Piers in pieces
Star of the snow
It wasn’t a great start to the year in 1979. Heavy rain and a chilly Arctic blast meant that those brave enough to go fishing had the odds stacked against them.
A picture of matchman Billy Makin covered with a dusting of snow showed clearly what the bravest were up against. Billy was leading the Angler’s Mail Shakespeare 3000 Matchman of the Year contest, and had ventured out to attend the Leamington Open, contested on a partly frozen Grand Union Canal at Warwick.
The Atherstone National
Orange barbel taken to London Zoo
A 3 lb 8 oz barbel wouldn’t usually make the Angler’s Mail news pages, but this example, caught by Trevor Shaw, was different – it was vivid orange.
Midlander Trevor, who was fishing with his friend, John Edwards, both of whom raced at Brands Hatch and team star fished through the ice with bloodworm to tempt eight perch for a mere 14 oz 8 dr, but it was enough to earn him second place and another five valuable points, to keep up his challenge for the prestigious title.
At Stourport, an Open match at Winnals, on the Severn, had to be cancelled, as the river had burst its banks, making fishing impossible. The flooded fields meant that anglers couldn’t gain access to any of the pegs on the match length.
Worried sea anglers were rushing to volunteer to repair two storm-ravaged piers at Clacton and Walton, on the Essex coast. Gigantic seas, whipped up by gale-force winds, had smashed away supports and lifted decking on the two cod and whiting hotspots.
Another pier, further down the coast, had also succumbed to the severe north-easterlies and a large tide. Volunteer work parties would begin repair work as soon as the weather had abated, said a pier spokesman.
Fickling’s brace of 20s
There were some meritorious catches gracing the pages in this week’s copy of the Mail. Pike
Silverstone, had caught the impressive-looking specimen in the River Severn.
The pair contacted the Association of Barbel Enthusiasts boss Fred Crouch, asking for an explanation of their ‘gold fish’. Fred was able to explain the strange catch as an extremely rare condition of colour pigment discrepancy. Fred explained: “Barbel have three colours from which all shades are arrived at. The colours are red, yellow and brown. This particular fish has no brown pigment, and can therefore only get its colour from the combination of yellow and red, hence the orange.”
The fish was subsequently taken to London Zoo, where it was displayed to the public. anglers brave enough to venture out enjoyed some productive sport, as indicated by a brace of 20-pounders caught by Neville Fickling. The Mail’s pike expert had two runs from a Midlands stillwater, resulting in two stunning ‘crocs’, weighing 27 lb (a personal best for the research student) and 20 lb 9 oz.
“Neither fish fought particularly hard, and the hooks fell out of the mouth of the largest fish when I netted it,” said Neville, who used float-paternostered 3 oz rudd and roach livebaits on 12 lb line and 15 lb wire traces.
The brace pushed the 25-year-old predator hunter’s tally of 20 lb-plus pike to 23.
Fast-forward 40 years, and learn from Nev’s wisdom by turning to p.42.
Killer carp disease strikes again
The dreaded carp disease Spring Viraemia had yet again begun to rear its ugly head at fisheries in Norfolk and Sussex, following an outbreak back in April. The Ministry of Agriculture had designated
Mill Farm, at Aylshum, in Norfolk, following an outbreak at the site. This meant that the movement of live fish or eggs from either venue was banned. It was believed that the killer virus may have crossed the English Channel from Belgium, where it was more common. Isfield AC, in Sussex, waited for a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food report after carp were found dead at their Wilderness Lake, in East Grinstead, fearing Spring Viraemia was the cause.
The plastic peril in our seas isn’t just a recent concern, as Sea Gossip columnist Bob
Young Nicholas Hansen beamed with pride as he cradled his first ever pike, weighing 10 lb 12 oz. The Grimsby lad was fishing with his dad at the Sibsey
Trader Drain, near Boston, in Lincolnshire, and tempted the fish – the best of three – using a float fished herring mounted on size 8 trebles.
Chub for Miles
Specimen hunter Tony Miles wrapped up warm to tackle chub on the Warwickshire Leam. The late Coventry ace was duly rewarded with a fine ‘chevin’ of 5 lb 3 oz, followed by another weighing 4 lb 2 oz.
Both fish were caught close to the bank on pieces of crust on a size 6 hook.
Gledhill reported in his worrying article. The nationwide problem had resulted in the Government mounting a campaign to beat the growing marine menace, making it an offence, as from January 1, to dump plastic waste from boats.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food launched a publicity campaign to coincide with tougher laws on dumping plastic, by issuing thousands of leaflets to boat owners.