Apart from the punch, bread can be fished in a variety of ways. Bread punch fishing is perhaps most associated in the minds of many anglers with canals and the Fenland drains. However, especially for roach, punched bread is a superb method on pretty much any venue. Confidence has a big part to play, with anglers having their own preferred brand of white bread.
How to fish with bread punch
Anglers use a tool called a bread punch to ‘punch out' small discs of the bread to use on the hook, typically anything from a size 18 through to a size 22. Some anglers like to roll the bread slice hard and flat to ensure it will hold longer on the hook, as the bread tends to easily fall off.
Other anglers will steam the bread, placing it on a rack over a pan of boiling water to make it stickier, before quickly placing the steamed slice in a plastic bag, again increasing its ability to stay on the hook.
Bread punches come in a variety of sizes for different situations.
Bread punch is often used in conjunction with sliced bread that has been put through a liquidiser. The liquidised bread groundbait is then squeezed together and thrown, or more often accurately cupped, into the peg as loose feed.
History of bread punch fishing
The bread slicer was invented in 1912 by American Otto Wohwedder but his prototype got burnt and his commercial version wasn't finally launched until 1928. Sliced bread first appeared on the shelves in the UK in 1930 and it would not have been long before anglers started using it as bait.
The canal anglers of the north west popularised the method, probably after the war, as during the austerity years bread would have been too scarce to feed to fish.
The king of north-west canal fishing Benny Ashurst expressed the view that it was only possible to win small canal matches on punched bread, but not big opens. Back then, Benny would have probably considered a 100 pegger a small match. One of the great modern exponents of canal punch fishing is Fred ‘the bread' Cheetham, who has had many triumphs on the punch.
Motty's tips for producing top-class liquidised bread feed
Advice from canal angling champion Simon 'Motty' Mottram, who trains our Let's Fish! coaches on the best canal fishing methods.
To save time in the long run, use a food mixer to liquidise four or five fresh loaves (including the crusts) of Warburtons medium sliced bread, although any brand should be OK.
It's important to use the same brand of bread on the hook as in the feed. Once liquidised, place the equivalent of one loaf's worth into a freezer bag and freeze it. When you need it, take out the frozen block of bread and grate it through a pinkie riddle. Repeat the process once or twice more and the bread will get finer and finer, hopefully proving irresistible to those finicky roach.
Motty's tips on how to get the best from bread punch
Warburtons white medium-sliced bread is my favourite brand. When fishing bread on flowing water, add pebbles to the liquidised bread to get it down to the bed of the fishery quickly, otherwise it will be feeding the fish downstream.
There is an art to feeding the liquidised bread. In times gone by people would not feed again until the bites had stopped and by then it was usually too late. The challenge is to top up regularly so that the fish keep feeding but don't overdo it or the fish will become fully satiated. These sorts of judgement calls are what makes canal fishing so fascinating.
You can find plenty of other bread punch tips in the video below.
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