Winter common carp respond to bread punch

March 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Various issues with a couple of my motor vehicles, left me with no time to consider the thought of fishing this week, but with an MOT pass certificate in my back pocket, I ventured out to my local lake this afternoon, the lighter evenings giving me time to salvage the rest of the day. Bright sun had taken the edge off a bitter wind, when I arrived at the waterside, but the sight and sound of about twenty Canada geese beating up the surface, as they competed for mates, made me think twice about tackling up.

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In the middle of a housing estate, the shallow lake is home to moorhens, mallard ducks and coots, being joined by migrating mandarin ducks and Canada geese in winter, which act as a magnet for mothers with small children, all keen to dispose of bags full of stale bread, scattered to the feathered occupants. Beneath the murky surface, the unseen scaly residents grow fat on the remainder, bread proving to be the best bait for the plentiful wild carp.

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Before setting up my rod, I sprinkled ground carp pellets over some rough, food processed crumb, before mixing and adding just enough water to hold a ball. Waiting for the geese and company to crowd round the latest giver of food, I lobbed in several balls toward the island, which broke up three quarters over. Being only two feet deep, firmer balls would sink whole into the mud, while these soft ones scattered over the surface. With the ducks preoccupied, the bread feed had a chance to get through to the bottom.

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By the time that I’d set up with a short 3AA bodied waggler, bubbles were already breaking the surface in the fed area, my first cast seeing the float tip dip, then cruise away, lifting my rod into a carp, that dived back to the safety of the island. My rediscovered twelve and a half foot Normark carbon rod buffered that first run, pulling a carp to the surface away from the obstacles and toward my net.bread 065

A fat 4 lb common carp first cast was a good start, but reality set in with a series of missed bites. The float would dither and dip, then sail away without contact on the strike. Eventually the size 14 barbless hook found a hold and a larger common was testing the Normark as it ran along the island edge in search of a snag, constant pressure turning the lump, bringing it out to the open water and my waiting net.

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This one rolled onto my waggler and snapped it, to be replaced by a home made peacock quill, my tackle box being a time machine full of items produced in my youth. I had been using a double punched 7 mm pellet of bread on the hook, thinking that this would be more attractive to the carp, but now reasoned that, as both fish had been hooked in the outer part of their lips, the pellets had masked the hook. The new float was pushed into the rubber sleeve connector and cast over needing no weight adjustment, settling with just the orange tip showing. Within minutes the float blinked off and on as the bait was blown around by another fish, going off long enough to allow a strike, which connected with a carp that ran all over the place, at one time fighting hard under my own bank before finding the landing net. The single pellet worked this time.

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Three carp in an hour and plenty of action in between, not bad for an afternoon, when I was about to be blasted by sleet and snow, then icy rain for ten minutes, before the sun came out again. Believing the forecast of sunshine, I’d not worn a jacket and needed to pull up my hood, putting on my old bait apron for extra protection, then hunkering down until the clouds passed. The geese were being fed again further along the bank and I took the opportunity to mix up some more bread feed to ball into the swim.

At home only a half mile from the lake, my wife saw the sleet and took pity on her crazy husband, preparing a flask of tea, along with a seasonal hot crossed bun, then making the walk to where I was sitting shivering. Warmed and fed, another single pellet was slipped onto the hook and I cast out again, giving my wife a running commentary as the bite developed, only to strike too soon, bumping the fish, that swirled away in a muddy bow wave. Plenty of bubbles indicated more fish in the swim and the next cast pulled into a longer fish, which I first thought was a grass carp.

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Not impressed by the cold wind, or the angling prowess on show, my wife was soon heading home to prepare our evening meal. Shortly after, I began to battle the biggest carp of the day. A decisive bite struck into a carp that ran both ways down the island, with me taking and giving line as it rolled around in the muddy lake. This time the rod was bent double with the weight of the fish alone, the reel clutch ticking away absorbing each run. With 6lb main line to a 4lb hook link and a  forged hook, it was just a case of taking my time to wear the carp down, slipping the net under it after five minutes of arm wrenching effort. A stepped up carp rod would have done the job quicker, but the heavier tackle may not have fooled the carp.

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A perfect common carp with not a scale out of place, from a rarely fished public water, returned to grow and fight another day. This fish capped the day for me, five fish in two hours for over twenty pounds in total was enough and I packed up, returning to a warm home and hot tea.