Bread punch roach save the day at Braybrooke Park

September 21, 2021 at 6:50 pm

A cancelled appointment left me with a few hours to kill this week, which meant the chance of an unscheduled fishing session, but where to go? My local River Cut is fishing it’s head off, but I ticked that box last week. The River Blackwater needs rain, the Whitewater is too overgrown and the Thames is too far to walk to get to the best swims. The local still waters are not producing, but in the end I settled on the nearest, Jeanes Pond at Braybrooke Park, it is two miles away, with only a short walk from the car park to comfortable swims. It has carp, crucian carp and tench, with some big roach and rudd sitting in the wings, so what’s not to like?

It was unusual to see nobody fishing, likewise no fish topping and worse still, a thick scum covering the surface. The wind was blowing from the East, pushing the scum to the West end of the pond and I chose a clear swim, peg 5, which has a depth of 6 feet and tackled up with a heavy 2g antenna float to counteract the East to West surface drift. Expecting some better fish, I fixed a size 14 barbless hook to the rig to fish a 7 mm punch of bread just off bottom. Having mixed up liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hempseed with a sprinkling of strawberry flavouring, my latest favourite carp/tench ground bait, I dropped a couple of balls in over the shelf ten feet out and waited for a bite.

Not the normal instant bite today. I recast just to check that the bread was still on the hook. It was. Hmm? As I had been tackling up, a dog walker seemed to be checking out the swims and when he got to me he enquired how I was getting on. “Nothing yet, are you fishing?” He replied that he was a new member and so far had not caught a fish, coming down to get some local knowledge. I explained that I hadn’t had a bite yet, which was strange. With that, my float sank out of sight and I missed it. “Not to worry, plenty more where that came from,” I said casting in again. The float dragged under in the drift and struck. It was solid on the bottom.

At this point I realised the the lightweight orange No 5 elastic was still fitted to the pole from my recent canal visit, not the heavier grey fitted to the top two back in the van. I pulled for a break and the elastic broke at the stonfo connector knot. I was holding the elastic and released the telescopic end of the pole to stop the elastic disappearing up inside it under tension. The float was visible and I managed to trap the line with my landing net to pull the rig close to the bank., Getting hold of the line, I pulled the rig back to find that the hook was embedded in a curved lump of steel. The 2 1/2 lb hook link broke and the steel sank back to the bottom. By now the visitor had realised that I was a complete Wally, with nothing to teach him and left me alone to retie the elastic to the stonfo line connector and tie on a new hook.

A half hour wasted, I dropped in another ball of feed and waited a few minutes for something to happen to the float. It dipped, bobbed and lifted. A tench? No, the tap, tap at the end of the line was a rudd.

Not a bad start, however it was a rudd, which must have followed the bait down from midwater, despite the shot being bulked close to the hook. I rebaited and dropped in over the feed. Another wait, then a gentle tremor of the float, which increased to nibbles at the bread, the float holding under for a moment, when I struck, a small roach being swung in. These bites were very fussy and I missed several.

I added a No 4 shot to the float, sinking the antenna to the tip and dropped to a 6mm punch. This gave better indication and the catch rate went up. Steady, regular feed of the ground bait was beginning to work and fine bubbles were rising all around the float. After an hour the fussy bites were gone and the float was sinking away slowly as the roach grew bigger.

Bubbles would burst all over the surface in what I have named carp bursts in the past, when dropping the bait down into the middle would usually result in a carp. Not today though, just another roach.

These were not too bad in size, certainly not the clonkers of the past, but worth catching. Where have all those big fish gone? Where are the tench and crucians? A friend arrived at my side, an expert on this pond, but he could give no answers either, he has been struggling to catch too.

These roach were not shy and and I bashed my way through them hoping for something better, but better did not come and by 2:30 I had had enough and decided to make this my last fish.

At least the pike had left me alone this time. It had been a delayed start, that sped up to a fish a cast by the end of the four hour session, the bread punch keeping me busy.