Winter chub and roach queue up for the bread punch at the weir

December 11, 2021 at 12:46 pm

With my wife ready to take a drive into town for some Christmas shopping, I loaded up the van for a fishing session on my local river Cut, hoping to fish the outfall weir of the town water treatment works. Handing me a flask of tea and freshly made sandwiches, my wife waited to see me off, when I climbed into the van, only to watch me get back out again. The starter motor was jammed and would not turn the engine over! I had only started the engine the day before as a precaution due to the freezing temperatures and lack of use. It had fired up immediately then. I checked the battery. A full charge.

Today was chosen by both of us, as it was the only calm, mild day between those of bitter winds and rain. “You take the car, I’ll have to go another day,” my wife offered. Knowing that the following week would see far more shoppers in the Town Centre, I said that she should go now. On her refusal, I agreed to fish, but to pack up by 2 pm, to return home in time to take her direct to the Centre, then pick her up, when she was ready.

Switching the tackle to the car took precious time and the look on my wife’s face as I drove off, said that she did not believe that I would be home in time. The parking space and the weir swim were empty and I set about tackling up my 14 foot Browning with a 4 No 4 ali stemmed stick float to a size 14 barbless hook.

The river was murky with silt from recent flooding, while the outfall had blackened pollution booms across it. Not a good sign. Water treatment works have had bad publicity recently, regarding the release of untreated sewage into rivers in times of flooding. This sight seemed to confirm that a similar event had occurred here.

I mixed up a tray of groundbait feed, half a loaf of liquidised bread, ground carp pellets and ground hemp, damping it down to form firm balls, that would sink quickly, then spread along the bottom.

Undeterred by the possibility of pollution affecting the fishing, I put in two decent sized balls along the middle of the swim, followed by the float baited with a 6 mm punch of bread. Easing the float down toward the foaming overflow did not attract any bites and after half a dozen trots I added another 6 inches to the depth to hold the float back hard to bounce the bread across the bottom. As the float approached the foam, the float slid under and out of sight, a firm strike setting the hook into a fish that swam hard into the fast water. Due to the mucky water, the fish was unseen, rushing about, only confirming my guess, when the white mouth of a 4 oz chub surfaced before the net.

The hook fell out in the landing net and I was glad that I had not tried to swing it in from the high bank. It felt ice cold to the touch. I put in a small ball of feed and laid the float over it, watching the feed drift past the float, which slowly sank under my rod top. A steady lift put a bend in the rod, as a larger chub burst into life and rushed off downstream, while I lifted my finger to allow line to pull from the ABU 501 spool. Another hectic fight followed, before I was reaching out with the 3 metre landing net.

A more subtle bite indicated a roach, which fought in the characteristic bounce and glide style, the net coming out again for a slightly tatty fish.

The next roach was more pristine, as was the following fish, the float dipping and holding, only submerging when I stopped its progress.

I now struck into a much bigger fish, which fought hard under my rod tip, going beneath the keep net, the bouncing fight saying roach, but then the rapid run to the fast water said chub, as I gave line, the rod bucking when it rolled in the foam, then came off. Whatever it was, it seemed to have taken its friends with it and I was without a bite for 15 minutes. I put in another two balls of feed, then fed myself with a cheese and piccalilli sandwich, washed down with hot tea. Lunch over, I got back to fishing.

I had noticed that the outfall had increased its flow, causing an eddy to form on the opposite side of my swim, backing up the river. I put more balls over, making an underhand cast to the feed, watching the float drag round then under, when a chub took the offering.

Once more the hook fell out in the net, being surprised that the chub stayed on after a manic fight.

These roach were right on the crease of the eddy and the foam, the bites indicated by slight holds before they disappeared into the foam. As can be seen in these images, the hooks were just in the top lip.

I had begun putting in a ball a cast, which brought a succession of hard fighting chub, every one rushing round the shallow swim, before suddenly giving up to slide into the net.

The chub were within a small area, where the balls were going in, their mouths spewing  groundbait.

Maybe the chub were becoming cautious, or had been caught, but roach were beginning to show,

With an hour to go before my 2 pm deadline, the roach switched on again, having moved up into the eddy following the regular balls of feed.

These roach were all clonkers and I was aware that I had made a promise to my wife Julie, that I had to keep this time. The roach were lined up and in a feeding frenzy. They were getting bigger with each cast.

Just one more cast and I hooked another beauty that ran off down the outfall, while I backwound the reel to ease the pressure on the hook. Bringing it back out of the foam, another run and it was gone. I looked at my watch. It was bang on 2 pm. It would only take seconds to punch out another pellet of bread. I was like a drug addict offered another fix, but no I had to stop. There was at least another hour of light left and would have easily put a double figure net of fish on the scales. I picked up the punch and returned it to the punch wallet. There, that’s it. I’d packed up.

Proof of at least fifty fish in just over three hours, when I’d caught some of those shy biting roach on the same piece of punched bread. My back was aching from leaning out from the high bank to net most of these fish, but it was a well earned ache.

Closer to nine pounds, than eight, this had been a busy few hours, when the eddy had changed course, but had managed to remain in contact with the fish.

Arriving home before 3 pm, there was a look of disbelief on Julie’s face, when I walked though the door, but in the time it took to unload the car and hang up my nets, she was ready to shop. Later it was all smiles, when I picked her up ladened with Christmas Goodies. She had not expected me to be home. Why would I change the habit of a life time?