Roach and rudd brighten a dull afternoon at Jeanes Pond

March 20, 2024 at 11:33 am

A wet morning cleared by lunchtime and I headed out to the Braybook club’s Jeanes Pond to test the waters, following reports of rafts of tiny roach and rudd grabbing any bait that was offered, while better fish were impossible to catch. For me it was going to be a case of nothing given, nothing gained. I had bread from the freezer, which could go back in, if the reports were true and there were plenty of jobs to do at home, if I returned home early.

My usual swim had a gale blowing through it, so I dropped off at peg 17 before it, setting up my pole with a 4 x 14 antenna float to a size 18 barbless hook. Not confident that I would be staying long, I only mixed up a cupful of groundbait, liquidised bread, ground hemp with ground pellets and a dash of strawberry flavouring. Having plumbed the depth, I set the bait to fish just off bottom and cast in with a 5 mm punch of bread on the hook. The float did not move. I positioned my keepnet, wondering if would need it? There was no surface activity either, but once I put a small ball of feed in, everything changed. Small fish appeared from nowhere. Every put in the float lifted and another tiddler was swung in.

This was a big one.

I bulked my shot a foot from the hook and fished away from the feed, dropping the bait straight down. After a five minute wait, the antenna very slowly sank. Waiting for the float to sink out of sight, I lifted. A slightly bigger fish, a roach was swung in. I went up to a 6 mm punch on the 18 hook.

Another wait and a bigger roach from the edge of the feed, 5 metres out.

I took a chance and squeezed up the rest of my feed, making four very firm balls, which went in forming the corners of a metre square. These sank quickly, releasing the crushed hemp as a marker. It began to drizzle and the wind increased, while the temperature dropped. I thought that I would stick it out as long as the roach continued to feed.

After another flurry of small rudd, the bread was getting down to the roach again, the bites taking their time, but unmissable. The landing net in use constantly, as the roach got bigger.

Drizzle now turned to rain and the the hood came up over over my cap. The square of punch bread went back into the big pocket of my bait apron to keep it dry, only bringing it out to punch. The Scots have a word for weather like this, Driech, damp, depressing and cold. At least the float was still going under.

Catching from the inside of the fed area, the bites were drying up, so I fitted another length of pole and fished the pond side. Rudd were this side, instead of the slow sink of the float antenna, it was all change with a positive lift and move off with the bread.

The wind was affecting the drift and I had to keep adjusting the bow in the line, but the rudd were not as fussy as the roach and they continued to come to the net.

These rudd were not monsters, but they fought well, usually rushing off and breaking the surface on the strike.

The local school had now turned out and the peace was regularly shattered by the screams of young girls eager to attract the attention of groups of boys. At least it had stopped raining.

I was still getting bites, this rudd being my last fish of the afternoon. At least I had proved that there were better fish to be caught. Hopefully, as we enter the Sring Equinox this week, temperatures will rise enough to wake up the tench and carp at Jeanes, while these roach and rudd will put on weight.

Today proved to be another learning day for me, which will mean more fish in the net next time.