Breadpunch and red worm fishing the autumn pond.

November 6, 2014 at 6:54 pm

An Indian summer had brought record 20C temperatures for October and I had a new pond in mind to fish, but as happens, other priorities such as clearing the garden ready for winter and days out driving my classic MG, or motorbike rides, had pushed fishing further down the list. Now with temperatures back down to seasonal levels, the weatherman forecast a bright dry day and I set off in sunshine, after the morning rush hour, for a hoped for full day of catching fish. The pond lies in a valley and and as I crested the hill, the sun faded from view due to a heavy mist shrouding the area and damping down my optimism. My mood was not helped by the crunch of ground frost underfoot, while crossing the open field towards the tree lined water.

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Negative thought number three came with my first sight of the surface. It was bright green with a film of algae. Despite all of this, fish were moving and I set up my pole with a heavy elastic, as the pond has a reputation for some decent carp, but my target fish were the also the reputed crucian carp, so a compromise was needed. A rig used on my last outing to my local pond was clipped on, 5lb line through to a size 14 hook on a 3lb link and a light weight 0.2 g float. Plumbing the depth, a 2 ft shelf gave way to 3 ft deep, 4 metres out, which continued out to 6 metres. Not deep, but deep enough to avoid being affected by the frosty conditions.

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With liquidized bread and punch slices from the freezer as my main bait, I’d raided my compost heap for some red worms before setting off, to give an alternative. Mixing up some bread based groundbait, I put in several egg sized balls along the 5 metre line to carpet the bottom. My first put in saw the float stay flat, as a fish took on the drop, then slide beneath the green surface. A lift of the pole and a thumping, hand sized rudd was pounding away, before being swung in.

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Small roach and rudd queued to get on the hook for the next fifteen minutes, but bubbles bursting in the surface film indicated better fish moving onto the feed and the bites changed to dithering dips, followed by a slow sink. A crucian?A strike was met by a soft bounce, as a skimmer bream skated beneath the surface, before being skimmed across the top into the landing net.

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Where did this come from? A lone fish? I hadn’t heard of  bream in this half acre pond before. Next cast an identical bite was met by more resistance and a deep thudding fight as a much larger bream fought in the dark green gloom of the pond, guessing the species long before I saw it to slide over the net rim.

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More skimmers followed and the net was beginning to fill, as the local church bell struck noon to bring with it warming sunshine, burning off the morning mist.

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The air warmed immediately, as the sun worked it’s way round to my shaded spot. Up to now it had felt more like winter, the water from my wet landing net, soon soaking my legs and chilling me through. Travelling light due to the walk to the pond, I’d only taken the bare basics to fish and with a dry afternoon in the forecast, the waterproofs were first to go. With the sun, the bites changed again, fast bobs and jabs of the float telling me that crucians were now around, the juddering fight confirming my suspicion, before guiding a chunky 8 oz carp into the net.

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A few more crucians and skimmers were in the net, then the bites slowed down, the bread punch pellets being sucked off the hook without developing into anything hittable. A drop in punch size from 7mm to 5mm got me catching again, but still the bites were slow and I reached into the bait box for one of my red worms.

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The float had barely settled, before it dipped and lifted slightly, then moved steadily towards deeper water and sank out of sight. I lifted into it and watched the elastic drawing out of the pole tip. This was much bigger, the slow movement against the tension and the lazy bottom hugging fight saying proper bream. It turned and began churning up bubbles from the bottom in the baited area, pulling it away to the side, where it rolled on the surface a few times, before giving up and lying on it’s side, the deep bronze of it’s flanks glinting in the sun. With a foot to go to the landing net, it did a surface flip and the hook flew from the skin of it’s lip. I made a lunge with the net, but only caught the tail section of the wallowing bream, before it was engulfed by the green water.

The still intact worm was recast and sank away within a minute. I struck and felt the weight of another decent bream for a moment, before it too came off. I’d been giving more time on the strike than the bread, but not enough. With two good fish lost, I rested the swim as I mixed up some more feed, putting in three balls. Feeding the swim is always a gamble once colder days come, it’s so easy to overfeed the fish. With bread going in, I switched back to the punch.

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I needn’t have worried about over feeding, the float sinking away as it followed the last ball and I was into another of the better sized skimmers, taking care not to bully this one to the net, another lost bream could take the shoal with it.

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A smaller bream and a few roach on the punch saw me reach in the box for another worm. This time the float dithered around for a few seconds, then moved off with purpose. Giving plenty of time for the fish to take the worm, the float was gone with the line following, when I gave a firm lift of the pole. The straight line run that followed, with the elastic zooming after it said one thing, carp and the next five minutes were spent countering runs, adding and removing pole lengths as it made full use of the open water. A flash of gold, as it rolled on the surface, told me that the fight was won and I slipped the net under a 2 lb common carp.

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Clouds were now scudding across the sky, it seemed like the weatherman had got it wrong again, but the bubbles were still rising from the baited area and the worm was working well, with another crucian and more skimmers going into the keep net, being well on the way to my best catch this year.

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The church clock had barely rung out the second hour of the afternoon, when droplets of rain began to patter down, a passing shower I hoped and pulled the hood of my jacket over my cap. I looked back and couldn’t see my float, studying the surface long enough to see the line straightening. A lift of the pole had the elastic out again, this time arcing round to the left. At first I thought it was another carp, but the soft thudding bounce on the end said another bream, which was giving a good account of it’self, skating all over the surface like a much smaller fish.

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By the time I had netted this fish, the rain was lashing down and the light was going, as a black cloud swept overhead with a rolling clap of thunder. With my bait tray already awash, I didn’t need persuading to pack up as quickly as possible, everything was  soaked in the ensuing deluge, another thunder clap much closer this time spurring me on, the carbon pole the ideal lightening conductor.

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It was so dark by 2:30 pm, that I needed flash to take this picture of the 9 lb 8 oz net of fish, the session cut short by two hours with me beating a hasty retreat through the wood and across an open field with the elements from the freak unforecast storm, forcing me home to a welcome early bath.