Council Fun Day promotes fishing at Braybrooke Pond

August 31, 2023 at 12:46 pm

The local council held a Fun Day at the Braybrooke recreation ground this weekend, to promote a variety of council backed activities and fishing was one of them, taking advantage of the prolific Jeanes Pond, tucked away in a wooded hollow within the grounds. I was invited, along with several other local anglers, to take part as instructors, to supply taster sessions on fishing to youngsters, boys and girls between the ages of five and ten, who had never fished before.


Waiting for the Off

The event was over subscribed and to accommodate as many as children as possible, the sessions were reduced to fifteen minutes each, with the organisers kept busy collecting up the entrants and walking them to the instructors positioned around the pond.

Tackle, a box to sit on and bait in the form of red and white maggots were provided, so all that the would be anglers had to do, was to sit down, take hold of the 3 metre whip, cast out and start to catch fish. We had prebaited the swims with maggots and the swims were boiling with small roach and rudd.

Most got the knack of casting within minutes and the prolific pond provided plenty of striking practice, as the float disappeared within seconds of hitting the water. A size 14 barbless hook, with two to three maggots on, resulted in few gorged fish and several of my trainees, boys and girls, were soon removing their own hooks, leaving me to refresh the maggots, while keeping the swim fed.

The amazement on the faces of the children, at catching their first fish and the pride that they demostrated to their mothers, who hovered within photo snapping range at all times, was rewarding to me. They were all interested in the “worms” and got a quick education on the life cycle of a fly, there being plenty of casters visible in the bait box. Each session was over too quickly, most catching at least a dozen fish, but they were all well behaved and handed over to the next entrant.

One lad was trailing his bait through the water close to the bank, when it was grabbed by a small perch, which he swung in, the dorsal spine being erect and the dark stripes clearly visible. I got him to repeat the process and he hooked another two, much to the interest of the onlookers.

The instructors were all provided with a packed lunch and during the break, I hooked on a 7 mm pellet of bread, dropping my rig away from the maggot baited area, with the bait just off the bottom. These bites were slow to develope in comparison, but the roach and rudd were much bigger.


The break over, I was back to impaling maggots again, although one very keen lad spotted my punched bread in the tray and asked to try it. As on the break, I cast for him to one side, close to the overhanging trees, where I could see tench bubbles rising. Warning him that this could be a big fish, I put my hand on the landing net ready. The float raised and slid away and he lifted into a better fish, not a tench, but a good rudd, which he tried to lift straight out and lost it. I replaced the bread and we tried again, this time giving instruction in pure Mortimer and Whitehouse style. The float went under and he tried to lift another nice fish out of the water with the same result. Bob Mortimer never listened either.

My last session was with three young girls competing with each other to catch and hold fish, the oldest swinging in a 4 oz perch from the margins. It had been a busy and sometimes hectic five hours. There was never a dull moment, with plenty of humour and some avid concentration by my students. I just hope that some of that enthusiasm rubs off, as it did with me many years ago, with my family on the bank of the River Thames at Walton, catching bleak on bread paste one after the other.