Fussy roach respond to bread punch at Braybrooke

March 23, 2021 at 9:01 pm

Spring had finally arrived this week, when I arrived at Jeanes Pond for a few hours of afternoon sun trying to coax a few bites out of the resident roach, following some harsh winter months so far this year. I was not very optimistic following a report of a friend, who had persevered for five hours, trying all he knew to put half a dozen fish in his net the previous week.

Set in the middle of a large housing estate, Braybrooke Recreation Ground had its fair share of local residents taking the air and enjoying the first warm day this year. As I set out my stall on the bank, I scanned the surface for signs of life, but the lack of topping fish made me think that I was still too early. I decided that a small size 18 hook with a 5 mm punch, to a lightweight 4 x 14 antenna float was the way to start, with only the minimum of fine sieved liquidised bread feed. There was a gentle breeze blowing into my bank and I assumed that the warmed surface would thermocycle down from my bank. That’s the theory anyway and on a potentially hard session, it’s good to have a bit of science on your side.

I started off with just a handful of plain liquidised crumb in my bait tray, damping it down enough to pinch together. Plumbing the depth, I found 3 feet close in dropping to 4 feet, 6 feet out and opted to fish with just the top two sections of pole, dropping a 20 mm ball of bread in at two metres, watching it fall quickly through the cloud to the bottom. Last year this pond had been plagued by tiny roach and rudd and no bites were preferable to a net of them.

Swinging the float out in line with the feed, the breeze drifted the float slowly back to my bank without any sign of a bite. I had set the float to fish six inches off bottom at two metres, expecting it ground on the bottom a meter out, which it did, giving me a brief flutter of excitement, when I mistook the dip of the float as a bite. Two or three casts later, a tell tale ring radiated from the antenna. Now, that was a bite! The float dipped and dithered, then held and I struck. Missed it. This time a bite straight away, that held and bobbed, before slowly sinking. Missed again. Maybe the punch was too big? I got out my 4 mm punch and pushed the pellet round the bend in the hook. My last outing was on the river after chub using a 7 mm punch, this 4 mm looked minute, even on a size 18 hook. Next cast, a more positive bite and I hooked something. A small rudd.

Not too bad. At least it was a fish after ten minutes. Next cast the float sat, then sank slowly. I was in again. this time a small roach.

At least there was life beneath the surface, albeit small. The smaller punch was working, the fish just sucking the bait, being hooked in the top, or bottom lip. With ten small silvers in the net, I ventured in another small ball of feed. The fish were freezing to the touch and I guessed more curious than hungry and didn’t want to feed them off. A slow bite that half pulled under and I was playing something decent, that was fighting deep, boiling the surface with turbulence and bouncing out the elastic. The net was out and a proper roach was guided in.

This is what I had come for, the small stuff was the scouting party and I hoped for more of the quality fish. This had come from less than a metre out, right on the bottom and I added another 3 inches to the depth, while putting in another small ball of feed off the end of my top two. A couple more scouts and the float eased down, lifting into another pole bender, that flashed in the sunlight.

This time a rudd, showing signs of damage from a pike, scales and some of the tail missing. Pike of all sizes inhabit this pond and I expect to encounter one taking my fish on every visit. The bites were slow to develope, but the fish were growing in size, so I wasn’t complaining.

Another clonker that fought like the clappers on the lightweight rig, the tiny offering of bait the answer.

The sun was now hot, boosted by the blinding reflection, which forced me to start a new feed area as the sun moved round. Feeding two metres to the right, the small stuff was back again for a while, until I was playing a better roach again.

I was now feeling overdressed, having been caught out too many times this year, that extra jumper was now being regretted, but the fish were still coming to the net and time would be lost taking it off.

This roach had a strange blister on it’s head, but still fought well. The bites were now really slow to develope, the wind had dropped completely and the float would sit for several minutes before the first tell tale dip of the float began to grow into something to strike at. I missed a few of these bites due to impatience, but they were worth the wait.

The local primary school had now chucked out and noisy gangs of eight year olds were chasing around the banks, “Where are you running to?” one chasing group shouted to the leader “I don’t know. Follow me!” he screamed. The peace was shattered. Another group found logs that had been removed from the pond and began throwing them back in.”Oiy!” I shouted. A pause and the logs continued.

I decided to pack up after my next fish, another roach this one also with part of the tail missing.

Another nice roach apart from the missing tail and scale drop that seems to be common on the better fish now. It used to be on the rudd, but now the roach have it too.

“Whatcha caught Mister. Come and see what this Man has caught” The crowd gathered. Fame at Last.

A very satisfying net of roach, when I was expecting a hard time.