Crucian carp

 Fact file

  • The Latin name for crucian carp is carassius carassius
  • Fewer and fewer ‘true’ crucians are caught nowadays following widespread hybridisation with carp
  • A genuine crucian as a high-sided back, with the nose of the fish to the dorsal being especially steep. It will also have no barbules and be buttery golden in colour
  • The biggest crucian to be caught in the UK weighed in at 4lb 9oz 9drm and was caught by Martin Bowler from a pit in Yateley in 2003.
Where are they?

The crucian carp was once widespread across much of the south east of the UK but hybridisation with the increasingly popular mainstream carp has left only isolated pockets of the species.

How to recognise crucian carp

You might think that being called a ‘carp’ it would share characteristics with common and mirror carp. But that is most definitely not the case. Although they are part of the same family, the crucian is much smaller and rarely exceeds 2lb in weight.

Its body shape is completely different, being high sided and narrow, and its mouth is free of any barbules.

The crucian is considered a handsome fish, being a deep bronze in colour.

The biggest true crucian carp to be caught in the UK weighed in at 4lb 9oz 9drm and was caught from a lake in Yateley, Hants.

Where to look for crucian carp

Look for small, established lakes and ponds if crucians are the target.

Traditionally crucian carp have thrived in small, weedy and overgrown ponds. However, as these have decreased in number, and more and more carp have been stocked, crucians have become harder to find. They breed with ‘normal’ carp and the offspring – brown goldfish – dilute the crucian gene pool.

As such, only a handful of venues now hold a true strain of the species. Do your homework to locate these.

So what do crucian carp eat?

A bottom feeding fish, they like to root around in the mud and silt for daphnia, insects, bloodworm and anything else they can find.

Crucian carp love sweetcorn

How can I catch crucian carp?

Crucian carp are notoriously shy-biting fish so a delicate approach is best. Polefishing provides the most accurate and effective way.

Maggots, sweetcorn or bread are the best three baits.


Go and target crucian carp now!

These shy and often tricky to catch fish are best targeted with the use of a pole. The superior presentation provided by this method makes it superior to both standard waggler fishing and legering.

Get a 12.5m carbon pole for just £100 – only at

Crucians don’t grow huge and although they will put up a good account of themselves, there’s no need for excessive power when choosing a pole. The Avanti 12.5m GTR Carbon 1250 is a great choice, being both exceptional value-for-money and also more than capable of doing the job. It comes with five top kits and that makes it a great all-rounder, being equally at home sculling out lumps on commercials as it is undertaking finer forms of fishing on canals and ponds.

Buy pole rigs ready-tied and save money – and time

When it comes to rigs, many of today’s anglers like to buy them ready-tied. The Pantera Match All-Round Barbless Ready Rigs offer exceptional quality at a super-competitive price. Each pack contains 10 different rigs and at just £10 – or £1 a rig – they are superb value-for-money.

Get the Avanti Electron Blue 20ins Competition landing net head for just £5

As in all other forms of fishing, you’ll need a landing net. Because of their lack of size, you can afford to go for something small and lightweight when crucian fishing, like the Avanti Electron Blue 20ins Competition landing net head. Couple it with a sturdy but light landing net handle – the Avanti Isis Tele Power is ideal.

Boss keepnets are built to last

A keepnet is also worth considering. Crucians move in small shoals so returning one you’ve just caught may spook any others feeding in your swim. The Boss Super Carp Deluxe 3m keepnet is a very good piece of kit that will last for years.

Bait-wise, there’s no need to over-complicate things. As a hookbait maggots are effective, so too is sweetcorn, bread punch and pellets. For feed, put down a bed of hemp in a little groundbait to attract crucians without filling them up.

Now see the tackle in action

*Boss keepnets – the legend is back!