For the love of Crucian Carp

Looking back through my May photos, I think the March weather saying, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” would be spot on. May started with temperatures still low with wet and windy weather. Typing now at the end of the month, it’s hot!

The lengthening daylight hours of May saw the fishing continuing to improve but I, and everyone else was desperate to see and feel things improve. The turning point was buying a water butt to catch all the rain and beat the hose pipe ban. Well since I bought that water butt it hasn’t rained a drop! I think in Cornwall we’re in for a genuinely tricky summer of water supply.

Despite the wet and windy weather at the start of the month, I did manage to get out and catch some fish including this lovely mirror carp.

The School of Fish - carp

May's evening coaching

Back to the fishing and the May evening coaching session. I was joined by returning guests and a group of new faces. The weather was dry but there was a really strong wind. The excellent platform I use at Waterside fishery was right on the end of the wind. Doing my quick pre-session risk assessment it was clear that not only would it make casting really difficult but it was also quite cold. A quick move to the opposite end of Long Island lake and we were in calm winds and warm sunshine, perfect!

The group was a mix of parents and children and, parents looking for a little down time and so they left the kids at home. These 90 minute sessions are great, we can cover a lot of skills in the first half of the time available and then I can really hand over the reins. At this point the best thing I can do is step back. So long as what I see is safe for the anglers and the fish, I let it go. People will make mistakes but they learn when they correct them. It was really lovely watching Jodie (mum) and her kids Martha, Rohan and Evan work things out as a family. There were screams and moments of slight chaos but they got there. Twenty minutes later calm had descended and they were doing it. They were fishing without my intervention. These are the moments I really love, the moments when I’m no longer needed and new anglers are born.

If you fancy joining me, click for the 2023 lesson dates

Crucian Carp!

Since mid-May the weather really has bucked up. The mornings are bright, the dawn chorus is loud and the fishing has been good.

I’m lucky to fish a lake where there are some very large crucian carp. True crucian carp that haven’t hybridised are hard to find. These are some real thoroughbreds. I know of just one being caught in the last few years but that is mostly to do with the fact they just don’t get fished for and they’re very unlikely to be fluked using tackle suited for large carp. The traditional way to target them is with float fishing tackle at dawn by lilly pads. This I tried but whilst the early mornings were beautiful the crucian carp evaded me. I was learning but only that this wasn’t likely to be the way I was going to succeed. A change of plan was required and a move to what is widely accepted as the most efficient way of catching large crucians. Off with the float and sweetcorn and on with a flatbed method feeder and mini boilies.

Yet another Friday 4am alarm clock to squeeze in a couple of hours fishing in to the week and I was back at the lake. Dawn at this time of year really is gorgeous and the fish were clearly happy too. I enjoyed loads of bites from small carp and large roach but the crucian looked like it was going to avoid me. That was until around 6:30am, not long before I had to pack up to get to work on time. The bite looked the same but the fight was slightly different. A good weight but less dramatic in the runs than the small mirror carp. As the fish drew nearer it flashed near the surface. My knees wobbled! I haven’t had that feeling for ages. There was some big dives in the deep margins before I bundled it into the net. The biggest crucian I’d ever seen!

I don’t normally weigh fish but I was curious as to just how massive this fish was. At three pounds and two ounces it was as a friend described, a clonker! I think I’m just scratching the surface of what’s possible from the lake which is incredibly exciting.

Here’s to a sunny June and when the freshwater fish spawn, it’ll be time for those mullet and gilthead bream. I can’t wait!

The School of Fish - Crucian Carp