Roach among the autumn leaves at Jeanes Pond play hard to get

October 8, 2022 at 11:50 am

Not having fished Braybrooke Fishing Club’s Jeanes Pond for a couple of months, I thought that I would target the water’s roach this week, in the hope of finding the quality fish that were commonplace on the bread punch, once the water temperature had fallen.

Arriving before noon, a strong wind was blowing from the south west, ruling out  half the swims, while the first of the autumn leaves were beginning to fall, so playing safe I chose peg 17 in the lea of the warden’s house, where it was flat calm.

The first thing that I noticed was the low water level in the pond, my peg having rocks and gravel exposed at the edge. I usually start fishing this swim with just the top two of my pole, but when I plumbed the swim, there was only a depth of eighteen inches and had to add another two lengths of pole to find three feet.

There was no surface activity, which is unusual for a water with a high number of fry and small fish, so I decided to only feed the minimum amount of plain liquidised bread. I cast in my 4 x 14 fine antenna float, with a 5 mm punch of bread fished off bottom, dropping a small ball close to the float. After five minutes, I checked the bait. It was still there and cast back over the feed. After a few more minutes, rings appeared around the antenna and it slowly sank. A very small roach fell off the hook before I could swing it in. Back in again and the float sank straight away with a slightly bigger specimen swinging to hand.

At least fish were biting, but I had expected  something bigger. Casting back into the same spot, the float sat for a minute, before dipping and sinking. Ah, a better roach.

The antenna was set to sit just above the surface and the bites took time to develope, starting as a tremble, to dips, then a slow hold under. If I waited too long, the float would pop up again with the bait intact. The bread was still soft and would rub off the hook. Very confusing. They were interested in the liquidised feed, but only half hearted about the bait.

I added some strawberry powder and ground hemp to the feed and punched through into it, leaving a layer on the punch. The bites improved and I hooked more roach, but they were still taking their time .

I started off another line of feed and went over depth. The roach were perking up and the bites improved.

I have found this before, whether the roach see the bait sink, then hover off the bottom and become suspicious, mouthing the bait, then dropping it, I don’t really know, but if it lies on the bottom among the feed, they will take the bread more confidently. When the water is warmer, the fish need to feed, but once the water cools, their metabolic rate falls and they slow down and food becomes a lower priority.

The roach were not a patch on the ones I used to catch here, but they all needed the landing net, after I tried to swing in one of those better roach, only for the hook to pull out.

It was soon time for a tea break and a change of punch bread, the combination of sun and wind was drying the bread out too quickly, making it crumble when put on the hook. I keep the bread in a plastic wallet in my bait apron, where they stay fresh, but once exposed to the air they were hardening off quickly. On a day when they are “Having it”, this would not matter, but when you are scratching for bites, every little helps.

The wind had increased, blowing more leaves onto the water, which were floating round with the surface drift and it was becoming difficult to find an opening to place the float into, the drift then driving leaves into the float dragging it under. Time to pack up after one last roach.

Once again the bread punch had done its job on a hard day. I was the only person fishing and could not judge whether any other bait would have worked better.

All roach and not a rudd in sight. After I returned these fish, I found another five roach in my keep net, which would have pushed my total to over thirty. Not bad for hard day.