Flash flood brings a mixed bag to the bread punch on the River Cut

August 19, 2023 at 4:20 pm

Storm Betty brought a deluge of rain in it’s wake to my area, briefly flooding many roads, before passing through to leave a humid afternoon. I decided to take advantage of the increased flow on the Braybrooke Club’s River Cut, which acts as a drain for the excess rainfall across the town housing estates. Parking up the van near the river, I could hear it before I could see it; the natural river rushing under the bridge to join the weir beneath the town outfall.

The river was not a pretty sight, more like chocolate swirling downstream and I considered putting my gear back in the van, but continued down the path to a swim that had been productive last year. I had to hack away some Himalayan Balsam to get to the water’s edge and placed my box downstream of an over hanging alder. With the humid conditions and warm drizzle, it was more like sitting in the rain forest beside the Amazon, than beside the usually sedate Cut in the Home Counties of England.

The river was really pushing through and at least six inches higher than normal, setting up with a 6 No 4 ali stemmed stick float to cope with the extra flow. My 14 foot Browning rod had 5 lb line running through to a size 14 barbless hook on a 4 lb hooklink, as carp are now to be expected everytime on the Cut. The main flow was down the middle, flowing into my bank and I dropped a few balls of heavy groundbait, laced with ground hemp, a rod length out, followed down with the float. Easing the float down at half speed, it disappeared and the rod bent into a tumbling fish, that was invisible in the mirky water, until the landing net revealed a decent dace.

This dace dismissed my fears of no bites from the turgid river and the next cast a small chub followed.

The inevitable small gudgeon were now managing to get their mouths around the 7 mm pellet of punched bread, before a positive stab down of the float, saw the bouncing rod top response of a roach.

Next trot, the float ran twenty yards without a bite. This was repeated several times. I shallowed up, then added depth. Trotted the shallow far side. Nothing. I can only assume that the daily brown polluting water had come down unnoticed in the already coloured water and fast flow. My cup of tea and accompanying Kit Kat came out early, while I waited for it to pass through. Usually taking up to an hour to clear, the float tipped and held after just twenty minutes and a roach was fighting under my rod top.


The increased flow had probably pushed the pollution through, all I know is that I was back in the business of catching fish, the dace had returned and I missed a few rapid bites, until I went down to a 6 mm punch and shallowed up. A downstream bite produced a rudd.

Then a better rudd was skating across the surface to the landing net.

There were all species today, a small chub was followed by a hard fighting roach.

During the lull, I had still been feeding small balls of groundbait into the swim and now the fish were queuing up to eat it. Even the gudgeon were getting bigger.

The float moved upstream under my feet. I was into a decent carp that ignored my efforts, continuing against the flow, as I followed it with my rod and the reel freewheeling. Further upstream there were obstructions in the river and I put on side strain, while allowing line to slide over my finger. It slowed and turned, hugging the far side, churning up mud along the berm, then came back to the middle. I got the landing net ready as it rolled. A 2lb common? It was on the surface and I raised the rod to guide it to the net. The rod top became entangled in the overhead alder. I was now playing carp and tree. With the net at 3 meters the carp was out of reach. Tugging at the branch with the rod had one result. The hook came out of the carp and shot up into the tree. Misery!

The scissors came out and I was minus four yards of line and needed to rethread the top joint, coiling the wasted line and cutting it into two inch pieces. The river had slowed and I had considered a lighter float, but was still catching, but now I fitted a 4 No 4 ali stick. There was now an upstream wind, which was ideal for this very sensitive float. Not for long. While bashing out gudgeon and small roach, I missed a bite and the float tangled in the tree.

I still had half an hour before I was due to pack up, so rooted around in my tackle box for a replacement, finding a pole float on a rig that would do. I was now scraping up the groundbait, feeding a pinch a cast, while searching for areas to punch on the bread. A better roach was netted.

A gudgeon-like dithering bite resulted in another carp rushing off. It was only small this time and I initially thought that it was a chub, but the on rails feel of the fight, as it searched for a snag, said otherwise. Keeping my rod top clear of the tree, my last fish of the afternoon was soon in the net.

It had been a strange few hours, warm rain and drizzle, a raging river that dropped then slowed, the quiet spell without a bite, plus the two up the tree errors, which would not have happened, if I had been using my preferred 12 foot Hardy, that would have been no match for the first carp. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Very few holes left to punch and float No.3.

A mixed bag, mostly small stuff.