Crucian Carp and Rudd Fishing - Not Just Teeth: June
Summer 2012 may have been ‘cancelled’ as far as the weather is concerned but Mark is getting to grips with some of the typical summer species.
There’s an old military saying that goes something along the lines of: “Any plan is only good until the first engagement with the enemy”. The basic meaning of this is that as soon as a third factor arrives and your adversary gets involved the best laid plans have to be re-written. That pretty much sums up where my season has headed so far this year.
If you had asked me what my plans were for this year then I would have said that most of my spring would have been spent tench fishing at Bawburgh, but the terrible spring put paid to that, add to it that the lake just hasn’t fished at all this year, only producing about half a dozen doubles compared to thirty or more on a good year, and it wasn’t a hard decision to just pay the lake a couple of visits.
My last trip was a five day session and to cut a long story short I just managed the one tench, though it was a nice one of exactly 8lb. Everyone has struggled there and with the expense involved in getting there I decided to concentrate closer to home for a while, especially as the rivers were about to open up.
Swamp Monster and I had been baiting the river for over two weeks with a combination of boilies, wheat and pigeon mix (pretty much as detailed in my recent FM series on river carping) and we fully expected to winkle out a carp or two from the Great Ouse, but the fishing Gods decided differently and we spent the first five days of the season intermittently dodging showers and wind - and then baking in the heat of the rapidly changing weather.
Only a few bream graced our rods; for Mike and Lydia, who are still relative novices, this was quite welcome, for me it wasn’t! Lydia managed a 7lb 8oz slab and Mike a 6lb 15oz one. On the plus side it did give them both points in our ‘Seymour Fish’ competition that we are running with a few friends. For those of you unaware of the rules they are that there are three points for the biggest of each species from the following: barbel, bream, carp, chub, (common and mirror), eel, roach, rudd, perch, pike, tench and zander. There is also a prize for the biggest fish and a bonus ten points for anyone catching all 12 species. Lydia’s bream filled a vacant category top spot, whilst Mike took second and my 5.04, actually caught on the tip, got me third and one point. Lydia then added another three by catching a 2lb zander so she had now amassed a total of ten points which put her ahead of me... something had to be done!
One species that has never really played much of a part in my fishing has been crucian carp. Though I like crucians, and have enjoyed the odd occasion that I have fished for them, there have never been many opportunities to fish for them local to me. However, when I moved I ended up only a few miles from a pretty decent crucian lake where there was the chance of a three pound fish, although two pounders were more common. With there being no entries in the crucian category there was also the possibility of an easy three points. So it was then that I and Mr and Mrs Swamp Monster (Mike and Lydia) and my nephew, Adam, headed off there one Saturday to have a go.
I set up in a swim with a nice overhanging tree about a rod length out, whilst Lydia and then Adam joined me on the left hand side of the swim. I had taken a stroll round the lake the day before and seen one of the guys fishing that day take five crucians on luncheon meat, so it was on that that I started, whilst I got Adam to fish prawns as they were more likely to get a few smaller fish to keep his bite rate, and thereby his interest, up.
I began by feeding a couple of handfuls of hemp about a rod length out with a few chopped prawns and scraps of meat to get them used to the hookbaits. It took a while and a few small rudd to me and perch to Adam before my float buried and I hooked into something far better that ran me round and round the swim before popping into the net. It turned into my first decent crucian in many a year and was, in fact, only 2oz under my personal best at 2lb 6oz so I was very pleased.
Adam really wanted to catch one after seeing mine but the next two bites that he had on his prawns he bumped off after just a couple of seconds. My next bite though was connected with and a really heavy weight literally just hung on the other end barely moving. It was a really peculiar fight and as such not so surprising really when up popped a very large and very angry terrapin, hooked cleanly through its rear foot! Adam and the other two were rolling around laughing at me catching in Adam’s words ‘a turtle’! After talking to the bailiff apparently there are four or five such beasties in the lake, but they rarely get caught, oh lucky day!
After that amusing interlude I added a second crucian of around the 2lb mark, before I gave my swim over to the others to have a go. Lydia proved very quick on the uptake and didn’t take long to add another new fish to her list of captures having already caught her first tench, all 1lb 1oz of it, earlier in the day. She then went into second place in the competition, overtaking me by one point by catching a 2lb 3oz cru. Adam finally got his first too scoring his first competition point with a fish of 1lb 9oz and when Mike looked to have added one too it was smiles all around. Sadly Mike’s proved to be one of the ‘wrong uns’ that are also in the lake, being some kind of goldfish/F1/ crucian hybrid, but it was still a pretty fish.
Mike and Lydia had to leave a bit earlier than Adam and I, so I regained my swim for the last hour but though I got no more chances Adam, who had bumped several fish by now, finally hooked into another crucian that he managed to get into the net and what a crucian for a second ever, weighing in at 2lb 4oz, second place in the crucian category and raised me back to joint second with Lydia. Well done Adam!
The final trip for the month was off to the river again, this time my local River Cam in search of my favourite fish of all, the rudd.
The river has been fishing well for them for a number of years now, however we haven’t had as much rain in the spring as we have this year for some time and this has seen the river a good two feet up and running off at a fast walking pace, much quicker than is usual here. It did though look really good and we had also been lucky with the weather as it was warm, almost windless and just a glorious evening to be fishing. In this type of weather the rudd were most likely to feed in the evening, so we arrived at the river at around 6pm and after a quick cuppa with my mate George, who was carp fishing the stretch, we made our way to the top of the stretch to chance our arms.
I tackled up with my trusty 15ft Leeda Assassin float rod. These were inexpensive rods when they came out and designed for commercial carp fisheries, but I am yet to find a rod that is anything like as good as this in any price range, I absolutely adore it and look after it far better than most of my gear, it is indeed ‘my precious’! Coupled to this was a closed faced Daiwa reel. A centrepin would be nice to use on here but the river is a bit too wide and it would be difficult to trot very far out with one, but the closed faced allows me to do that easier. The terminal tackle was just 3lb line through to a size 14 Fox Series 2 carp match hook as these are very strong but with a very fine wire gauge. Above this I had a 3 Swan Shot pellet waggler from Drennan, with all but one shot underneath the float.
Usually on the river we catch the rudd either on the surface or just below, but with the current being strong I thought that perhaps the bait was skimming through too fast so I moved my middle shot down to around a foot from the hook and this did the trick of slowing the bait down and after just a couple of trots the float buried and my strike saw the 15ft rod taking on its battle curve.
Now if anybody tries to tell you that rudd don’t fight don’t listen to them! This one went doolaly tearing around in the current and repeatedly trying to bury itself in the lilies. Eventually Lydia stuck the landing net under a gorgeous fish of 2ls 6oz. Unfortunately it was showing a few war wounds and also, perhaps, the first signs of Columnaris a disease which affects only roach and rudd I believe and is very unsightly, if not fatal. I wasn’t getting many bites at all whilst Mike was missing a few, but eventually he had one just short of a pound. As the day started to turn into night so the activity increased, as is the way with rudd, and I was soon in again - this time an even harder fighting fish ran me ragged on the light gear before being netted, but being just a bit smaller than the first at 2lb exactly. Mike rounded off what was a pleasant evening with a new personal best of 1lb 10oz.
So to next month and I am looking forward to be doing a bit of guiding along with the search for more points for our competition, after all one does have a reputation to uphold don’t you know!
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight