Anglers older than myself tell me that rudd were once common, yet nothing could be further from the truth now. Where they do survive, it is likely that you will find them in all the waters in a locality. It would seem that pure alkaline water is almost essential for rudd, and as the water quality is controlled by the underlying geology it is no wonder that clusters of rudd fisheries should exist. Certainly, if you hear of a good rudd fishery it is worth exploring any other waters in the locality at dawn and dusk for the tell-tale signs of these fish. Don't be put off by shoals of small fish. The lake that I concentrate on is stuffed full of fish of all sizes. A couple of loaves of bread, or a few floating cat biscuits spread across the lake surface will soon interest any rudd that are in residence. Watching big rudd priming and feeding on the surface is certainly an impressive sight. As their huge humped backs clear the water when they attack the food, it is difficult to put a weight on the fish. The very biggest fish tend to be almost saucer shaped. It is not unusual to find fish which are almost as deep as they are long!

Many waters can be discarded as having little rudd potential. You need very pure, clear water for big rudd. You are looking for the type of lake which glistens an aquamarine blue in the afternoon sun. Generally, such clear water is accompanied by huge areas of thick rooted weed. The weed can make fishing a little difficult, but it is just something that you will have to come to terms with. Remember, no weed probably means cloudy water and no food = no big rudd!

At the moment, the Great Ouse river valley is a particularly good area for big rudd. From Bedford down to Ely many lakes can be found that have the potential to produce exceptional rudd. This is not to say that this is the only place to look. I know of big rudd caught from lakes in the Thames valley and from gravel pits as far afield as Essex and Yorkshire.

Rudd are a strange species. Whereas they grow to a similar maximum size as roach, the specimen weight is probably much higher. Where big rudd occur the average weight can be impressive. Two pounders are common and three pounders not unheard of. Perhaps this is just a quirk of fate generated in the last decade, but it does seem that, if you set your stall out on the right water, a huge rudd can be yours. Next week I will let you into some of the tactics which have caught me over thirty two pounders and four three's in the last three years.