As a kid I fished a small pond local to home that was absolutely stuffed to the brim with crucian carp, possibly. I say possibly as historically there have been a couple of issues with the species, one being that previously brown goldfish were sold as crucian carp, they look quite similar. The other being that they are prone to hybridisation, we used to catch 6lb+ “crucians” from another lake around the same time, we knew they were iffy even as kids. As such true “cru’s” are actually quite a rare species as British coarse fish go though thankfully things are steadily improving due to improved knowledge and great credit has to go to The Association of Crucian Anglers who in recent years have done sterling work in documenting waters and promoting the species, if you fancy catching this fantastic species the association has a list of waters, have a Google!

Jumping forward twenty-five years without a sign of a crucian I paid a one-off visit to Marsh Farm in Surrey with a mate and had a great days fishing culminating in a cracking fish of 3lb 2oz’s, and then promptly forgot the species for another ten years or so. A couple of years ago I joined the club that controls Marsh farm with the intention of having a go at the bigger water on site, Johnsons, which holds the crucian British record, I’ve paid two or three visits with some success, but I couldn’t quite beat that old personal best.

After a pretty dour summer fishing wise I fancied some fun and one thing Johnsons normally provides aplenty is fun fishing. Apart from the crucians the lake is stuffed with Tench that normally keep you busy, plus a big head of carp from ounces to 30lb plus, yeah, that would do me nicely.

With the prospect of negotiating the M1 and M25 in front of me I was up at 4am and on the road well before 5, all was going well for a 7.15 arrival until I started to think the roads looked a bit unfamiliar once I’d left the M25. A quick pit stop revealed that I’d only gone and put the wrong postcode into the sat nav and was 25 miles out of my way, aaaagh!

Crisis over and I was fishing by about 9 o’clock, tactics were the ever reliable Korum Dura method feeders in 45-gram size loaded with dampened 4mm Sonubaits F1 pellets, hookbaits being either a 6mm band ‘um wafter, piece of plastic corn or a rubber maggot, I’d chop and change until I found what worked best on the day. I’d only just stuck the kettle on for a much-needed dose of caffeine when one of the rods signalled a bite and I was into my first fish of the trip. It was soon obvious that a carp was responsible and with a 4lb hooklink in use patience is the name of the game, eventually steady pressure took its toll and I bundled a rather long common into the net, not a bad bonus fish at 26lb 12oz!

After such a quick result I was expecting a few bites, but the day proved to be very slow, even the usually ravenous Tench were on the missing list, no doubt the calm and bright conditions didn’t help. It wasn’t until tea time that I finally had another indication, from the fight I suspected my intended quarry was to blame and I was proved right, in fact better still I had cracked that personal best at last with a lovely fish of 3lb 3oz, great stuff. No sooner had I put that fish back than I was away again and like buses another pb was landed, 3lb 5oz this time, now we’re talking!

Was start the signal for an endless stream of bites? Er no, not a single indication for the next 30 hours, other anglers picked up the very occasional fish, but it was dreadfully slow all around, like pulling teeth. It was 11pm on my second, and last, day before another fish came to the net and thankfully it signalled a flurry of activity with half a dozen crucians arriving in a couple of hours including another personal best at 3lb 10oz. It was with a smile on my face that I finally lay down for some kip at 2am only to be rudely awoken two hours later by another bite which was obviously another carp of the substantial variety from the word go. This one really didn’t want to give up and I was just about propping my eyelids open when I finally managed to net it after what must have been well over 20 minutes. A mirror this time and at 24lb 2oz a nice partner to the previous days common, I had to admit that enough was enough and I wound the rods in, sleep was desperately required!

I was up again at 6.30 and stuck the kettle on while I recast, before it had boiled I had another crucian of 3lb 7oz to end a memorable trip.