Short but sweet (Crucian Carp article and video, entry 264)

After an excursion to the River Teme after barbel, I was itching to get back on the pool where I had been the week before pursuing crucian carp. Whilst I do fully appreciate the fact that I am an all-rounder, the only downside is that I cannot do everything that I want to do. Still, I shouldn’t complain if that’s the only negative thing I can draw from my angling, because what I am really saying is that I love it so much the only problem is that I don’t get to fish enough! But it’s not like I only have the odd session here and there though. Angling does play a big part in my life and I’ve still got that passion and drive and ultimately the excitement and enthusiasm to keep going back for more. But I do it because I want to, not because I have to, and that’s what fishing should be about – pleasure.


An early morning start

I’m not a morning person at all but catching fish isn’t about doing things for my convenience, it’s about fitting in to what the fish are about. And so the options available to me as I set my stall out for crucian carp on the pool were either early morning or late evening. And with the schools breaking up, combined with the warm weather, it was the former I plumped for. The venue would certainly be busy come afternoon and I’m definitely a person who prefers solitude and quiet. So morning it was.

With the alarm clock going off at a time when most people still have several hours of sleep to enjoy, my immediate and overwhelming reaction was to hit the ‘off’ button, turn over and join them. But instead I switched into override mode and didn’t allow my feelings to rule the facts. And the facts were that I was going fishing and nothing was going to stop me. So getting dressed, I made a flask, loaded the car and off I went for the first of two sessions this week. There was just one other angler on the pool so swim choice was no problem.


A crucian carp poses for the camera


A nice looking peg

The pool in question doesn’t have any surprises beneath the surface. It’s not like a gravel pit that has features such as bars, gullies and humps. In fact you can only just about make the case for a drop-off about a rod’s length out. And that’s where I decided to fish. Crucian carp will come quite close to the edge and with five feet of water to fish into, it was certainly deep enough to expect fish. With an overhanging willow tree to the right, the swim was quite good really as far as the species are concerned. It was a nice looking peg and with dense undergrowth and trees either side, another benefit was that no-one could come and set up on my shoulder. I’ve had that happen a few times!

I was fishing 1lb 6oz line to a size 14 Drennan Super Specialist hook. The bait was one grain of sweetcorn and although I did have fake corn in my tackle box should I require it, there was no need. On a previous visit to the pool a year or so back, the moment the bait hit the water it was sucked to a shell by small roach. But my sessions this season have not been a problem. I put the bulk of the shot around the float, which was a 3BB waggler, with a few small ones down the line. I positioned one about two inches from the hook so that any action around the bait would be detected by float movement.


The roach were out in force

The roach were out in force and I had an endless stream of small fish. Usually I struggle to hit the lightning quick bites and I don’t know whether they were slower or I am getting quicker, but either way I didn’t miss many at all and had a good success rate of fish to bites. Although the odd fish may have been an ounce or two ahead of the pack, what the pool holds is a massive head of small fish. Not the specimen angler’s cup of tea but great fun for the one who isn’t that concerned about the size of the fish he catches.


Tip of the week

Think about the quantity of bait you throw out – too little is as bad as too much.

And don’t just feed when you catch a fish either.

Think about your feeding pattern and personalise it for each session.

To keep the fish interested I followed the ‘little-and-often’ pattern that is simple yet effective, particularly in the summer months when the fish are active. The introduction of bait in terms of frequency and quantity is a vital ingredient in angling. Sometimes I will bait up at the start of a session, and that’s that apart from whatever gets trickled in via a PVA bag every time I cast. Other times it will be the approach I took on this session. The factors of venue, species and season are all to be taken into consideration when planning a feeding approach. Incidentally I was lobbing out tangerine sized balls of brown crumb laced with corn.


Urban hares and a surprise common tern

As well as the small roach I did catch crucian carp, as the photographs show. But the second session of the week drew a blank as far as they were concerned, although lots of small roach were caught. The highlight though took place before I even arrived at the water’s edge – within a few seconds of leaving home actually. I drove around the corner to be be confronted by two hares in the road. They were about 100 metres from fields and I never even knew there were hares there anyway – and I birdwatch there regularly. I was really thrilled to see them.

The pool itself is pretty basic as far as bird life is concerned. The water birds are represented by coot, mallard and moorhen with the odd grey heron dropping by and that’s that. So I was more than pleased to see a common tern, even if it just circled the water a couple of times and made its way elsewhere. There were also regular lesser black-backed gulls which were mostly high overhead in flight, although the occasional one descended to get a closer look at the pool.



They are great looking fish

Short but sweet

The title of this week’s article is in reference to the sessions. They were both about four hours in total, as once the sun started to come up, the chance of a crucian carp decreased by the hour. But they were also very enjoyable, hence the sweet! And with just a couple of pleasurable weeks chasing crucians it has been short and sweet in that respect too. But as I said right at the start of the piece, I’m an all-rounder and so there are other fish that are vying for my attention at the moment!




Click on the icon for this week’s video clip


The week ahead

The next week is going to see a complete change of tack for me. So as they say, watch this space! All will be revealed in due course.

(Originally published August 2009)

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