Posts Tagged ‘Tench and Crucians’

It’s been quite a while since I last wet a line.  The end of the traditional river season was a bit of a damp squib, although I did manage a number of good sessions on the Itchen.  Since then I haven’t been that inspired by the weather conditions to venture out.  However after a 6 week hiatus I was keen to have a dabble at something, before I completely forgot how to fish!

Geoff and I decided to give it a go, even though the forecast was yet again nothing special and a cold wind was predicted.  We didn’t get to Bury Hill Fisheries until around lunchtime and after a chat with Dave Roberts in the shop, we headed over to Milton Lake.  It looked fairly busy at the fishery today, with anglers well spread out across the main lake, Bonds and Milton.  It was nice to see the trees and bushes showing signs of spring.  We can’t be too far away from a noticeable improvement in the temperatures.

We headed to the far bank and set up in a couple of adjacent swims.  After a bit of plumbing we assessed the swim depth and mixed up some groudbait.  Mine consisted of Ocean Pride groundbait mix, a dollop of glug and some micro pellets.  It was a simple as that.  Tackle was a 14ft float rod, 3lb mainline and a size 16 hook to nylon.  I used a small waggler but big enough to cope with the by now, windy conditions.  As I started to fish the wind seemed to pick up even more and I soon found myself fishing into a strong wind which was affecting the float.  Despite fishing over-depth the float was being blown into the nearside bank.  As I was targeting the crucians, I didn’t really want to sacrifice the delicate presentation by having to compensate too much for the wind.

I decided to go for a wander and soon found a nice swim tucked in next to a huge reed bed containing reeds around 6 feet tall.  This area was also out of the wind, being protected by the island opposite me.  It looked perfect.  Plumbing soon revealed the swim was around 3 feet deep, even close into the reed bed.  I started out just off the reeds and put in a couple of small balls of groundbait and a few loose maggots.  I tricked the maggots in over the next 45 minutes but couldn’t muster a bite.  I then shallowed up and tried the waggler at half depth, firing just a few maggots out constantly over the float.  I thought this might entice a few roach to take but even that failed.  By now it was gone 3pm and I hadn’t had so much as a twitch.

I decided to try tight up to the reeds, just to see if maybe they were feeding in among the stems.  It seemed they were; and at last the float slid away in a confident bite. A good thumping fight ensued and it wasn’t long before a beautiful bronze flank gleamed in the spring sunshine, as a crucian broke the surface.  At last!  I soon poked the float in right next to the reeds again and put out 2 small balls of groundbait. Again an instant result.  The float kept sliding away for the remainder of the day.  Sometimes it went quiet for a while but the fish soon returned.  I was catching crucians regularly between around 1lb to probably just shy of 2lbs.  They all looked glorious with that lovely buttery gold colouration and orange fins.  They were not all genuine crucians; a few F1’s or brown goldfish were mixed in.  The true crucians are normally easy to spot; if they are a lovely golden colour then they are likely to be genuine.  If they look brown, silver or grey then they are generally something else.

A few good tench also put in an appearance.  I ended up with 5 or 6 with a couple of good fish around the 4lb mark.  They put up a spirited fight on the light tackle and added a bit of variety to the proceedings.  By the end of the day I’d caught 24 crucians and the tench.  Geoff had started off well, taking a couple of early fish but then faded as the wind increased.  Eventually he moved in next to me and managed to winkle out a few more crucians.  I think he ended on 15 crucians a couple of tench and a nice 1lb 5oz roach.

On those occasions where the sun came out and the wind abated, it was surprisingly warm.  It does lift the spirits when you feel the warmth of the sun on your face again.  I have to say I’m really looking forward to some warmer weather now.  Obviously when it gets above about 25/26c I’ll be moaning its too hot of course!!


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What a shocker of a closed season!  The weather was pathetic; cold, windy and wet oh and cold.  Did I mention cold and the wind by the way?!  Only kidding, but it was tough going.  At times it was difficult to find the enthusiasm to get out on the bank to be honest.

Still at last the weather did improve.  Temperatures picked up to mid to upper teens although the nights were still a little chilly.  Between Geoff, Kevin, Dan and myself we did manage to do maybe 3 or 4 sessions over the last 4 or 5 weeks.  I decided to have a little bit of a bash at Johnsons with Geoff.  Only two sessions but very enjoyable.

I decided to give the method feeder a go.  Fishing two rods out around 30-40yds.  This produced some reasonable action, although far from spectacular.  I think I ended up with about 7 or 8 tench and lost a few unfortunately.  It seemed the crucians were preoccupied  with spawning and then recovering, as few seemed to get caught by anyone whilst we were there.

Then we had our last pre-season session on Harris and we were joined by Kev’s brother Steve.  The weather was pleasant and the fishing pretty good but frustrating.  Kevin and Steve got off to a roaring start, catching almost from the off, although their catch rate severely dropped off later.  I started slowly and then improved later on, however I lost several crucians throughout the evening and missed countless bites.  I think I ended up with 7 or 8 tench and a couple of crucians to just on the 2lb mark.

Geoff also started off badly but then had a hectic spell and I think ended up with 6 tench and 4 crucians.  Steve and Kev were also around those sorts of figures, taking some stunning crucians up to 2lb 13oz.  Dan had a few tench including one decent one pushing 6.  All in all a pleasant enough end to the traditional closed season.

Kev and Steve

Kev and Steve

Now of course its time to start thinking about the rivers once more.  I have managed to go through all of the gear, sorting out the bits and bobs and accessories, rods, reels, floats and leads etc etc and I think I’m just about ready to rock and roll.  So I will be out on the 17th on a very small and quiet river in search of one of its elusive barbel.  Its incredibly wild and overgrown on this stretch, so I’m looking forward to a very peaceful session, well except for lots of rod creaking, water thrashing barbel action that is.

Good luck to all of my river fishing brothers and sisters.  May your rods creak and your lines sing. 🙂


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