Big crucian carp on the bread punch, makes up for lost time on the River Cut

July 7, 2022 at 8:59 pm

Still unable to drive due to surgery on my left knee, I was pleased, when my wife offered to take me to my local River Cut this week, loading up the car with my fishing gear, then pulling the loaded trolley from the car park down to the disabled pegs at the head of the river. Still on two sticks and partial weight bearing, I was unable to help, until we reached the peg and my box was positioned on the bank, then began to set out my stall with my 12 ft Hardy float rod, ABU 501 reel, 6 No 4 Ali stemmed stick float to a size sixteen crystal barbless on a 2.8 lb hook link. A 6 mm bread punch would supply the bait.

As we reached the river, my heart sank to see a grey discharge coming from one of the three outlet tunnels, that flow under the upstream industrial estate. It had only begun to discharge over the weir into the clear river, which had little flow and would not reach my peg for at least 20 minutes. With this in mind, I was determined to get fishing as soon as possible, as this stale smelling water puts fish off the feed in an instant.

Two small balls of coarse white liquidised bread were put into the bay beyond the fallen tree, followed by the float rig showing interest, once I had straightened the line. A couple of slight dips of the float preceded it sliding under. The Hardy tip bent over and nice sized roach was flashing beneath the surface in the then clear river. By my left side, my wife was sliding the landing net out to receive the red fin.

A quick unhook of this roach and the float was back out. It dipped and sailed away as the fish rushed off downstream. The rod bent into the running fish and I back wound the 501. “Get the net ready”, I commanded, “this is a good fish”. Then it was gone, no it wasn’t, I had forgotten how fast small chub can run in a shallow river. I guided it to the net and Julie lifted it out.

The grey water was already beginning to taint the main flow and I was keen to get as many fish in the net before its effects took hold. Next bite I missed, the following one was a decent gudgeon.

The gudgeon got smaller, then the bites stopped. The grey water had arrived. The float dragged under. Yes! Weight, but no fight.

Yuk!! A disgarded face mask had been waiting for my hook to drift by. Thank goodness for barbless hooks.

With nothing doing, It was time for a break. Cool soft drinks and biscuits helping to pass the blank period. I continued going through the motions, catching the occasional tiny gudgeon, while the river slowly cleared.

Then a decent gudgeon was running away with the bait. I was back in business, this being followed by a hard fighting roach.

I had introduced a couple more balls of feed into the bay with instant results. More roach, dace and chub, plus the inevitable gudgeon, beginning to fill my net

Holding the float back as it approached the back of the bay, the tip submerged and I lifted to feel the weight of a good fish as it sped off downstream. I was instinctively backwinding, as the fish threw up bursts of bubbles and black mud on its way underneath a bush twenty five yards away. The rod was bent double. Any further and the fish would be in the waterside brambles. It turned and charged back, then rolled. It was golden, with large scales. A big crucian carp. Another run countered and it began kiting in the narrow river. My wife could only hear my commentary as to where the carp was, it being downstream and hidden from her. She got the net ready, then froze, when she saw it. “It’s too big for the net!” I took the net and guided the crucian in. It was very broad and deep. The hook sat just inside the cheek and came out with the disgorger. I weighed it at 3 lb 12 oz. Julie took a few pics, then carried it off upstream in the landing net to return it to deeper water.

This river is full of surprises, common carp, koi and mirrors and tench swimming among the silver fish, including good sized bream.

By now the river had cleared completely and a few roach were showing among the gudgeon.

I was in the just one more cast mode, when I cast too close to the bush and broke the float. That was it. My wife reminded me that, if we had packed up, when she asked, the float would still be intact. Unable to fish for so long, I had got greedy.

Despite the quiet period brought on by the pollution, it had been a busy session, without the appearance of that crucian carp.