Lift bites among the waves provide a mixed bag at Kings Pond

July 7, 2023 at 5:57 pm

With my first choice of venue blocked by a string of traffic light controlled road works, I decided to head south to Farnham and Kings Pond in the hope of a decent afternoon’s fishing. My last visit to the venue in October had been a great success, with mirror carp, F1 hybrids and skimmer bream filling my net and looked forward to a repeat performance.

As with my last visit, I enquired “How’s it fishing?” to the first anglers along the bank. Same answer “Rubbish!” Well, that rubbish day produced the net above for me, so I was not put off by their reply. Their bites had dried up and would soon pack up.

There was a steady breeze running right to left and a I set up a heavy two gram pole rig to cope with the drift, attached to a 3 lb hooklink and a size 14 barbless hook, as some of the tench and carp present here are in excess of 6 lb.

I mixed up a tray of my usual pond ground bait, 50% liquidised bread, 20% ground carp pellets and 20% ground hempseed, with a 10% sprinkling of strawberry powder, which I damped down to form stiff balls. Having plumbed the depth, I found a shelf four metres out, dropping from 3 feet to 4 feet at six metres and put in a line of feed, two balls on the shelf and another four out to six metres. My bait was a 7 mm pellet of punched bread.

With the shot bulked a foot from the hook, I hoped to punch through the layer of small roach near the surface, dropping the rig over the drop off. The surface drift was strong along the narrow pond, pulling the antenna beneath the surface, the tip winking off and on in the waves, but a half lift, then a dip was followed by a full lift, which I struck, feeling the resistance of a roach.

On the next peg, the angler called down to his mate “He’s got one already!” This was just the start, more small roach followed. “He’s in again!” he relayed down, as I netted a small mirror carp.

This mirror had a badly damaged mouth. So much for the barbless only rule. Matches take place on this pond and handling care is not a priority to many.

A few more roach and another couple of small mirrors followed from along the drop off. I was on a roll. Then….”Any of you lads got a campervan in the car park?” I looked up “What’s up mate?” It was a contractor, who was replacing a fence next to my van. There were no warning signs that the work was going to be carried out, but I now had to follow him back, find another parking place and walk back to my peg again. At least 30 minutes wasted. I seemed to have lost the mirrors, although small roach and rudd were running away with the float.

I mixed up more ground bait and laid down a bed of feed. Bubbles were now bursting on the surface and I dropped the float over the top and watched it settle. It dithered, then the antenna lifted, bobbing the float and I lifted into a hard running fish, that was taking elastic from the pole tip. The landing net was out again and a deep bodied hybrid was soon in the net.

The wind was increasing and my neighbours decided to pack up, gathering round to watch me to catch a couple more small mirrors on the trot from the 6 metre line. Tiny roach had also swept in over the feed, several being blown off the hook, before I could grab them.

I was having trouble holding the pole against the gusts, the antenna pulling under in the drift, resorting to sighting along the pole to see which way it was moving. Lift bites were barely visible, a jerk to the left being the only indication, which usually resulted in a fish, while sailaways were usually missed.

I had shallowed up by a foot as the bites were coming on the drop, some better roach being hooked the instant the float lifted, while I bumped a couple of mirrors as a consequence of their slower bite.

The wind chilled, increasing to a near gale and I knew what was coming next, a brief heavy shower hissed down the pond. Hanging onto the pole, the float was nowhere to be seen and I lifted into a bouncing roach.

I’d had enough of battling the elements and decided to pack up, feeding the remainder of my groundbait to a hen mallard and her two adolescent ducklings, which was greatly appreciated.

The bread punch had kept the bites coming, although small roach were a nuisance, while rough conditions did not help float control. Excuses, excuses. Better luck next time.