Pike calls time on roach fishing at Braybrooke

November 14, 2019 at 11:44 am

When I was a child, my brother and I would stare out through steamed up windows, as rain lashed down, forming armies of rain soldiers that marched down the path to our house. We would sing a little nursery rhyme “Rain, rain go away, Come again another day. Rain, rain go to Spain, fair weather come again.” We wanted to go out to play, but the rain stopped us. The rhyme gave us hope, that the clouds would part, giving way to sunshine. The weather of late caused me to remember those long lost days, reciting the words did not work then and do not today, but feeling the frustration of being kept inside, while I wanted to be out fishing, has not changed.

I got my chance today, a clear day was promised by the weatherman and I set the alarm to rise early to take advantage of it, but looking outside, I saw that Jack Frost had visited overnight, coating the grass and cars with white. I could counter this with thermals and winter woolies, but frost would have an effect on the fishing and hoped that Jeane’s Pond at Braybrooke recreation ground was not covered with ice.

What a relief, conditions seemed perfect, strong winds had failed to shift the autumn leaves onto the pond and today not a whiff of breeze ruffled the surface. This swim has deeper water close in and I set up with a 16 x 4 antenna float to fish 3 foot deep onto the shelf to my left, close to the drop off into another foot of water. A small ball of liquidised bread onto the shelf and another a few feet further out, was my opening gambit, laying the float across the feed on the shelf.

Starting with a 5mm bread pellet on a size 16 barbless, I had to wait five minutes before the first tell tale rings spread out from the float to indicate a bite, the antenna then sinking very slowly beneath the surface. A firm lift of the short pole, saw the elastic come briefly out of the tip, as contact was made and a roach surfaced to be netted.

A decent roach first cast was a good sign that the fish had not been put off by the cold, although this one felt like an ice lolly in my hand. Dropping the float back over the feed, the float dipped and sank away again with another roach.

Resisting the temptation to feed more bread, I continued fishing over the spot, the slow biting roach obliging by taking the punch.

Even a small perch got in on the act, taking the bait on the drop.

After twenty roach, the bites stopped abruptly. I guessed that a pike had moved into the concentration of feeding fish. Dropping in a ball of bread, then following it with the float got an instant bite and a smaller roach, then nothing. I now fed a ball to my extreme right a few yards away and started again, the first bite bringing a decent roach.

I was back in the groove again, swinging in fish, plus the occasional netter.

The bites slowed again, then the pike took a roach. The elastic stretched out steadily as the pike moved off. It was in no hurry, the bright orange stonfo elastic connector following the float into the depths, as I put on more sections of pole. This was a big pike and it circled from the right out to the middle, unaware of my efforts to stay in contact, the elastic doing its job as I followed it round. The pressure began to tell and the pike turned back toward me, first the stonfo, then the float reappeared, while I unshipped the pole down to four metres, ready to net the beast. It let go of the roach.

I was disappointed not to have netted the pike. They have been the bane of my life on many waters this year, especially at this pond and would at least liked to have had the satisfaction of getting this one on the bank. I would have returned it well away from my swim, then continued fishing uninterrupted.

A couple more balls of feed soon had the bites coming, but the pike struck again, zooming off this time, taking the roach with it. The pike had gone to the right, so I went back over to where I had started on the left and began to catch again. It did not take long for the pike to return, swirling after hooked fish. Whatever the size, I now lifted everything out as quickly as possible. As I lifted a roach out, the pike followed, its head clear of the surface, jaws wide open, then fell back into the water.

This was a double figure pike, the surface boil remaining long enough for me to get a photo, despite being in shock.

The pike had won the battle of nerves and it was time to call it a day in this swim. I was taking my wife to the cinema in the afternoon anyway, so it had only been intended as a short session. It had been just over two hours of productive fishing. Shame about the pike.