Crucian Carp - Carassius carassius
Crucian carp are thick set, small golden powerhouses, they often hybridise with common carp which can make it extremely difficult to identify a true crucian, however there are few things to look out for that can help identify a crucian carp.
- Crucians have no barbules at the corners of their mouths, unlike carp which have four
- The dorsal fin on a true crucian is convex (rounded) where as other carp and goldfish tend to have a more concave dorsal fin (curving inwards)
- If additionally help be needed in identifying, then count the scales that run along the lateral line, a true crucian has between 31-33 scales
Males on average reach sexual maturity at three years and the females at four years of age. Crucian carp tend to spawn between the months of May & July and the precise time is very much dependant on a warm water temperature (they can spawn more than once in a season).
Once the time to spawn has come, the females will head to the shallow marginal areas closely followed by eager males, the spawn itself is an explosive affair and can often be seen from the banks.
The eggs are laid on dense underwater vegetation and hatch after a week. Once hatched, the fish will attach itself onto a plant stem and consume its yolk sac until it is expended, they will then leave to find tiny crustaceans living within the shallow margins which they can feed upon.
Natural Diet & Common Baits
The natural diet of the crucian carp is very similar to that of its larger cousin the carp, they tend to eat bloodworm, insect larvae, shrimps, snails and water plants.
Some of the best baits to use when fishing for crucians are bread, casters, cheese paste, luncheon meat (very small slivers) , maggots, or a single grain of sweetcorn.
Although becoming rare due to hybridisation with carp and brown goldfish, crucian carp can be abundant in certain old and forgotten stillwater’s that have not been stocked previously. They also have a canny knack of being able to thrive in poorly oxygenated water, so any overgrown undisturbed water may well be a stronghold of this fine fish.
A good place to fish for crucians are areas which have a silty bottom, as crucians love to rummage around in the silt looking for bloodworm and other small larvae. It's usually during this feeding spree that crucians give themselves away due to tiny bubbles rising to the surface as they forage around in the silt.
Other obvious places to fish are towards lily pads and reeds lining marginal areas as these both give crucians the cover they like.
Tackle & Tips
- A light float rod or pole are the best ways to catch crucian carp. Both methods can allow very light tackle to be used to help detect the bites from this shy fish.
- 2-3lb main line and a lighter hook length with a size 16/18 hook is a good choice when crucian fishing, with a larger hook like a size 14 being used when fishing larger baits like corn and bread flake.
- When float fishing, it is a good idea to shot the float right down so that only the tip of the float can be seen poking out of the water - This helps detect the extremely delicate bites that crucian carp give.
- It is always best to strike at the first dip of the float, if you allow the bite to develop and then strike, you will more often than not end up with an unbaited hook.
- When float fishing, always plumb the depth correctly and try and fish your bait at dead depth, as this will help give the best possible bite indication.
- The best times to catch specimen crucians are usually the last few hours of daylight and a couple of hours either side of dawn.