Fishing, for me, is all about variety and this week I was able to have my first session for one of my favourite species. The hardy crucian. Lovers of marginal shelves, thick reed beds and dense patches of weed, the timid and shy biting crucian is a real challenge to catch. From large lakes to small farm ponds they frustrate and intoxicate anglers in equal measures. They can take a bait without it even registering on the float. A nightmare to catch at times, yes, but no one can deny their beauty. Deep golden flanks and a buttery belly, with flecks of startling red in their fins. I was long overdue a session fishing for these beautiful looking fish.
And what a morning for them. A thick mist greeted me as I walked around the venue hoping to spot some tell tale crucian giveaways. They weren’t hard to spot, plenty of patches of bubble, too big to be tench. On one side of the pit I also saw a few fish roll. The majority were rudd and roach but the odd one was much bigger and definitely had the colour and shape of a crucian. So it was on this side, mid way down the bank by some reeds, that I decided to fish.
As I plumbed the depth the mist started to clear. It was a little chilly but already I could feel the suns rays trying to burn through. As crucians were my quarry I had no need to fish far out and with the depth being around 4 four feet just a few yards from the bank, it seemed like I had chosen a near perfect swim. I was fishing onto a little ledge before a steep shelf dropping steadily away to over ten feet. I was sure there would be crucians patrolling here, taking advantage of the food items that would collect on the shelf not far from the sanctuary of the reed bed. I fished a light rig presented via the pole. A few tiny shot were added to the rig so the float was dotted well down. It just about held in the surface film. If a crucian so much as breathed on my bait I should at least know about it. Perfect.
Time to feed some groundbait. I hadn’t fished the water before so I wanted to start with a tactic I have used a lot for crucians on similar venues. A mix of three groundbaits with a few little pellets and hemp added too. Over the top of this I would fish a small 4mm pellet. I did have other baits too if the day proved difficult. The groundbait was fed with a cup. Just a small ball around the size of a tangerine. I could see the mix fizzing away as it broke down. I do like an active mix for crucians. It gives me a lot of confidence that the feed is attracting fish to the bottom from upper layers. I do think that crucians are present, and sometimes feed, in mid water. This ability to drag them down the the bottom where my hookbait is, has obvious advantages.
First bite came on my first put in and was a nice roach of about 12oz. You often find that species such as roach and rudd will be attracted to the initial feed, especially when using an active groundbait. The roach and rudd are attracted to the particles rising from the bottom. I rested the swim straight away After ten minutes I fed a smaller ball of groundbait. Again I resisted the urge to put the rig in. Instead I had a cup of coffee and watched the water. Minutes after the second ball of groundbait there was signs of crucians in the area. Slowly, patches of bubble made their way up from the deeper water, behind the feed area. No doubt the crucians were following any morsels falling down the marginal slope. When the bubbles started to appear in the area I had fed, that was my cue to pick up the rig, and drop it in.
Seconds after it settled, a positive bite, and a determined little fight begun. The thumping lunges of the crucian. I’ll never tire of that sensation. The anticipation you get from the visible signs of the fish are present to the moment you connect with one. It’s exhilarating. The fish, pictured above, was a touch over a pound. They are muscular little fish and on light tackle fight really well. As I was fishing so close in I returned the fish in the next peg so as not to disturb any other fish feeding down there. The next few put ins produced four crucians, all a similar size to the first. The swim went quiet so another tangerine ball of groundbait, and a rest, was needed to kick start the swim.
I then had a string of half a dozen or so bream, all around 1lb 8oz to 2lb. It wasn’t what I had hoped for and looking back I think I had gone a little too heavy on the feed. Eventually they abated and I began feeding smaller balls of groundbait more regularly. Apart from the odd rudd I hooked on the drop, this seemed a better feeding strategy in avoiding the bream. I began to land more crucians, including one fish that I estimated to be nearly 2lb. I looked in vain for my scales but resigned to having left them at home. Of couse this means I now have to return to try to catch them again. I can live with that! I thoroughly enjoyed the few hours I spent fishing for them. There will certainly be a lot more crucian fishing coming up in the next few weeks. Next time I’ll go through the two rigs I use in a little more detail.
Thanks for reading this update. I have recently set up a facebook page for the blog. If you head over there and like the page, you will get all the blog, twitter and facebook updates in one place! You can click the link at the end or hit like to the top right of the home page. Don’t forget to share this with anyone you know might appreciate it using the social media buttons below.
Until next time,