Crucian Carp Record Shaker - Jim Mathews

Jim Mathews shakes the British crucian carp record, catching this stunning specimen that was only six and half ounces off the current record. Here is his story…

“It was the start of my second season spent at a Surrey club lake, in search of big Crucians. They are so rare that you almost feel privileged just to fish for them and after catching a few the previous May, I was very keen to get back down once the season opens from the 1st to have another go.

I arrived after dark to find that one of my preferred swims was vacant so scrambled my gear into it and cast out as soon as possible. A couple of crucians had already been caught by the angler next door, so time was of the essence, but throughout the night, screeching alarms brought with them one little tench after another. The following morning just screamed "good fishing conditions" - permanently overcast with occasion showers and often drizzle, the pressure and light levels were perfect for big fish.

I went with a simple tactic that worked well previously; short links and size 16 hooks to a 24g Inline X-Safe method feeder, to 6lb Guru drag line to a pair of feeder rods with nice soft tips completed the outfit. Bait wise, the ground bait moulded around the feeders was laced with small pellets, caster and liquid additives with either fake caster or small pellets as a hook bait. As expected, the tench started to feed as soon as the bait went in and concerned that it might be too much bait that was attracting the tench and pushing out the crucian carp, I slowed the bait right up to see if I could entice my quarry in. This had just the effect that I was hoping for as a stuttery take led to my first crucian of the new season at 2lbs 10oz. By just reloading the method feeder and recasting, I guaranteed the minimum disturbance to the area and the theory paid off again 5 minutes later with another of 2lbs 15oz.

Everything went quiet for a while and whilst tempted to refresh the area with some more bait, I sat on my hands and 30 minutes passed before the bite that mattered most. Unlike most crucian bites, the fish stripped line off of the spool like an angry male tench. I had it under control fairly quickly and when it surfaced 10 yards out, I could see it was a big-framed fish. I had one hairy moment when I had to apply some pressure to steer it away from a marginal snag but after that, it came in relatively easily and as I glided it over the net and looked down, I knew I had a proper one beneath me. When the needle swung round to confirm the staggering weight, the rest of the day drifted away as I floated on the high that we all feel when you’ve just landed a new personal best at 4lb 2oz 8dr.