Well I'm on my own this week, and with the weather being nice and warm I fancy a go at the crucians at Marsh Farm.
Situated just past Guildford in Surrey, this day ticket fishery has a great stock of crucians at its complex. I was heading for Harris lake, the largest of the 3 lakes at the venue. As well as specimen crucian carp, the lake holds tench, roach, rudd and perch, and has a maximum depth of around 7 feet.
There are over 40 swims available and I headed for one over the back of the lake next to the railway line. The lake is long with an island running down the centre, and each swim is divided off by wires running from the bank to the island that help protect the fish stock from bird predation.
There's no big casting needed at this venue, as everyone there will tell you, 'don't forget the margins'. Even though you'll see cru's topping all over during the day, you really can fish a rods length out and catch some cracking fish.
I usually fish a float rod straight out in front of me with a feeder rod chucked off to one side, and that's how I set up this time. I use a small crystal waggler, fished a couple of inches over depth, shotting is shirt button style with a tiny telltale shot 2 inches from the hook.
My feeder rod is set up bolt-rig style, with a cage feeder fixed between the swivel on my hooklink and a couple of rig-stops on the main line. After mixing up some groundbait, consisting of breadcrumb, crushed hemp, Van den Eynde Expo, plus a tin of Dymamite frenzied hemp, I pack the feeder and lob it no more than 10-12 feet away, to the side of some lily pads. On the hook I've hair-rigged a halibut hooker pellet, and with a small handful of 3mm pellets chucked in over the top, it's all set.
I rest the rod on a pod set up with buzzers, I can now leave this on it's own as the rig is almost self-hooking, and the buzzers will let me know if it gets any attention. This allows me to concentrate on my float rod, which I cast out onto the marginal shelf.
The shelf extends out between 1-2 rod lengths from the bank and is a few feet shallower than the main water, so it's always a good idea to try near the edge, or as it drops off. I'm trying a single grain of red sweetcorn, which I'd dyed the night before, both the crucians, and the tench seem to like it.
I don't have to wait long as I'm already getting small dips on the float, but at the moment I'm lucky as there's hardly a breath of wind disturbing the waters surface. This helps dramatically as crucian bites are well known for being finicky at the best of times... and if you're waiting for a tiny drop when there are two inch high ripples rolling across the surface, well that's when you lose it!
So the float dips, slightly, then rises, I strike, and I'm soon playing my first fish. As I bring it to the surface there's a flash of gold and I've got a cru. It turns out to be a nice one, and pulls the scales round to 2lb 12ozs.
It's returned and out goes the float again. I'm putting out a golf ball sized handful of groundbait every half hour or so, to hold the fish in the swim.
About 20 minutes later my float disappears again, slipping straight under, and this time something really starts to pull back, but it's not a record crucian just a small male tench, and do they fight!
I'm having frequent small tugs on the feeder but nothing is really taking hold of the bait, but who cares I'm catching on the float, and that's always a pleasure!
But like all good things, they must come to an end, and as the morning wears on the action slows, and like a lot of summer venues Marsh Farm seems to be best during the morning and evening hours, not that you won't catch during the hottest part of the day... and just to prove the point, as my eyelids are starting to get very heavy(!), the alarm beeps, the rod tip jerks round and I'm into my second tench of the day. It turns out to be a reasonable fish of about 5lbs, and signalled the start of the feeder rod coming into its own.
The breeze had now picked up, and as I mentioned earlier, this makes it extremely difficult to spot those tiny bites on the float, and this is where the feeder does so well, and over the next few hours after changing hook baits to sweetcorn I pick up 3, very pretty rudd to just under the pound mark.
Then for the last hour I switch back to hooker pellet and have my best fish of the day, a beautiful golden cru of 2lb 7ozs!
It's been a lovely day, with some reasonable fish landed, I'll definitely be back soon. If you want some more info on Marsh Farm fishery try this, www.godalminganglingsociety.co.uk