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As an all-rounder I am happy to fish for any species, any place and anywhere, and so when the opportunity presented itself recently to target crucian carp it wasn’t a decision that took much deliberation. Due to the fact that they aren’t one of the widely spread fish in the UK, when we come across venues that contain genuine crucians, then if you’re an all-rounder like me you simply have to re-organise your angling schedule and prioritise. And that’s exactly what happened as a few other plans went on the back-burner as our smallest, yet most beautiful carp muscled its way towards pole position.
Able to fish late evening and into dark really suits me for when I can’t maybe stay all night but I have a few hours late in the day free. Therefore the general pattern was lots of short sessions, just three hours or so in length. But as we know it’s not about the number of hours we fish but rather the time in which we do it. Three hours at dawn and dusk will have more catching potential than thirty hours in the middle of the day. (Not in one day of course, I’m referring to totals)
The lake in question has beds of lilies along the margins in various places and so that was where I headed. I show the rig that I set up with in the opening sessions on the video. It’s simple: 4lb Maxima line straight through to a size 12 Drennan Specialist hook, with a short hook length of about 4” created by a size 6 shot and a 5mm bead. Fishing a single corn I cast across to the edge of the lilies, tightened up so the quiver tip had a slight bend, then waited. To attract the fish and get them feeding I threw grains of corn.
It was fascinating on session one to watch some tench come in to the swim and feed. The clear water meant I could see everything. Then I noticed a big dark shadow as a carp also moved in. Not a crucian but one of its bigger relatives, a mirror. I didn’t notice any of my target species though and so it wasn’t a surprise when the rod tip pulled round and I found myself connected to a tench. I lost it.
Session two, the same thing happened, this time with a carp. I stood no chance really as it just powered off. It was like trying to hold back a runaway truck with a length of string. Groundhog Day on my third visit, this time from another tench. Quite frustrating when you lose fish, but as I say in the video, you can’t target small species with ridiculous tackle just in case you hook into something bigger. It’s just one of these things, but for it to happen three times on the trot, without even a single crucian to soften the blow, was frustrating.
And it really was a case of celebrating the day of the groundhog when on the fourth session I hooked into a fish that broke me once again. This time though it wasn’t a carp or tench that raced off like an express train. In fact initially I thought I may have actually connected with my target species, but as it came to within netting distance it wasn’t a bar of gold that glistened in the water but instead a well camouflaged green and black of a pike. It bit through the line a length out so I wasn’t even able to claim it as a trophy.
A move to a deeper section of the lake for the next visit, and although I didn’t get any crucian carp, I broke the curse of the groundhog. I didn’t get broke! And I didn’t blank either as I caught a few roach. Floatfished corn a length or so out into 12’ of water saw me pick all my fish after dark. Encouraged by the roach, albeit small ones, for my next visit (this article is about lots of very short evening sessions) I was back in the area of deeper water but further round. My logic was that where there’s roach there’s likely to be my target species not far behind.
With even deeper water it was back to a small 1/4oz bomb, short hook length and a single grain of corn on a size 12 hook. Feeding loose grains of corn straight from the packet it was simple uncluttered fishing. With a light rucksack, chair and minimum gear in my holdhall (I was fishing just one rod as per the other sessions) it was comfortable fishing as well.
Depending on the venue, species and length of session you do sometimes have to lug a lot of gear around. But it’s definitely refreshing to travel light sometimes. With lilies in the margins I fished beyond them into deeper water. I intended to cast just beyond the lilies but there was quite a weed problem so I went a rod’s length beyond that. But with a wider bed of corn I knew that any feeding fish around the water plants would soon find their way out to where the grains of corn were concentrated.
I had a few taps, as you do when roach are present, and indeed a few fish. Not quantity but quality. Which, as a specimen angler, is exactly what I am after. I would sooner catch four good roach in a session than four hundred small ones. No crucian carp, but as I intend to target the roach anyway on this venue later in the year, the fish I caught were certainly encouraging. I managed to capture a couple of fish being netted on the video. And also I filmed a shoal of small feeding perch in the margins. With their red fins and stripes standing out in the clear water they looked immaculate.
On the subject of bait, my corn used is just a standard pack from either Co-op or Iceland, both of which have stores in Sedgley where I live. You get a pack from the freezer and you’re ready to go. Cheap and effective, which incidentally reminds me of a comment made on one of my YouTube videos recently by someone accusing me of killing fish because I wasn’t preparing baits properly. I assume that because he heard the noise made by the contact of the corn on the bucket as I tipped it in he thought I was using unprepared seeds.
Of course if he had bothered to read the article, or indeed knew anything about angling, then he would have known that I was fishing with pre-cooked and prepared grains of corn. It doesn’t bother me as I just find it funny when people say things like this, that’s why I allow the comments to stand. But the reason I mention this is to highlight the fact that just because you read something on the internet it doesn’t mean to say it’s true. The internet is a wonderful learning tool and I wished it was there when I was a young angler as I craved knowledge and information.
But if you are a novice, just be careful. If you are looking for advice then make sure you look in the right places. There are lots of good anglers out there who write regular blogs, make sure you follow them and if you need to ask questions then ask of people who really do know what they are doing.
Finally, I failed to catch a crucian carp. However in the several visits I made to round off the article, I connected with some nice roach. You can see some of them at the top of the page. I didn’t catch lots of fish but apart from one, they all needed the net. A couple of conversations I had with other anglers confirmed that the crucians were playing hard to get as reports of fish on the bank were very few and far between.
But as an all-rounder I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Yes, it’s nice to get your target species, but I’m glad that I do consider myself a genuine all-round angler as there are no disappointments along the way. Anyway I will be back soon specifically after the roach, so watch this space, as they say. And of course, wouldn’t it be ironic if I caught a crucian in the process.