Crucians and company (Entry 53)

Off to a stillwater for this weeks update. The warm and bright conditions are still here and apart from the odd thunderstorm cooling it down a few degrees, that long cold winter seems a distant memory. Having had some success with the crucians a few weeks ago I was eager to get back fishing for them.

I wasn’t on my own this time and I had my dad in tow, or should that be the other way round? Either way, with him being far more senior than I, a dawn start was out of the question. We arrived around eight o’clock to find a few people already fishing. IMG_2358Reports didn’t sound too promising however with most struggling. The fish seemed more concerned in sunning themselves. I was still confident however, I just needed to find the right swim. By that I meant a swim that offered me some shallower water. The pit itself being largely deep, I was sure any shallower water would be attractive to some fish. If there was cover, trees or weed beds, then even better. With a southerly breeze picking up I headed straight to the north bank, where I found what I considered to be a perfect swim. My old man had other plans and found a swim in a quieter bay where he hoped he could present a sensitive waggler setup to present a classic bait combination of caster and hemp. I however would continue with a pole attack and a pellet, sweetcorn and groundbait approach. On plumbing the swim I found two areas of shallow water, both little plateaus in otherwise deep water. Even better, both the swims offered cover, my left margin swim a huge overhanging willow tree and the left margin, a small bed of lily pads and another overhanging tree. I was sure that there would be some crucians shoaled up in the shade at some point of the day, and by switching between the two I could hopefully pick one fish off at a time, and give each swim a rest in the process.

IMG_2364Because of the wind strength I couldn’t fish the hook in the loop method today. Instead I set up a standard pole rig, a 0.4gr float with a bulk at one third of the depth and two droppers underneath. I hoped this would plunge the bait past the bait robbing small rudd that were present. I fed both swims with a tangerine sized ball of groundbait laced with some small 3mm pellets, a little hemp and a few grains of corn for a little visual appeal. I decided to let this settle for ten minutes before starting. I took this opportunity to have a wander to my dad. He had set up in a swim with a ‘constant’ marginal slope. I’m sure it would have ended at some point. He was fishing halfway down the shelf in about 8 feet of water. Putting down a bed of caster and hemp, fishing over the top with a longish tail, allowed the wind to slowly edge his hookbait through the swim. It can be a devastating method, not only for crucians, but for tench and big roach. One thing is for sure though, you do have to wait for bites with this method and he wasn’t expecting quick results.

I made my way back to my swim and anticipated a similar slow start. Starting in the left margin swim, I presented a small piece of sweetcorn a few inches on the bottom. Within a minute the float slid away. I missed the bite and assumed it was from a small rudd. I re-baited and repeated the process. Again, within the minute, the float slid away. This time I hooked a powerful fish which bored for the tree roots. Too powerful to be a crucian, I assumed this was a small tench. After a frantic fight, a small tench was indeed in the net. A fin perfect example of the species and a great start. Not a crucian, but how could you not enjoy catching fish like this.

IMG_2370It took a good hour to get the first crucian of the day. The small rudd and roach were proving infuriating. I just couldn’t get a bait past them. Even a large kernel of corn was snaffled in ernest. Eventually the crucians moved in and I had a run of nine fish from the left margin swim. All the fish over a pound but only just. During this time I had been slowly feeding the right margin swim, and I planned to fish under the shade of the willow when the sun was at its highest. Before doing this I went to see how my dad was doing. He was struggling to get amongst the crucians but had caught plenty of plump half pound roach. Being his favourite species, he was understandably happy. He had caught one crucian though, a fish of just over a pound. All the fish had been falling to double caster. Back in my swim, I began to fish under the willow to my right. Straight away came tentative, shy bites. With a little bit of rig adjustment and moving the bait through the swim, in an attempt to induce the fish into making a snap decision, I hooked a few better crucians. The two best fishing weighing 1lb 10oz and 1lb 9oz.

IMG_2390In total I had 14 crucians and one tench. All the fish over a pound. I also had a fair few small rudd and roach and a very plump gudgeon. Packing up around two o’clock, I spent some time watching my dad fish for a while. He was still catching roach regularly and I had enjoyed sharing a session with him. He doesn’t get out as much as he used to now. Without his help when I was younger, I wouldn’t have learned so much so quickly. He was a great teacher. I think he can still fish the waggler better than me too but don’t tell him that!

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Until Next time tight lines,



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