Bread punch shines among the mirror carp at Kings Pond

May 8, 2022 at 11:12 am

After battling strong winds on my first couple of visits to Farnham’s Kings Pond this year, it was third time lucky, when I arrived to find flat calm conditions and sunshine.

On my previous sessions, I had been forced to use a heavy float nailed to the bottom, with the float tip appearing and disappearing among the troughs between the waves. That first session was wet, but I had seen a four and a half pound tench, a two and a half pound mirror carp and a skimmer bream with several roach, during a frustrating time missing bites and losing fish, due to bad bite indication from fussy fish. The next outing was even more misery on a very cold April day, just seven roach seeing me pack up early to retreat back to the van.

With a bed of lilies along the shallow opposite bank, I started off by setting up my 14 foot float rod to fish an antenna waggler over to the far side. Adding water to a tray of liquidised bread, ground carp pellets, ground hemp and strawberry additive, squeezing up a couple of egg sized balls and lobbing them over, also dropping another couple four metres out on my side, where the pond drops off to four feet deep.

Casting over with the waggler, the float settled for a minute, then slowly tracked off to the left. With only a single No 8 shot down the line, a foot from the hook, I guessed that it was probably a small roach and struck, the bend in my rod saying different. The fish stayed deep, until close to my bank and saw that it was a small mirror carp.

A little powerhouse.

Pinching another 6 mm punch of bread onto the size 14 barbless, the waggler was soon back over to the lilies, sinking out of sight as it settled. Bang! An even better fish was pulling hard back to the lilies, a definite carp run requiring a backwind of my ABU501. This was not a big fish and it turned and broached on the surface, eventually giving up and skimming into the landing net.

Another mirror carp.

I could get used to this I thought, the groundbait had drawn them in and a bite developed immediately. My float was at least a foot over depth with the bread taken on the drop. The next fish was not a carp, the rod tip was bouncing on the retrieve and the sight of bright red fins confirmed a decent rudd.

Every cast over resulted in a fish, although small roach and rudd were taking over, while some carp were still getting to the bait first.

I decided to set up the pole to try the inside drop off, bringing the waggler over resulting in an instant bite as a mirror took the punch. At first I tried to fish the rod and line, while I set up the pole, but fish kept coming causing confusion and tangles, so had to bring the rod in to concentrate on the job in hand.

For the pole, I selected a 4 x 16 top and bottom antenna float, with the weight bulked 18 inches from the hook and a No 8 at the hook link, the hook being a size 14 barbless crystal. I dropped in a small ball of feed, followed by the float. It sank and the elastic was out with a small mirror diving away, then  watched the fish spiralling up to the surface, the scales shining in the sunlight.

Being greedy, I tried to fish the waggler back over and the pole inside, but found myself playing two fish at once, putting my foot on the pole, reeling back the waggler carp, which I netted, then netting the pole carp. That was a first for me, two fish in the net at once.

At least these two at once were manageable on the rod and pole, I would have been in trouble, if they had been much bigger. I put the rod to one side to concentrate on the pole after this.

Another small ball of feed five metres out, followed by the pole float, saw the antenna slide away and the No 6 elastic was out again. My keepnet was beginning to fill.

This was entertaining fishing, unhook a carp, punch out a pellet of bread, pass onto hook, feed the pole out over the feed, wait a minute for the float to sink, lift into another carp, let the elastic work, break down to top two and net. Repeat.

Every half dozen fish, I dropped in a small ball of groundbait to keep the fish competing for food, the 6 mm piece of bread on the hook, the only food item on offer.

There were a few surprises, this golden rudd being one of them, the float lifting flat, when it took on the drop.

Below is a now rare crucian carp for this pond. They were stocked in large numbers some years ago, my best being over 2 lb, but during the Lockdown period they seemed to disappear, possibly down the gullets of the many cormorants that visit every day. The Farnham club decided to drain down and net the pond this winter, finding very few crucians left, of the thousands stocked over the years. With this in mind, the club stocked heavily with the fast growing mirror carp. It is a pity, as I prefer the thumping fight of a crucian, to the constant running of the mirrors, but these will soon be too big to swallow.

I’m not complaining, I like catching any fish that puts up a decent fight and the mirrors were very obliging. My efforts were attracting the attention of other anglers fishing maggots, pellets, or sweet corn, my catch rate far exceeding theirs. The angler to my left came and sat with me for ten minutes, he had bread punches, but had been lured away by the promise of more fish on pellets. I gave him a fresh piece of punch bread to fish over the top of his pellets and he began to catch a few more, including a small tench. I gave him a thumbs up, but was jealous of the 8 oz fish, as I was hoping for a tench, or two myself.

The soft bread is easier for fish to suck in, while even “soft” pellets are quite hard, also on the punch, the feed gives a taste of food to come, while feeding pellets can easily feed off your shoal.

Theory over. I mixed up more feed and kept netting fish, including rudd and small commons, but they were crowded out by the mirrors.

The main problem today was keeping the punch bread fresh, the small quarter slices drying out quickly in the bright sunshine. Fortunately I had a good supply in a plastic wallet away from the heat in my bait bag.

With the bait tray empty again, it was time to pack up in time to beat the rush hour traffic home. Pulling the keepnet out was a struggle, emptying it into my landing net for a photo and weighing. I could see that my usual 13 lb scales would not be suitable and reached in for the 50 lb set, seeing the pointer indicate over 18 lbs. Not bad for under four hour’s hard work.