Tench and crucians top a bread punch mixed bag at Braybrooke

July 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Last week I paid my first visit of the season to Braybrooke Park and fished Jeanes’s pond, arriving at 6 pm and fishing until 8, hoping for tench and crucian carp, but catching a net full of roach and rudd. I was sure that my target fish were there, but the silver fish got the bait first, due to a light float rig. The answer for me was to tie up a much heavier pole rig, based around a 2 gram antenna float with 6 BB shot bulked 15 inches from the size 16 barbless hook.

The other change of plan for me was to try an early start, which meant being ready to fish by 8 am. Others have been enjoying success among the tench by arriving hours before that, but I am afraid that I value my beauty sleep more than catching a few more tench.

Making up the same mix as last week, ground carp pellets with liquidised bread and a handful of boiled hemp seed, I squeezed up a few balls of the dampened ground bait and fed them in over the shelf fifteen feet out. By the time that I had attached my float rig and plumbed the depth, bubbles were already rising to the surface above the feed and I swung the float into the middle of them, the float cocking instantly with the bulk shot. Starting with a 7 mm punch of bread two inches off bottom, the antenna dipped and sank, when a rudd snaffled the offering.

I guessed that despite the heavy bulk shot, this rudd had followed the bait down, not a bad size and better than I had expected. Next cast in the float settled quickly and sat for a minute before a tell tale ring radiated out from the antenna, then slowly sank, this time a roach was fighting up from the bottom.

The usual raft of very small rudd seemed to have been avoided, the heavy shot getting the bait down quickly. In again and the float sank slowly as it moved out into the pond. Half expecting a small rudd when I struck, I was surprised when the heavy 12 – 18 elastic extended out with a good fish, a silver flash deep down, a sign of a very good roach. Stripping the pole back to the top three, the landing net came out for the first time that morning.

An absolute clonker of a roach, justification of my plan to use a much heavier float rig.

What next? The float dipped and bobbed, then disappeared and the elastic was out again, this time the distinctive thump, thump of a crucian carp battling away, then a golden glint as it changed direction confirmed my guess. This crucian was as round as it was deep, fighting hard along the bottom in front of me and managing to wrap the line round a sunken branch, before the net was able to scoop up both fish and snag.

My good fortune continued with another good roach, this one scrapping on the surface before being guided to the net.

My next cast saw the float begin to sink, then cruise under as a much larger fish made off, stripping out elastic from the pole tip, the bright red latex stretching deep into the pond. It slowed and turned, shaking its head as I held the pole as high as possible against the strain. It turned again, coming straight for me as I rapidly stripped back the pole, hitting the wall behind. Confusion reigned. With the pole jammed, I released a joint forward and attempted to net the three pound tench wallowing in the shallows at my feet, but as if in slow motion, the big green tench rolled free of the net and back into the deeps, when the barbless size 16 lost its hold.

Every angler knows that stunned feeling of disbelief, when they lose a big fish and this was my reminder. I baited again and recast, just as a friend cycled up to me, asking how I was getting on. Lets just say that I conveyed just how disappointed I was.

That tench seemed to have taken all the fish with it and I sat biteless for some minutes. Movement of the float again and a roach was soon swinging in to hand. I was back in business with palm sized roach and rudd taking the bread, even a small common carp of four ounces broke the rythm.

The elastic was out again as a good fish dived for the safety of deep water as I prayed for it to stay on, the dark dorsal fin of a smaller tench breaking the surface. This time I was ready, unshipping the pole early down to the top three and playing it to a standstill ready for the net.

A tench at last. The hook can be seen in this image at the tip of its mouth. I had earned a cup of tea and a sandwich, my friend returning complete with fishing gear and setting up in the swim next door. A recent convert to the bread punch, he fished running line and waggler over liquidised bread feed, beginning to take a steady stream of roach and rudd, until a pike took one of his sizeable rudd, making several runs, before dropping the fish.

I continued to catch steadily, including this golden rudd, followed by more roach.

A slow steady bite and the elastic was  streaming out from a big fish, my second crucian characteristically fighting in a rolling, diving fashion, as I brought the pole down to the top three sections, waiting for it to tire, sliding the net under it with relief. The hook dropping out the moment the pressure was off.

Once more a barrel shaped crucian, close to 2 lb, this was the last of the better fish. The sun was now at full blast and the bites were fussy. I should have dotted down the float and gone for a 5 mm punch of bread on the hook, but I did not have the mental discipline to make the changes and continued for the next hour, often missing those unmissable bites.

My new float rig had done its job, avoiding the plague of tiny rudd that blanket the surface layers of this pond and will look to refine it in the coming summer.