Sunday, 23 August 2015

Crucian Carp — Not Quite Solid Gold

What could be a better way to spend time on a warm summer afternoon than sharing a swim with a friend in the dappled shade of a stand of grand old white poplar on the dam bank of an ancient estate lake and fishing for huge crucian carp? It's the perfect picture of a Great British idyl. One that could have been painted by John Constable and hung in a gilt rococo frame on the mansion's sitting room wall. But substitute 'small skimmer bream' for 'huge crucian carp' and the gilding is rubbed somewhat, flaking away here and there, and the red bole beneath is showing through.

The largest of the day. Best bream too...

The water was the deepest in the lake and was alive with signs of fish. Patches of bubbles erupting everywhere. Before first cast the anticipation was electrifying and when the first bites came and were the most delicate little dibs and lifts imaginable things were looking very good indeed for the rest of the day ahead. All we had to do was connect with one in every ten and we'd surely bag a veritable horde of golden treasures...

Martin scored first. And second, and third. Clearly he was going to have a hard time of it on his side of the swim because all were small bream. And every one a snotty one too. I was having a hard time of it missing bites and bumping fish. Eventually I changed hook — though it felt sharp enough there was surely something up with it. Then I joined Martin in his skimmering. One after the other they came. And then when the sun was high in the sky and the shade diminishing we were joined by small perch too. One of which took a grain of corn.

We went through four bait changes. Worm, corn, prawn and pellet. None made a halfpenny difference. The bream were having all of it and there was no way to avoid them. I laid down a bed of hemp to fish over hoping that if it drew crucians in it would hold them fast. What it produced was an exciting  fizzing surface that continued all day but still the culprits were bream rooting around for every last grain.

Vietnamese folding fishing hat. This summer season's 'must have' accessory!

It was hopeless. But it wasn't in any way depressing. It was a lovely day and it was a lovely way to waste time despite things. We had a jolly good time not catching quite what we wanted.

The frame was spoiled but the picture was good!

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