Carp, roach and rudd come in from the cold on the bread punch

February 28, 2024 at 7:31 pm

Heavy rain, floods, gale force winds and freezing weather, or a combination of all these have kept me away from the bankside for over a month, but a window in the forecast showed a frosty morning with little wind. Ok the temperature was not set to rise above 7 Centigrade, but I could live with that, so with thermals and extra layers, I headed down to Allsmoor Pond to catch some fish, hopefully to repeat my January performance.

Mud over the path indicated again that the pond had overflowed, due to the outlet being blocked, while the winds had snapped off a couple of trees, and deposited them in the pond, blocking two good swims. I continued round and stopped at the January swim. It was full of floating branches, but I soon used my landing net to steer them into the reeds, although one remained, being too heavy to remove, I managed to pull it into the bank out of the way. My tackle box was now positioned in line with the old lily bed, a bit too close for comfort for landing a decent fish, but first hook a decent fish!

I mixed up half a tray of groundbait, 50% liquidised bread, 20% ground pellets, 20% ground hemp and 10% of strawberry essence, adding enough water to form soft balls of feed, which break up just below the surface, due to the pond only being 30 inches deep. These I put put 6 to 7 metres out in a line in front. I then assembled my pole to five metres with a long line to a 4 x 14 fine antenna float and size 14 barbless hook. Looking at the image below, it’s hard to believe that it was exactly noon, it was also very cold.

I cast out over the feed and waited. There was not a sign of a bite. I at least expected the float to move off with small rudd nibbling at the 6 mm punch of bread. The float vanished in an instant, with the elastic pulling straight across the pond. Raising the pole was an effort as the elastic traced a V toward the far bank, the fish just kept going against the 16 -20 lb elastic, until the inevitable Ping!! and the float shot back. The 3 lb hook link had snapped. I have landed carp over 5 lb from this pond, but I have seen bigger. A heavier hook link would have held, but would I have had a bite?

I looped on another size 14 barbless to 3 lb, going up a punch size to 7 mm, following another ball of feed with the float rig. The antenna lifted slightly, then settled just above the surface. Lifting the pole, it went solid for a millisecond, then all hell let loose with a carp thrashing on the surface before heading straight for the lily bed. I pulled hard to the right, trying to keep it away, but it was in there in seconds, stretching the elastic. The line begame a dead weight, the carp was deep in the lily roots. Swinging the pole round to the left eased the pressure. It was on the move again! Pulling the pole back round to the right, put pressure back on again and it swam out into open water, where it was just a matter of time before the common was on it’s side heading for the landing net.

Two in fifteen minutes. Things were looking up. Another ball of feed and I cast in again. Not a movement, then a tremour of the antenna and slow sink. I lifted and felt a smaller fish fighting back, which skated across the surface. Breaking the pole down to the top two sections, the decent sized roach was quickly swept into the the net.

How your expectations change. I would have been happy catching roach like this all day, but now that there were carp about, I wanted more.

I didn’t have long to wait, the float dithered, moved three inches and stopped. A crucian? Was the bread still on the hook? When wet, it puffs up and crucians will sit there sucking it off the hook. Shall I, or shan’t I strike? I struck. This was no crucian. It rushed straight over to the right, where a no fishing sign once stood, only the post remaining. I pulled in the opposite direction and it surfaced, a smaller common over a pound that began to run to the lily bed. I stopped it and after a few lunges was on it’s side, sliding toward me. I reached for the landing net, but it was tangled in a bramble. I tugged and the carp waited, head out of the water. The bramble unwound from the bush, but the net would not reach. I wrenched it free at about the time that the carp got a second wind and began rolling in the edge. The barbless popped out. Gloom!

At least I was catching, probably pneumonia in this temperature. I missed another speeding bite. I told myself that it was a small rudd. Another fussy bite followed and a hard fighting roach was pulling the elastic from the pole tip.

A clonking rudd followed, lifting the antenna and slowly moving off, before storming off on the strike, the elastic out again, flashes of gold making me think that I had a crucian carp.

The small rudd and roach were missing to day. The bites took longer to develop, but were worth the wait.

I left a bite too long and the bread was gone, rebaited and cast to the same spot. The float sank down a hole and I was playing a bigger carp. It’s back was black, when it leapt clear of the water, its bronze flanks reminding me of a tench, but no tench that I have caught has the solid feel of a carp. Swimming in an arc, it would stand on its head, tail flapping, trying to rid the hook to no avail. When the carp began rolling, I new that unless the hook came free, it was mine and I took my time getting in the net.

At least a pound heavier that the first, this common had had an encounter with the resident heron at some time, judging by the scale damage on it’s flank. There was no flab on these carp, they were all muscle.

The roach were in fine condition too, these better fish turning up from time to time, as do the tench in summer.

Roach, or rudd. I’m sure this is a roach above, with a turned down nose, but it was very deep with a long anal fin. The last fish of the afternoon was definitely a rudd.

My wife came down for a walk to see how I was getting, bringing the sunshine with her, but with the sun the bites stopped. If I had stayed the crucians may have come on the feed, but the cold had got into my bones and there was tea and a hot cross bun waiting at home.