Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Please take a look at these beautiful specimens of our British freshwater fish.

                                                                            Tench  (tinca tinca)

Perch (perca fluviatus)

Minnow  (phoxinus phoxinus)

Brown Trout (  Salmo trutt  )

Barbel (barbus barbus)

Gudgeon (gobio gobio)

Chub (leuciscus cephalus)

Eel (anguilla anguilla)

Bleak (albumus albumus)

Dace (leucisus leucisus)

Mirror Carp (cyprinus carpio)

Pike (esox lucius)

Roach (rutilus rutilus)

Rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus)

Beautiful are they not? Each one fin and scale perfect. They may not be huge whoppers but with our care and some thought  these fish could all be leviathans and even become British record captures. I spend as much time admiring fish of this size when I catch them as I do their bigger parents and even grandparents. I have often seen fish of this size caught and poorly treated by junior and senior novices, pleasure and match anglers. It makes my blood boil. Even carp fishermen who will care for their big catches by resting them for the appropriate time in  fish friendly mesh nets before lifting them carefully, keeping them low to the ground, wetting hands before handling them, even treating sores with ointment and getting in the water to release it after its ready to swim away, have been seen foul hooking a small fish and treat it disgracefully by chucking them in from a great height without a moments thought to the damage and harm they are doing to the fish and future of our fishing. I have had to 'have words' with several anglers over the years for mistreatment I have witnessed. You don't have to be a bailiff, an environment official or even the owner of a fishery to have a say. I am not suggesting you deal with culprits yourself if you feel it would put you at risk but report it to your club official, bailiff or fishery owner. You pay to fish and have a right to protect yours and the future generations fishing pleasure as well as the fishes well being. Its in everyone's interest so please, wet your hands before handling fish, lower fish back gently at near to surface as possible, if the bank is too high find somewhere more suitable or consider using landing net to release catches. Spare a little thought and consideration for  the little ones and all of our  future pleasure.   

Sunday, 15 January 2012


I feel obliged to write about an occurrence that happened at Christmas and genuinely made me stop dead in my tracks. 
'Twas the night before Christmas Eve and the local Tesco's was packed with shoppers all intent on grabbing last minute items like half hundred weight of sprouts, six bags of satsuma's and twelve loaves of bread. Well it is to see them over both days! Makes me laugh and scratch my head. Not forgetting the twerps who have left present shopping til last minute.com and found Tesco's the only shop open to buy their nearest and dearest something special (sorry dear).
I had been working like the proverbial blue ass fly and what with 'er indoors a bit tom,dick it was up to me to get food shopping but just two days worth.
I get round to fish counter and WALLOP! I come face to face with two mirror carp laid out on the counter.
To say I was shocked is an understatement, I have caught many mirror carp and as an angler it made me sick to my stomach.
After the initial shock and I had calmed down a bit and got on with my shopping I got to thinking about it.
Our east european visitors namely Polish, eat the Carp traditionally on Christmas Eve and the Carp made available is farmed for that purpose and I suppose it stops fish going "walkies" from our lakes, but somehow it just didn't seem "proper".

Whilst on the subject, I was invited to observe the video of a carp half dead due to its flesh being fried and served still gasping its lasts breaths whilst giggling diners prod it with chopsticks! I know most anglers will have probably seen it ages ago but it has only something brought to my attention since "carpin on" about Tesco's recently. Link below if you not seen but be warned its not for feint hearted and those of nervous disposition!! You been warned.


Rant nearly done but before I sign off...
A lake in Sussex was the sight of a gruesome discovery recently, namely, the carcasses of a pair of swans found left on  the bank having the crowns removed (breast meat) no doubt for johnny foreigner's sunday roast!
Is Tesco going to start selling farm reared swan fillets to fill another "niche" in the market??? BAH!!!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012


       I think my first fishing rod came from Woolworths. It was white, telescopic, made of a plastic and fibreglass  composite and measured 5 feet fully extended. What was appealing to me was the fact it came with a plastic reel, a float, some split shot, some spade ended hooks to nylon and a spinner but above all else, with the money I had saved from pocket money and various menial tasks I had endured in order to obtain my set up, I had enough left over to buy my weekly copy of the Beano and a sherbet fountain with the change. The time elapsed since that purchase ensures the price has eluded me but I remember the comic cost six pence and the sherbet treat only four.
  I lived at this time in a small village in East Sussex which had a convent/all girls school run by nuns and within its grounds sported two small lakes. In able to fish these lakes one had to write attaining special permission from the Mother Superior. I dread to think of how my letters were worded but I suspect perhaps
that I would paint a very "rose tinted" picture of an angelic choirboy who hoped to fish only after attending Sunday school and my chores and homework were completed! What ever treacherous lies I penned seemed to work and a week later the postman would be greeted by me at the gate where I sped from my stake out  position by the stair window getting a good view of his bike wobbling up the hill en route.
 Upon tearing the letter open and acknowledging granted permission with a grin would waste no time in dashing to the kitchen cupboards and grabbing a bowl, a bag of flour and a tablespoon and fork to make up
 my paste bait, a formula of three spoons of flour to one of water.
 Having made a jam sandwich and a bottle of squash would put the bait and the rest of my tackle, all which fitted snugly in an old tobacco tin, inside a carrier bag and hung it from the handlebars of my bike. The rod
I lashed to my crossbar with a bungee cord and off I'd go. I don't ever remember taking a coat as I am sure anybody over forty would agree, every day was sunny and warm. 
  The first of the 2 lakes was just inside the entrance and I had been informed that contained the bigger fish but this was of no interest to me. I fished it a couple of times to no avail, the fish being bigger were wiser and far to smart to be out witted by a dumb Tom Sawyer like waif with no decorum, grace or finesse. Besides, I on my last try there, was greeted by a two foot grass snake that appeared to swim straight at me. I used to give the lake a wide berth after that.
  The second lake was quarter of a mile across the grounds and hidden  among some matured trees where I on occasion collected hazelnuts, sweet chestnuts and beech nuts to eat as well as a handful of conkers for my pockets.
I am not sure what fish dwelt in this lake as my targeted prey were beautiful golden crucian carp no more than two or three inches long. I would set up my rod at the bank and clamber down onto a tiny island which was only a foot and half across, just being big enough to stand or squat on and catch literally thirty or forty of them at a rods length out. After admiring each one would release it back into the depths of the lake. I would continue to fish until either my bait had run out or I had no more hooks to fish with. I remember trying to fashion a hook from a safety pin in order to carry on and piercing my gum trying to bend a shank into it with my teeth!
I have since visited my childhood Mecca, and as with wagon wheels and the curly wurlies of our youth appeared somewhat smaller, resembling mere ponds instead of lakes.


      I think like most anglers, my earliest close encounters of a fishy kind involved a small net and a jam jar but being a stickler for the naked truth, can recall a time even before that when my fascination with fish was to play an infectious part of my life.
  It began in West Sussex, where my father being a tractor driver on a large farm estate, we lived in a tied cottage.
     One day, I was deemed old enough to accompany my father to work where it was his task for that day to operate a J.C.B dredging a small stream/tributary of the River Arun that meandered it course through the estate. It was before any governing agricultural laws and Health and Safety requirements but I think however, more of a way I could be kept an eye on, lest trouble invariably found me like a hidden magnetism as it so often did during my youth, not dissimilar to my clothes and the soil.
I recall sitting besides him in the cab that day, marveling at the many levers and fascinated by his ability to control the machine like an extension of his own limbs to the task in hand.
I did venture outside the cab within my fathers watchful eye, to explore the insects, larvae, frogs newts and inch long elvers which had been removed from the stream. I would, with the aid of the bucket, rescue them returning them once more to whence they came but only after I had loomed over the bucket like a giant aqueous deity for long enough to satisfy my curiosity.
It was to be not just a one off experience but somewhat of a regular occurrence during weekends or school holidays either in a tractor cab or beside him walking across fields whilst he tended irrigation pipes or mended fences.
It was however, despite being out of school term or at a weekend, an opportunity for my father to pass on lessons in rural knowledge, an education that would hold my attention unlike history or algebra for instance.
At my fathers side, I would learn names of trees, recognise their unique silhouettes, leaf patterns and bark,
distinguish cowslips from primroses and foxgloves from bluebells. Discover things I could feast upon and plants to refrain from touching like nightshade and fungi, and spotting wild animals and birds and learn their tracks and trails.
 Added to his, and a myriad of surrogate teachers evening classes, the likes of Jack Hargreaves, David Attenborough and John Wilson, I would ingest information whilst warming for bed in front of a log fire before making the sleepy journey upstairs.
This extra curricular activity would etch on my soul and be the very basis and foundation to which I would distinguish peace and harmony in comparison to the hustle and trauma of growing up pains and everyday life.
As someone once famously penned " give me a child until he is 5, and I will give you the Man".

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I had every intention of writing a "fishing related" blog only but as I seem to be working more often than fishing through the winter I have had a change of heart. I have also changed the title too. It relates to the dreaded mobile phone conversation us bus drivers have to endure at least 20 times a day, and as its my blog addressing the public it seemed a relevant title as I too am "on the bus"!