Roach catching spree interupted by a pike at Jeanes Pond.

September 30, 2023 at 9:42 am

This week has been total disruption at home, while a new more efficent boiler, plus a hot water cylinder were fitted and the sludge removed from the radiators, which meant rooms being emptied of contents, while others became storerooms. Even the loft did not escape, where assorted suitcases blocked access to vital pipework and water tanks. While the West of England and Wales suffered the full force of storm Agnes, our part of the South East enjoyed days of sunshine, but for me no fishing, until this afternoon, when my wife kindly volunteered to repaint the utility room, where the new boiler had left a bare wall.

With other jobs completed, I had little time remaining to travel for my fishing fix, but with my tackle stored in the van and liquidised bread in the freezer, I was soon on my way to Jeanes Pond a couple of miles away at Braybrooke Recreation Ground.

My first task on arrival at peg 5, was to mix up some groundbait of liquidised bread, ground hemp with ground carp pellets and a light covering of a spicy aniseed additive, that I was trying out. With the groundbait damped down, I set about assembling my pole with a 2 gram antenna float to a size 14 hook. Plumbing the depth, there was a steep drop off into five feet of water and I fed a couple of firm balls of ground bait three metres out and another at four. Due to a layer of three inch roach and rudd, I bulked the full 2 grams of weight above the hook link, so that the bait would pass quickly to the bottom avoiding the tiddlers. First cast proved that this was effective, when the float slowly sank and the elastic came out of the pole tip, as a roach reacted to the strike.

A sign of fish to come, the first roach.

Cast back in, another good roach had taken the 7 mm pellet of punched bread and was on the way to the landing net.

The roach were over the feed and the float was going down like clockwork, fishing by numbers, cast in, the float showing interest rings radiating out from the antenna, as the tip sank lower on the surface, before gliding down out of sight and a successful strike.

There was a loud splash twenty yards to my right, as a 5 lb pike lept clear of the water amid a circle of scattering fish. Knowing my luck, it would not be long before the pike came snooping around my swim. Ten minutes later my fears were confirmed, when a swirl disturbed the surface, after I had introduced another ball of feed. I moved my float and feed a few yards to my left, however my next roach was soon flapping on the surface in panic. Ignoring the landing net, I swung it in.

I dropped the next fish as I swung it in and a green flash followed by a surface boil set the mood for the following minutes, as the roach ran the gauntlet between me and the pike. The bites dried up and I scratched around for a fish, going back over my original area to the right. The float sank and I struck, lifting the good roach toward the surface. Suddenly the elastic streamed out. The pike had taken the roach. I had two lengths of pole waiting for such an event, but I struggled to align the pole joints as the pike powered away. The joints slid together just as the elastic swept into an arc and the pike dived along the bottom throwing up a row of bubbles. Small fish scattered in all directions, when the pike surfaced, due to the pull from the elastic. The roach was still across the pike’s jaws. I got the landing net ready. This would be the first of many Braybrooke pike, that I would finally net. As if by magic, when I had this thought, the pike released it’s grip and the battered roach slid out. I netted it for safety and placed it in my keepnet.

Understandably there was nothing doing in close and I squeezed up a couple more balls and lobbed them twenty yards out, adding more lengths to the pole to fish over this feed. Whether my original fish had moved out away from the pike, or not I don’t know, but the float sank and I was playing another roach. The dilemma was, do I bring it to the landing net, or skim it across the surface away from the pike. I skimmed this one back.

It was a rudd.

The pike was now around the outside line and fish were jumping all over, so I moved back inside and caught my last fish, another roach.

The 7 mm punch had kept the smaller fish at bay, giving the better fish a chance at the bait.

Anglers at Jeanes Pond complain about the tiny fish stealing their bait, but the bread punch fished deep, worked well for me in attracting some better fish. If it had not been for the pike in the swim, I’m sure that I would have doubled my catch during the brief two and a half hour session.

I arrived home to find that my wife had completed her painting of the utility room and baked a carrot cake. Lucky me.