Mirror and common carp make all the running on the pole with breadpunch

May 10, 2024 at 10:42 am

My first visit of the year to Farnham’s Kings Pond was bathed in sunshine when I arrived this week, finding the canal-like pond devoid of reed growth and lily beds, which define this often prolific water. I say prolific, because like many these days, cormorants have decimated fish stocks in recent years, with fishery managers unable to control the black death, as they are often called, due to very strict and often impossible rules relating to the General Licence on shooting of wild birds. As expected, a pair of cormorants were already active at the far end of the pond and I set up close to the entrance.

There was no visible movement, or surface activity and I considered that it was going to be hard going, setting up a 4 x 14 antenna float to a size 16 fine wire hook for a 5 mm punch of bread. I started off with a single ball of white liquidised bread over the shelf into four feet of water four metres out and was surprised to get a positive bite first cast from a nice roach.

Next put in the float buried and another decent roach came to hand. At least the cororants hadn’t finished these off yet. Roach were coming steadily and I fed another ball of liquidised bread. The float disappeared and headed out toward the middle, stretching out the elastic before I could raise the pole. This was a good fish and added two more lengths of pole as the elastic continued out through the bush in the pole tip. Raising the pole to the vertical and resting it on my thigh, I let the unseen fish get on with the fight, as the pole bent in response to the surges, running in an arc against the resistance. Soon it was on the surface and I could see that it was a mirror carp, grown on from those 8 oz fish stocked a couple of years ago. Keeping the pole at six metres, the fight continued in deminishing circles, until I could steer it into the landing net.

This embattled mirror carp, had certainly been in the wars, showing the signs of surviving the hooked beak of a cormorant with a pointed scar on its flank. The fine wire hook was twisted out of shape and changed it for a size 14.

With this fish in the net, I decided to up my game and mix up some heavier ground bait, using a bait dropper to get the bait down.

The first bite over the feed looked promising with a lift and a slow sink of the float. I braced for another carp, but slight resistance saw a small skimmer bream slide across the surface to hand.


I’ve had some good bags of skimmers from here before, but the roach were getting their heads down, some better fish among them.

The elastic was out again, slowly at first, then a long pale fish zizagged through my swim. A Koi? The pole was still at 6 metres and I pulled it up vertical again as this much larger fish made for the far bank at warp speed. The float line and elastic held as the pole bent to a dangerous point, but it was a case of waiting for the carp to wear itself out, finally rolling on the top and reluctantly being brought back to the landing net.

The barbless hook was just in the lip and easily removed and I guessed the weight at 5 lb. I continued to catch roach and the occasional rudd that followed the bait down, while putting in droppers of groundbait, a mix of liquidised bread, ground carp pellets, ground hemp and strawberry additive.

The float sat with the antenna half sunk and I lifted into another good fish, that was slow to respond to the hook, before bursting into life and running for the far bank, where a paling fence acts as a fish refuge, allowing free passage for fish, while resticting cormorants. The elastic was at full stretch, but also at full force and the fish turned and I got a clear view of the heavily scaled flank of another common carp. I was getting used to this and supported the pole on my thigh, while the carp had several surges of power in its escape attempts. Smaller than the previous fish, about 2 lb, the common was soon in the net.

It was now very hot in the sun, I put in the last of my groundbait and decided to pack up in another half hour. More roach and another skimmer followed before the elastic was out again. After an initial run, a smaller mirror carp surfaced and was soon in the net.

This last mirror was the signal to pack up. No doubt staying on for another hour would have produced more carp, as they had found the feed, but the afternoon would only get hotter, something that has been missing so far this year. I still had to walk back to the van, load up and get out in the traffic before rush hour. Once again the humble bread punch had proved itself a worthy bait.

Pulling my keepnet out was quite a lift and following a quick photo, the contents were slipped back.