Reluctant roach oblige on the bread punch at Jeanes Pond.

January 25, 2024 at 10:40 pm

My local Jeanes Pond was finally free of ice this week and the last named storm Jocelyn, had blown itself out over Scotland, leaving Southern England with a relatively peaceful day with a strong breeze and threatening grey skies, but well worth a visit in one of the sheltered swims.

Unable to fish for weeks due to the storms, I had been reviewing my fishing tackle and a check of the 10 to 14 grey elastic on my 11 metre medium weight pole, had highlighted chafing from the PTFE bush. It has been a case of “out of sight, out of mind” the pole being put away with an external clean after each use, but I had rarely examined the condition of the all important elastic, which is located in the top two sections. Being “Old Skool”, I do not own multiple top sections for my poles and certainly don’t have a puller section, which allows the tension on the elastic to be varied, when playing a fish. My method is to preset the tension on the bung winder, putting on, or off coils of the elastic before I fish. This allows the pole to be used for small roach, or medium sized tench and carp, depending on the number of turns of elastic on the wider. Being a new elastic, I needed to set up for the minimum pull and the small roach at Jeanes would be ideal.

This was going to be a flying visit, not arriving until after 1:00pm. By the time that I had mixed up about a cup of liquidised bread and added a few ingredients, such as gound hemp, then set out my stall, it was 1:45, not a lot of time before the light goes. Having plumbed the depth at five feet over the shelf at six metres, I put in a couple of small balls of feed a metre apart out in front, swinging the antenna float out to fall through the feed. For ten, or more minutes, there was no movement of the float and I lifted it out a couple of times to check that the 4 mm pellet of punch was still on the size 18 barbless hook. It was each time. I put in another small ball and cast over it. The antenna dipped under, then came up, before slowly sinking from view. Missed it. Each time it sank, I counted down. Five seconds. Missed. Ten seconds. Missed. At twenty seconds the line was moving down. I lifted and felt a fish. It was only a small roach, but the elastic was working, absorbing the bouncing fight. The hook fell out in the net.

The bites were mere dots and dips, until the roach slowly made off with the bread. Each bite took minutes to develope. Sometimes an induced take, a steady draw of the float speeded up the bite.

I was still missing bites, the bread usually intact and a recast over the spot brought an instant response.

These were reasonable winter punch roach, that were working the new elastic and no adjustments were needed.

I had dispensed with the landing net, swinging them in, but the roach before this one caught me out, staying deep it was about four ounces and a last minute flick released the hook, before I could get my hand to it. I have caught many thousands of fish in my time, but I still hate to lose one, even a small roach.

This roach showed signs of a cormorant attack, but it also fought well, testing the elastic.

The wind was now howling through the trees behind me and the drift was increasing, dragging the float to the right, so with a dozen roach in the net I called it a day at 3:00pm.

Despite thermals, I was still cold, although it had been good to get out of the house away from Netflix.