Stick float dace and roach crowded out by a crucian carp surprise

July 18, 2019 at 8:06 am

With only a few afternoon hours to spare this week, I took the short drive to my local river Cut this week, finding the level the lowest I have ever seen it, the bottom visible right the way across, despite the water being murky. I walked downstream to try one of the new swims recently created by the Environment Agency, depositing my tackle box on a raised grassy fishing platform. The river here has been narrowed and contoured using willow faggots, backfilled with branches to speed up the flow.

Testing the depth with a plummet, I found only 18 inches in the middle and about two feet close to the willow faggots on the opposite bank, deciding to trot my 3 No 4 ali stemmed stick float as close to that side as I could. Putting a couple of small balls of liqudised bread on that side, I was ready to run through with a 6 mm pellet of bread on a size 16 hook. First cast in, the float sank like a stone and I lifted into a nice dace that tumbled across the river to the net.

Introduced by the EA a couple of years ago as 4 inch fish to the river after pollution, these dace have grown well in the Cut, which never had dace before the stocking.

The dace were now lined up along the willow and I took several despite a harsh downstream wind, that was putting a bow in the line, trying to drag the float downstream. Mending the line worked in my favour against the fine biting dace, the sudden jerk of the line inspiring them to sink the float, the follow through hooking a fish just about every time.

The bites were still fussy and retreating further downstream, so I chanced another small ball over to bring them back up.This had the effect of bringing a small shoal of rudd into the swim and I took a few of them along with more dace.

Bringing in a small dace, there was a swirl behind it, then another and I saw a large perch chasing it in, lifting the dace clear in time.

This dace was too big for the perch, but the next one across was grabbed again, the perch boring deep with its prize until the hook pulled free. That was the last of the dace, the shoal swimming off upstream creating a bow wave, no doubt with the perch in hot pursuit.

I put over another small ball of bread and trotted down again, the bites becoming very finicky and I went down to a 5 mm punch in search of more positive bites. It worked. Easing the float into the bay opposite and holding back against the weak flow, brought a slow sink of the float and my first roach of the afternoon.

The roach were getting better, although the bites were barely tipping the float, apart from a lift bite that brought the best rudd of the afternoon.

More roach.

Then a chub.

Then a 3 lb 8 oz crucian carp.

The float had gone straight down like the chub before it and I stuck into a solid lump that woke up with a start and dashed off down stream against the backwind, turning to run upstream along the opposite side, a broad flash of gold as it rooted along the bottom sending up a shower of bubbles. I have caught common carp here before, but the fish was too short and fat, realising that this was my personal best Crucian. I let it go where it wanted, without putting a strain on the size 16 barbless hook. From the high bank, the angle of the landing net was too steep to the water and the carp was in and out twice, before it was three times lucky and I hauled it up the bank.

The British Crucian Carp record stands at 4 lb 10 oz, this barrel shaped crucian was just over 3 lb 8 oz on my scale, certainly a specimen.

This topped my afternoon’s fishing session, anything else would have been an anticlimax and I packed up, tipping the remainder of my fish into the net with the crucian, before lowering them back into the river.