Monday, September 16, 2013

Man arrested for "twatting" a heron

Back in the days when the local evening paper was most peoples' main source of breaking news, you can just imagine anyone who cares about the wildlife that lives along our rivers snapping up a copy of the Evening News to find out more on this shocking crime.

But a quick look on Google, after the picture emerged on Twitter, revealed it to be a spoof. Newspaper pundits argued no bill (as the posters are known in the ink trade...) would use the word local - let alone twatted, for starters.

Evening papers no longer carry 'late prices', as most now come out much earlier in the day than the late editions of days gone by.

Besides this small clue, not lost on lovers of newspaper geekery, a more obvious question would doubtless have been on the lips of anyone who knows anything about herons all along.  Like, how do you get close enough to, um, twat one in the first place..?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Where do coarse fish on sale in King's Lynn's eastern European supermarkets come from..?

I wonder where all the coarse fish you see on sale in almost all the eastern European supermarkets in King's Lynn are sourced from.

There are dried roach, dried bream, smoked bream and all kinds of other fish on sale with nothing to indicate their origin on some of the packaging.

How anyone could even eat a 4oz roach is beyond me. There can't be much more than scales and bones left by the time you've dried or smoked it.

Ditto bream, like the skimmer above, which could be yours for £1.35 with no use-by date or any information on the packaging (plastic bag) regarding its provenance.

There could obviously be an innocent explanation to all this and a clear and verifiable supply chain to wherever these fish were caught.

This in turn would clearly separate the shops which sell these fish from the illegal netting operations which come on top, from time to time, when gill nets are found strung across drains a few miles from King's Lynn.

Standing down

Ash and I are standing down as King's Lynn ROs for the Pike Anglers Club. We don't have the time to give the role the commitment it needs - and truth be told, it probably needs a new face (or faces) who can inject some time and enthusiasm into it.

I wish our successor(s) well. There was some money in the kitty which is being sent back to the national PAC to look after until they're appointed.

The Norwich Eskimo Song

Friday, September 13, 2013

Testicle eating fish on its way to the Fens..?

A fish which feasts on anglers, um, wedding tackle is on its way to our shores. Well, the Daily Mail reckons it is.

"A piranha-like fish known for biting and eating testicles may be on its way to Britain," it reports. "The pacu, known as 'The Nut Cracker and 'The Ball-Cutter', was recently discovered in the Seine river in Paris.

"Fishermen in South America have reportedly bled to death after losing their testicles to the vicious teeth of the fish."

Male swimmers in Denmark were warned not to 'go commando' when one was caught near Copenhagen last month, the Mail adds. It quotes an expert who reckons the fish are sometimes released into lakes and rivers when they grow too big for their tanks.

I can't quite see this somehow. But in this era of health and safety, dynamic risk assessments and litigation gone mad, I'm not taking any chances.

I reckon if you stuff a couple of plums down your boxers, you should be safe when wading.

++Daily Mail story *linky*.

+++French newspaper website story *linky*.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Salt Marsh

Went up the salt marsh with Furry Chops to look for mullet as the tide flooded up the creeks. We didn't see hide nor hair of  them, but a glorious morning unfolded all the same, with curlews crying out in the distance as the sun burned the cloud off.

I dropped the rod and rucksack, reached for the camera and immersed myself in the scene.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

So long then, Summer

So long then, Summer. And hello, you must be Autumn. Nice to see you again. After a few weeks off fishing and a few you should have been down here tonight, they were well having it texts, I decide it's time to hit the road again.

I read about some big perch being caught on the big river, so I packed a few little rubber bits and pieces and headed down there yesterday. When I got there, there were people in nearly all the swims on the stretch I'm guessing the article was about.

I get chatting to a couple of old boys who are up on holiday and one tells me he's seen a couple of big perch chasing fry around the marginal lillies.

I went back this afternoon, had a few chucks in the right swims and lo and behold spy the author of the angling column in question.

"Oh no mate, that wasn't here," he chuckles, looking at my lure rod. "That was on the Middle Level."

To the south, the sky is darkening menacingly. I eye up the approaching storm and wonder if I can get to the right bit of the right drain before it arrives. 

Having only brought a light rod and small lures, I decide to forgo a soaking and hit a little stillwater on the way home instead. Carp are swirling around on the top. I wonder idly whether one might take a tiny 1" shad as I swop the wire trace for a fluorocarbon leader (no pike in the water...).

A few swims in something swirls behind the lure. Did I spook a carp in the margins, or did it come after the lure..? Next cast, I hook into something that tears off half way across the lake before the hook pulls as I try and turn it. Sorry Mr Carp.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

RIP Ken Wallis

Wing Cdr Ken Wallis has passed away, aged 97. I met and spoke with this truly incredible man a a few times over the years. He flew Wellington bombers and Lysanders dropping agents into enemy territory during the Second World War. He also invented the Autogyro, which he flew as a stunt double in a James Bond film. More on him here

Monday, September 02, 2013

A story of our times in the Fens

They dredged the Old Bedford at Salter's Lode last winter - so how come it looks like this a few short months later..?

Flag rush is growing across the centre of the channel. And water levels are down at least two feet from where they should be judging by the marginal mud and exposed sill.

When I last looked at it a few days back, they were letting muddy water in from the tidal Ouse, presumably to top up levels to make up for water lost to abstraction.

This is  surely how the lower end of the drain silts up. I've no idea how much money the Environment Agency spent on dredging it last winter, but I'm guessing it didn't come cheap.

Yet at around the same time, the water levels were so high on the Welney Washes that the EA were deploying emergency flood barriers to protect the village.

Could we not apply some joined-up thinking here, somewhere along the line - and find a way of diverting some of that winter flood into storage, to tide farmers over through drier months..?

The Old Bedford's in mortal danger unless a solution can be found. It throws the odd big fish up, but the pyramid of pike of all sizes looks to be long gone in its lower reaches - along with a lot of the other fish this culturally-important fishery once held, bread and butter species like tench and perch.

Culturally important..? Because it once inspired a generation of pike anglers who were fired up by the writings of the now-departed Rickards and Webb.  If they saw it today, they'd probably be turning in their graves.

Are our waterways really just there for convenience and the odd PR exercise on the part of the powers that be - or are they the lifeblood of our landscape, vital arteries worth preserving..?

When dredging began last winter (right..),  to undo the previous summer's damage, I thought the powers that be had seen the light.

The Old Bedford lives on - just. It would probably be cheaper in the long run to just save it for posterity, along with several similar smaller drains, by finding ways to capture winter run-off for use in the growing season.

Answers on a postcard...