Carp, crucians and rudd queue up for the bread punch as the sun shines

March 20, 2022 at 7:26 pm

A cold, foggy start to the day, was followed by sunshine and blue skies by lunchtime, too good to waste messing about in the garden, when you have a green fingered wife with seeds to plant and a pond waking up from winter a short walk from home. Just a few weeks ago the pond had been covered by ice, but today rudd were dimpling the surface as I set up my pole. Being a balancing pond to prevent flooding on the nearby brook, recent heavy rain had brought plenty of colour to the water, helped by fine sand carried high in the air north from the Sahara.

For years I have been using here the same short waggler float, made from a cut down Billy Makin Canal Grey and once again it is a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The float and shot are still attached to the same 5 lb line, the only variation being the size of hook to the 3 lb hook link. With the Spring Equinox only a couple of days away, it was time to go up to a size 14 barbless instead of the winter size 16. The other concession was to move a No 6 shot down to join the No 8 at the hook link, expecting lift bites instead of the slight dips of the float experienced in winter. All pretty basic stuff I know, but when the fish are on the feed, it all makes a difference with more fish in the net at the end of a session.

Ground bait was my usual mix of 50% coarse liquidised bread, 20% ground hemp, 20% ground carp pellets and 5% strawberry flavouring and the same of Haith’s spicy red. Probably 100% liquidised bread would work the same, but I am confident with this and I know it works. This I damped down enough to hold together and put two balls in out at 8 metres, then got myself sorted, attaching the float rig to the pole connector, before punching a 6 mm pellet from a fresh mini slice of bread. Hook baited, I swung out the rig into the baited area. The float settled and lifted. It was exactly 1 pm as I pulled in the first rudd. Not a monster, but it was a start.

In again a minute later and a perfect lift bite, when the bait was picked up from the bottom, releasing the weight on the bottom shot, the float rising from the surface by an inch. That’s better, a decent rudd.

Then another. These rudd have fantastic colouring, with bright red fins fading to pale green.

Next cast the pole elastic came out as a carp put a bend in the pole, running to the right, then changing tack to run back the other way, stirring up black mud in it’s wake. The main pole was soon shoved back into the bushes behind, while I played the fish on the top two joints, bringing it to the waiting landing net.

An early common carp is always a good sign on this pond and I put in another couple of ground bait balls to hold any others that may be in the swim, although decent rudd continued to lift the float.

A dithering bite, that lifted and dropped the float indicated a crucian, that I hit on the next lift, the solid little carp taking out elastic as it dived around the swim at high speed, swimming straight into the awaiting landing net.

A similar bite had me poised for another crucian, but a clonking gudgeon was the result.

Rudd and gudgeon continued one a chuck and I scraped up the last of my feed in an effort to encourage some better fish. I mixed up another batch for later, then cast back in over the feed and guess what? A small common took on the drop, flipping over on the surface before diving for cover, pulling out the elastic. The spirited fight was soon over.

This was shaping up to be a classic session and the following cast confirmed it, with an even bigger carp running across the pond toward the reeds, but the power of the 12-18 red elastic slowed the run and the fish turned in an arc, while I held the pole high to avoid floating twigs on the surface. Soon, the pole was down to the top two sections and the elastic was returning to the tip, as the fight continued with the carp trying to bury itself in the bankside roots. Success, it was in the landing net.

A fat common carp that refused to play ball for the camera, still fighting in the landing net.

I needed a cup of tea after this one, putting in another ball of feed for good measure and dropping the float over the top. Bang! I was in again, three carp in as many casts. A tiddler by comparison, but still a good fish.

The carp were still over the feed and I was in again to a bonus common, taking my time to bring it in.

More feed and more carp followed.

I put in a ball of feed and swung the float out over the cloud, the float lay flat, then zoomed away, the elastic coming out before I could strike. This was the biggest yet and I tried to raise the pole to avoid losing the top elasticated sections, as it cut a V across the surface toward an old sign post 30 yards away. Ping! The hook pulled out, rattling the connector back to the pole tip. I’ve had carp here over 5 lb on the pole, but this was way over that. Consoling myself, I rebaited the hook and cast in. A bob and a lift saw a crucian break the surface as I over struck, but it remained on the hook.

I was vaguely aware of a woman on the opposite bank with a carrier bag, from which she was pulling out slices of bread and crusts to throw to a pair of Canada geese, that were only half bothered by the offerings floating on the surface. I continued to fish and netted another small carp.

The slices were now drifting round the pond to my side. They were being attacked by rafts of small rudd, which began to take my bait, before it could get down to the bottom. This was reluctant speed fishing, as I tried to fish through them. Some were decent sized, but most were only a couple of ounces. The bait did manage to get through and a crucian was the result, but it was game over as far as I was concerned.

A heavier float would have punched through the shoal quicker, but it was too late in the day to change and I packed up at 4 pm.

My trusty little waggler float and punched bread had worked the magic again, putting 10 lb 8 oz on the scales in three hours. A good result for a free council pond.