Hi, I'm Peter Rolfe (A.K.A. "The Crucian Crusader") and I thought it was high time that the crucian had a website of its own. The idea is to provide a database of information and to gather together ideas and experiences to try to build up a really reliable resource for anglers, naturalists, conservationists, scientists, land-owners, fish farmers and dealers - in fact anyone who's interested in the species.
I've used the name "crucian" and not "crucian carp", because it is, after all, a separate species (Carassius carassius), and not just a smaller version of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), whatever the great Richard Walker thought ("a jolly, chubby little carp"). Perhaps if everyone knew it as a separate species, it would be better respected and more likely to survive. We don't call a goldfish a "goldfish carp" so why call a crucian a "crucian carp"? If that is turning an adjective into a noun - so be it!
This website aims to do the following:
It would be so useful to tap into the experiences of crucian anglers here and abroad, so please send me your experiences and comments and I'll add them to the website. In that way we can build up a comprehensive picture of the fish, its behaviour, the places where it lives (no need to be specific) and the fishing for it.
Browse the site by following the site menu at the top of the page. The header picture is the Upper Saxon Pond dam, taken from the south bank c.2010.
Crucians were the first fish I caught, in a small Essex sand pit at the end of World War 2. Many years later, in the early 1970s, I started to restore field ponds, mainly to provide myself with some private fishing. I stocked these ponds with carp (of course!), tench and crucians. I quickly found that crucians in particular flourished in these small ponds, reproducing in huge numbers. The local angling club used many of these fish in its lakes and ponds. From 1987 until 1996 I was partner in a small water plant and fish farming business and we used the restored field ponds to breed tench and crucians. Since then I have restored and created a number of lakes and ponds, managing four of them in favour of crucians. I've told that part of the story in my 1997 fishing book, published by Medlar Press, called "The Net on the Garage Wall''.
In 1998, Angling Times published a photo of the new crucian record, caught by Adrian Eves. The trouble was, it didn't really look like "my" crucians, being much higher backed. This prompted me to do two things: first, to begin to research crucians and secondly, as the technology became available, to have my fish DNA confirmed by Dr. Bernd Hänfling at Hull University, which was duly done.
Research became a bit of an obsession, resulting eventually in my second book, 'Crock of Gold, Seeking the Crucian Carp', and this website.
I'm pleased to say that 'Crock of Gold, Seeking the Crucian Carp', as you know the only book devoted entirely to the species, is being reprinted and you can get a copy from Amazon or from the publishers, MPress (Media) Ltd., on 0845 408 2606 or at Calm Productions. The First Edition is now out of print and already collectable.
If you can get hold of it, 'The Net on the Garage Wall' may be of interest. It was published by Medlar Press in 1997 and tells the story of my "watery experiences". Amongst all the fishing stories is quite a lot about restoring small ponds and lakes and my early experiences of fishery management. You can always learn from my mistakes!
I've since written three more books:
The first of these books is "Reflections on Still Water" and was published in December 2015. It deals with the restoration and management of one of the two Victorian Estate Lakes. It tells the story of our work there, and the fishing and wild life - a mixture of the practical and the inspiring - I hope!
The second of these books is "Always Summer - Fishing From Two Angles"
Michael Pickford and I met when I was teaching at City of Bath Boys' School at the beginning of the 1960s. He was a pupil there and a very keen member of the angling club I had organised. We have fished together many times since then and kept in touch even after he emigrated to New Zealand.
We vowed that one day we would write a book together, describing our very different experiences - and this is it! It was published by Medlar Press in June 2018.
The last of my books (to date) is a sequel of sorts to "The Net on the Garage Wall", called "One Last Cast". In it I've drawn a final line under my own angling and conservation experiences, bringing things as up-to-date as possible. It's a special book, with numerous fine drawings by Trevor Harrop. Just 200 copies were printed and it was published in December 2019.
I can't stop writing and so I've started work on a biography of one of the greatest of angling authors, J.W. Martin, 'The Trent Otter', with a copious selection of his best work. I'm looking forward hugely to working on that.
Watch this space!