Sunshine at last, but fish slow to respond at Jeanes Pond.

April 28, 2024 at 1:19 pm

This week the sun has been putting in an appearance, but a cold wind from the north had kept me wrapped up and reluctant to try anything outdoors. On Wednesday it was a “might go fishing day”, but after loading my gear into the van, my hands were frozen and even going shopping was looking more attractive. Come Friday and the wind had turned round to come from the south. I opted to give the local Jeanes pond a try after lunch, making sure that I was wearing thermals and two jackets, as it was still decidedly chilly. My wife was making an apple cake, when I left and I suggested that I could be home in time for a slice straight from the oven, if the fish weren’t biting.

Arriving at the pond, there were no other Braybrooke members fishing and I walked round to lucky for some, peg 13, which has given me some good April catches in the past. Once again there was no surface activity, not a good sign, although on the plus side there  was no wind. A sign of a cold previous month was the lack of growth among the lilies.

With my pole at eight metres, I found a depth of four feet close to to the lily bed and using a bait dropper, fed an area to my right alongside the lilies. The bait dropper was used to get the feed down to the bottom quickly without attracting the hoards of tiny roach and rudd, that carpet the surface layers. My choice of float was an antenna with 3 grams bulked close to the size 12 crystal barbless hook, with a 7 mm punch of bread, all part of my scheme to get the bread down to avoid the tiny fish.

I dropped my float close to the lilies, seeing signs of interest straight away and watched the antenna slowly submerge, striking into a five inch roach, which was soon in the keepnet. I was hoping for tench, crucians, or carp, but this would do to start.

My next roach was a bit better, but not a monster, barely pulling out the pole elastic on the strike. This fish did not feel like the iced lollies of a month ago, the water having warmed up since then.

The sun came out and I was beginning to overheat, now wearing too many layers over my thermals. I took off my hoody and jacket between fish, also needing to replace the punch bread at regular intervals, as the sun was hardening the surface causing missed bites. The punch bread must be soft to be sucked in by the fish.

I had just put this 3 oz roach in my net, when a burst of bubbles surfaced over my feed. A carp? Rebaited, I dropped the float down through the middle of the bubbles and the antenna popped up to the surface. Strike now, or wait for the float to move off? It moved off and under along the edge of the lilies. The elastic came out following the fish and I pulled the pole round to the left as a deep carp boiled beneath the surface. The pole had a dangerous bend, with the elastic disappearing into the depths, as I leaned into the fish to keep it away from the waiting lilies. It turned and ran to the left, followed by the pole. More opposite pressure and it surfaced, a 5 lb plus common. Breaking the pole to the top two sections, I was ready with the landing net, when a long submerged branch surfaced with the carp attached. How do I net this? The carp was on its side towing the branch and as I tried to get the net under the fish, the hook came out! A wild stab at the floundering carp failed and was left to get my net over the still floating end of the branch, which I managed to pull up the bank. It was eight feet long and launched it back into the undergrowth behind me, where no doubt it will soon be discovered by the local school kids and thrown in again.

The last of my ground bait was scraped together to fill a few more bait droppers and I started again. The sun had brought the rudd out and I caught several on the trot, again no size, but they would do, while I waited for something decent.

The local school had turned out for the day and the usual hubub of young teens had started, including two uniformed lads hacking away at the trees behind me. More branches to throw in? Not encouraged to continue, I made the roach below my last fish of the short afternoon session.

The bread punch had been my only bait and I have seen boilies, pellets and sweetcorn piled into this swim before and would have thought that it was still a holding area for better fish, but so far this year this has not been the case. While fishing today, a cormorant flew around the pond before landing, then proceded to continuously dive, until it had eaten it’s fill of fish after twenty minutes, then fly off, circling to gain height, heading east to the next pond.

The lost carp would have dwarfed this catch of around two dozen fish. The weather forecast for the coming week, more cool weather and rain, will not improve the chance of the tench and carp waking up either. At least the apple cake was still warm, when I returned home.