Winter bread punch carp from the duckpond

December 30, 2015 at 5:26 pm

A post Christmas dinner walk is a tradition in my family and armed with bread for the ducks, we trekked the half mile to the banks of a small lake, set among the houses near our home, to find that even the seagulls were disinterested in our offerings, the surface of the lake already littered with crusts. If the ducks were full, the local carp population was not, the unseasonably warm weather bringing the fish up to the surface to feed, watching whole slices of bread broken up and devoured in minutes.

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A few days later, with my last visitors homeward bound, the van was loaded and parked beside the lake, where I could see the surface dimpled by rising fish, sucking in the latest free offerings. The lake was formed for flood relief of the stream that runs through it and following a recent freak downpour, it had almost burst it’s banks, which has resulted in the local council lowering the level of the outlet, leaving barely eighteen inches of water covering the silt.

Down wind of the main duck feeding area, a dark stain of silt was stirred up by the feeding fish and I set up my twelve and a half foot Normark match rod with a simple float rig, 6 lb line running through to a weighted pellet feeder waggler float, with a 12 inch, 5 lb hook link, to a size 14 forged barbless. For bait I’d considered floating crust, but opted for double punched white bread, the second punch tending to tear rather than cut, giving a more natural looking pellet with a fringe on top.

With fish out in front of me, there was no need to feed and a 25 yard cast put the float right in among them. The intial splash of the heavy float spooked the fish, but five minutes later the float bobbed and lifted as a carp sampled the bread, before sinking out of sight, my rod arcing round, when it met the running line. In the shallow water, a bow wave zoomed toward the island, slowed by the slipping clutch of my reel and backwinding, the carp turning away to open water, then circling back to run along the front of the island, before turning again to fight below trees to my left. On this tackle, bullying was not an option, but eventually the carp was in the net.

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Round like a barrel, this carp was 17 inches long and scaled over 7 lbs, the size 14 barbless, just holding in the side of the mouth. A fresh white medium sliced loaf provided the bait, the 7 mm punched pellets fitting well on a size 14 hook.

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Next cast in the bite was more fussy, the float pulled under and I waited for the run, but after two seconds it popped up again. Bringing it in, the bait was still there, but obviously sucked. New bait on, I cast in again. More bobs, then a hold down and I struck. This time a smaller fish stood it’s ground and fought all the way to the net with only token runs, which at first sight looked like a large crucian carp, but with a down turned mouth I reasoned it was a hybrid.

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I dropped the next two fish, the second taking the float under and running toward me, before I could strike, then turning away setting the hook, which it threw with a spectacular leap, spiraling through the air. The hot spot was now devoid of bites, the fish were still rising to bread on the surface, but apart from dipping the float from time to time, they had learned to avoid it. A cast to the virgin water in the middle of the lake saw the bait taken on the drop and I was soon playing another fast running common, reducing it’s runs each time, until netted.

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A shower of rain had chilled the air, visibility was dropping with a weak sun sinking behind the houses and following another dropped fish, I decided on just one more cast toward the island. A fish was moving inches below the surface, nudging more bits of floating bread from the steady stream of visitors, the wind blowing a constant supply to it’s mouth. It edged closer to the float, which sank amidst a swirl and I struck into a more powerful fish, a shower of spray heralding an almighty run beneath the overhanging branches of the island. The rod doubled round despite my rapid back winding, other carp swirling out of the way of it’s run, heavy kicks screeching the clutch, as I tried to stop it’s progress round the back of the island. With nothing to lose apart from maybe a broken rod, I hung on and it swung away from the island, arcing round into open water, where I could retrieve line, a black trail of silt marking it’s position. It remained unseen, until seconds before being netted, expecting to see a double figure fish, after this battle, but the sight of another fin perfect common of 7 lb did not disappoint.

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A recent report said that white bread is not a good diet for ducks, but it does not seemed to harm these carp, probably more usual carp baits such as boilies and halibut pellets will catch more fish, but my method provided an interesting afternoon’s sport.

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Beside my swim, a small shrine had been set up with night lights. Maybe a night fisherman had been trying to invoke a bit of supernatural assistance.