If you read my Angling Journal regularly you will know that I did a few sessions recently for crucian carp. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and continued targeting the species. For me, the most important factor in fishing has to be enjoyment. It’s not like work or a household chore where maybe we have to motivate ourselves to get on with things. If you have to make yourself go fishing, there’s something wrong!
So with my crucian head well and firmly fixed on my shoulders I prepared for my next overnighter. I am always thinking about sessions and for me it doesn’t begin the moment I cast out, but well beforehand. Preparation is vital. And that includes both our thought approach as well as practical things such as tying rigs etc. And on the subject of rigs that’s my set-up in the photograph below.
A list of what you see in the photograph is as follows, working through in order: mainline 4lb Maxima, Drennan grippa stop, ESP 6mm bead, 1oz lead, Greys top rubber, ESP boom, Sufix Invisiline 4lb, Size 10 Drennan Boilie hook, ESP small clear stop and finally SBS tutti frutti pellet shaped boilie. it is basically carp fishing in miniature, which of course, is exactly what crucians are. Small but perfectly formed carp.
On my other rod everything was identical except that I fished with a Drennan braid hook length. Baits were on the bottom 2-3 lengths out and fished over SBS Sweet Fruit groundbait and packed with sweetcorn. I used small PVA bags each time and these were filled with mixed pellets and broken boilies. The boilies are an identical match of the hookbait but are 20mm so crumbled they become a perfect addition.
It was a lovely evening as I set up and not for the first time of late I did the whole session in shorts. Great isn’t it when we can do that. Enjoy it, because it won’t last. Like my first Wolves game of the season in August I wore just a shirt. But very soon I’ll be layered and ready for the worst of the English weather. Likewise with angling; don’t let it put you off your fishing. But make sure you’re prepared.
My session got off to a flyer as I netted a crucian carp within minutes of casting out. While the fish was still in the landing net I recast again and literally as the bait hit the deck the hanger started to rise. A fish within minutes and one within seconds. The result was a different photo as I posed with two fish. If there’s one thing more beautiful than one crucian carp it’s two!
No sooner had both fish gone back and I had another, this time on the other rod. And as that was returned, shortly after I had another two one after the other hence the second two-fish photo of the session. By now dusk had become darkness. I had certainly got off to a flyer for sure. But then it calmed down and the next fish were a small roach and a tench at first light.
My next outing was just a short evening one and I set up in a different swim. At dusk the indications, both from surface activity and very gentle bites, were that crucian carp were around. But apart from a lost fish I only had one on the bank. But again it was decent enough. Plus it only takes one to avoid a blank. And when you’re targeting finicky crucians any fish is a result.
I completed my week after the species with another overnighter. The weather forecast was for a dry night but it’s a good job I decided to set up under my Trakker shelter as we had a shower! Only on occasional sessions do I not take some sort of weather-protection with me. Even when we are promised absolutely no rain, you still need to have a back-up! It didn’t last long but long enough to have soaked me if I wasn’t undercover.
I had the whole lake to myself and while many anglers enjoy the comforting presence of others on a venue, even if they aren’t that close, I’m not fussed at all and actually prefer to go lonesome. I often get asked if I am scared of the dark and do I ever get frightened. The answer to both of those questions is no. That’s no to sound macho, it’s just the truth. I’ve done countless nights over the years and never had any issues.
I’ve already mentioned the broken boilies I’ve been putting in my PVA bag and you can see them above in various shapes and sizes as well as the original 20mm. You will also notice that there are lots of crumbs and these are welcome as they will keep the fish rooting around. The more we can do to encourage fish to stay in the swim the better. And the more they feed, the more confident they will become.
I’ve already mentioned my rigs and I stayed with them this time. Why change a winning combination? I do put thought into my set-up and there’s nothing wrong with experimentation as we try to fine tune everything, but as its been working so well I held fire on change. The crucians have been quite elusive on the water of late so to get amongst the fish the way I have, I must be doing something right.
The first crucian came into dark and as with any debut fish in a session it’s always good to get it in the net and on the bank. It almost didn’t make it though as the hook pulled in the net. Close. But the right side of the line. They’re such finicky feeders that even when hooked, you can lose the fish before you get it out of the water.
The fish I am catching aren’t monsters in the sense that they will make the angling press but I’m getting such a thrill from catching them, and that’s what really counts isn’t it? Mind you they’re not exactly small either as you can see from the photographs. And they are dominating this week’s article, for which I make no apology. I might not go as far as include 10 crucian shots but they are lovely fish and are definitely worth showing.
I tried to vary the photos though, so they are in different positions. And the one above was not only the biggest of the night but also the week. Maybe I should have gone for a more traditional pose but it looked so inviting in the net I decided to take it as I returned it. The fish are in pretty good condition as well, the only marks on them are natural ones as opposed to mouths being ripped apart or tattered fins, which all occur with bad angling practices.
I remember catching a surprise 1lb+ crucian carp once from a pool and it was in such a bad state I felt sorry for it. As I’m fishing hair-rigs all my fish are hooked cleanly in the visible part of the mouth. So removing the hook is easy. But one essential item in every angler’s tackle box is the disgorger. If by some chance you’re reading this and you don’t possess one, ensure that you do before you venture out again!
I ended the overnighter with half a dozen crucians plus three small tench of about 3lb maximum. There is usually a lull in proceedings but on this occasion it was activity all night. Switching to six-magnet wheels for my bite alarms I was fishing with absolute sensitivity. Thus I was continually getting bleeps, blue lights and movement on the light hangers. By the time packing away hour arrived at 7.00am I was feeling the effects of being out all night. I was tired when I arrived and that didn’t help.
But even though the next day was a struggle I’m not complaining. Those who do regular overnighters and then grab a quick shower and go straight to work will know exactly what I’m talking about. But we keep doing it don’t we? The pull of the water’s edge is greater than the body battles we have to endure the next day. Life’s short, live it. Within reason, it’s good to push yourself and make the most of things. We aren’t cats, we don’t have nine lives. This is the only one we’ve got. Live it to the full! (article published September 22 2012)