December bread punch carp reward

December 8, 2019 at 6:59 pm

This summer one of my local balance ponds suffered from a drop in oxygen levels, leaving hundreds of carp gasping on the surface, as they crowded around the freshwater inlets. Concerned members of the public contacted the Environment Agency, who arrived with a boat, nets and electro fishing gear to remove the bulk of the carp, many in double figures. About two hundred carp and rudd were rehomed in local pivate lakes, leaving this free public access water stripped of its prime assets.

Two years of successful spawning had left many tiny carp, commons and mirrors, while survivors of the netting are still being caught by a few regulars, and I decided to try my luck on a mild Saturday afternoon this week.

The council have reduced the level of the pond by over a foot and I settled down to fish on what is now a beach below the pond wall. Boasting a car park and a food wagon selling hot drinks, the pond is a focal point for young families bringing bread down to feed the ducks and I could see a few carp venturing into the shallows to mop up the residue left by the ducks. The only good thing about the level drop, is that the growing population of resident Canada geese seem to have deserted the pond, otherwise 18 inches above the mud bottom, is now the maximum depth. The pond has always been coloured, the water often orange, but chemicals put into the pond by the EA have cleared it and I could see the bottom right across to the island.

Setting up my 12.5 foot Normark float rod with a modified antenna pole float, I cast into an area, where a stream flows in from the left, having baited a line toward the island, catapulting out balls of liquidised bread mixed with ground carp pellets.

Mini carp were soon attacking the 8mm bread pellet, dipping the float, giving false alarm bites similar to the real thing, most not finding the hook, when I struck.

Ten minutes later the float dipped under and kept going, the rod bending into a pound plus common carp, that exploded onto the surface in the shallow water, running beyond the island as I flipped the rod over to the left to turn it. Trailing black mud, the carp ran up toward the stream as I reeled it back, bringing the rod round to the right to force it away from an overhanging bush. Once in the shallows, it beached itself and I had to force the landing net under the rolling carp, then drag it clear. Only lightly hooked, the size 16 barbless dropped out in the net. After a quick photo, I carried the net along the bank to deeper water, well away from my swim to free the common, not wanting to disturb the swim more than I needed to.

A light breeze got up, putting a bow in the line and dragging the float round, so I started a new area, catapulting more balls of feed toward the island on my right, again being bothered by baby carp. Further to my right, I could see a dark shadow moving slowly along the edge of the island toward me. It was a shoal of carp, a couple of white backed ghost carp investigating the bottom in front of the main body of fish. I catapulted a couple more balls over ahead of them. A very long common cruised into the feed area.

With anticipation, I cast into the mass of fish, the float dipping under and lifting as the bread was tested, swinging like a pendulum beneath the float. A carp swam in my direction as the float followed it, I lifted the rod. Contact! The fish accelerated at top speed to the left, scattering more carp, then came off. The shoal were now stirring up black mud, as they rooted along the bottom after the feed, tails breaking the surface. Casting in again, I missed a bite that zoomed away. Another good bite brought an anti climax, when a better 4 oz baby common stole the bait. More missed bites, then solid resistance as a carp turned away running along the island.

With the landing net tucked under my arm, I followed the running carp, keen to get beyond a wooden post standing upright in the middle of the channel, the line snagging on small branches briefly before the carp slowed. Not a big fish, about 3 lb, the common carp burrowed through the mud, then surfaced, swimming left and right making short runs, gradually being brought back to the net in a foot of water.

Back to my tackle box, after a photo, I marched along the bank to release my catch, finding that the shoal had continued on its way round the island. I sat it out for another fifteen minutes with no sign of a bite, until the float, followed by the line vanished from view. Braced for a big fish, another baby carp resisted briefly, then came off. It was now gone 3 pm, in the breeze the air was chilling and I packed up.

The carp tended to shoal, when I first fished here ten years ago, banded pellets with a pellet waggler a killer method. Today there are obviously still a fair number of carp, but it will be a while before the baby carp put on pounds, but with the now clear water and no weed cover, will the cormorants get there first?