Bread punch tench and crucian carp bonus

August 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm

When thunder, lightning and hail forced an early retreat from Kings Pond last week, I resolved to return for another session. This week

I arrived in sunshine to find the fishery carpark with only a few vacant spaces and anglers occupying all the early pegs on the pond, having to take the long walk to the far end, before I could find an opening. This at least gave me the chance to chat to a few of the locals on my way down, most of whom were struggling for bites on pellet and maggot baits, three inch roach proving to be a nuisance. Only one tench had been taken so far, that coming to ledgered red maggots in a feeder from the opposite bank.

Not too encouraging then. This pond is billed as a premier fishery, where an average angler should catch 20 – 30 of fish in a day according to the hype, but cormorants have damaged the fish stocks in the past, hence the tapes stretched across the pond. One informant said that there used to be many chub in the pond, but they were ideal cormorant fodder, the club now only stocking with tench and crucian carp.

Most of the other swims had an attractive clump of lilies either side, but this one was open with a small lily bed to my left. I prefer open water for the pole, giving more of a chance to control a running fish. First catch a fish.

Ready to use the bread punch, I plumbed up and found the inside shelf extended four metres out, a bit further than I would have wished, going from three to five feet deep with a steep drop off. I started with a ball over the drop off and another a metre further out, casting the pole rig in between the two with a 7 mm bread pellet on a size 14 hook, the depth set just off bottom. The float sat for a couple of minutes, then a tell tale ring spread from the float antenna, before a dip and a slow sink away, lifting into a roach.

A nice sized roach to start. Back into the same spot again and an identical bite, but this time the elastic stayed out with a better fish pounding away, an even better roach coming to the net.

A couple of smaller roach followed. Bites were slow to develope, but positive steady pull unders. Putting in another small ball of liquidised bread, I cast into it and watched the float slide away and lifted into a fish that powered away keeping deep, taking elastic. Thinking small tench, I was surprised to net a small perch. Taking on the drop, the perch obviously mistook the bread for a small fish. Not the first on the bread punch for me.

Small bubbles were now bursting over the baited area and I added another six inches to the depth on my float. The float sank immediately and the pole bent over into a good fish that fought hard and deep, throwing up bursts of bubbles as it ran along the bottom, the elastic doing its job of buffering each run.

Breaking the pole down to the top two sections, the net was ready to slip under a fat, round crucian carp. This is what I had come for. I had caught five fish from five punches of bread in the first thirty minutes, pretty slow going for the punch, but judging from what I could see further along the pond, a lot better than anyone else.

The inside line now seemed dead, the punch getting a few knocks, but nothing positive. I put a couple of balls over to the lily bed on my left and got a bite. A small rudd had taken the bread on the way down.

Better than nothing, I shallowed up again and began to catch roach instead, casting close to the lilies. The wind had been increasing since my arrival and it now began to blow a gale, dragging the float along in the drift.

Needing to refill the bait box, I opted for a change of plan. Mixing a third of ground fish pellets to the liquidised bread, topped with a covering of boiled hemp seed, I added water to make up a stiff ground bait and put in several balls straight out in front of me between six and eight metres out, where I had seen bubbles rising. To counter the drift, I set the float a foot over depth, with two No 8 shot on the bottom. I did not have long to wait, the float sinking well out of sight, before the pole bent into another elastic stretching fish.

Brilliant, nailing the bait to the bottom was the answer, the float going away again, this time a quality roach making off with the bread.

Back out again, the float lifted and plunged from view, followed by stretching elastic. I added another length of pole to follow the fish, which made a bee line for the lily bed, turning it to then follow across to my right, a tench eventually rolling on the surface to be netted.

This tough little male tench was in perfect condition, fighting hard to escape as I tried for a photo. I had kept the pole at nine metres, dropping the float in for another instant bite and an even more powerful fish, this time a larger female tench.

In again, this time a crucian fighting hard. The fish were out there and competing for the feed, the bites being unmissable.

Then another plate of gold.

The bites were still coming, more roach and a crucian coming to the net, then another tench, this time a small male that fought for all it was worth.

The wind was still rippling the water, the float blinking in the waves, striking when it failed to appear after a couple of times. A roach bream hybrid sailed away with the line in tow.

The variety of fish continued, several bright orange rudd intercepting the bait on the way down.

Time was getting on and the tench and crucians seemed to have stopped feeding, so made 3 pm my dead line to pack up, ending the session with yet another quality roach.

At one time during the afternoon, I thought that 20 lb was on the cards, but almost as I considered it, the better fish went off the feed. The angler in the next peg came round to see my catch and seemed impressed, ringing the changes between red maggot, micro pellets and banded pellets, he had pole fished to the middle for a small tench and two crucians, plus a mix of roach and small perch since 8 am for about 5 lb. In just over four hours, I had stuck to the bread to put 8 lb on the scales.