Monday, 30 July 2012

Crucian fishing-teaches me a 'Marsh' lesson

Being an all round angler has it's benefits and it's downsides. I could never be a single species angler, fair play to those that are but I love going to new places (as well as familiar ones), catching different species using different methods and the whole anticipation throughout the week for the next session.
My problem is I try to vary it too much and whilst I feel I enjoy more than my fair share of success sometimes I feel a bit out of my depth.
The key is to learn from that and improve for next time. This weekends attempt at catching a monster Crucian was just that, a massive learning curve. They are a fish that I have largely ignored so far but intend to put that right. I will tell you what I did wrong this time and how I feel I could put it right. Any advice is welcome.
I made the long journey to a mecca of Crucian Carp fishing, Marsh Farm in Surrey. A good place to start in that it is a proven big Crucian venue but I thought I could just turn up, cast in a float, catch a big 'un and be home for tea. I was wrong.
I came here last year and fished maggots on one rod and got mullered by Roach and tiddlers all day. On the other rod I fluked a Tench and a Crucian using a mini bolt rig with pellet as bait. I felt that his year all I had to do was float fish pellet and I would catch Crucian all day. I still put out the sleeper rod as a back up.
The sleeper rod caught me a couple of Tench and I also had one other run that failed to hook up.
The float rod was fished with an insert waggler, size 16 hook, 6mm soft hooker pellet cast to the right of the above picture next to the reeds. I regularly fed the pellets all day to keep the bites coming and keep coming they did. There was just one problem. Could I hit them, could I buggery! Nearly every strike was met by nothing. I did catch: Tench close to 7lb, great fights on 3lb line on a float rod but they did mess up the swim for a bit.
This old warrior deserved to be photographed 
I also had Roach as well plus a couple of fish bumped off but no Crucian. I am convinced I had bites from the golden beauties though.
Let me tell you what I think I did wrong: An insert waggler was too heavy, 3lb line should have a 2lb-ish hooklink, a number 8 shot near the hook is fatal and fishing two inches over depth is a schoolboy error.

What I think I got right: bait placement in the margins and the bait itself, I did get plenty of bites! I used too crude tackle to convert them.

So in summary next visit I will still use pellet as bait but with a size 16 hook, 2.2lb hooklink, 3lb mainline, a pole float (pinprick showing) and the bait at exact depth. (Method feeder on the sleeper.)

Any more suggestions gratefully received!


  1. I'll chuck a spanner in the "crude tackle" works. Only fished Marsh teh once but ended up ditching the float rod as I was getting too many bites on the bolt rig to concentrate on it.

    I ended up scaling up to a size 12 hook to 15lb braided hooklink (only braid I had in my bag) and in hindsight should have gone up to a size 10 as I did miss some flying bites, reel churners. Bait bouyancy was the key, the hook size isn't important if it flies into their mouthes easily, I used plaggy corn over mixed small pellet and a bit of groundbait. Tench are the problem, Leo was next door and caught loads of tench and two crucians I believe, I had it the other way around and it was just by pure luck, not much you can do to stop them.

    1. Thanks Rob, I like your style but it is not really cricket is it? It's not just what you catch but how but if I get desperate then I will follow your route, but only if the float fails, but appreciate your help, cheers

  2. John.

    As aways an enjoyable tale, thanks.

  3. I'd just be happy catching the 7lb tench!

    1. Don't mistake me Ian, I was, but when the whole focus is Crucian I find it difficult to fully enjoy a big Tench, a little short-sighted I know!

  4. Pellets are blown on Marsh Farm, that much was obvious last year, Joe. Also, try fishing up in the water, like six inches or more. You'd be surprised!

  5. Joe, corn, redworms, paste or hookable pellets, will all catch at marsh in my experience. Although it been four years since I fished it.

    I'm with you its gotta be on the float. The skill is in balancing the float so its ultra sensitive and "zoning" in to the bites, if you can convert 30% your doing well. Pole float on 3lb line might be a good choice, you ain't casting out far afterall!

  6. Not sure about the cricket thing Joe, each to their own and all that though of course. If Marsh was local to me and I could afford to fish it as and when then yes I'd enjoy a bit of float fishing but with a 5 hour round trip involved a visit is a rare (as in once!) event and I can't see the point in tying one hand behind your back and making it harder for yourself.

    I think it's becoming accepted that cruo's aint hard too hook because they are cautious but just because of the way that they feed. Why not try a critically balanced bait on a float rig? It will still fly down their neck at the slightest sniff but you get to do the striking!

  7. It is, I agree, hardly the done thing to target crucians with a bolt rig, but I suppose each to his own. For myself, I like the traditional approach; it is not just about the catching. I had half a dozen 1/2 day trips to an "oop north" water without so much as a single crucian to show for it, although the buggers splashed all around my float, just to take the Mickey and let me know they were actually there. Then I cracked it. 3 successful trips. Last trip 13 good fish. Not Marsh Farm fish, but damned good ones nevertheless. It was all about KNOWING your float, and getting the shotting perfect. I had forgotten how tricky and tentative crucian bites were when I used to fish for them 50 odd years ago as a teenager. I should have caught on the first 6 trips too. It is then all about 1) actually SEEING the fish showing interest on the float, and 2) using your experience to decide exactly when to strike. Can't help with the tench invasions.

  8. P.S. Sorry about the rather belated comment.