Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Did maps show best pike fishing spots in the Fens?

I wonder what we did before Google Earth was invented. Pored over maps, I suppose. Or got lost.

Nowadays, we can explore waters to heart's content using Google Maps on our computers, and use navigation apps on our phones which show us how to get to some far-flung spot. One thing computers and iPhones can't yet do is show us where the fish are.

But the Environment Agency had an answer to that one a few years ago, when it went published  maps compiled after acoustic surveys of some of the rivers and drains in the Fens, using different colours to show the concentrations of fish found in different areas. Red meant lots of fish. Yellow meant not many.

Back in 2007, I wrote this at the time:
 Finding the prey can often be the key to locating the predator, or so the oft-quoted theory goes.
And EA staff who like to wet a line in their spare time have been using the survey results to plan their own fishing, one of its fisheries scientists has revealed.

The revelation comes in the latest edition of Angle, the EA's magazine for anglers in its East Anglian region.

"Every angler wants to know where are the fish. Well, we have the maps that can tell you," it says.

The article explains how data collected from electronic surveys of rivers is plotted into maps. The piece is illustrated with a map of the Great Ouse between Ten Mile Bank and its confluence with the River Wissey, near Downham Market, in Norfolk.

A large concentration of fish is shown immediately downstream of the infall, which will be of no surprise to anyone in that part of the world.

At the time the survey was carried out last July, the swims shown as having the highest density of fish were producing 100lbs nets of bream and tench.

EA fisheries scientist Justin Mould said: "I'm an angler myself and I can tell you they really do work. I've had some memorable fishing trips using these maps.

"I used the maps to identify where there might be shoals of prey fish and then went fishing for the predators that would be aound them."

Mould said his best catch using this technique was a 14lbs zander.

"Fish move, of course, so the maps are never 100 per cent accurate. But it does show you stretches where the fish are likely to be.

"These maps, once they are made, can be distributed to anglers free of charge. All they have to do is ask."

Angling Times ran with the story, reproducing part of one of the maps. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who  got hold of them, fished a few of the red bits, caught sod all and went back to more traditional methods of fish location like getting off my ass and looking for them.

I wonder if anyone's still using the EA maps...

No comments:

Post a comment