Saturday, 5 January 2019

Crucian, Carp, Zander, Rudd and Grayling fishing.

In this latest update I will cover some memorable catches made over the last months since my last blog. I have been fishing for the usual species I love such as Rudd and Crucians, but also stepping out of my comfort zone and fishing for a new species I had never caught before.

In midsummer I set off for the long drive down south to Crucian mecca Johnsons lake in Surrey. This was my first trip of the year and I had high hopes of getting into the Crucians and Tench. I pulled into the car park before setting out for a walk around the Lake. It was surprisingly busy for a Thursday evening with very few swims free. After talking to a few of the old boys fishing for the Crucians it soon became apparent the Crucians were not really on the feed. This always seems to be the case when I get down but as I live so far away I just have to go with the flow and try and make something happen.

I settled for a swim on the railway bank. Not one I had fished before and not one of the known hot swims as choice was limited. Time was getting on so I found a nice area about 30 yards out to spod some bait. I spodded a mix of Dynamite baits sweet and milky pulses and spod and bad mix in the hope of getting some fish to feed with confidence at night. I could see bubbling close in so I opted to put out a method feeder filled with F1 pellets with a couple of the matching durable hooker pellets on the hook. Not long after dropping the feeder in on some close in bubblers my alarms signaled a take! Lifting into the fish it felt like a Crucian as the fish pulled up and down on the way in. It soon popped up and I scooped it up in the waiting net. It was a quick bite and weighing in at 3lb 4oz it was my joint biggest Crucian ever!

As the night drew in I replaced the durable hooker pellets on the margin rod with a longer lasting bait. A trimmed down pineapple and banana pop up was attached and the feeder cast back into the margin. Through the night I had a number of Tench on the baited spot with a few more Crucians to well over 2lb. But it was the margin feeder that produced the best fish of the night which turned out to be a beautiful  3lb 5oz pb Crucian! The action didn't stop there and as I was packing up the baited spot gave me another 3lb Crucian to put an even bigger smile on my face for the drive home. Check the link below for a video of the trip.

I only found time for a couple of trips to my local club Lake fishing for Carp. One such trip I took my three and a half year old son with me in the hope of catching a big fish for him to see. On getting to the Lake I found an area of the Lake where there were a few Carp popping their heads out at range. I didn't want to spod bait out and risk pushing them away, so I got my throwing stick out and scattered half a kilo of Dynamite baits monster tigernut red amo over the general area. Two Ronnie rigs with matching pop ups  were soon cast in the area where the Carp had been showing. The fish were in the feeding mood and over the next few hours several Carp fell to my rigs including a lovely 22lb Mirror that my boy was very excited to see on the bank.

On another trip to the same lake I took my mate Lee for a guest session as he was desperate to fish the lake. The club has a very limited number of members so it's not the easiest place to get a ticket for. The Lake had not been fishing too well so I hoped Lee would not leave empty handed. The lake was not busy but the swims I wanted were still taken. As we looked around the rest of the lake we spotted a fish or two show. This was the sign we needed so we took a swim each that controlled the area we had seen the fish show. My tactics were the same as my last trip with the exception of this time I glugged my boilies with the red amo liquid attractant to try and get a feeding response from the Carp. The fishing was slow as expected but I did manage to get three takes through the day. Unfortunately two of the fish fell off due to hook points bending over on new hooks I was trying! But the one that stayed on was a stunning upper double Mirror. I'm glad to say Lee got some action through the day too. He had a couple of mint upper double Commons that took a liking to his monster tigernut boilies.

As we headed into Autumn Zander were to be my next target. I had a few good trips on a local venue early in the previous close season. It made sense to see if I could carry on where I left off so over the space of a few weeks I made four or five visits. Most were short evening sessions but the first action came on a days social with my mate Giles. Runs were thin on the ground but I had a Zander about 4lb on ledgered half a Roach. It was glugged in the Dynamite baits XL liquid worm for extra attraction. Also a few balls of  marine halibut groundbait were thrown in to attract prey fish to the area. A guy Carp fishing not far from me had a Zander take his fishmeal bottom bait boilie too! This highlights Zander are scavengers as much as predators. I had a few more Zander in the evening sessions with the best weighing 8lb. Not a big fish but certainly appreciated. Any Zander caught in Fenland is special in my opinion as they are not so common these days.

It's mid winter as I write this and even now Rudd are a species I like to fish for. Recently I headed out to my local River in the hope of catching a specimen Winter Rudd. I didn't have the opportunity to prebait so I went to an area I had caught from before without prebaiting. I arrived 30 minutes before first light as I have found this to be the prime time for a bite at this particular spot. I was using feeder tactics and my size 10 wide gape hook was baited with a large piece of bread flake dipped in the Dynamite baits XL liquid strawberry for added attraction. 

I started getting bites straight away but nothing was feeding confidently. It was starting to get light when I had my first positive bite. I struck into a solid fish and due to the head shaking I knew it was a Rudd. I played the fish safely to the net and sure enough it was a stunning Rudd certainly over 2lb. I slipped the fish into the keepnet as bite time can be very short this time of year. I wanted a bait in the water as much as possible so to not miss out on any feeding fish. If I was to set up the camera and take pictures I would most likely miss out on prime feeding time.

A couple of Roach followed on the next two casts but on the third I had a massive drop back on the tip! I struck and was met with an aggressive fish shaking violently as I drew it towards me. It hit the surface in the middle of the river and as I was pulling it in it was splashing all the way trying to rid the hook. As I netted it the fish erupted and for a split second I thought it had jumped out of the net! Luckily it remained in the net and I quickly placed it in the keepnet with it's companion. I decided to pack up and weigh/photograph the fish. The first fish weighed 2lb 5oz and the second was 2lb 12oz. I was very happy with that so decided to leave and go home for breakfast. 

My last fishing trip was something of a challenge for me. It was to fish for a species I had never caught before and on a fast paced River I had never fished. The species was Grayling and I was really looking forward to be taken out of my comfort zone and have my skills tested. I was invited by my angling buddy Andrew Sharp to a stunning chalk stream in the south of England. I made the long journey south with Giles the evening before so we could get an early start the following morning. 

So as planned we were up early and on the way to the River. I had my 12ft float rod set up with 4lb line, 4g loafer float and size 14 hook already to cast into the most stunning little River. The lads gave me lots of advice and Andy even let me share his first swim of the day. I was grateful he did as he caught a stunning 2lb 4oz beauty we both thought would be much bigger. It was time to head off on my own and I soon found myself trotting my float and two red maggots down a glide just down from a fallen tree. It was challenging trotting a float down a fast paced River and more so here as the River was fining down and had extra water in it. But just a few trots later I struck into a strong fish that I had to follow downstream! I managed to get the fish to the surface where I saw a Grayling hooked in the tail! It soon came off but I was not put off at all. I went to the next area I fancied and hooked a good Grayling first trot. This fish soon fell off too which was annoying, but I was told hook pulls were a common occurrence. Next trot produced a bite and in the clear shallow water I could see it was a small Grayling. It fought very hard for it's size but was soon netted to be the very first Grayling I had ever caught. I took a quick net shot to mark the occasion.

I went on to catch another two small Grayling in the swim but it was soon approaching lunchtime. Andy suggested I tried my luck in a carrier stream on the way back so I did just that. I fed the first run I came to for a few minutes with maggots. As always I gave the bait a boost by adding a few handfuls of Dynamite baits Marine halibut goundbait. I always do this as not only does it help attract fish it also stops the maggots sweating. First trot down the stream and I had a positive bite. I struck into another hard fighting fish that needed plenty of pressure on it so it did not snag me up. Steady pressure soon saw it in the net and it was my biggest Grayling so far pushing the 1lb barrier. 

We all met up for lunch and a catch up before fishing the last couple of hours or so of light. I managed to up my pb again with of a fish of just over a pound in weight. Not a big fish but who cares when they are so stunning?! I didn't get a picture as it took a long time to recover in the net and I didn't want to stress it any further. It went back strongly and was a very satisfying end to a challenging days fishing. I really hope to get back again when conditions are better. But until then the Fens will still keep me very busy.

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