Univited Mr Pike spoils the party at Braybrooke.

October 8, 2021 at 1:52 pm

With a report of tench and carp still being caught at Braybrooke Community FC’s Jeanes Pond this week, I managed to get out for an afternoon’s fishing. Arriving after 2 pm, I had a free choice of swims and chose lucky for some, peg 13, which has a large lily bed to the right, which is known for tench and carp, while I have had some nets of big roach pre Covid.

I mixed up a small tray of feed, liquidised bread, ground hemp, fish meal and a dusting of strawberry flavouring, then damped it down to form tight balls to sink quickly in the five foot deep swim. I put in four balls close to the outer corner of the lilies and cast in my 2 gram antenna float, which had most of the bulk shot eighteen inches from the size 14 hook, baited with a 7 mm pellet of punched bread fished just off bottom.

As expected the first few fish were five inch rudd, but a more positive bite saw the landing net out for the first time with a larger specimen.

Roach had now moved onto the feed, not big but worth catching, unlike the rudd lift bites, these were the opposite, a few dips of the float, followed by a slow sink.

Poised for another roach when the float sank away, I lifted the pole and the float stayed down with a better fish, the elastic stretching down into the water. Pulling the pole round to the left, the last thing I wanted was for this fish to reach the lilies and was relieved to see the elastic scything out to the open water. A carp run is unmistakeable, no bucking, just straight line power and I followed the direction, while keeping up the the pressure, hoping that the size 14 barbless hook had a firm hold. A rush to the roots to my left was stopped with the pole bent round. After a few minutes, I briefly saw the float for the first time, knowing that I was winning the battle to keep the fish in open water. A flash of gold below the surface let me see what looked like a big crucian carp, not a much larger common as I’d first thought. Once netted I could see that I was half right on both counts, a short fat common carp.

I had been lucky to land this carp, the hook just in the skin of the lip, popping out as I slid the disgorger onto the hook. The same shape as a crucian, it had an upturned dorsal fin as opposed to the rounded shape of a crucian. Time for a cup of tea. Then back to catching roach.

Still hopeful of another carp, or a tench, my catching rhythm was shattered, when a large green head surfaced and sideswiped a good roach as I brought it in. I tried to lift the roach away, but the pike had grabbed it and swirled off, with my elastic streaming out to the left. I tried jerking the hook free, but the elastic took the strain as the pike turned and relentlessly headed into the lily bed, the pole in danger of breaking, when I put on full pressure. I could see the lilies parting, the float pushed up to the elastic stonfo connector as the pike swam further in, boiling on the surface.  I did not want this pike, there was little chance of landing it anyway and wrapping a cloth round my had to protect it, began hand lining the elastic back. With a ping, the float rig shot back, minus half the hook link, neatly cut by the razor sharp teeth.

I mixed up more feed and started again with a new hook. Bites were immediate and some better roach were among them, until a massive splash saw roach scattering all over the surface. The pike was back. What do you do? Get up and move? No, I only intended fishing until 5 pm anyway, it wasn’t worth the hassle. I could have fed up the bush to my left, but again that would have taken time with no guarantees, that the pike would not drift over for another roach. I stuck it out. The little bay in the lilies, where most of the roach had come from was dead. I couldn’t buy a bite from there and assumed that Mr Toothie was lying there. Putting on another length of pole, I swung the float out to fish along the outside edge of the lilies and fed my last couple of balls there. I was back to catching small roach and rudd again, but the bait was down near the bottom most of the time, where it needed to be for the better fish.

Bringing in a roach, as I broke the pole down to the top two to net it, suddenly the roach leapt out of the water with the pike after it. I lifted the roach straight out without the net, a green flash followed by a boil on the surface confirming my fears.

The survivor.

That was it for me. I would have fished for a bit longer, but once a pike latches onto a swim at Jeanes Pond, you are waiting for the next attack. Time to go. I had only used the bread punch. Meat, or sweetcorn may have had more success, although passing by another angler, he was using sweetcorn without a bite.

Beggars can’t be chosers. Grateful for small mercies!