Specimen rudd boom

The unprecedented boom in catches of specimen rudd has continued full steam ahead, with Gareth Goldson taking one of the biggest ever hauls of the species in the form of 17 fish over 2lb to a best of 2lb 12oz.

The experienced all-rounder from Norfolk, who has already hit the headlines this season by catching eels to 7lb 4oz and roach to over 3lb, took his catch from a Fenland river using a combination of bread flake and crust hookbaits.

Gareth is no stranger to specimen-sized rudd – having taken them to over 3lb in the past – but the 30-year-old revealed how having access to a boat has seen his catch returns soar this season.
“I’ve spent so much time fishing for Fen rudd in recent seasons that I’ve become friendly with some of the narrowboat owners. One of them now lets me borrow a small boat, which makes finding the shoals of large rudd so much easier,” said Gareth, who landed all his fish using 4lb line and a size 12 hook.

“Rudd are a very greedy fish and location is the hardest task. Once you’ve found them, they’re not tackle shy at all. If you get a few competing for food, they can be almost suicidal! On this trip I started catching them on large freelined lumps of breadflake. Once I’d had a few from the shoal and they began to get spooky, I changed to slow-sinking breadflake under a small float to keep the bites coming,” he added.

Gareth’s haul is the latest in a long line of big rudd catches to come from the East Anglian region this season. He believes there are a number of reasons behind the apparent ‘big rudd bonanza’.
“Fish of this size have always been in the Rivers Cam, Lark and Ouse, as well as the drains and lodes, but I think the extra rainfall we’ve had this year has spread them out a bit more. Added to that, more specimen anglers are fishing for them than ever before, so more are getting caught,” he said.

Dr Paul Garner specialises in fish behaviour, and while agreeing with Gareth’s sentiments, he also believes that other factors have come into play.

He told AT: “Good rudd normally means there’s plenty of zoo plankton and terrestrial insects around. The drains and rivers of East Anglia are also slow-moving, meaning nutrients and plankton don’t get flushed out quickly, and they also offer good water clarity and quality – other prerequisites for rudd to flourish and feed well.”

“I think the Environment Agency should study rudd in greater detail, because they seem to be declining across most of the country, yet there’s a huge stronghold in East Anglia.”