Jason Donaldson is a dedicated all-round angler. And whilst carp take up the majority of his angling time, time constraints saw Jason turning to other species for his fishing fix. Here, he takes up his experiences of fishing for crucian carp in Shropshire – a great story for a chilly evening's read.
"Sometimes you come to a crossroads on your fishing where like me you may have found yourself in a rut, or you quite simply may have even lost your fishing mojo if that exists! I found myself in this situation this summer simply driving up to my syndicate and going through the motions Carp fishing. This would usually involve sitting behind three rods on alarms watching time pass me by.
"Now don’t get me wrong I love my Carp fishing but I also love fishing for pretty much anything that swims and after having the pleasure and privilege of photographing some incredible Crucian Carp last year from my syndicate it was this that turned my attention towards this species. It was on a session after the Carp on my syndicate that I kept seeing what looked like big Crucians rolling in my swim that made my mind up to take a month off from the Carp fishing. Instead I’d concentrate my fishing to a day a week after these special fish and the other after Barbel on my local river Wye.
"So, with my mind made up I was soon planning my fist Crucian Carp session on the syndicate and the following week I found myself heading up north with a new-found excitement. The syndicate I am on about is my good friend Edward Matthews lake called Sutton up near Market Drayton. What he has managed to do with this lake is not only produce fantastic looking Carp but also grow though some seriously incredible Crucian Carp. So far, this place has produced them to just over 4lb so I was already in a very fortunate position by being on the right place from the off.
"The first few sessions saw me catch a few Crucians to just under 2lb but more importantly I was enjoying the change. The irony through all this was that I was also catching more Carp! When that bobbin rose some mornings, my heart would be in my mouth, if it was a small mirror Carp as knowing the size of the Crucians in the lake my mind would be in overdrive thinking could this be the big one! The initial fight off a small Carp would always certainly get my knees shaking thinking it was possibly a massive Crucian and when a small Mirror or Common Carp graced the net it would almost be met with some disappointment. That sounds bad but such was my desire to see one of these specimen Crucians on the bank it was all I could focus on. The Irony is that I was sitting behind alarms after Carp not catching and now I was catching them every session but the big Crucian still eluded me.
"Work then started to take over a bit limiting my time so I was unable to travel up to the lake so instead I started finding myself grabbing a few hours on the River Wye after the Barbel which was proving a great success.
"Work soon calmed down and I found myself back up the lake with a new-found energy and drive and it was my first session back that proved the most fruitful. On this session, I found myself pushing the barrow through the woodland and up the hill on my way to a swim affectionately known as the stepdown swim. The first night proved uneventful until 5am when my left-hand rod went into meltdown which meant only one thing, an angry low double Mirror Carp which decided that the entire left-hand margin needed shifting. After placing the rod back out my right-hand rod was away shortly after and this time a small Common was in the net. Not what I wanted but at least I knew the rigs were sat right and fish were in the area.
"After sorting out the carnage in the swim I put the chest waders back on and waded out to place the right-hand rods rig back in place nicely on a firm area that I’d been baiting up. A few hours later Edward Matthews joined me down the lake alongside another Crucian angler who was guesting with him. A few hours passed and the right-hand rod bobbin slowly crept up and just held at the top. Within seconds I was holding the rod playing what felt like a small Carp. As the fish approached the net I got my first glimpse of what looked like a good Crucian. After a few gentler runs I soon had her ready for the net, knees shaking heart pumping overtime as I knew it would be a PB over the 2lb mark. Slowly but surely, she graced the net and I almost high fived myself such was the emotion and relief I felt. I gazed into the landing net and knew it was a special fish. With the special fish resting in the folds of the net I went around to Ed’s swim to inform him that I’d caught something special. The look on my face was enough for him to know it was a special fish and after a man hug we were soon in my swim gazing at the reward. Ed’s face when he peered into the folds of the net told me that it was bigger than I thought when he stood there and just said ‘’Oh yes’’ like the human version of the Churchill dog.
"The scales were zeroed and as the fish was lifted it was apparent that it was bigger than I thought. When the scales were read back to me at 3lb 9oz I was over the moon, as was Ed as this was his fishery that’s producing these special fish. I have to say that Ed took some wonderful trophy shots and it was then decided that a few beers were in order at the local to celebrate.
"As for the setup to catch this special fish it couldn’t be any simpler. Korum 0.75lb Xpert rod, the new Neoteric reel and 6lb main line. This was fished through onto a Korum Dura method feeder and fluro hooklink of 4lb with a Sonubaits 8mm Pineapple Method Feeder boilie. Nothing complicated just simple but the placing of the rigs was the crucial part. Spending time doing this was the reason I caught this fish I’m adamant of that.
"Maybe next year a 4lb Crucian, who knows!"