Anglers on the Lincolnshire coast have been cashing in on hectic bite-a-chuck sport from a fish that for the past few years has done a disappearing act – the crucian carp.
While roach and carp have been making the headlines at Skegness holiday park Southview, those small golden carp have been absent from catches – until now!
Such has the return to form been, anglers fishing opens on the caravan-flanked Cedar Lake are now turning their attentions to the crucians rather than the carp as they can be caught just inches from the bank on simple tackle and baits.
One man who knows a thing or two about these funny little fish is Joe McCormack, a former Notts Fed match star of the 1970s and 80s who has retired to the Lincolnshire coast to live on site and fishes the lake most days. He’s developed a whip approach that is hugely effective at catching the ‘crueys’, having passed the 100lb mark in pleasure sessions and taken over 50lb of them to the scales in the opens.
“For the last few years we’ve caught the odd crucian and were asking ‘where have they gone?’ because sport used to be brilliant,” Joe said. “Then for some reason this spring they’ve shown again, and in every peg on the lake, too. I reckon you can catch 40lb of them anywhere you sit and on no more than a top kit and a few pellets.”
In fact Joe has adapted an old whip to make a short 1m tool that’s just perfect for this battling fish. A soft flick tip is inserted into the base of an old Shimano whip to provide plenty of cushioning to stop hook pulls from the juddering fight of the crucian. It’s a key part of his plan to get the fish up in the water, where bites are easier to hit.
“Fish on the deck and the float wafts all over the place but come off bottom and it’s a different ball game,” Joe explained. “Feeding is key, with plenty of micro pellet to keep them happy in mid-water, but when it comes to hookbaits there’s several options. A soft 6mm or 4mm Dynamite Baits pellet works well, as does caster or maggot, but because there are lots of roach and rudd in the lake I have a lot of joy fishing a rubber caster, which I cut in half with scissors.”
Joe reckons that under the water his bait looks like a small pellet but doesn’t get smashed by the little fish. Using a small blob float, 0.16mm line and a size 14 Kamasan B911 hook, the rig is crude but effective and Joe swaps between 1ft and half-depth in the 2m deep swim until he finds the depth that the crucians are feeding at comfortably and confidently, constantly lifting and dropping the float to keep the hookbait falling through the swim.
If the bites are slow or you can’t hit them, go a little shallower or deeper until you start connecting with them.