A needle in a haystack, nearly (Entry 4)

Yesterday I returned to the venue holding big crucians for an early morning session. I had a plan in mind that was different from last time I fished it, and being only my second time on the venue and the fact that when I arrived the fish appeared to be breeding, I didn’t expect that it to be easy.

With a slight westerly wind blowing, I headed for a swim on the westward bank, which also happens to have slightly shallower water in the margins than the rest of the pit. Its still a good five feet deep and with some marginal cover to my right, in the form of an overhanging tree, I decided to fish just five sections of my pole. Yes, today I was going to use the pole in an effort to present the bait as delicately and accurately as possible. My bait choice had also changed for this trip and I had brought with me half a pint of freshly turned casters and some fishmeal groundbait.

Above is the 0.2g homemade pencil float I used. Rig wise I had a bulk of no.9 shot at a third of the depth and two no.10 shot spaced equally between the bulk and the hook. The hook itself was an 18 Kamasan B911 F1 and this was baited with two casters. Note in the picture how I use one dark caster and a lighter one. The darker one is used to counteract the weight of the hook as it will be more buoyant than lighter casters. A good tip there especially when fishing for big roach. The whole rig was fished two to three inches over depth with just 5mm of the tip visible. Bites would either be subtle lifts or positive sail-aways.

From the first put in after the initial baiting I had a string of bites all resulting in hand sized, but to my eyes, authentic looking crucians. Even at this size I was very happy to see them and it proved that there are plenty of them in here. And where there are smaller ones there must be bigger ones. Remember the goldfish and fantail I caught on my previous session? My appetite had been well and truly whet.

Unfortunately after landing upwards of thirty small crucians, none of which went any bigger than 12oz, I had a run of small common carp to 2lb. The weight behind the first strike made me think that they were bigger crucians, but the fast, powerful fight confirmed otherwise. I also lost a small ghost carp of a similar size that was beautifully marked and would have been a lovely looking fish for a picture. But thats how things go sometimes.

The bites became few and far between as the session came to a close but, just before I packed up however, I hooked into a fish that felt very crucian like in the way it fought. As it came up in the clear water, turned on its side to slow its ascent, it looked every bit a crucian close to 2lb. I nervously played the fish to the net and thankfully, without too much circumstance, it was mine.

As you can see it was a deep bodied fish with a blunt tail, no barbules, a convex dorsal fin but a scale count of 35. A crucian should be 32-34. So I shall be very honest and say on this occasion it probably had a little of another fish in it, a common carp more than likely. Incidentaly the fish weighed 1lb 14 oz.

I would have loved to stay longer incase that fish was one of a bigger shoal but I had to leave. Still I was very happy with the way the session panned out. I think the fish certainly got their heads down on the caster and groundbait combination and although not such a selective bait, when the bigger fish arrived they did muscle in on the action. If it is going to be a case of playing the numbers on this venue then this seems to be a good tactic. I shall certainly try this a few more times in the coming weeks.

Until next time,



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