—Stephen G. Hipperson—
I think these are creel type lobster pots, but I’m happy to be corrected!
—Stephen G. Hipperson—
I don’t do a lot of angling nowadays, (photography rules), but I spied this spot while crossing a local pedestrian bridge over the River Wharfe. As it happens, it’s the close season for coarse fish at the moment. (Coarse fish? – everything that isn’t a ‘game fish’ – game fish (apart from those that take my bait ;)) are trout, salmon.)
In the open season, I might expect to catch Chub, Barbel, Pike, Perch, Grayling, Trout, Eel – whether Roach and Dace are present, I don’t know. Whilst sitting there I might see Kingfisher, Goosander, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Wagtails, Hirundines, Heron, the odd Wader, Mink, Otter, Voles and Rats.
Most coarse fish are returned after capture, although they may be kept in a large keepnet for the period of the fishing session. This allows a final weight and assessment of the catch to take place before returning them – without retention it’s likely that any returned fish will scatter any shoals or put them off the feed.
I’ve had the good fortune to do a bit of fishing in the US and I would judge that coarse fishing in the UK tends to be a much more genteel affair – in some specialisms we think nothing of using lines with a breaking strain as light as 1lb, fixed lines and poles that approach, well put it like this, you can buy a pole that is 16m long (over 50ft!) and use hooks as small as size 24 – though personally I’ve never used anything less than a 20. Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t ‘tool-up’ for larger fish – carp and pike, in particular.
In England it’s the first day of the fishing season – coarse fishing season that is. If it’s not a game fish (salmon, trout, grayling it’s a coarse fish). Coarse fishing is the side of fresh water angling that has the biggest following here in the UK. It is effectively catch and put back.
Whilst there is a close season, many lakes which are privately owned allow fishing right through the year. But on my local river, for instance, I can expect a smattering of keen anglers dotted about the banks relieving the tension of close season – nothing quite like it, if I recall.
Like most popular pastimes, angling has a strong commercial presence, this image was taken at a country fair, where they were demonstrating a comparison between match fishing techniques. (Match fishing, as you can guess, is a competitive fishing session where anglers are ‘pegged’ along a bank, have to fish for a set period and the fish are weighed at the end. There may be prizes for biggest fish too. Matches can be at a simple club level, right up to international competitions.)
The guy on the right is what you might consider using a traditional method used in the UK – fishing rod about 12 feet long running line to a reel. The bloke on the left is using what used to be called a ‘roach pole’ though nowadays it’s simply referred to as ‘a pole’. This type of rod is rapidly becoming a preferred method for speed fishing. A pole can be 10 metres and has a fixed length of nylon, usually tied to an elastic to act as a shock absorber for larger fish. These poles give superb bait/float control as the tip of the pole can be right over the float. What happens if you’re only fishing in 5 foot of water? Well, the pole is shifted back and sections are removed until the length of the pole is somewhere near the length of the nylon.
Coarse fish we might expect to catch in England.
Carp, Chub, Dace, Eel, Roach, Rudd, Perch, Pike, Bream, Silver Bream, Gudgeon, Barbel, Bleak and Tench – there are others but these are the main target for anglers. Of course, the pastime has been around for so long that there are techniques for catching different species and not all species are in all waters – if I went fishing today, I wouldn’t try to catch Rudd, Roach or Bream there aren’t any, but I would try for Barbel and Chub.
I haven’t been for a couple of years now, but I’ve got all the gear in the garage ….. but I would have to buy an licence to fish and a permit for the water……..