reason for the fish switching off.

It had been mauled by a pike. Somehow the roach had escaped certain death, teeth marks showing at least two attempts to clamp it in a pike’s toothy jaws. Despite this roach, I continued to fill my net, until a massive swirl to my right caught my attention in time to watch a roach snatched from the surface as it tried to escape. No bites again. By casting around the swim I continued to take the odd fish. They were spooked and so was I, lifting my fish clear of the water quickly to avoid tempting the pike to strike again. The pike moved along to John’s swim, then on to Peter, who also saw it. My inside line was still dead and fed further out, being rewarded with my best roach of the day.

The wind had increased, causing a drift to sweep the float round to my right and I gave up on the outside line, feeding to the shelf, where I could hold back on the float. I was still taking fish in in fits and starts, ringing the changes on depth to keep them coming, including my only rudd.

As the sun passed behind the trees, the temperature dropped rapidly, driven on by the wind and we decided to pack up early, spurred on by a brief shower of rain. I had hoped for a bumper session, following a week of mild weather, but the previous day of heavy rain had chilled the pond resulting in some indifferent bites and missed fish for all three of us. I had managed about seventy fish for just over five pounds, well down on my expectations.

A last gasp quality roach boosted John’s net to four pounds, his best roach being about 10 oz.

Peter had managed to put a similar bag of good roach together for about three and a half pounds. Putting our gear away, the sun came out again, but we’d had our fill for one day, along with a few laughs at each other’s expense. Better luck next time.