Bread punch roach on the stick float, stand in for chub.

February 13, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Discovering some ageing red maggots, that had mostly turned to casters in my fishing fridge, sparked the idea of trying for chub on the small urban river running through my local park. In past years, each session with bread punch had begun with a brief flurry of small chub, before the roach moved onto the liquidized bread groundbait, but this year they had been absent.

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Casters over a bed of hemp in one of the more chubby swims might just do the trick, so that was the plan with punched bread as a back-up, setting off early after lunch, on a dull and dismal afternoon. Parking up the van, events took a turn, when the seat belt wedged in the door, preventing it from shutting. Tucking the belt back quickly, I slammed the door again and ouch! I’d managed to shut my little finger in the door! I had to open it again to get my finger out and saw blood oozing from a nasty cut. What now? Go back home? Wrapping a tissue round the finger, I jumped back in the van and headed up the road to a nearby petrol station, where I bound the wound with the heavy blue tissue provided at the pump, than fitted a couple of the complimentary polythene gloves over the top. It stung like hell, but at least I could still go fishing.

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In this swim, the flow from right to left cuts across a bend, pushing along the nearside, where on a previous visit, I had several chub, the best being over two pounds, trotting bread punch into the base of the fir tree. This is how I started off, a couple of balls of bread thrown to the middle downstream, which could be seen breaking into a cloud to drift in towards the bank. The 3 No. 4 ali stick was cast down to follow the cloud and the line mended to stay behind the float. The float had only drifted a few feet, when tell tale rings radiated out from the tip, it bobbed and sank, the size 16 hook setting into a nice roach. A chub would have dived away with the float.

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Without feeding more, the roach were queueing up to be caught, but still no chub, although I was happy with these little thumpers, until the gudgeon moved in, three gudgeon to a roach in ratio, just keeping me satisfied.

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Half an hour in, I baited the fished area with four pouches of hemp and a couple of dozen casters and as I picked up my rod baited with a caster, a fish rose to suck in a floater. Casting down to the spot, the float disappeared immediately and I struck into a solid fish that skated across to the opposite bank, swimming hard upstream. Surely a chub? Nope, the deep golden flash of a rudd could be seen battling away in the clear water, before skimming across to the net.

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It was pot luck as to what was on the hook each time the float sank and after more caster feed, their mouths were spewing red maggot juice. This was my last ditch attempt to persuade any chub in the swim to feed, but to no avail. If they had been there, the chub would have bullied their way to the front of the queue, instead the bites were getting fussy and the casters shelled on the hook, as a gudgeon feeding frenzy took hold. Without more feed, I swapped back to a 5mm pellet of bread on the hook, cast down beyond the feed and watched the float dither and sink.

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Another fine roach came to the net. The river runs below a pathway and the fishing demonstration garnered many comments from passers by, plus the unwelcome attention of curious dogs, one of which leapt into the icy waters upstream of me, it’s apologetic female owner using some very inappropriate language in her attempts to drag the white coated animal up the muddy bankside. No doubt an early bath needed, when they got home.

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I continued to cast well downstream and the roach got bigger, two or three hugging my bank on the way back, snagging small branches along the way, hanging like presents on a Christmas tree, as I lifted the tangle over the rim of the net.urbanfieldsportsman 1158

This was my last and best fish of the afternoon, the light was almost gone and the cold was getting uncomfortable, the hemp and caster had held the roach, but it was the bread punch that had selected them.

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Pulling up the keepnet, that welcome deep sploshing sound indicated a decent bag, my new digital scales indicating just over 8lbs of fish in three hours of fishing. Without that lost half hour, it may have been nearer 10lb. Nonetheless an impressive haul from such a small river.

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I don’t know where the chub have gone, but with a month of the coarse fishing season left, I hope to find out.