Carp make up the weight on the River Cut

June 22, 2020 at 8:01 pm

Following a fish kill on my local River Cut a month ago, I had been keen to test the waters last week, to see what I could catch, but a thunderstorm caused a flash flood, that wiped out my session, although I did manage several small chub, while hoping for a few roach and dace.

With a sunny morning forecast, I tried again this week, heading further downstream. The swim I wanted was completely blocked by Himalayan Balsam and continued down to a swim that only took a little time to clear the stinging nettles and cowparsley, settling my box down into the shade.

After heavy rain just days ago, the river was now slow and clear and I was optimistic for a good three hour session, putting in a ball of liquidised bread two thirds over into the flow, watching it drift slowly downstream. Following down with the float, it dragged under on a snag, pulling up the first of many twigs. Adjusting the depth of the float, I found that there was less than two feet of water in front of me, not ideal for my hoped for roach. After ten minutes I had not had a bite, not my usual experience on the bread punch and I ventured in another ball of feed. This did the trick and bite followed, that sank away as a small chub made off with the bread.

A gudgeon and a small rudd followed, then the rod bent into a hard fighting fish, that flashed in the sunlight as it zig zagged through the shallow river, sliding the landing net out to be ready for the quality roach.

I was very pleased to see this roach, as a month previously I had seen hundreds of similar sized fish littering the bottom further down stream. Next trot there was no mistaking the runaway bite of another chub, that fought all the way to the net.

The swim was now waking up and another ball of bread feed went in and I went up to a 6mm punch, taking small roach and chub plus the occasional gudgeon.

This roach was the last for a while, as the river quickened and turned orange, the lines of the bottom disappearing in the murk. This happens on a regular basis on this river, it is a form of pollution that sends the fish off the feed, where it comes from I don’t know, but it usually lasts for up to an hour before clearing and the fishing picks up again.

A friend had come down to see how I was getting on and I wasn’t. Passing the time in conversation, every now and then I would run the float through the swim, only catching branches on the bottom, until after half an hour, the float dipped and a gudgeon was swinging in. Gradually the bites became more positive and small roach were taking the bait again.

A better roach came from further down the swim, where the bread feed was no doubt lying deposited, having been ignored for nearly an hour. I missed a couple of fussy bites and went down to a 4 mm punch; often the bigger punch is too much for a finicky fish, but they will take a smaller offering. Next trot, more dips of the tip, then it held down to the surface. Expecting another tiny roach, the rod bent over as a powerful fish charged off downstream, catching a glimpse of gold when it turned across the river. This was not a chub, or a roach, backwinding as it ran downstream, then reeling fast to stay in touch, when it turned and ran up along the far bank, pulling hard to keep it clear of branches in the water. It was a small common carp, better than that, it was a small mirror carp!

I’ve had crucians and commons from this river in the past, but this is the first mirror. The 4 mm punch worked and I eased the float into the area again. Float gone and I was playing another quality roach, which was almost an anti climax to net, but probably the best of the session.

Easing the float down, I held back hard and let it go again. The float bobbed under, then popped up. I held it back again. It bobbed, then held under. I struck and was into another small carp, this time a fat crucian, that like its predecessor fought all over the  river. There must be shoal down there?

There definitely was another one there, as the rod bent over again, this crucian larger than the last and twice as powerful, testing the hold of the size 16 barbless hook as it sought out every nook and cranny on the river bed, doggedly fighting to the net.

Time for a cup of tea and sandwich after this one. Maybe I should have kept at it, as the next fish was a roach.

It was now getting near my time to leave, I had missed a couple of bites and the river was getting murky again. Giving it one more cast, the float travelled beyond the hot spot without a bite and I was assuming that the bait had been knocked off by a small rudd, when the float sank and I was playing another good roach.

It is always hard to pack up when you are catching fish, especially after suffering a blank period like I had this morning, but I had an appointment at the council tip at 2 pm to dump a Lockdown’s worth of garden rubbish and I had promised my wife that I would not be late back. It pays to keep a promise sometimes!

This net of prime fish is an indicator, that despite so many fish being lost to the pollution, enough have survived. I’m hoping that there is a pocket of dace surviving somewhere.