IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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WHERE ARE ALL THE GUDGEON?
HAVE you noticed how certain species do a disappearing act? At the moment I am wondering just how many chub there are about.
I was brought up on these fish thanks to my river background. As kids we would get roach and dace and chub were the bonus, often caught when we used bigger baits. You don’t get many from my local River Wey at the moment. In fact some stretches are almost certainly devoid of them.
I can’t remember the last one I had from the mid to lower reaches of the Thames and the local streams I fish that feed the main river have yielded only chublets for the past two season.
Have they all died off? Have they disappeared to different stretches? Or have they been scoffed by cormorants and other predators.
I think it’s none of the above! I am a firm believer that species live in cycles. You get boom and bust times for every one of them.
A few years ago there were fears for the future of the perch. Take a look at the pages of Angler’s Mail over the past two to three years and you will notice there have been numerous stripeys caught. And they are getting bigger.
My best-ever perch have been caught over the past two years. I am convinced it’s because the species began a comeback about five years ago, in a lot of places they have been neglected and just grown to specimen sizes.
Good summers (yes we have had them) have led to lots of fry for the perch to eat and help them get big. I also wonder if many have got a taste for the plethora of pellets now fed into virtually every venue in the country.
Roach did a similar comeback a few years ago and bream tend to show well after we’ve had a couple of warm summers – other fish slow down in the heat, bream get a chance to feed up.
Dace are another species making a big comeback. I can’t explain why with any conviction but once again I think it’s because many river stretches have been ignored for long spells, save for specimen anglers who haven’t targeted the silver raiders.
Now here is a puzzle for you. Where have all the gudgeon gone? Have you caught one recently? Or, more interestingly, have you caught many?
We used to believe that these fantastic fish went in three year cycles. You caught loads for a few years and then they disappeared for about three. That doesn’t appear to be happening. I could take you a few years ago to a number of venues where catching gudgeon was easy and you would get several in a session, in fact even in bad weather I’d say I’d get you more than 30-40 in a few hours.
Now I can take you to a place where I think I might get one or two in a day. That is only a might…
If you have any ideas where they have gone, or why this is happening, answers in the comment box or via email. I love gudgeon…
COLIN MITCHELL BLOGS HERE AGAIN NEXT SUNDAY DECEMBER 16.
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