Time travel (Entry 92)

I’ll never forget the first time I fished for crucians. It was one of the most perfect days fishing I have ever had. Even though it was twenty three years ago, give or take a few weeks, I can still remember minute details. I remember watching a flock of starlings in the field beyond and noticing one of the birds was white. An albino starling. Never seen one since. It turned out to be a lucky omen as minutes later, I hooked my first crucian. It fought hard. A little too powerful to be a crucian I remember my dad saying. The fish broke my light line. Inexperience in dealing with huge fish, or the small tench it most likely was. I was convinced after that the albino starling was a bad luck charm. Until, at last, I hooked and landed my first crucian. A huge, sparkling gold example of the species. It must have weighed a pound (four ounces to the trained eye), shining in the folds of the landing net on the lush, dew soaked grass. For a while I admired it. I didn’t need to touch. Unusual for a child I know. A powerful feeling of responsibility came over me. This was the first time I remember really understanding I had to care for the fish I caught. Of course I had been told that from the start. But this is when I truly understood. These fish need to be treated with respect and returned carefully for other anglers to enjoy. That day I caught another six crucians whilst my dad had countless. I loved every second.

A swim to warm any anglers' heart

So setting up for a short session after crucians on the banks of a lovely sand pit, my excitement levels reached a peak. The first one of the year always brings these memories flooding back. The tackle and bait may have changed somewhat but the techniques used remain the same. There may be more efficient ways to catch crucians, such as method feeders and bolt rigs, but catching them on the float is one of the finest. A straight forward pole rig was set up and teamed with light elastic. The rig was set just an inch over depth at the top of the marginal shelf at the base of the reeds. A little groundbait with a few freebies fed and then it was time to wait. I wonder if I would make contact with a crucian today? I hoped so. After an hour of fishing the things didn’t look too good. I had not had a bite. Not the slightest dip or sway of the float. No bubbles had broke on the surface. The fish were not rolling out in the lake. All in all it was lifeless. Strangely though, I still felt confident of a fish or two. Time to employ one of the toughest tactics in the fisherman’s armoury. Waiting patiently.

The first of many I hoped

Another thirty minutes passed by before the float, uncharacteristically decisive in its action, sank from sight. A fish was hooked. A powerful, thumping battler in the depths. The first proper crucian of the year I was sure. Indeed it was. Deep bodied and bronze.

A little larger

And with that the crucian flood gates opened. It was a case of feed and catch a fish. Feed and catch a fish. Really enjoyable sport on the float and at such close range. Despite a host of crucians, fourteen in total, there was never any obvious signs that they were in the swim. Had I not been catching them, I would have been convinced there was none in the vicinity. Ninety minutes from the first fish and the sport came to an end. The sun had rose high in the sky and had got very warm, forcing the crucians out from the margins and down into the depths. Beyond pole range.

Reflecting the morning sun

I was about to throw in the towel more than pleased with the result when the float sank for the last time. A very different fight to the crucians and flashing in the clear water, a much lighter fish. Indeed, when the fish came towards the surface I could see it was a lovely roach. One of the benefits of fishing for crucians is that you open yourself to surprises. Usually tench or rudd. On this occasion though it was a lovely pound sized roach. A perfect way to end my time travelling session, return to the present and call it a day. A little after ten o’clock in the morning. Brilliant.

The icing on the cake came in the form of this cracking roach

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Until Next time tight lines



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