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Stuart Gardiner

Great Essex Species Hunt (so far)

2021 with regards to Angling is for Essex Anglers an interesting exercise to highlight how many coarse, game and sea species our humble bunch of bloggers can produce within the Essex area, now some species will be a big ask like a fresh run Roding Salmon, Chemler Grayling or a Southend Sailfish.

But that leaves a huge scope of very catchable species to be had, if you follow the species hunt section on the blog you can see the species caught so far which isn’t too bad all factors considering what 2021 has thrown at us up till now. https://essexanglers.co.uk/species-hunt/

So far myself my fishing trips have been restricted to Redbridge Lakes, but so far I have managed 8 different species from Redbridge alone with still quite a few more to get. Gibel Carp, Fantail Carp, Ide, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Bream and Tench

For me personally I love this challenge and have always been happy catching a good mixed bag of species regardless of size and fishing simple tactics my favourite so far being on a 3BB waggler in approx 6 feet of water just on the bottom with 4 x #8 stots spread out down the line for a slow drop through and hoping to get a few bites on the drop if fish are are moving higher up. I have been using stot shot weights for 18 months or so now on my waggler fishing as I was finding regular split shot was pinging off playing fish etc and a bit of a pain to be honest, this does not happen with stots and and can be moved / spaced out easily on the line without damaging it I use sizes 1,4,6 and 8 sizes this covers majority of all my fishing needs. Double maggot or chopped worm my go to hook baits the majority of time.

I also favour a feeder set up also fishing a simple helicopter rig using a 20 gram medium open end feeder size 14 or 16 hook with 3 maggots or worm and maggot cocktail hook baits and as water clarity been fairly clear using a dark groundbait mix with maggots plugged in the feeder always produces bonus decent quality fish also.

Now the weather getting warmer been fishing the pole in close 5-6 metres over where the lily pads grow and still in a few swims where last years lily pads still present this method accounted for a good number of decent ide up to a 1lb roach, perch and skimmers.

If you have any decnt fish catches large or small feel free to share them on the Essex Anglers Community Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/662435811013352

Good luck and tight lines to all.

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Stuart Gardiner

Angling and Etiquette Post Lock Down

So with the passing of the 29th March our freedom to fish further afield, night fishing and matches a small part of normality is slowly returning. As its looking likely also that summer 2021 will be a staycation boom in the UK and with the resurgence of angling as a pastime it should be a boom time for fisheries and the tackle industry in general. I see many clubs closing membership due to full quotas of members so on the down side swims and space will be at a premium and with this weeks early summer the banks are extra busy for the time of year.

I see many fisheries moving forward with smart plans with pre booking your and paying for your swim in advance which personally I am a big fan of this saves the usual bum rush of budding Usain Bolts sprinting with a bait box to bags ” that ” swim.

Being fortunate that my local fishery Redbrige Lakes has remained open in line with guidelines prior to 29th March has now become a solely members only fishery and the owner Gordon Bullock made great strives in making the fishery almost self service with lots of great changes to make the fishing easier regarding online bookings to self service bait and tackle purchases that will only speed up getting on the bank and wetting a line. Now its so simple to just turn up pay either online or in payment slip for your fishing and bait and basic essentials. My last 2 trips I have utilised this method paying with PayPal scanner on my iPhone which took seconds to do so.

As anglers we have been very fortunate with superb leadership by the Angling Trust that through this tough 12 months we have been able to continue for the most part with our pastime. with the added pressure on fisheries basic manners and etiquette is a must, be respectful to your fellow anglers if its busy ask what area they are fishing in etc so as to avoid crossed lines and frayed tempers, respect the wildlife its mating and nesting season. I personally am very aware that we are fishing in there back yard and home, this applies especially to leaving discarded line and litter, it takes seconds once you have packed up to have a final look over your swim and check its litter free for the next angler. Good luck and tight lines to everyone out this Easter weekend.

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Roach

Roach ( small but perfectly formed ) Redbridge Lakes, waggler and maggot bait

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Gibel Carp

Gibel Carp, Redbridge Lakes, double maggot on 6 metre pole, fished off rushes. Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Ide

Ide, Redbridge Lakes, 6 metre pole double maggot fished off the rushes. Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Bream

Bream, Redbridge Lakes, double pinkie on waggler fished half way across the lake. Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Rudd

Rudd, Redbridge Lakes double pinkie fished on waggler halfway across lake. Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner – Fantail Carp

Fantail Carp, Redbridge Lakes, 6 metre pole double maggot close to rushes .Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Species Hunt Stuart Gardiner

Stuart Gardiner-Tench

Tench, Redbridge Lakes, 6 metre pole fishing double maggot close to rushes.Follow our Social Media Our Facebook Page Our Facebook Group Our Twitter

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Stuart Gardiner

Bring back ‘ Burbot ‘ ?

Burbot, Lota lota, aka Eel Pout, Lawyer Fish, Lingcod are a holarctic species native to the cold fresh waters of the Nearctic and Palearctic regions found between 40 and 70 degrees North latitudes. Burbot are demersal fish found in deep temperate lake bottoms and slow moving cold river bottoms between 4 and 18 degrees C. Primarily found at depths ranging from 1 to 700 m, these fish prefer fresh waters but are also found in some brackish water systems. These fish often dwell among roots, trees, rocks, and dense vegetation. The last recorded UK caught Burbot was back in 1969 a £100.00 Angling Times reward for spotting it remains unclaimed to this day and now a costed reintroduction plan is being drawn up for Natural England, the government’s conservation watchdog.

From the above data the UK is slap bang in the middle of the Burbots habitat area.

Burbot are large fish known to grow to as much as 1.5 m in length and 34 kg in weight. These fish are yellow, light tan, or brown with dark brown or black patterning on the body, head and most fins. The underbelly and pectoral fins are pale to white. The first dorsal fin is short and is followed by a long second dorsal fin at least 6 times the length of the first and joined to a rounded caudal fin. Burbot have neither dorsal nor anal spines and have 67 to 96 soft dorsal rays, and 58 to 79 soft anal rays, gill rakers are short, pectoral fins are rounded, and caudal fins have 40 ray Like other cods, burbot are also characterised by a single barbel located on the chin. The burbot is the only member of the cod family that lives in fresh water. For several months a year burbot can be trapped under ice – they need cold temperatures to spawn but all that slime and flabbiness provide excellent protection. The are a very voracious predator.

Burbot could also be a beneficiary of, beaver reintroduction which has already taken place in Scotland, Essex, Kent and The Forest of Dean, but these are in fenced controlled areas not fully wild as of yet. Beavers create burbot-friendly habitat which surely must be a win win with one reintroduction species supporting another. The fish has been successfully reintroduced into Belgium and Germany, and there were several river valleys in the East Anglian Fens with good floodplains that could be ideal habitat. Unlike beavers, lynx and sea eagles, they haven’t been gone for long; only about 50 years. Maybe there will some Anglers who still remember catching them ? The cause of the burbot’s disappearance remained “a bit of a mystery” but was a combination of pressures including the disappearance of natural “messy” edges to rivers, including pools, flooded areas and back channels. People did used to eat them ( as with many other species ) but it’s more likely to be water quality and habitat quality slowly degrading since the second world war that caused their disappearance.

Much as changed in our rivers and lakes since 1969 since the last recorded burbot catch in the old west river, Aldreth in Cambridgeshire. I was surprised that this location doing research for this blog was its last sighting. I spent many a happy hour as a youngster fishing the old west and the drains around it in the late 70’s through early 80’s remembering its unspoilt wild stretches it does not surprise me this was this the venue of the last sighting.

Old West River, Cambridgeshire

A few questions from an angling point of view I ask myself with the 50 year gap since its last UK sighting is the burbot suitable for reintroduction, especially since in that time the non native zander has established throughout our waterways as an alternate predator, did the burbot’s demise enable the zander spread ? Should Natural England start to reintroduce would lakes / fisheries stock them ? they could under strict rules by the EA like Wels catfish, I would love to catch them personally as they are a lure and bait caught species that love a cold weather like this arctic February day especially. What self respecting angler wouldn’t fancy catching these on a drop shot, fly or bait set up.