With bags to do and limited spare time I was delighted to find a few hours on Saturday afternoon to angle. There was one place on my mind when I knew I could go, the most at Sultan and another crack at those elusive crucians.
Probably the most beautiful venue I’ve ever been lucky enough to fish, the moat holds a great variety of species to angle for, and I feel very honoured to be a member of this marvellous water. In the past I’ve been blinkered, chasing the carp that reside there, but since my angling thoughts have changed and I have realised that there is more to life than pursuing big carp, the moat has become a very interesting water indeed.
The swim I chose for this session was one pointed out to me by a friend. Last time out I dearly hoped for a crucian, but caught everything but. I’d seen enough photos though to know that the ones that did reside there, should you find them, are wonderful fish and well worth the effort.
So with all the chores out of the way it was time to pack the basket, rod, and net into the car and set off on the twenty minute journey to the moat. I opted for a different stretch of the moat as suggested by Chris, a swim he’d had some success in so that was good enough for me.
When I got to the swim I was a little disheartened, there was thick weed almost everywhere, perfect of it is carp you seek, but for float fishing on the deck it was going to be a tricky obstacle to manoeuvre. Either side of the pads the weed was thick, but just my side of them looked clear, and a quick plumb showed I was fishing in around 4 feet of water just one and a half rod lengths out. Once the line was sunk I’d be fishing a foot or so from the edge of the pads, not ideal but it was a start.
Using my Sabina rod, an Allcocks centrepin and a handmade float I begun fishing as close to the pads as I could, dropping the tackle close and dropping the rod tip to sink the line. If I didn’t do this the flow from right to left would have dragged my float all over the place, so once everything was settled I was probably 18 inches from the pads.
Bait was trusty sweetcorn, chopped down as I’ve had great success using this method in the past. I find chopping a single grain in half, even quarters, can tempt the shyest crucians into biting a little more ferociously than the using 1mm dip you usually get. It worked a treat too as within a few minutes I connected with my first bite. At first I thought it was a tench, I half expected to catch a few anyway, and it was fighting too hard to be a crucian, but I was proved totally wrong when a whacking great crucian rolled on the surface then wiggled away back into the depths of that clear weedy water.
Once the fish was safely in the net I took a moment to reflect a while on what had just happened. With a massive grin I added it all up, I’d caught my first crucian from the venue, it was one of the big warriors, and it was certainly the biggest crucian I’d ever caught. Lifting it gently out of the water and laying it on the mat I noticed that it had a piece missing from its tail, more than likely from a cormorant, but It had healed nicely and I think added a little more character to an already awesome fish.
So with a new Personal Best of 2lb 9oz, half a pound better than my previous, I released the fish after a self taken photo or two and after sorting the camp out resumed the angling wondering what else was in store for me.
More chopped corn was fed into the swim, more bubbles rose and as the float dipped and I made contact with another fish I was very surprised to see yet another big crucian twisting and turning down there among the blanket weed covered water world. In the net I let another a little cheer, tipped my hat to the goats opposite and set about taking care of another whopping great crucian.
A red letter day for sure, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I guess it would have been nice to have had someone there to share it with me, but I am rather enjoying the solitude I find in fishing these days, especially on the deserted moat. Two great fish, the second being just shy of 2lbs, was more than enough and if you told me before the session I’d catch them I’d have certainly settled for that. But as always, once you catch one, there is a strong desire to catch more, so angle on I did.
The next hour or so was a bit of a blur, more great crucians were caught, although with each one the bites were getting harder to hit and the gaps between them longer. They were perfect fish though, as in the kind of warrior fish you’d like to find, old fish that have been around for years and have their own stories to tell. I felt very privileged to be meeting them.
A while after the last crucian the bites dried up, I think I may have missed a few, what with having one eye on the float and the other on the reflection of the goats on the far bank, but with the session I’d had already I thought it worth exploring a couple of other swims. They all looked as good if not better than the first, but although I spent half an hour in two further swims, I received no more bites.
At around 8pm I packed my things away, thanked the moat for being in such a generous mood and vowed to return soon. I’m off to Redmire in a couple of weeks so might not get the chance to return before I go off chasing other myths for a few days, so perhaps it’ll be after. Whenever it is, I’m sure it’ll be yet another epic adventure.