It’s been a while since I last went crucian fishing. In fact, looking back I realised that I hadn’t fished for them since last season, so I thought I would go for a quick 48 hours chasing them at my favourite local venue, Enton Lake (aka Johnsons on the Godalming AS ticket). I love the venue, having enjoyed some success there on a number of occasions over the years which meant I was confident in my rigs and methods – as I had honed them over the last couple of seasons. This meant that it should be relatively thought free fishing, no sitting there scratching my head wondering what to try next.
I got down there late Friday afternoon and was fortunate that the area I was aiming for was free. As soon as I had lugged the gear round, I set about knocking up some groundbait and then had a quick lead about. I knew the lake had been very weedy this summer, so was pleased to find a lot of it had died back, and quickly found a nice clear area about 45 yards out. By now my groundbait was about ready, so I set about spodding out a nice bed of bait. I know some people add bits and bobs to their feed, but I only use groundbait, as the only significant food item I want in the swim is my hookbait.
Once this was all out in a nice tight area, I set about clipping up the rods up and casting out. With both rods out, set-up with a small method feeder covered in groundbait, and the hooks primed with double artificial Enterprise caster bait, I sat back and stuck the kettle on for a well deserved cuppa. Before it had even finished boiling, I had a short stuttery take and was soon playing my first fish of the session.
It wasn’t a monster for the venue, but I was still happy to get a ‘3’ under my belt straight from the off (she weighed in at at 3lb 5oz). After a quick snap on the mat, I slipped her back and recast. This fish was soon followed by another of about the same size. This is pretty much how it continued for the next few hours, with a steady stream of 3lb+ crucian carp that were interspersed with a couple of tench and a few rudd up to 1lb 12oz.
Then, as often happens on this venue, at around 11pm the bites just totally dried up. I brought the rods in and plopped them under the rod tips in about a foot of water, as this has often brought a bonus fish in the night when they move off the main baited area. But that night they remained motionless. Not a bad thing though, as at least I got a good night’s sleep.
At first light, I was up and soon topping the swim up with another 3kg or 4kg of Krill powder laced groundbait. I know some people think that might be a lot of bait for crucian fishing, and on a lot of venues it would be, but on here I have generally found that the more you put in the longer the fish stay in front of you and you can get some very big hits of fish.
Anyway, the Saturday carried on much as Friday evening had gone and continued into Sunday morning, a steady stream of nice pound plus rudd, a 1lb 8oz roach, a few tench to about 6lb, and more importantly, plenty more crucian carp.
I was hopeful to get another over 4lb, having had nine over the magical mark in the past, but despite getting very close, I had to settle for the biggest of the session going 3lb 15oz. The next biggest of the others went 3lb 14oz, 3lb 12oz and 3lb 10oz; with a stack of other 3’s to end up with a very satisfactory 29 over 3lb, for the weekend.
I had actually planned to pack up early to go dace fishing on Sunday morning, but Saturday night and into Sunday it had absolutely chucked it down, so I decided to stay put instead. Not only would the river now be hoofing through with chocolate coloured flood water but on top of that I knew that the sun was due out later, so I would dry everything out if I stayed.
Well, I am certainly glad I did! Just after lunch, I had an absolutely blistering take on my left hand rod. Immediately, I knew this wasn’t going to be a crucian! I initially suspected a big tench, but upon lifting the rod, a huge boil of water erupted out in the water. This was clearly a carp. It must have run for about 50 yards before I could even slow it down, but eventually it slowed and I managed to gain some sort of control. It was still charging about, but thankfully with the weed having now died back, there wasn’t too much for it to get caught up on.
After about 10 minutes it looked like I was going to win the battle, so I quickly slipped the waders on (always fun whilst playing a fish) and waded out with the net. Having had a few incidental carp here in the past, I always take a 42” net with me as a backup, along with my Specimen Pan Net for normal use. Eventually I had the fish ready for netting, and carefully slid her over the drawstring. Up until this point, I had assumed it was going to be a ‘standard’ Enton low 20, so was amazed when I looked down into the net. This fish was clearly well over 30lb. Even if I do say so myself, I was rather impressed I had landed it considering I was using 6lb Hydro FLO main line, 4lb Mirage fluorocarbon hooklink and a size 16 Target hook! I’ve always had full confidence in the strength of the whole set up, but that was a proper test.
We hoisted her up onto the scales and was more than pleased to see the needle settle on 34lb. Not only was it a great fish to land on specimen tackle, but it was my first UK 30lb+ carp. Not exactly how I had planned to catch it admittedly, but I wasn’t complaining. With her safely resting back in the water in the net, I called Rory – who was working in the onsite tackle shop Apollo – and he kindly nipped over to take the pics for me. He also confirmed that this was the ‘Big Dink’, and actually the largest known fish in the lake!
I fished on for another few hours, but after all that commotion, the swim had died. Not surprising really, but after the catch I had had, I wasn’t all that bothered. I’d been an Enton hero once again and could walk away with my auburn sunset coloured head held high.