All he wanted was a quiet idyllic day of crucian carp fishing on a lake deep in the Warwickshire countryside. Little did he know that his dream would never come to fruition as no pellet, no bread flake and certainly no session is safe from the rampant shoal. Ravaging the shallows and deep alike, spreading slime as they mindlessly chomp, no bait could avoid detection in ATTACK OF THE KILLER BREAM!!!
What more can I say to start with than "you can't choose what you catch!" We can all say we are going to go fishing for this or that, but at the end of the day you can't stop all species bar the one you want to catch from eating your bait. From the moment I arrived a Snitterfield reservoir this weekend just passed I think what was going to happen was set in stone. The swim I fished was a very reliable crucian haunt and I fished as I nearly always do for crucians by potting out a small quantity of highly quality ground bait laced with dampened down micro pellets. However the moment that cloud of ground bait formed and began to fall softly to the algae covered bottom it must have been like a sensual siren ringing the senses of every bream in the vicinity.
I could even say that I was fishing in what by most anglers standards was not a particularly breamy area of the lake, as I always fish no more than four feet from the bank just where the visibility disappears. It was just a case of no other possible outcome. After letting my bait stew a while and walking once round the lake I returned to my peg baited my tiny hook with a single soft 6mm pellet and gently swung it tight onto the slightly fizzing area. As I waited and watched the day-glo antenna of my pole float, just off the end of my rod a single small bubble rose to the surface before popping, as they often do when crucians are around. Then right on cue, the antenna rose and the float shouldered up as if by design a crucian had lifted the weight off the tell tale shot that cocked my float. My swift strike however contacted not with a fish that instantly vibrated in circles but instead hung in the water like a dead weight before plodding off banging its head.
If this was a crucian it was a British record that had no eyes. Every day it was a bream! as was the next and the next, the one after that was a bream as was the one that followed that and that and that and so forth. Turned out less than a quarter of a pint of ground bait and a few pleps fed every half hour could keep a large and constantly replenishing shoal of bream going all morning.
Although catching bream in Snitters is by no way unusual, catching so many this close in is. Normally I might catch one or two in a morning but to have queueing up practically in sight was a bit odd. But saying that, there might be a simple explanation which this picture will illustrate.
Every single fish was showing signs of getting ready for a bit of Abramis amore. Put simply I get the impression their fervour was largely relative to their preparations to spawn. Truly I believe their general rampant nature was do to them trying to get in peak condition to splurge out the next generation of mindless munchers. But whatever the inspiration for this feedathon the fact remains that the delicate little crucians I so wanted to catch could quite literally not get anywhere near my bait. Even standing little chance of hooking my target fish it really was quite a hectic and enjoyable mornings fishing landing bream after bream and going home smelling of that quintessential hum, 'odour le slime'.
The next day with my fishing gear still set to crucian and JB entrenched in the dirge of a world snooker final that was O'Sullivan vs Selby, I took the chance to grab a few hours on another pool after the little golden fellas. This pool however has a slightly different yet still fishy problems. Unlike the bream dominated snitters this venue has more carp, a lot more carp! And not only gear smashing sort either. You see although it does certainly contain true crucians, it also has goldfish and not just the orange buggers ether, its got the naturalised ones as well. Hence, even if a massive thoroughbred crucian was to be caught in it every purist would poo-poo it instantly. But anyway I wasn't about to be making any record claims any time soon and was instead after a bit of golden fun in the cleanest possible way.
For tactics it was pretty much a repeat of the previous day fishing. Plumb, pot, stew and cast. It took a bit of time to get a reaction but after a few casts and a change of bait I did provoke a typically crucian sort of bite. However even after acting very much like a crucian carp the first fish turned out to be a naturalized fan tail goldfish.
With tiny pinches of bread flake fished an inch over depth producing regular interest I watched my float dance around figuring it was only going to be a matter of time and numbers before I routed a crucian from the usurpers. But once again it was not to be and even landing regular imitators and a couple of tackle testing carp the closet I came to what I sought was well best described as having doubtful lineage.
I am not about to give up though! Right know I am trying to hold off tench fishing as I plan to do a bit more of that later in the year back at Coombe once the season starts up again. So for the next couple of months I am going to try and dedicate as much time as possible to fishing for those golden little pixie carp and not just because I want a big one, but more because I just love fishing for them.