Carp feed despite pollution in the River Cut

June 30, 2024 at 1:07 pm

Not having fished a river since the start of the season over a month ago, I decided on a few hours in the afternoon at my local River Cut this week, only taking my heavy pole in the hope of landing a carp, or two. Tackling up, I placed my keepnet into the river and a carp swam up to it, then curiosity satisfied, it drifted back beneath a tree. They were certainly in this shallow swim, another two basking in the sunshine downstream of a fallen tree.

Mixing up a sloppy, sweet flavoured groundbait, I put a few balls three quarters of the way over and watched the feed break up and spread along the bottom. I did the same half way across at the entrance to the trees, again the groundbait sank and broke up along the bottom. A couple of yards inside the tree cover was another fallen tree, an obvious escape route for a running carp, where I hoped that my heavy pole elastic would be adequate.

The water was only 18 inches deep, so used a short antenna waggler with, a single No 4 shot down the line, the 7 mm punched bread free to trip the bottom. Small fish bites were immediate beneath the tree, a couple of gudgeon running away with the bread, then a roach.

This was looking good for a decent session, without those carp moving onto the feed, the float sliding away again with another roach.

A burst of bubbles around the feed indicated a carp there already and I could see a tail breaking the surface. Slipping a fresh punch onto the size 14 barbless hook, I dropped the waggler upstream and held my breath as the float cocked, then lifted. The float wavered and slid under. I struck. Too soon!! A massive boil and a splash and the hook lost its grip. Oh, how annoying!

I scraped up the remainder of my groundbait, sharing it between the tree and the area across in front of me. Another roach and I was back to catching gudgeon, when I noticed that the pace of the river was picking up. The River Cut curse, pollution, was coming through, as the river turned a mucky brown. This happens at least twice a day. I had hoped that by fishing in the afternoon, I would miss it, but no, it was soon blanking out the bottom. It comes through the right hand water outlet from the western side of the town, leaving a sludgy deposit on the weir sill. It clogs the mesh of my keep net, so must also do the same to fish gills. The fish go off the feed. The Environment agency have been informed before, but they can’t trace the source. No fish die, so they are not interested. We should take samples I suppose?

Not and encouraging sight.

I had a cup of tea, then mixed up some more groundbait. This muck usually lasts for an hour. I kept running the float through. Nothing. Bored, I got up from my box and began pulling up the invasive Himalayan Balsm, that was covering the area, making sure that I removed what I could from the water’s edge. An annual plant that showers ripe seeds, when disturbed by the wind or touch, if close to the river, the seeds are carried downstream and sown along the banks. If pulled up before the flowers set, this area will be free from balsam next year. The plants grow to over two metres in height and starve out any other  growth and can cause erosion of the bank during floods.

Half an hour’s work.

Once the pollution passes down stream, bites can come straight back and as the water cleared, the float went under and a small chub came to hand. I began to feed a small ball of ground bait every few casts.

More bubbles indicated the carp were back on the prowl and I watched four of them swimming around together, one of them a big mirror carp, that was investigating the groundbait opposite me. I swung my float across and it studied the bread, inching up to it, then turning away. I think that it was spooked by the float.

I went back over the bait by the tree. Another small roach and smaller chub, then the float was gone, the elastic pulling the pole round in my hands. Bending the pole into the fish, all hell let loose under the tree, as the carp thrashed around in the shallow water. It then shot upstream like a bullet toward the fallen tree and I countered the run. I’d added a couple of turns of elastic at the start, when I saw the snaggy swim and it worked, turning the carp again. Holding the pole high, while stripping out the lowest joint, I let the elastic do all the work of playing this two pound common, slowing it down enough to net.

Got One!

The hook came out in the landing net and I took a photo, then lowered the carp back into the river, where it took a while to swim off. A cup of tea and chocolate bar allowed me to get my breath back. Another ball of feed went in under the tree and the gudgeon were back lifting the float.

The float was gone again, but thought I’d hooked a snag, which then moved upstream out of the shadows shaking it’s head! I’d hooked that big mirror carp, watching it wake up to being hooked, then explode into action accelerating upstream toward the gap between the fallen tree and my bank, dragging the pole through the branches of a tree on my bank. The pole was close to breaking point as the elastic absorbed the violent head shaking, the carp rolling in the shallows, before turning to run down the middle, taking the pole through an overhanging far bank tree. I hung on, the elastic was at full stretch and the pole was bent throught its length, when the hook link snapped. I could not have stopped that carp without a carp rod and 15 lb line. A size 14 barbless hook will do it no harm.

In a lake with room to manouvre, I could have landed this fish eventually on the pole, but with so many trees in the water of the Cut now, the loss of these carp is inevitable. A standard roach fishing rod has no chance against them. They were good fun, when they were around the pound mark, but as we know they grow quickly.

The carp were still feeding in the swim, but I’d had enough for one day, having been out gunned and packed up. Again no fancy baits, just bread.

These were all that I caught either side of the pollution. Nothing decent here.