Left to right: The bottom pool… One of the carp, but not a crucian… A crayfish… Another of my many carp… A view from my first swim
Not as elusive as Scotland’s World Cup chances though
As an angler the more focused I am the better I fish. Whilst some can go and spend a day fishing for anything that turns up, I need to be tuned in to a species, otherwise I don’t really feel switched on. That’s not to say either of those approaches is wrong or right, it’s just where I’m at. However, planning a return visit to Gyrn Castle in Flintshire I decided to split my time there between big carp on the top pool and their little brothers, otherwise known as crucians, on the bottom pond. What helped me in terms of staying focused though was the fact I was on two different venues in effect and doing nights for one and days for the other. I adapted quite well though and my flexibility even too me by surprise.
The bottom pond on the venue is pretty much a mixed fishery with a number of species up for grabs. But with crucians present, albeit in limited numbers, I decided to make them my target. The bailiff, Craig Smith, is very helpful and when he pointed out a swim that had produced a few fish to a pleasure angler recently, I decided to make that my starting point. Arriving at Gyrn in the afternoon, I dropped my carp gear off on the top pool and once everything was ready for the coming night, I grabbed what I needed for the crucians and dropped down the bank into the peg where hopefully I would catch a fish or two to get my visit off to a great start.
The swim was quite shallow, in fact very shallow in the margins and then dropping off to a depth that was only three feet at the most. My approach was to fish a small waggler with a single grain of sweetcorn on a size 12 hook, loose feeding corn on a ‘trickle’ basis. Normally I would use much lighter line, but with lots of small carp in the pool I fished with 6lb mainline through to 4lb hooklength. The latter was Drennan Team England and I have used this for some years now, working on the basis that ‘if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it’. With the crucian carp not being deliberately fished for they certainly aren’t wary so I was happy enough with the line strengths as it gave me the balance between landing the bigger carp and not putting the target ones off.
The first evening saw lots of action with rudd and roach, mirrors and commons finding their way on the bank, plus a crayfish. But the catch I really wanted proved to be elusive. I do like a challenge though and so next morning bright and early I was back in the same peg pitting my wits against the quarry. Hopeful? I’m always hopeful. It’s no good going fishing if you have conceded defeat before you even set off. However, confidence in itself won’t put fish on the bank. Not that I struggled on that front though, as the previous species were more than obliging. I also added a small tench, but again the ones that I really wanted to catch didn’t want to play ball.
The problem when targeting crucian carp is that if rudd, roach or tench – not to mention other carp – are in the venue it is usually a case of wading through them. They’re not like some other species where you can pretty much eliminate the opposition and zoom right in on them. Plus they are quite finicky as well. Very finicky on this session, as by the time I retired back to my bivvie at lunchtime to get some food I was still without one to show for my efforts. Eating my gourmet meal of tinned soup and bread I pondered my return to the pond behind me. With just this final afternoon and evening visit to go I considered moving. And after more of the same species and none of the elected ones I did just that, dropping to a nice looking corner peg. With a reed bed to the side and deeper water it looked just the business.
It took a while for the bites to come, but my trickle of sweetcorn grains soon got the fish going and the bites started to come. But sadly for me, nothing that could be described as a slab of gold or a bar of butter. As the evening wore on, in one way I became hopeful that the crucians would come on the feed but in an another I could see the time – and therefore opportunity – slipping away. And eager to get back to the business I had with the bigger carp on the top pool, when I told myself it was one last cast, I stuck to my word.
Disappointed? No, not in the slightest. If I had declared my intention as to have a good couple of days fishing on a pleasure venue rather than sticking my neck out and naming an elusive species it would have been mission accomplished. If I had said that I am happy to catch whatever turns up but a crucian would be nice, apart from the latter becoming a reality, everything else went to plan. And ultimately it was a secondary reason for me being at Gyrn anyway. And if you want to know how I go on after the big girls on the other pool, as they say watch this space. Next week to be precise.
Gyrn Castle fishery is a nice pleasant venue and if the saying ‘just being there is enough sometimes’ could be applied to anywhere, then Gyrn fits the bill on that front. And because it’s part of a private country estate and people have to book in, it’s as safe as anywhere in the country. From the moment you park your car and you know it will be there when you get back, to the actual fishing itself, there is not even the slightest hint of insecurity. The only thing you have to watch out for are the cheeky pheasants that may sneak up on you and steal whatever food they can get their beaks into.
The link to the website is on my home page and if you decide to go, as well as speaking to Craig to book in, ask as many questions as you want concerning the venue. He is very easy to talk to, approachable and will do all he can to help you. But make sure you ask him one particular question though: Which group were Scotland in for the World Cup as you couldn’t see them anywhere. Although if you are Welsh that might not carry too much relevance. However if like me you are a proud Englishman, it carries all the relevance in the world. The Gyrn Castle crucian carp might be elusive but you’ve still got more chance of catching one than Scotland have of getting to the World Cup. As I write, England are still in the World Cup. Just.
Video number 28 on list
(Originally published June 2010)