Friday, May 02, 2014

Most Wanted : True Crucian.

It seems true crucian are becoming rarer and rarer these days with the parentage of some "crucian" that are caught being subject to doubt. This is due to the fact that they breed quite easily with other cyprinids producing hybrids. This will happen wherever crucians are found along side other carp species and most commercial fisheries aren't too fussy about this. For match purposes bag weights are all that matters and the sometimes questionable genetics of the fish being caught isn't of concern to the anglers competitively filling their keep nets. To muddy the waters further, brown goldfish and F1 carp can sometimes be mistaken for crucian. All of this makes finding photographs of a true crucian a bit tricky so rather than take the risk of including a picture of anything less than a 100% pure crucian I've decided to use a wonderful old drawing to illustrate an example of the species.

The crucian. A rather handsome fish I'm sure you'd agree.

With a few questionable pretenders swimming around how can an angler be sure his crucian is indeed a crucian without going to the length of having DNA testing carried out on a sample scale? Crucian's shape and colour can vary but there are a few key identifying features that can be looked for. They have no barbules. The dorsal fin is large and convex. The caudal fin is almost straight edged when extended vertically. Scale counts can be performed. I guess most pleasure anglers would be happy to call it a crucian if it looked like one but knowing for sure matters to us species hunters, well it does to this one anyway!

To make things easy for fussy folk like myself there are a few carp free fisheries who pride themselves in the purity of their crucian stock and go to great lengths to protect it. To help ensure I catch a bonafide crucian I've decided to pay a visit later this year to one such fishery, Marsh Farm in Surrey. Considered by many as specimen crucian mecca, I'd be happy to catch one of any size!

Tight lines, Scott.

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