2012 – Early January Blog

Crikey, where does the time go? You blink and another month flies past. Anyway, I’m back. Happy New Year.

I hope you all had a great ‘winter festival’ and behaved in a wholesome politically correct way, making sure at each opportunity not to upset any of our fellow countrymen with our harmless religious and pagan rites which they choose to interpret as offending their deeply held religious convictions.

Afraid I’ve no time for such delicacies. It’s not Winter Festival, it’s Christmas, the season of excess, indulgence, intoxication, present giving and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. If anyone has a problem with that then maybe they should emigrate! Christmas isn’t offensive. It’s our heritage. It’s a massive part of our culture and history, as is the stupidity of Pantomime. Or maybe that’ll upset the cross-dressers in times to come.

I see the vertically challenged were rather upset that Snow White had used 7 small children in one show to save a few bob!

I’m more than happy to indulge any of the minority groups with their own cultural festivals but I will not accept that Christmas celebrations in the UK are offensive to anyone. Same goes for the Union Flag and the Cross of St George.

I’ve visited and photographed churches, temples and tombs in China, India, Sri Lanka, America, Canada and many European countries. It has never once crossed my mind to suggest what they do over there be stopped or changed in any way. I have gay friends and attended the biggest Gay Pride march in the UK – and before anyone starts spreading rumours, no, I’ve never been tempted or confused.

Tolerance is a two-way street. Time to live and let live I say or look the other way. Seems to me we’re so afraid of racism and religious fascism that no-one seems quite sure what’s even acceptable any more.

Anyway, moving on. I was doing a bit of last minute shopping in the Meadowhall Centre just before Christmas and happened to notice the security folk had completely rid the place of the down and out brigade – you know, the ones who are skint but always seem able to afford the obligatory bottle of strong cider that they wrap in a carrier bag and a packet of fags. Mind you, there were a few unemloyed folk who slipped under the radar, most notably one Brian Laws, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley manager. He looked to be enjoying his break from football management because I reckon it’s just about the first time I’ve ever seen him smiling!

In between times I had a little dabble on the River Don at Denaby. It may look a bit grim down there but the fishing is phenomenal. Try catching from the Trent with a float and you’ll struggle after October. The Don’s in a league of its own. I had a stone of fish in just a few hours despite using up some two-week old maggots. I had a bream within 5 minutes and once the swim warmed up it was a bite almost every cast.

Fabulous, fabulous fishing.

I Appreciate It’s All Over, But…

Rather than burden the Post Office with lots of unwelcome mail I decided to create my own electronic Christmas card with a fishy theme intending to send it to everyone in my address book. Unfortunately the very first batch overloaded my Sky limit and although a few hundred of you received it, the vast majority of you didn’t. So here it is. Apologies for the delay

 

Keith Arthur sent me a nice greeting, too. At first I was puzzled by his choice of fish, couldn’t see the Christmas connection, and then the penny dropped. Do you reckon he calls this fish Rudolph the Red?

Nice one Keith! ;-p

Now That’s A Coincidence

Come the New Year I was esconced in Devon at Anglers Paradise. It’s a great place for a party. None of this £50 to get through the door and £10 quid a drink, providing you can fight your way to the bar. No, it’s free for residents and invited guests, most everyone makes the effort to wear fancy dress, service is excellent, Zyg kind of leaves the bar open till everyone’s had enough and you only have to stagger 50 yards back to your villa. What’s not to like about that, eh?

While I was down there I bumped into Steve Collett, the guy who won the Trent National and suffered dogs abuse from the barbel police for his fine display of angling. Match fishing has been extremely popular in this country for well over half a Century, growing massively after the last war and becoming a year-round passion since the Angling Times launched its winter league in the 1960’s whereas barbel fishing has been popular for about 5 minutes. Think it through guys…

Anyway, by one of those remarkable coincidences we both became cover stars in exactly the same week, Steve on the front of the Mail and me on the front of the Times and then bumped into each other on the side of a lake in Devon for the first time ever? Bearing in mind we were collectively about 500 miles from home the odds must be astronomical.

It hadn’t been my intention to fish seriously on this visit but the Gods were very kind. Pushing a pole out on Mystery Lake I had so may orfe, chub, tench and carp. Indeed the fish were having it so well I was catching them on a dibber set just a foot deep and we’re talking fish averaging 12oz to maybe a pound and a quarter. I’d guess I had 50lb in a single afternoon when the wind was blowing so hard it bent my brolly pole.

Before leaving home I was invited along to a little wedding blessing for recently wed Terry and Penny Croxall. After 5 days of howling winds and torrential rain the sun shone broke through on the righteous. In true madcap Zyg fashion the happy couple were netted for eternity and promised to honour and obey each other, and go fishing every day.

Cane and Able?

On New Years Day I had a short dabble on the Specimen Carp Lake. Not having any suitable tackle with me Zyg insisted I use one of his rods that he’d picked up at auction. It was a rather fetching split cane model that had been created with loving care for ‘Fennel’ Hudson of the Golden Scale Club.

The internet is the stalking ground of many an antique tackledoyen but I have to say that were I forced to fish with such a bean stick on a regular basis I would take up golf. Those who extol the virtues of cane, the delicate feel, the tweed jackets, deer stalker hats, the Tilley kettles and so on really need to get a grip. Collect these artifacts by all means. Preserve them and display them, but to use them for fishing in this day and age? Don’t be ridiculous! It’s as daft as prefering a Morris Minor over an E Class Mercedes.

Otter Kills – Not A Problem, Is It…?

It’s good to see Martin Salter working for the Angling Trust. It’ll do us no harm to have someone with his political experience in our camp but I fear for his chances of making any great progress on the real issues we face when I read some of the idiotic comments made by anglers. Can someone tell me what it is about otters that blinds so many to the plain and obvious truth?

What kind of excuse merchants can shrug their shoulders when the cream of the country’s barbel populations are wiped out in a matter of months? I nearly choked when I read someone suggesting that these fine barbel were getting old and they would have died pretty soon anyway…! 

For Feck’s sake! So that’s okay then? But do they think the otters then went away? Or is it only barbel that matter? Because they’re slaughtering carp, too. And chub. And perch. In fact they are killing anything and everything that takes their fancy – quite often for no other reason than sport, or, as has been explained, teaching their young how to kill.

To those who say we should be looking at the deeper problem, the lack of fry recruitment growing though to adulthood I say, yes we should. But how far do we actually have to look? Specialist anglers showed no concern for match anglers and the big Angling Associations when river fishing imploded after cormorants began arriving here in their thousands. Cormorants only ate little fish, didn’t they? And once the roach and dace had been thinned out that would leave loads more food for the bigger specimens which in turn would grow bigger. Let the matchmen bugger off to the commercials and we’ll have the rivers, eh? We’ll even be able to pick the best stretches and run them as syndicates…

Well, chickens are finally coming home to roost. Were it not for the EA farms breeding millions of fish at our expense to feed the cormorants we’d be in an even sorrier state because we are currently witnessing a massive decline of big fish across the country, north to south, east to west. We are suddenly waking up and discovering that the past 20 years worth of spawnings have failed to grow on beyond bite-sized cormorant nuggets.

So what realistic chance do we have when fools like Dave Tipping are writing in the Anglers Mail that otters are not a problem! Who is he kidding? I’d like someone to point out this blog to Mr Tipping and then have him follow the link below.

Death on the Wensum

Perhaps he’d then like to contact the Norfolk Anglers and offer to go down there and give them a lecture on how these wonderful creatures have been beneficial to them. Best leave the motor running though, Dave, because you might then be lucky enough to escape without having a large cabbage shoved up your @&$£…!

Look Dave, I appreciate you’ve a book to promote so you need to get yourself noticed but don’t do it by pissing on the hard work that Norfolk Anglers put in to create what was a fabulous fishery, first by regenerating the habitat and then by introducing fingerlings and growing them on. Many of the guys who invested decades of their lives in the project will not be around by the time it can be brought back to what it was, if indeed it that ever happens. They’ll be pushing up daisies or dribbling into their tea in some retirement home.

Otters might not be causing you a problem, but that doesn’t give you the right to tell thousands of anglers up and down the country to stop worrying. The combined effects of cormorants, the irresponsible redistribution of zander and the impact of otters is massive. Speak with fisheries staff at the EA, off the record, and listen to what they are saying. Then maybe, before you decide to spout your biased rubbish in the press, you might spare a thought for others who’s fishing is being systematically destroyed.

Rant over!

Swordsey’s Big Adventure

Did you read the article Lee Swords published on here this week? If you haven’t make a point of doing so. It made me chuckle and most everyone else who read it. Apparently he submitted it to a monthly paper for publication but they were a little afraid it might be too controversial. What, Swordsey? Nah!

Okay, there will be a few moaners who look for the negatives in everything and I’ll answer them with the man’s latest cartoon…

 

For Budding Adventurers

In the build up to my first Himalayan mahseer adventure I contacted a few experienced hands and asked for advice. One of them suggested I get hold of a copy of Jim Corbett’s Man Eaters Of Kumoan. So I did. I paid £20 for it at the NEC exhibition and some scroat promptly nicked it off the stand, so I had to buy another! Although it cost me £40 I hung on every word. It’s a sensational read but when you actually visit the Himalayas it comes alive. You begin to appreciate what these guys went through to protect villagers and the crops they raised.

It’s worth borrowing from the libraray or even purchasing. However, if you just fancy reading it you can download it in various formats by following this link. Best of all it will cost you nothing. How good is that?

If that’s whetted your appetite you can find more treasures by Corbett here.

The days of reading books on the printed page are numbered. The Kindle will do for the book what the iPod has done for the Sony Walkman. You may want to add the web site to your favourites.

Get In There Son!

A call from James Gould had me scrambling to grab the stills and video cameras. Would I mind popping down and photographing a fish? Not when they’re as big as this lump I wouldn’t. Well done sunshine on another new PB! Turning into quite a season, eh James?

Mind you, he’s probably kicking himself over the chance he missed for a real biggie. There’s a trout reservoir just up the road from here that allows limited pike fishing for a couple of days each year. I was going to be away and couldn’t make it but I tipped off James and Stu. It was short notice and they didn’t bother but I imagine they’ll be kicking themselves after reports that a 41lb 8oz fish was landed by a guy on just his third cast!

There’s Only One Way To Resolve This…

We all have our guilty secrets, I guess, but one I’m ashamed to confess is that I frequently watch the Jeremy Kyle Show. I know, it’s not something to be proud of but there’s something compelling about watching a bloke in a smart suit shouting at dumb folk wearing track suits:

‘You should have put something on the end of it then sunshine, shouldn’t you?’

‘Well, well, well… He/she was lying on every count!’

‘The DNA results show…’

‘Canabis makes you paranoid, you do know that, don’t you? Look at you!’

‘With the help of Graham and the back room team we’re going to do everything we can to help you…’

‘You go left, you go right. Graham’s waiting for you backstage.’

If the Prime Minister ever needs to know how tragically the Big Society is broken then he should just sit down and watch the highlights of any given week’s worth. It’s not like these folk are thin on the ground or localised. They’re everywhere and it’s almost like Kyle has replaced the country’s Social Services on his own.

There’s a thread currently running on the Leeds and District web site that’s absolutely made for the Jeremy Kyle Show. Reminiscent of the Kyle show degenerates the guy at the centre of the storm, currently banned from Leeds waters, is offering to undertake a lie detector test:

“I have nothing to gain or lose by telling the truth given a ban has already been imposed but I firmly believe in my right to give my account of events that night. I would also like to make readers aware of the fact that I have notified delegates and the editor of Angling Times ( thank’s to their admitting the story was a inaccurate and biased account) that I am willing to fund and undergo a polygraph test and to pay a sum of money to a charity of their choice should my account of events be found untruthful.”

Take a look for yourself

Forget the handbags, forget the ban imposed, the he said-she said, threats, counter threats and all the rest, the fundamental wrong here doesn’t involve people, it’s about what constitutes a reasonable amount of time to retain fish in a keepnet. Given that nets are legal and in common use, shouldn’t the Angling Trust be showing a bit of leadership? Promoting a keepnet code? At one extreme we have the barbel gestapo demanding barbel are never put in keepnets (but have this crazy notion a Queenford retention system – a tiny keepnet by any other name – is satisfactory) and at the other we have tench anglers thinking that keeping fish for 24 hours or more is fine.

A Date For Your Diary

Had a call from Sky Sports today inviting me to appear on Tight Lines on Friday 27th January. Really looking forward to that as I’m hoping to preview some exclusive footage from the series of DVDs that Stu and I have been working on for the past year or so. I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s some sensational stuff but you can make up your own mind when it’s broadcast.

For those who don’t have a Sky subscripton I’ll post a link that allows you to download the show free of charge and play it on your computer.

I’ll Go The Whole Wide World

So promised Wreckless Eric…

Which is a rather tenuous link to the fact that I was looking at my Google Stats the other day. How anyone actually understands the use and fineries of these masses of data is beyond me but one thing that intrigued me was how a web site like this reaches out to the whole wide world. In the past month it has attracted visitors from no less than 84 different countries which is remarkable.

The most popular being the United Kingdom (of course), but the leading nations include the United States, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Bulgaria, Sweden, Portugal, Serbia, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Croatia, Switzerland, Finland, Isle of Man, Slovenia, Jersey, Denmark, Georgia and Greece.

Amazing, eh? Surely they can’t all be spammers!

Des Is Back! – Or Is He?

Flicking through the Angling Times I noticed Des Taylor is back with a new column called The Diary Of A Countryman. I’ve known Des for a long, long time and have the highest regard for him. In years gone by he inspired me with his fishing exploits but whoever came up with the idea of turning him into the new Fred J Taylor wants shooting.

Are we to presume he no longer has the desire or the passion that had him travelling everywhere and anywhere at the drop of a hat to catch specimen fish? Has the loudmouth, campaigning, bloke’s-bloke been put out to grass? What happened to the character we loved who had an outrageous opinion on everything and was never afraid to share it?

Reading about being ‘up as fresh as a daisy on Boxing Day to watch the Droitwich Hunt’ and attending a starter course on birds of prey cuts no ice with me. It smacks of a sell-out. I want Des to write about what he does best and that’s catching fish. I don’t want to learn how to cook a rabbit, shoot a pidgeon or smoke bacon, I want to read about his angling exploits. Don’t you?

Didn’t See That One Coming…

Al Hadj Diouf reckons to have signed an 18 month contract with little old Doncaster Rovers and he’s already talking about wanting to win promotion to the Premiership. Personally I’ll settle for getting out of the bottom three if that’s okay. One step at a time.

When Diouf was pushed on his strike partner Sharp, the response was a very positive one, “Billy is the main man who does a lot for the club and I want him to stay because he’s a great player,” he said. “If you don’t watch football and you are told about Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday, you don’t know any of their players, but everyone knows the players of Doncaster Rovers.”

I’m sorry but who is Diouf trying to kid? Even I don’t recognise half the players turning out in a Rovers shirt these days as they seem to rotate every other Thursday to boot!

And how surprising the stellar signings were all unavailable for the January 2nd fixture. Of the ten outfield players who took the field against our nearest rivals Barnsley, Saunders had no choice but to play nine from Sean O’Driscoll’s original squad. And what did they do? They won, of course. With a clean sheet.

In the two previous games, featuring a cast of superstars, we shipped 7 goals. Now he’s saying Billy Sharp will probably be gone before the end of January…

Best we can hope for is that he goes to a decent team – certainly not a Leicester or an Ipswich or even Dull City. Big Sam could use him at the Hammers and he’d fit in well at Southampton having played with their manager at Scunthorpe. Failing that he should be Premiership bound. Guy’s definitely too good for us.

Oh well. If it takes relegation or even administration to get rid of Saunders I’ll take it. The bloke’s come from the Conference and that’s where he belongs. Just don’t want him around when we end up back there. Seriously I don’t even fancy us against Notts County (at home) in the cup this week with him in charge.

33 thoughts on “2012 – Early January Blog

  1. It’s about Dave Tipping ‘woke up and smelled the coffee’

    He used to claim that cormorants weren’t a problem and now he’s claiming the same about otters. His main defence is that if we try to cull birds or otters the public will turn against us. Well I say, ‘So what’.

    It’s about time us anglers stopped worrying about such things and started to defend our fish and the environment. Angling will never be banned by any government because of many factors. These include about £25 million quid going to the EA every year not to mention the vast amount of money turned over by the varoius jobs created by the angling industry. Oh, and over a million votes helps too!

    And speaking of £25m going to the EA, this should give us more of a say than anyone else when it comes to matters in the countryside, because we’re the only people forced to pay for the pleasure of using it.

    I’ve only been fishing for 20 odd years and in that time I’ve seen our rivers shrink to almost nothing through abstraction plus all the roach and dace eaten by cormorants. The few specimens that do make it are now going to be’ otter fodder’ These are worrying times, not just for an angler, but from an enviromental point of view. It’s about time we all united and joined the Angling Trust, who in turn must fight hard for us, not only on the cormorant and otter front, but about abstraction too.

    I’ve always liked Dave’s writing, but now I couldn’t give a monkeys about him. Angling needs people standing together and fighting it’s corner, not selling out in case we upset some ‘tree hugger’

    • Chris Ponsford says :

      Speaking as an angler and in no other capacity ,I had a phone call the other day from an angler I met on Adams Mill ,and who was one of the keenest I met down there,and he was successful too,last season he had 4 different Chub over 7lb to nearly 8lb,plus Barbel to 16lb.

      This year ,he has had 15 trips ,has not seen any fish whatsoever ,not had a bite of any description ,and was ringing me to advise him of somewhere up on the Severn or other local rivers ,to me,where he might actually catch a fish.

      Very few anglers are bothering any more on Adams or the old great haunts of yesteryear.

      I myself regularly made the long trips down for barbel,perch ,chub and had fair success,however it declined fairly fast,and all my old chums from down there now come up to my area,just to catch some fish,size no longer a prerogative.

      This great denial of predation,be it Otters,Cormorants ,illegal fishing by Eastern Europeans ,or abstraction of water for crops on already low waters in summer,plus brutal flood defense work has effectively finished the smaller rivers,fish stocks are appalling on many once flourishing ,weed filled waterways .

      What really annoys me is the denial by “names” ,or organizations ,some of them single species ones,and by folk who are living in cloud cukoo land.

      It would seem only the larger rivers are surviving ,the sheer size and fish stocks sufficient to protect fish stocks,hence the popularity of Wye,Trent,Severn.

      As an old angler it is heartbreaking to see what has gone on,and how the waterways have been allowed to be reduced to barren wastelands ,some with barely a trickle of water in summer,and others bone dry .
      Two anglers are coming with me on fishing days this summer,having paid a very generous sum to the Barbel Society Conservation Auction.
      I do wonder where the approx ,£6000 raised by the whole auction will be spent,and what it will conserve,baring in mind the Societies stance on Otters .
      Saddened of Worcester.

  2. Let me say at the outset that my comments in Angler’s Mail are genuinely held and had nothing to do with promoting a book. I’m not about to change my views because some people strongly disagree, and I reserve the right to express them even if it makes me a fool in the eyes of a section of the angling community.

    Let’s take carp to start with. True wild carp are rare, the vast majority are selectively bred. They are not an indigenous species either and are only widespread because they have been extensively stocked. They don’t even breed successfully in the majority of British waters. If you selectively bred antelopes to be large, fat and slow, then turned them loose in an African game park, you can bet the lions would be eating well for the next few weeks. Enough said.

    I’ve no criticism of the good work done by NACA in improving habitat on the Wensum, but the fact is there was never a self-sustaining barbel population there. Ditto the Great Ouse. It was an artificial situation that could only have been maintained by further stockings. Otters merely exacerbated a problem of anglers’ own making.

    I’ll repeat what I said in the Mail – barbel have thrived alongside otters for countless millenia. If there is an problem with barbel or any other fish, it goes much deeper than predation.

    For the record, Mike, I still don’t have an issue with cormorants and I don’t give a monkeys what anybody else thinks! The angling press has been full of sensationalized reporting on predators but I prefer to make an objective judgement based on my own observations.

    This will be my only comment on the matter as I do not intend to get drawn into a slanging match.

    • Ok then Dave, I hope you’re very lucky and don’t have your favourite fishing places destroyed by cormorants. To be honest, when all the cormorant headlines first appeared, I too wondered what all the fuss was about. It took several years before I saw one, pointed out by my friend Martin. We started seeing more and more where we fished, then one surfaced in the middle of my swim on a drain I was fishing. A year later most of my favourite spots had been ruined.

      Where I live, near Doncaster, I’ve seen the rivers Torne, Ryton and Idle decimated by them. Not artificial stockings of barbel, but thousands upon thousands of prime roach, dace and chub. Remember the ‘Gas House Bite’ in Doncaster? One of the best winter roach fisheries in the land, now wiped out. Add to that the River Glaze, where I used to catch unbelievable roach bags to over 2lbs. in fact most places in the country that held good roach and dace are now destroyed.

      Then there was the River Wear that I used to fish. I watched with my own eyes as the ‘black death’ arrived and ruined a magnificent fishery within months. Dace averaging 10oz and going to British record sizes wiped out by a non indigenous species. You struggle to get a bite there now.

      Why is Britford the only stretch of the Hampshire Avon to hold a decent population of roach these days? The answer is that the river keeper is out before dawn each day with his shotgun. The cormorant has simply wiped out most good roach and dace fishing in the UK

      The artificial stockings of otters will only accelerate the decline of angling. Artificial stockings Dave, because they weren’t spreading so far and wide on their own were they? They weren’t re-colonising on their own for a reason, there isn’t the fish stocks to sustain them.

      Let’s wind the clock back 20 or so years to a time before commercial style fisheries, this includes both specimen carp and match style lakes. If we just had natural venues to fish (by natural I mean no artificial stockings of carp etc) the rivers, canals and lakes we fish would be shocking. Places where anglers have fished for years are now barren. Without commercial fisheries and continued stockings of fish by the EA, angling would be almost finished. People wont fish when there are no fish to catch.

      Still don’t give a monkeys Dave? If not, shame on you.

      Mike

  3. If there are no fish there will no otter, The Teme has otter and always has and you can still catch good fish.
    The Great Ouse is still showing top quality chub and perch on a regular basis,I can’t speak for Adams Mill but fat old fish die!
    Recruitment is the problem and numbers of small rivers have been sucked dry by the water companies, gravels have become caked with sediment so spawning sites are few and far between.

    And Chris if you want to see where the Barbel Society R&C money goes just look at the recent Press release.
    I could link to the BS site but that’s not in Bob’s interest as it drags people elsewhere.
    If you were that concerned about BS policy why did you offer your services ?

    Like Dave I shall not be following this up, it’s the same old song and nobody who keeps shouting about it appears to want to deal with it !

    In my personal opinion our problem is the water companies, the rest is minor by comparisom.

    NO WATER – NO FISH – NO OTTER!!

    The Policy statement
    The Barbel Society shares the concerns of many anglers regarding the possible effect of otter predation on barbel, both in terms of large specimens and general stocks of smaller fish.
    Although some rivers appear to be suffering more than others from a perceived decline in barbel stocks, the Society would welcome concerted efforts from the Environment Agency and Natural England to establish the real effect of increased otter numbers on stocks of riverine fish.
    We would support closer and more regular monitoring of fish stocks, and greater research into the population and diet of otters, as well as the mitigation stocking of barbel into the worst affected rivers in conjunction with habitat restoration.
    We would also ask for confirmation that no more otter introductions will occur without a full environmental impact assessment, and full consultation with riparian owners and angling interests.
    The effects of predators on fish stocks is a complex and emotive issue, and the role played by invasive alien species such as signal crayfish, cormorants and mink are viewed with concern also.
    Control of predator numbers, if appropriate, and habitat restoration must be given greater priority, and the Society remains willing to continue to work in partnership with angling interests, EA, NE and other relevant authorities to protect and maintain self sustaining levels of riverine fish stocks.

  4. Fred, If the Teme has had otters for a long time and you can still catch fish then good. Obviously there is enough fish and fish recruitment to suit them. If it has always had otters then they obviously haven’t been artificially introduced like they have in many other areas.

    I don’t know about fat old fish dying at Adams Mill and I hope someone who has seen first hand how the stretch has suffered will comment. What I have seen is many photos of prime specimen fish with their throats torn out and eaten. These photos have appeared in several angling publications from a number of members who fished there. That doesn’t sound like fat old fish dying to me Fred. More like prime specimens being partly eaten because there are no eels or small fish to eat.

    Recruitment is a problem, but has more to do with cormorants than anything else. The remaining populations of roach and dace in my local rivers are still breeding, bringing false dawns. What the cormorant is very clever at is knowing when to return to a water that it has previously decimated.

    I agree that water companies and abstraction are a major problem, but lakes are suffering just as badly and they are just as full of water as they have always been. This points that other problems are causing this major decline in fish numbers and that major problem is the cormorant, now aided and abetted by the otter. One, an alien invader that eats the smaller fish, the other, an artificially introduced apex predator that can’t eat small fish because there are none left, so eats the larger specimens.

    Still a minor thing Fred?

    It seems a lot of people who think we don’t have a serious problem are the NIMBY’s (Not in my back yard) who, just because their local water or waters don’t have a problem, don’t seem to think there is a problem.

    Mike

    • “The Great Ouse is still showing top quality chub and perch on a regular basis,I can’t speak for Adams Mill but fat old fish die!
      Recruitment is the problem and numbers of small rivers have been sucked dry by the water companies, gravels have become caked with sediment so spawning sites are few and far between.”
      Said Fred,

      Dear God ,the BS really do have there heads in the sand still,and whils’t I have no truck with individuals anymore,as an Organisation they have some incredibly backward views,and it looks to me as if old Fred must be looking through rose tinted specs still,and whatever anyone says ,breath and words are a pure waste of time,get of your retired backside Fred and go and catch some of these Gt Ouse fish Fred,and post the photos, I wont hold my breath,cos I will be dead with the wait.

      “If you were that concerned about BS policy why did you offer your services ?”
      Said Fred,

      Because your illustrious leader,Steve Pope asked me ! and if I can help in a small way and give up some of my busy time and give a bit back to angling I will.
      I dont have to agree or like everything the BS does,and am not a member as you know.

      Pons

  5. As I’ve said before, you pick on me I’ll give it back!

    Your life pretty much follows mine, but I’m not selling myself.
    I do it because I enjoy what I do, despite the BS knockers.

    • I was going to respond to Mike so here goes.

      Now then Mike, from one who is not that far from you back yard. What you have seen is photographs of dead fish that have been eaten, nobody witnessed the catching of one by an otter to my knowledge.

      There are obviously still fish in the river, as highlighted above, are you telling me that the otter is only eating barbel?
      I don’t think so, if the otter is, or was catching them, they were the over fattened old fish, not fit or able to escape!

      What I do agree with is your view on poor recruitment, and also in particular the cormorant, and now gooseander. There are licences to shoot cormorant available, not many taken up by fishery owners I seem to recall, from a report not too long ago.
      As for lakes, the chicken in the coop and the fox comes to mind, why would an otter go chasing down a river for wild fish when you can get hold of pet fat fish trapped in a muddy puddle?

      Thanks by the way Bob!

      • Boy, that sparked a debate, eh?

        I’ve completed my essay on The 10 biggest Threats To Angling – click on latest updates (top of page, RH side, or in Editorial).

        No doubt that will spark another!!!

        Enjoy.

        Bob

  6. Very interesting retorts. But getting back to our original problem, isn’t it in the main, our own fault as anglers, for being too apathetic. Surely a minimum of 1,000,000 million angler’s letters arriving at 10 Downing Street would certainly make someone sit up and take note. Maybe what is really needed is a mailing campaign to really tell the powers that be, what we think of their actions.

  7. Keen eyed readers might spot that I’ve removed a post. This was not some draconian admin policy, it was done at the request of the poster who admitted he’d been a little hasty and over-stepped the mark. You have to respect that and it’s not the first time this has happened on here.

    Of course, I’ve removed the comments this outburst provoked as well. It would have been done sooner had I not been fishing today. Apologies if anyone was offended in the mean time.

    Can I make something quite clear here, particularly to Dave Tipping and any potention new posters who may not be aware of how things work around here.

    I actively discourage name calling and tit-for-tat point scoring in the comments left by site visitors although I do encourage debate and passionate exchanges of views – providing it doesn’t get personal. When that happens I intervene. It never has been and never will be my intention to allow anyone to use this site as a means of attacking fellow anglers.

    Carry on…!

  8. Just for the record

    From this week’s Angling Times: Upper Ouse:
    Chub of 6:15 caught in a match, a 7:12 caught on the float. Perch of 3:10 and 3:7 in a session by the same angler. All within otter swimming distance of Adams Mill.

    It would appear that the otter of the Upper Ouse only eat old fat barbel !

    I’ll say no more

  9. Happy new year Bob…looks like 2012 will be just like any other in the barbel world with folks biting lumps out of each other!

    I had a good laugh at the posts you removed but had to agree with both posters on some points they made. Fred is Fred and the pon’s is the pon’ s, a guy I have found very helpful in the past.

    Regarding the fish kills at Adams Mill I don’t think there can be any doubt that the barbel found up the bank were killed by otters. It could also be said that they were not over fattened either I am sure that the anglers who were fortunate enough to catch any of them would support that.

    Perhaps some of us over fattened old humans should be looking out for tarka!!

    Otters are here some anglers love to see them some don’t, I see them all the time when I fish the Teme what effect they are having only regulars on that river know.

    Perhaps the Angling Trust can achieve something but I don’t expect things to be done quickly, it just does not happen where angling is concerned.

    A final comment if I may Bob, I don’t think your own words helped in this blog.
    ” So what realistic chance do we have when fools like Dave Tipping are writing in the Anglers Mail that otters are not a problem”

    Just a thought Bob,

    Kind regards and happy new year to you Bob and all who read your blog.
    Ray

  10. Fred said ,”There are obviously still fish in the river, as highlighted above, are you telling me that the otter is only eating barbel?”
    “I don’t think so, if the otter is, or was catching them, they were the over fattened old fish, not fit or able to escape!”

    Are you not familiar with big fish m,be it river or lake conserving energy in cold weather,barely moving or feeding ,Fred ,not because they are fat or immobile,but it’s what they do in inhospitable conditions.

    What I find truly baffling is your own and leading members of the BS complete non acceptance of the massive damage that has been done to fisheries countrywide .
    On the same point I am reminded of the Chairmans and Fred Crouches views on fishes ability to smell food and hunt it out to eat .Again comical.

    Regarding licences to shoot Cormorants . I think you will find folk take the law into their own hands and just do it when it suits when their livelihood is threatened .
    If Charlie Fox comes visiting chickens or Pheasants ,i’ll wager he doestn’t do it too often,and up my way lamps and pick ups are regular visitors across fields ,along with high velocity rifles.

    Did you hear about Barbel being discovered on the Moon ,Fred ,? It’s the next big thing .

  11. So Chris, otter only feed in winter now!!

    The AM barbel were fat, it was like an aquarium with the fish waiting to be fed
    As for
    “What I find truly baffling is your own and leading members of the BS complete non acceptance of the massive damage that has been done to fisheries countrywide .”

    We’ve not indicated that, I certainly haven’t either, it’s in black and white at the end of the first post from me, above in our statement!
    We may not be flapping about in mock rage doing nothing, we are active though

    As for Fred C’s views, they are that views, what’s your view then?
    Did he really say that barbel smell out their food ?
    I’m not as certain he did as you appear to be with your ridicule, but I’ll have a look, it’s in BF 27

    You see Chris, you constantly mislead with your comments, something you have always done, check your facts!

  12. Pons wrote:
    “On the same point I am reminded of the Chairmans and Fred Crouches views on fishes ability to smell food and hunt it out to eat .Again comical.”

    I’ve just read Fred Crouch’s article and guess what, he doesn’t !!

    I rest my case on my views of anything that emanates from the pen of The Pons!

  13. Adams Mill an aquarium and the fish were waiting to be fed, well that comment had me rolling all over the floor in stitches. How can anyone who never caught any of the mills big fish keep banging on that they were fat? Old they may have been but fat I think not. Sorry Fred you are wrong.

    Ask the many anglers who failed to catch any of them if they were there waiting to be fed! Ask the list of record holders if they were fat, ask the quite man of barbel fishing Adrian Busby if they were fat or waiting to be caught I know exactly what their response will be.

    I caught some very nice barbel from the mill and not one of them was fat or waiting to be fed. The Mill fish were a phenomena the pictures are out there published by the many captors and not one picture shows any of them as fat. These fish seem to have been a freak strain and able to grow to phenomenal sizes no one knows why.

    I also witnessed the biggest barbel brace ever caught at 19.1 and 17.6 possibly from the same strain and year class. One of them was believed to have travelled upstream from the mill and believe me these two fish were in suburb condition with no fat on them.

    I seem to remember Guy Robb catching a young fish that he believed would out grow all the others. If he or Stuart Morgan are looking in would they say the mill fish were fat?
    Kind regards
    Ray

  14. Ok Ray, I may give on that.
    There’s a chance that my responses have been tinged with a bit of anti-hysteria, set against the arguments put forward by some, and that pervades every discussion on the otter.
    Just because Bill’s mate’s, mate, his brother and the bloke down the roads cousin,claim that otter have killed all the fish doesn’t make it so.
    Nobody has seen the otter hoards actually decimating our rivers, and I’m sorry but carp puddles get what they deserve.
    This argument has been going on for sometime, and still we are no clearer,so I would say to all the ranters, get some facts, or put you money where your mouths are and support proper research into the subject.
    Having said that, by the time it takes to do that research the doom mongers could well be proved right, so they should have put some weight behind the Angling Trust some time ago.

    Anyway, I only came back on here after my first post, to tell The Pon’s that he makes it up as he goes along.(or words to that effect)

    So,I’ll see you all again…maybe when CLOSE SEASON rants start again ;O)

  15. Ok Ray, I may give on that.
    There’s a chance that my responses have been tinged with a bit of anti-hysteria, set against the arguments put forward by some, and that pervades every discussion on the otter.
    Just because Bill’s mate’s, mate, his brother and the bloke down the roads cousin,claim that otter have killed all the fish doesn’t make it so.
    Nobody has seen the otter hoards actually decimating our rivers, and I’m sorry but carp puddles get what they deserve.
    This argument has been going on for sometime, and still we are no clearer,so I would say to all the ranters, get some facts, or put you money where your mouths are and support proper research into the subject.
    Having said that, by the time it takes to do that research the doom mongers could well be proved right, so they should have put some weight behind the Angling Trust some time ago.

    Anyway, I only came back on here after my first post, to tell The Pon’s that he makes it up as he goes along.(or words to that effect)

    So,I’ll see you all again…maybe when CLOSE SEASON rants start again ;O)

  16. “This argument has been going on for sometime, and still we are no clearer,so I would say to all the ranters, get some facts, or put you money where your mouths are and support proper research into the subject.
    Having said that, by the time it takes to do that research the doom mongers could well be proved right, so they should have put some weight behind the Angling Trust some time ago.”

    What research is needed ? Anyone who actually fishes,or visits the small rivers already knows the facts,and are traveling to the larger rivers for some sport .
    It’s wasted breath and words ,when folk are blind,deaf and stupid and just want to pump hard earned money into pointless research when we already know the answers .
    As Duncan Bannatyne says , “And for that reason,I.m ‘oot !”

    • I certainly wouldn’t put money in that research, but if you keep shouting otter….killers of my fish,
      who do you think is going to take notice of a few blokes looking for easy fishing, Chris?

  17. Nice to see the otter problem make the Daily Mail (online) today even if it was expensive koi carp from people’s garden ponds. Maybe a few more high profile celebrity types losing their fish can have an impact on the government and media, as neither seem to listen to us anglers very much.

  18. Where on the easiest fish to ctach scale do Barbel lend in an Otters spectrum, Chub the slightest shadow spooks as do most fish. I for one last year was out spotting Barbel watched 1 – 3 Barbel on seperate occasions doing what Barbel do, after a while stand up wave my arms to no response, jump up and down = no response, and finally throw small, then larger pebbles at them to no avail.

    easy prey imo, I am not anti Otter but to the detriment of other fish species it does it does rally my Anti Otter sentiments. Would it not be an ill feeling by myslf to see all rivers with good spread of all fish and birdlife doing well, than a river on its back, thinking where did it all go wrong…..

    Great Blog Bob

  19. Boy, I touched a raw nerve with the otter problem, eh?

    A few fractious replies, as expected, but within reason everyone has behaved, so I thank you for that. I prefer posters to stop, think and moderate themselves before posting rather than deleting insults and bitter attacks.

    Dare I say the replies beneath my posts have mellowed over the past couple of years since certain individuals were detered.

    The passion in both camps is plain to see here. Rather than respond to individuals I’m going to construct a response in the form of an article summarising the key points and my personal view on the wider subject of fish preservation. Soon as I get a chance, that is. Fishing again tomorrow!

    Got to try and catch something before the otters get ’em all!

    • Can i just say that the “otter problem” in itself doesn’t touch a “raw nerve” with me.
      What did though was an individual personalising and ridiculing others views, a sure sign of his failed reasoning.

      I’ll say it again as it was deleted, the otter are not our real problem , the water companies are whom we should be uniting against.

      We will not win any arguments when it comes down to the, kill them all,approach espoused by some!

  20. “I’ve no criticism of the good work done by NACA in improving habitat on the Wensum, but the fact is there was never a self-sustaining barbel population there. Ditto the Great Ouse. It was an artificial situation that could only have been maintained by further stockings. Otters merely exacerbated a problem of anglers’ own making”….Dave tipping…..

    Excuse me if this comes across as, Trying to make you look silly or of the depth of two blanks….But…..Ok as you say on the Ouse this was an artificial situation…….But my god didn’t it do well and for all the right reason….!

    Before you start making invaild opinions try thinking about what you are saying.The otters were reintroduced after this artificial situation was created……

    WHY wasn’t the nearby rivers and lakes observed beforehand and appropriate measures taken to make sure that the otters had a reliable food source in the way of stocks of sliver fish that they once had before the Appearance of the Cormorant. Which was one of the main reason for the demise of the otter in the FIRST PLACE……

    What happens once all the big fish have gone……OHHH yeah don’t worry they still got three feet of cray fish at the bottom of the river/lake to help them.

    BACK@ you MR TIPPING…..

  21. The stance of the BS has to be taken in context.
    I take the view,like many others,that there are situations and locations where otter reintroductions are having a huge impact on ecosystems and the balance of the river in question.However,to assume that it is a national problem would be a mistake.The recent e petition for a cull based on financial reasons pushed the debate (and action) further from where it needs to be too.
    The issue is that by the time anyone is prepared to accept or admit that otters were introduced in a possibly ad hock way they will have done the damage and by the time that a science based decision to limit numbers has taken place they will have died anyway…….. the balance of life will have happened.
    The key is to stop any further introductions!!

  22. Bob ,
    It’s your site and blog,but if comments are deleted,shuffled around ,and the last word is Freds Jan ,13th,there is plainly some bias going on here .
    Context is confusing when it is posted out of order or deleted.

    Single species groups are the bane of angling ,they all believe they are right,and no one else exists.

    The future is not bright.

    • Morning Chris,

      The comments I deleted were actually Fred’s, so please, lets not have claims of bias towards him!

      I have no control over the order that posts are published, that’s down to whatever time someone posts and the WordPress software.

      I do however reserve the right to remove any comment that I deem personal or offensive although this is invariably subjective.

      Otters are emotive. I agree with you, the future is not bright and I’m currently writing an essay on that very subject this morning. Please be patient until I’ve finished it, then come back firing both barrels by all means…

      😉

      Bob

  23. Thanks Bob ,I am sure I will ,”ave a word”,in an appropriate manner .
    Tomorrow am off Piking down the Wye ,ah,now that will be fun ,bring it on .

    The Pike down there eat Otters !

    Regards,
    Pons

  24. IFM Predator of Fisheries Workshop (18/02/2012)

    The Institute of Fisheries Management in conjunction with the Environment Agency’s Fisheries and Biodiversity Team in Yorkshire are hosting this workshop. The aim of the workshop will be to deliver the facts about these potential pressures on our fisheries, and how we can manage, and live alongside these various creatures.

    We have a whole host of experts giving presentations:-

    Ian Russell (Cefas) will be giving an in-depth talk on the use of fish refuges to reduce damage by cormorants at inland fisheries’.

    Stephanie Peay, University of Leeds: How do invasive crayfish affect fish and fisheries? Freshwater crayfish are keystone species in aquatic food webs. They have long been known as prey items for fish, but there is some evidence to suggest that invasive non-native crayfish at high densities have the potential to modify ecosystems and have significant adverse impacts on populations of fish.

    David Tipping, Angling Author and Naturalist: ‘Otters – An Alternative Viewpoint’ by
    A menace or a scapegoat? A look at man’s role in altering the balance of freshwater fish populations. Are otters merely exacerbating problems of our own making? What are the angling world’s moral responsibilities towards this indigenous mammal?

    Derek Pye, Hull and District Angling Association Fisheries Officer: Otter Fencing a large specimen carp water and fishery complex.

    Ian Wellby, Blue Roof: Predator proofing your fishery.

    Tim Paisley, Predator Action Group: ‘Why the Predation Action Group?’

    We are also having more presentations regarding otters and seals too.

    There will be plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask the panel questions so we are hoping the day will provide all the answers to anglers and fishery owners questions. The event is to be held at Goole Leisure Centre, in East Yorkshire on Saturday 18th February 2012. Attendance of the event is by advance ticket only, these are available at the cost of £10 (tea, coffee and buffet lunch is provided), by emailing organiser Mike Lee at careers@ifm.org.uk for more information see the event section of the IFM website.

    The Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) is an international organisation of people sharing a common interest in the modern management of recreational and commercial fisheries. The IFM is dedicated to the advancement of sustainable fisheries management. We are a non-profit organisation controlled by the members.

    Many Thanks

    Mike Lee

    You can read more on the yorkshire fishing web site

  25. IFM Predator of Fisheries Workshop (18/02/2012)

    The Institute of Fisheries Management in conjunction with the Environment Agency’s Fisheries and Biodiversity Team in Yorkshire are hosting this workshop. The aim of the workshop will be to deliver the facts about these potential pressures on our fisheries, and how we can manage, and live alongside these various creatures.

    We have a whole host of experts giving presentations:-

    Ian Russell (Cefas) will be giving an in-depth talk on the use of fish refuges to reduce damage by cormorants at inland fisheries’.

    Stephanie Peay, University of Leeds: How do invasive crayfish affect fish and fisheries? Freshwater crayfish are keystone species in aquatic food webs. They have long been known as prey items for fish, but there is some evidence to suggest that invasive non-native crayfish at high densities have the potential to modify ecosystems and have significant adverse impacts on populations of fish.

    David Tipping, Angling Author and Naturalist: ‘Otters – An Alternative Viewpoint’ by
    A menace or a scapegoat? A look at man’s role in altering the balance of freshwater fish populations. Are otters merely exacerbating problems of our own making? What are the angling world’s moral responsibilities towards this indigenous mammal?

    Derek Pye, Hull and District Angling Association Fisheries Officer: Otter Fencing a large specimen carp water and fishery complex.

    Ian Wellby, Blue Roof: Predator proofing your fishery.

    Tim Paisley, Predator Action Group: ‘Why the Predation Action Group?’

    We are also having more presentations regarding otters and seals too.

    There will be plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask the panel questions so we are hoping the day will provide all the answers to anglers and fishery owners questions. The event is to be held at Goole Leisure Centre, in East Yorkshire on Saturday 18th February 2012. Attendance of the event is by advance ticket only, these are available at the cost of £10 (tea, coffee and buffet lunch is provided), by emailing organiser Mike Lee at careers@ifm.org.uk for more information see the event section of the IFM website.

    The Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM) is an international organisation of people sharing a common interest in the modern management of recreational and commercial fisheries. The IFM is dedicated to the advancement of sustainable fisheries management. We are a non-profit organisation controlled by the members.

    Many Thanks

    Mike Lee

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