Chub and roach reward the bread punch on a flooded River Cut

June 21, 2023 at 10:06 am

With no rain for weeks, my local River Cut was almost static for the first day of the river season on the 16th June and I decided to give it a miss, until we had some decent rain. That rain came this morning, waking me at 6 am, when a shower developed into a deluge. The forecast for the day however, was of more showers until noon, then heavy rain again at 5 pm. A dry window worth exploiting.

My two float rods were already made up with stick floats and new hook links attached in my ready to fish holdall, all I needed was to prepare some slices of punch bread for the hook and take some preground liquidised bread from the freezer. As my target fish were going to be roach and hopefully a few chub, I ground up some dry hempseed to mix with the liquidised bread. At this stage I had no idea what state the river would be in, but with the amount of rain in the past few hours, at least it would have a bit of pace.

Pace it did have, rushing along the overgrown opposite bank, while a fine layer of wet silt on top of the fishing platform, was evidence that the river had been much higher earlier on. This flash flood was just what the little river needed to freshen it up and revitalise the fish. Intending to fish the fast water opposite, I plumbed up, finding over three feet of water, setting the 5 No 4 ali stemmed stick float a further ten inches deeper to fish the bottom, when held back. My feed was a stiff mix of liquidised bread, spicy seed flakes and a good portion of the ground hemp, my aim being to create a bed of feed along the bottom to bounce a 6 mm pellet of punch along. Well that was the theory anyway.

Putting in a couple of medium balls upstream along the opposite bank, I inched the float downstream at half speed, the yellow tip holding, then disappearing first trot. A lift of my 14 ft Browning rod produced a gudgeon, not ideal, as this river can sometimes resemble gudgeon alley. Next trot, a small roach became airborne on the strike. Swung to hand, the hook was rebaited and back fishing.

That’s better, a bit more resistance this time and a better roach was netted for good measure.

These roach were coming at the end of the trot, ahead of trailing branches and decided to put in a couple more balls further upstream to draw the fish up.

The roach were following the trail of feed and getting bigger. I hit a snag that moved. Slowly at first, then it ran in a straight line toward me and upstream into shallower water. I had the net ready, but the unseen fish had other ideas and turned with the current towards the trailing branches. Putting on pressure, the hook came free; the finewire had opened out. There are a lot of carp in the Cut these days, roach gear is not up to them.

I got snagged on the bottom, losing a hook and realised that the river had gone down in the last hour, no longer being level with the bank. I tied on a new hook link, moved my string of No 8 shot further from the hook and reduced the depth. I now cast upstream and across to the opposite bank. The float buried and I hooked a roach. The extra feed had brought the fish upstream. I bumped the next few fish and went down to a 5 mm punch. Contact. They wanted a smaller bait. The float was going under opposite me, almost beneath my rod top. I struck into a decent chub, which went berserk, but stayed on.

I began putting in a pigeon egg sized ball of feed every other cast and the chub were lining up, the ground hemp spewing from their mouths.

Roach were still getting in on the act, including this quality fish, the 5 mm punch making a difference.

I was running out of bait again and mixed up some more, taking time for a sandwich and a cup of tea.

Back in again, the float travelled a yard, then sank with another chub charging off. Lightly hooked too.

The roach stood their ground, thumping away. They weren’t shy biters today and the landing net was busy. The river had continued to drop, indicated by the same snag along the trotting line and another lost hook. I shallowed up again, the whole rig from float tip to hook was now less than two feet. I threw over a decent size feed ball, upstream and a foot from the opposite bank. As the float rig hit the water, it dived away.

This was a much better chub, that stormed off downstream heading for the roots, but was brought under control by backwinding my ABU501. A few more charges and it’s head was out of the water, the size 16 hook just hanging onto the tip of the lip. A few more like this one would have been welcome.

I was still catching, but it was fast approaching my packing up time of 4 pm and scraping up the last of my feed, I had one last cast, netting another nice roach.

A minute to 4 pm, there was time for one more cast and the rod bent into another chub, to end the session.

I could have continued catching, but my wife was preparing one of my favourite meals tonight and I didn’t want to be late, also that heavy rain was due at 5. (It never arrived)

Once again the bread punch had proved it’s worth, my total outlay being under 50 pence in these difficult financial times.

Over 5 lb of chub, roach, rudd and gudgeon in under four hours.