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Tom Baird

The Fish Louse

Evening all, Hope you are all safe and well. Looks like their is light at the end of the tunnel. In the mean time I thought I would put my knowledge to good use. I hope you enjoy…..

Stillwater fisheries contain a whole host of parasite and host interactions and one of the most common is Argulus foliaceus, or the ‘fish louse’.  Fish louse have a relatively simple life cycle and are known as ectoparasites, which require the external attachment to a fish host to feed and develop. Argulus deposit eggs within the lake/river and seek out hard substrate to attach. In 2000 it was observed that female argulids lay 2 to 4 egg clutches, then return to a host, before detaching again to lay another batch within 2 to 4 days. These eggs start as a pale yellow and as they develop the darker yellow they become. The egg strings can contain up to 400 eggs. Research carried out in 2007 suggests that these egg strings are more likely to be laid between the water surface and 1m, with lower levels of egg deposition occurring below this, suggesting shallow lakes may proliferate parasite numbers.

 Development of eggs is dependent on temperature and eggs usually hatch above 10°C with the highest numbers seen during mid-summer. During these warmer months, hatching can occur 2 weeks after laying, (anecdotal evidence suggests, this could happen after only 8 days). The first mobile stage of Argulus life cycle is following hatching, where the free swimming metanauplius are well adapted for this life stage and are very mobile in the aquatic environment using developed thoracic legs to seek out a host.

Within a well-balanced ecosystem, such as most river conditions, factors such as variations in depth, flow and relative low numbers of hosts, reduce the likelihood of Argulus finding a host. Should the metanauplius not find a host within 3-4 days, it will die and this results in minor problems due to Argulus in these conditions. However, within a fish farm or over stocked Stillwater, the factors mentioned previous may be more favourable to parasite/host interactions with a greater likelihood Argulus will succeed in attaching to a fish in greater numbers. An increase in fish activity linked to warmer water temperature is likely to improve the chances of interactions with Argulus.

Once attached to a host, which has been seen to be fish, frogs and tadpoles. Argulus begin to develop suckers which enable them to move across the host to feed causing epithelial damage and increasing the potential for infection. Argulus then perform a number of moults, where the adult stage is eventually reached. The adults then mate and females detach from the host, where they will seek to find suitable substrate to lay eggs, leading to the next generation of the parasite. Adults will then seek out another suitable host, where they will feed, detach and lay further eggs. During spring, summer and autumn, it is understood up to 4 generations of Argulus can add to the population, cumulatively adding to greatest infection rates seen in August/September.

As temperature drops towards the end of autumn this process slows down and once temperatures around 10°C are again reached feeding begins to stop. Throughout the winter most adults die and it is the eggs laid in late autumn which over winter and will produce the following season’s population. As such, warmer winter temperatures can increase the likelihood of Argulus overwintering at all life stages, giving rise to a greater outbreak when spring returns.

Possible solutions to reduce the impact of Argulus on fisheries

For example to understand any ecological impacts within a Stillwater trout fishery it is essential that sustained monitoring before, during and after an event is undertaken. In the case of Argulus infections it is important for the trout fishery owner to monitor levels of the parasite affecting fish. This will highlight at what time of the year significant pressure and stress is placed upon the stock. Monitoring of lake temperature should accompany these observations to determine at what point temperatures around 10°C are noted, providing evidence for suitable stock management.

Many trout fisheries choose to undertake single large stockings, which reduces transport costs and reflects well with their members seeing large numbers of fish entering the lake. This method gives the parasite the perfect opportunity to increase the likelihood of a host interaction and greater chance of survival/reproduction. The spring hatch of Argulus makes up the bulk of the lice population at this time.

Consequently stocking large numbers of trout in spring/early summer provides the perfect vector for a population explosion. Trickle stocking, whilst expensive, is a viable option to reduce Argulus population blooms. To reduce costs, it is a good idea to link up with other fisheries in the area to maximise the efficiency of any fish deliveries to an area. If transport costs can be shared, then a greater number of small scale stockings may be possible.

Other stock related solutions to combat high levels of Argulus infection include;

  • Stop stocking during summer – late summer/autumn additions may benefit from low levels of parasite numbers and reducing the period suitable for Argulus reproduction
  • Stop, catch and release – Whilst popular with some anglers, removal of stock through catches will help reduce stress, and parasite interaction potential
  • Maximise stock turn over – target an increase in membership which will aid revenue and further stocking
  • Reduce stock through the winter – Less effective, due to fishing effort.

Further reduction in parasite numbers can be achieved by the removal, temporary or permanent, of suitable egg laying substrate. Studies carried out by C.Williams pers comm demonstrated the addition of plastic pipe suspended vertically in the water column provided an excellent substrate for Argulus to lay their egg strings. These were removed every two weeks and the eggs were left to dry out and die. The pipes were then reinstated and the study continued. Over the course of a 3 month period approximately 12 million eggs were removed from one fishery, suggesting this method may be effective at reducing Argulus numbers. The study required a significant degree of effort which may be restrictive to some fisheries with lower angler numbers, so a programme targeting key spawning times in spring and summer may provide an agreeable alternative to year round collection.

Once again i hope you enjoyed this little read. Please remember this isn’t aimed at one particular fish species.

Tight lines………

Categories
Tom Baird

The Perfect Lake

Running a fishery or club can be difficult, and anglers complaining of low catches and often blanking. Demanding the owners/committee do something to rectify this.

The typical answer is to add more stock to allow anglers to catch. Unfortunately this in most cases makes the situation worse and a very quick downward spiral.

Many fishery traits which are often the basis of poor fishing returns. Fish become stressed if the environment they are situated in, that does not support their needs for healthy growth.

Common stress factors:

  • Poor habitat
  • Lack of suitable spawning substrates
  • Inadequate natural food sources
  • Unsuitable water quality
  • Over stocking
  • Disease and parasites, often as a secondary result of other stress related issues
  • Minimal habitat for predator avoidance
  • Algae dominance

In some cases, if one or more of these elements are not in the right balance, fish will reduce feeding and consequently angler’s catches will reduce. Often the reaction is to stock greater numbers to increase catches, but this is not often effective in a water.

If we look at the stress factors above, a conclusion can be drawn as to what the underlying problems are within the lake and what approach is best to return it to a fishery which is agreeable with anglers.

As primary producers, the plant community are the basis to lake ecosystems, without which, a lake cannot support a healthy fish population. Macrophytes and algae use nutrients entering the lake such as nitrogen and phosphate, to support growth. This growth provides oxygen through photosynthesis, shelter from predators, food and habitat for zooplankton and macroinvertebrates – which in turn are essential food source for fish, bank stabilisation and spawning substrate for certain fish such as Roach. One element not relating to fish, but important to anglers is these plants help to improve the aesthetics of the lake and consequently the angler’s enjoyment. Habitat surveys are a quick and ideal assessment of the lakes ability to support a suitable ecosystem and a plan of this can be drawn up and stark comparisons made with other more diverse lakes.

The picture below shows the various zones and lake depths which plants and subsequently macroinvertebrates and fish can thrive and support healthy growth rates. The various zones will support different communities, all reliant on each other. For example, Tench, will be found in deeper water, utilising the productivity of the lake silt. However, Rudd are surface feeders and will benefit from invertebrates fallen from trees and water lily pad growth such as Nymphaea alba to provide cover for predator avoidance.

Algae

If lack of macrophyte growth is evident, an algal dominance could potentially cause unwanted problems within the lake. Algal blooms can cause dramatic changes in the chemistry of the lake affecting parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, (DO) and ammonia. Without plants to buffer these chemical extremes, fish can become stressed and mortalities are regular occurrences in poorly managed still waters. Water quality sampling is the basis of good fishery management with a fishery owner being better placed to make informed decisions based on known water quality history. Sampling for pH, DO, temperature and ammonia should form the basis of any daily checks, preferably two or three times a day to understand the diurnal changes that occur following increased photosynthesis in the day and respiration of plants and algae at night.

Predator avoidance

The presence of a variety of habitats and substrates provide fish with the necessary hiding places to avoid being eaten by predators. Like all creatures, fish will become stressed if they are unable to seek sanctuary from those further up the food chain. Within any aquatic environment fish will hide from predators under rocks, within macrophytes or in amongst tree roots to avoid being eaten. If they do not have this protection, not only will the likelihood of being eaten by piscivorous fish, birds and mammals increase, but the stress levels within the fish will be heightened, causing the fish to be easily spooked and be less likely to take an angler’s bait.

Lack of spawning substrate

All animals have a desire to breed and foster the next generation. If conditions within a lake are not suitable for spawning, i.e. no gravels or suitable macrophytes, not only does the fishery not increase its stock but stress can also be induced. In the case of Carp,the fish can become egg bound, a condition known as dystocia. Within a stable environment the eggs will be absorbed by the females, if there are extremes in temperature or oxygen levels the eggs can build up within the ovaries leading to possible infection. In extreme cases the fish can die. (www.koi4u.co.za)

Insufficient natural food sources

If the habitat is not there, the invertebrates will at best be sparse and species poor. Within a diverse plant and habitat community the lake will benefit from spring emergence of species such as Common Hawker and Banded Demoiselle, the lake bed will be crawling with the likes of freshwater shrimp and the larva of the marbled sedge. In lakes, one would expect to find blood wormsand water hoglouse, which are more tolerant of poorer water quality and lack of habitat.

This will have a detrimental effect on the fish as the lack of natural food and diversity will impact on fish health. In extreme cases where little or no food is available, fish within the lake rely solely on the input of anglers, which often does not contain all the necessary ingredients for a healthy diet and can be intermittent depending on angler numbers. Biological sampling using fine meshed nets is a useful tool in assessing the taxa within a lake, with the data collected helping to inform the fishery whether natural food stocks are scarce and a possible reason for poor fish weights and catches. A sample of scales from various species could be analysed to ascertain growth rates which would inform whether the fish were putting on suitable growth or whether the fish were stunted due to insufficient dietary requirements.

Stock levels

Whilst there is no information provided as to stock levels, it is an important consideration when assessing the reasons for the faltering catch numbers. A lake overstocked with small Roach and Rudd can have a detrimental effect on Carp weights and numbers. If there are too many mouths to feed within the lake, larger non piscivorous fish may be unable to forage for sufficient food and see a reduction in the number of desirable fish. At the other end of the scale, too few fish may be present due to uncontrolled loss to predation and/or insufficient fecundity of the water. Stock assessments using, netting and/or electrofishing techniques are probably best placed to give an indication of fish numbers. Which would inform on species composition and aid direction of future management.

Proposals

Following habitat, biological and fisheries surveys if it is found there is insufficient natural food due to the lack of habitat and uniform depth, the first course of action may be supplementary feeding. This will allow a short-term fix whilst the following measures are instigated.

Habitat creation should be the primary aim. A number of options are available which will benefit fish productivity, welfare and angler’s enjoyment.

  1. Reprofiling banks and lake bed to increase variation of depth, margins and shelving. This will allow marginal, emergent and submerged plants such as water plantain, to take hold and will provide habitat and shelter for fish and invertebrates. Depth variation is also an important factor when attempting to regulate temperature. A shallow mono-depth lake will warm up quickly over a period of dry, warm weather and in a feature less lake may provide the perfect conditions for an algal bloom.
  2. Stabilise banks using materials such as geotextiles and revegetation. These provide the support to reduce erosion whilst providing more natural habitats. Brushwood mattresses are also useful for stabilisation and can act to capture sediments entering the lake. Tree/shrub planting around the lake is also essential in reducing wind erosion and will further support bank stability. Trees also provide shade, habitat and a food source when shedding invertebrates into the lake.
  3. Add interest within the lake. This can be provided with island creation or floating islands and predator avoidance structure. This will add further diversity and interest to the lake and provide refuge for fish to aid predator avoidance.
  • Monitoring should continue to be a vital tool in fisheries management. Continued chemical, biological and habitat assessment will gauge the success of fishery management and guide further improvements.

  • Once all or some of these measures have been carried out it is essential to give the fishery time to adjust. This may take longer than anglers are prepared to wait, but the message should go out to anglers that the long-term aim of supporting a sustainable fishery far out ways a short-term fix. Following a settling period, if catches still remain low, further surveys can be carried out to ascertain stock density and at this point small scale stockings may be sensible fisheries management.

Whenever carrying out stock assessments/stocking it is essential the correct permits are in place for introductions, use of equipment other than rod and line and when supplying fish.

I hope this helps with your fishery, tight lines…….

Categories
Tom Baird

The Dream

Afternoon all, I hope you are all safe and well on the bank. As anglers we all have that one dream fishing experience, well most of us have a couple. Whether it be fishing for giant Carp in sunny France or a huge Red tail in Thailand. The enjoyment and excitement of actually doing it can be life changing.

I would like to share with you some of my fishing dream which I will be doing this year and in the future. But whatever your dream is make sure you get the most out of it and don’t let it stress you out getting there.

So, up first is my ultimate fishing experience to fish for Sturgeon on the Fraser River in Canada. Now these beauties can go up to 200lbs and more. Staying in a top hotel and fishing for around 7 days (9 days including travel). With wonderful settings and surroundings, what a way to unwind with a friend or family member. Now I have been planning this trip for a few years now (over 10 lol) and have been looking and talking to anglers who have been. I have found an operator who looks good and the reviews are amazing. It is also for a reasonable amount at around £2,500. Cascade Fishing Adventures which are online have all you need to know about your trip. https://www.sportquestholidays.com/fishing-region/north-america/canada/

Up second is deep sea fishing in Sørøya northern Norway for Giant Cod and Wolf fish. The main season for catching enormous Cod is March and April. This is when the massive shoals of Cod travel from the Barents Sea to the spawning grounds located around the north of Norway. After fishing from the boat. I would then hit the shore line for Wolf fish which hide in the rocks waiting for prey.

Finally, but by all means not last is my own trip I am doing here in the UK for a birthday treat with my Dad. After watching Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone fishing on BBC 2, it gave me an idea to travel around the UK to different spots targeting different species from Grayling to Trout. From Scotland to Cornwall, we will travel the country in a camper van and hit some amazing spots.   

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Tom Baird

The Nightmare – KHV

Evening Anglers and a Happy New Year. Well kind of. With the new lockdown now in force, 1000’s of anglers now have to live in the workshop, garage or shed avoiding a divorce sorting out tackle. Your tackle is never going to be so organised and clean.

I am about to move home, but have been avoiding the packing of fishing gear until the last moment. I have no excuse anymore and will now have to pack it away, to be ready after lockdown to get back out there.

Sunken eyes on the left

In my last blog I spoke about Black Spot and it seemed to go down well. I have spoken to a few of you and I was asked to discuss KHV. Most of us know about this dreaded disease, but thankfully if the fishery is run properly and measures are put in place you will never come across this nasty infection.

So, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (also CyHV-3, koi herpes virus or KHV) is a species of virus causing a viral disease that is very contagious to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio).

The disease is mostly found in ornamental koi, which are often used in outdoor ponds or as feeder stock. Unfortulantly we see Koi be added to fisheries as a dream fish to catch. Which I must admit I have caught a few in my time and they are amazing. But this is where we put our other stocks at risk and the heart break seeing a dead 40lb mirror or common is devastating to the angler, but more so to the owner.

The first case of KHV was confirmed in 1999, after a report in 1998. KHV is a DNA-based virus. After discovery, it was identified as a strain of herpesvirus. Like other strains, KHV stays with the infected fish for the duration of their lives, making the recovered and exposed fish potential carriers of the virus. Fish infected with KHV may die within the first 24–48 hours of exposure.

Symptoms of KHV include:

  • Gill mottling
  • Red and white patches appearing on gills
  • Bleeding gills
  • Sunken eyes
  • Pale patches
  • Blisters

Changes in the fish’s behaviour may also indicate the presence of KHV. Behavioural symptoms may include

  • Disorientation,
  • Hyperactivity
  • Isolation, in which the fish detaches themselves from the shoal.

You can help control the spread of disease if you:

  • follow rules for imports – Health checked stock
  • perform regular health monitoring to spot disease early
  • contain outbreaks as quickly as possible
  • use good husbandry practice
  • follow rules when moving fish – EA will help advise you
  • put in place and follow a biosecurity measures place i.e., dip nets/dry nets etc.

If you come across an infected fish or shoal you should inform the owner or club etc. Then you need to report it to –

CEFAS – Email: fhi@cefas.co.uk,  Tel: 01305 206700

Environment Agency – Email: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk, Tel: 0800 807060

I hope you found this helpful and if you’re new to angling you can do your part.

Categories
Tom Baird

Midweek Blues

Afternoon fellow anglers, I hope you all had a great Christmas and you were happy with the fishy bits you received as presents. So, its that time between Christmas and New Year’s. The Turkey has finally run out and looking forward to a lovely joint of roast beef on New Year’s Day.

I haven’t been fishing since last Wednesday. I know it has only been a week but it seems much longer and I was getting the itch to go. Last night we agreed it would be a family outing. But I found myself going on my own. Even though I love fishing with the kids and family, it was nice to hit the banks on my own and reflect on a busy and unusual year.

I was in two minds whether to hit the river or go to a club lake. I thought I would check the river first to see how it was. To my surprise it was quite calm and a steady flow in a certain section. I spoke to some fellow anglers who were already battling the cold and felt it was going to be a good day.

I went up river to a nice spot and started to fish. I hit a nice pocket of Roach and pulled in 17 fish, not bad I thought. I also had a lovely Perch which was a nice treat on red maggots. What I did notice with the Roach, is that some had Black Spot. I thought it would be a good opportunity to explain what Black Spot is and how it ends up on a fish.

Black Spot is a parasitic flatworm that appear as tiny black spots on the skin, fins and flesh of fish. There is no method of control to eliminate this problem. This organism does little harm to the fish. The main problem related with black-spot is the unsightly appearance it may cause.

What is remarkable is the life cycle of the parasite which is quite complex. It starts when a fish-eating bird (Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher) eats an infected fish. The black spot or worms are released and grow to sexual maturity in the bird’s intestine.

The adult worms pass eggs with the bird’s droppings. When the eggs reach water, they hatch into free-swimming organisms which then penetrate snails for further development. Finally, after leaving the snails they burrow into the skin of fish and form a cyst. The fish scales surround the cyst with black pigment that gives the disease its name. If an infected fish is consumed by a bird, the cycle starts again.

I hope you found that interesting or useful. Obviously if the fish is riddled with Black Spot, take as many pictures as possible and report it to the Environment Agency. They should then look to see how serious it is.

Until Next time, Tight Lines…….. Happy New Year…….

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Tom Baird

Christmas Rush

Happy Christmas Eve Eve, Hope you are all well and keeping it together. This week is full of emotion and mixed feelings. As most of our county has been put in tier 4, I’m one of the fortunate ones that are still in tier 2. But as I write my blog, I have just learned we will be joining you as of Boxing day.

Enough of that, this week I was off work as I booked leave. I have an amazing wife who is really organised and we are ready for Christmas, so not much to do. Apart from going fishing and as much of it that I can fit in lol.

Started off on the River Chelmer and had two amazing Pike on the lure. I used bright colours as the water is still up and murky and this seemed to work. Next was a club water of mine and the whole family went as we are all members.

We didn’t do so well there and Unfortulantly we blanked. Which was a bit disappointing due to the amazing day the day before. But that’s fishing for you and was grateful I was with the family and enjoyed the lunch the wife prepared.

Today saw me back on the river, this time the River Stour at Dedham and there was a fast flow and it was up. Whilst there I saw a friend and his Son fishing. So, keeping social distancing in mind we fished the same area.

Again, today was a blank as the heavens opened and we decided to pack up. It was great to see my friend Dariusz and his son Lukas. Lukas is fishing mad and has come on leaps and bounds in just a year of fishing.

The last three days have been great getting out on the bank and enjoyed every moment of it. There was only one bit of the three days that was disappointing and it wasn’t the bit blanking either.

I bumped into two walkers, who stopped to talk to see how we were getting on. They started talking about how Eastern Europeans have been taking fish out of the Rivers and Lakes around the area. Only if they knew that Dariusz and Lukas are Polish. Now Dariusz didn’t say anything, but it must have made him feel mad.

Not all Eastern Europeans take fish and kill them. Dariusz has always had a licence and knows the law behind fishing. Not even all English anglers know that, as I have met so many without licences. We need to take a look at ourselves before we judge and stereotype others.

Sorry for ending on a bit of a gloomy note, but felt it needed to be said. I genuinely wish you all a Happy Christmas. I hope you get the tackle you wanted lol.

Until next time, Tight Lines……

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Tom Baird

Surface fishing with the Walsh’s

Bank holiday Monday was upon me and after speaking to my old mate Matt Walsh who hasn’t been fishing for long, we decided to do a family day fishing. Now that’s four adults and four kids and Baby Pippa. So, in the morning I went to Clacton Angling and got 4 guest tickets for my local club water, as the Baird clan are all members and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Then we met the Walsh Clan at the chosen lake. Matt was happy and we set off down the farm track to our desired location to fish. Now the Walsh Clan haven’t surfaced fished before and have never caught anything over 2lb, so I wanted them to catch some nice Carp from the top.

On the way to our chosen swims, we spoke to a few anglers who must of thought what the hell was going on lol. Once at our swim, I threw some floating pellets out to test out the water. Bang the Carp were on a feeding frenzy. It was great to see Max and Poppy looking at all the Carp on top and they definitely couldn’t wait to catch some (fingers crossed).

As I know this water and its quite easy to catch, we only had two rods working at a time, as we would be running around like headless chickens. So Max was first to cast out, the water started to move and bang! He was in. Max had a new PB, a 6lb 5oz Common. Well done Max.

Next was Harry and it wasn’t long before he was in. Another 6lb Common. Harry loves a Carp and a photo opportunity too. Poppy was up next, it took a bit longer and we had to build up the confidence of the fish, as they had cottoned on to what was happening. Bang she was in with a lovely 8lb 7oz Common. Sophie was next and the girls were winning on weight so far. She was in another Common at 5lb 4oz.

We just kept on going around, all of them caught three fish each. Now it was Matts turn and what a turn. This man wasn’t having any luck and it looked like he was going to throw a strop. It took 7 attempts for him to land a fish, one by one they came off while trying to land them. He was blaming me, the rod and life in general lol. I could not stop laughing and then it happened. Finally, he was in and we managed to land the fish of a life time for him. A lovely little Common, which was the smallest fish of the day. But it was his fish and a new PB for Matt at 5lb 2oz.

We had so much fun and all the kids loved the afternoon fishing. We went back to mine for fish and chips and had a good catch up. Oh, and Matt while at Tesco getting some wine for the wives, accidently headbutted the safety glass at the till point. I have never seen someone jump so much than the poor shop assistant. I was crying with laughter.

Make sure to check out Tacklebox above……..

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Tom Baird

The Pike

Only a few months until I go Piking and I can’t wait. I have already started to sort all my gear out, seeing if I need to get any bits and bobs. Then in September I start setting up my rods all ready to go. I have two dead bait rods (Fox Warrior) with EOS 12000’s and 3x different spinning rods.

I have a large selection of different lures, some of the best are just the plain simple ones. For dead bait I usually use Mackerel, so I get the freezer stocked up. Have caught on all sorts of dead bait, but find Mackerel works for me best.

Once all my tackle is sorted and I’m ready to go, I start planning areas I like to go back to or new ones to try. I travel to these destinations and start looking at the areas on the bank I’m going to target. I look like a kid on a school outing marking the positions on my phone. I like to try different areas, so I don’t always stay in Essex to fish. I like to move around Suffolk and Norfolk too.

Now I have always liked piking and always catch a Jack, but nothing in double figures. Until 2019 the day before close season. I was fishing in Norfolk with a good friend of mine, Nick, and I was a very lucky boy. I went to a top-secret location, we got there at 4pm and at 16:45 I was in!

Nicks knowledge and experience has taught me a lot over recent years. The man is an absolute legend in the world of fishing. Total respect for this angler and we have such a laugh at the same time. Never a dull day when fishing with Nick. Now that’s enough sucking up lol.

A 20lb Pike from Norfolk what a treat, I have got to learn to smile more. To be honest I was crapping myself. The way you handle and treat such a beauty. What a creature, one minute its in the deep stalking prey and then it saw my bait and wham, off the line went screaming on the reel.

Then comes to the photo. I asked Nick to be in this one with me and I was even scared to hold the head end, knowing me I would damage it or something would happen. So, opted for the tail lol.

And then it was gone back into the depths of the River, still now I can’t believe it, what a fish. And thank you Nick, top man.

Categories
Bailey Payne

My River Roding Curse!

Today (Sat 4th July 2020), marked my first early start for a while, arriving at my club River for the first time this season at an early 8am. I decided to Fish a stretch I haven’t yet, haven’t even walked this stretch before. After rain last night and a bit during the week I was hopefuly I’d catch the River at the right time, and it looked good, still had a bit of colour and had good depth. The worrying thing about fishing a stretch of Essex River for the first time is how overgrown is it going to be, am I going to be able to Fish it?

The first spot I decided to Fish looked good, it was just the entry to a small weir pool, although I’m not sure how I’d manage to Fish the weir pool, I can Fish just before the River runs into it, there were some nice reeds so I thought it was worth a shot. I used my normal aim towards River Chub Fishing, blended bread in a cage feeder with breadflake on the hook. My instincts were repaid quickly, missing a very soft bite after a few minutes, I rebaited, recast and waited with anticpation. However, it went quiet for a bit. Always in these moments you wonder if you lost the chance and should move on, that is until a few little knocks, which eventually turned into a forceful bite came along, after a good little scrap I managed to land the featured Chub, no record breaker, but a beautiful condition Fish one I was very happy to catch.

Now, my River Roding curse came back, It seems I am only ever able to catch one Fish from this River each session, I’m happy I don’t blank, but would love to be able to get a few more! My task now was to try and break my curse! I walked down and found some amazing looking swims, which must have been home to a few Chub

But frustratingly, this is where it ended for me, I had a few more knocks, and missed another bite which still baffles me when I think about it! However, for a quick morning session, all I was looking for was to catch, but, my curse continues…

Categories
Bailey Payne

River Wid – Unexpected Catches

At the end of my previous post “Exploration of the Wid”, I wondered what different species I could catch from the Wid and the size of them. A few trips will be crammed into this post, as I done some quick evening sessions with different setups.

Tactic #1 – Bread Flake

My first tactic is what I think is the best way to catch Chub, Bread. Buying a cheap loaf of Bread from Asda for 60p was all I needed for this session. I saved 2/3 slices for hookbait and the rest got some treatment from the blender to create some liquidised bread. I used a simple link ledger rig and decided to hand feed the balls of bread. The first spot I wanted to fish had some dog walkers sitting by it, so decided just to fish close by ready to jump in to claim the spot when they left. The first spot, wasn’t very deep, so didn’t expect any monsters, although while on my walks I did spot some maybe half a pound Chub which I thought could provide some good sport. It didn’t take long before I was getting notifications, although looking back, I think this was the sheer amount of small fish pecking at the bread flake, eventually, a Chublet managed to get in before the smaller fish and take the bread. This fish was only small, but was a good way to spend the time while waiting for the dog walkers to move on. Finally being able to get to the spot I had my eyes on, I had to decide what feature to fish first, it had a lovely over hanging tree and a bit of an undercut bank so was spoiled for choice! I first tried the over hanging tree, and weirdly the pecks from the small fish had stopped, but after a while and only a missed bite I decided to try the undercut bank and from a bit of luck I managed to drop the bread flake on top of a Chub’s nose, and he took it on the drop, providing the best fish I’ve caught from this stretch of the Wid on date of posting. This fish is the featured image Fish.

I then moved to another spot I saw which looked fantastic, as the River was bending and loads of reeds. I chose to stay in this spot a bit longer to see the evening out. It provided me two quick Chublets and then it went a bit quieter, and I was getting very weird bites, each one leading to being snagged. Eventually I managed to catch the culprit of these weird bites! It was a good size Crayfish! The Crayfish must have moved in after they got wind of the bed of blended bread on the bottom of the River, a first for me catching a Crayfish, the hook somehow managed to stay in its claw!

Tactic #2 – Float & Maggot

My next method is also as simple as it can get, I used one of my homemade Pole Floats, a number 10 shot and then a small hook length with single maggot on the hook. I planned on just Fishing the one spot to build up the fish feeding and just catch anything that came my way.

This method provided constant bites, and reminded me of my childhood Fishing experiences, just catching anything no matter what the Size, and it was a good hour or so, catching loads of Fish. I probably caught over 30 Minnows on this session, some of them with beautiful little colours, they’re a fish not targetted a lot, but do have some beauitful colours, my girlfriend also quite enjoyed catching them! The Species I was able to rack up using this method are; Minnows, Roach, Dace (My first and PB) and Rudd (Not photographed) – I was disappointed not to see any little Perch as I was expecting at least one. However, it was a good session with a lot of Fish.

Overall, I’ve loved the evening sessions I’ve had on this River and with it being so local and full of Fish it is definetly one I will see myself going back to often. And hopefully I can find some bigger Chub there too!