Pike becoming a problem at Jeanes Pond.

June 20, 2024 at 3:22 pm

Arriving at Braybrooke’s Jeanes Pond prepared for a late afternoon tench session this week, I settled down in the shade of the south bank trees to keep out of the sun, which at last is giving us June temperatures.

Setting up my pole with a 2 gram antenna rig to a size 14 hook, I plumbed the depth and found five feet close in. Having made up a sweet groundbait mix of liquidised bread, ground pellets and hemp, with strawberry flavouring, I used a bait dropper to get the feed down quickly beyond the rafts of tiny roach and rudd, that now cover the pond’s surface layers.

Selecting an 8 mm bread punch, I wrapped the punched disc around the hook and dropped the rig over the bait. After a couple of minutes, a fish had lifted the No. 4 shot that is close to the hook and the antenna rose from the surface. A strike of the pole and the elastic reacted to a fish deep below, becoming visible through the green stained water, a rudd then breaking the suface, scattering the surface fry in the process. Not a bad start.

I dropped back down with a rebaited hook and waited. This time there was no lift bite, but a slow sink away into the mirk and lifted into another better fish, this time a roach. At least I was avoiding the small fry and the groundbait was working.

It would only become a matter of time before the tench moved in. The next bite continued down and a bigger roach was fighting below the surface. I got the landing net ready, then the roach disappeared in a green flash. A pike had taken it, stripping out the elastic as it continued toward a bankside bush. Side strain turned the pike away from the snag, but now it ploughed straight through the swim throwing up bursts of bubbles from the bottom. I had not seen it, but I guesed that it was a jack pike, as it turned again, a larger fish would have kept going. I wanted this pike out of my swim and was cosidering walking it round the corner, when the hook link was cut through, wrapping the rig around the float, when the elastic tension released.

I had fished this swim the week before and saw no signs of a pike, when catching roach, but with so many silver fish in the pond, they grow quickly and populate all areas. The shame is that they tend to take the better fish. Fortunatly the tangle was minor and another hook link looped on, complete with the tell-tale shot. I was worried that the swim had been disturbed, but a slow sinking bite was successfully struck. This was a heavy feeling fish, that was fighting in a solid run like a perch, but then it surfaced,

A Signal Crayfish!

This was on the bread punch. I thought that they only ate meat? A few other members have also caught them this year. It’s actual size was twice as large as this image. How did they get in there, it is over a mile to the River Cut? A possibility is being carried in the feathers of a cormorant, juveniles hitching a ride, when the bird dives along the bottom chasing fish. Oh well, that’s another nail in the fishing prospects of  Jeanes Pond. Once in a water, they take over the bottom, eating fish eggs and fry, failing that, they eat each other.

I bait dropped the rest of my ground bait in and started again in the hope that the pike was satisfied by that big roach. A few smaller roach followed, then a better rudd, that I swung in, just in case the pike was still around.

I hooked another crayfish, two in twenty minutes, this one fell off the hook with a plop! Ah, a better roach flashing in the sunshine as I brought it to the landing net. I would rather catch tench, but I’m happy to catch these all day.

All was not lost, bites and fish were still coming, but then I hit a snag on the bottom, that moved off. A tench? No, the pike was back. I pulled hard for a break, when it moved toward the middle slowly and I raised the pole vertically, putting pressure on. It came to the surface like a sunken log, shook its head and the hook came out with a ping. At least I’d got the rig back. I had got a good look at the pike, a jack of about three pounds. I contemplated moving, but it was shallow water one way and fishing between lillies in the other. Time to pack up early. One of the other members had caught a few tench further round the pond earlier, but that was move too far for me.

I’d found a better stamp of fish on the bottom with the breadpunch, but was not prepared to feed any more fish to the pike.

THE SURVIVORS