Tuesday’s blog is from Steve Collett, boss of leading online tackle retailers Harris Sportsmail, and star of the brand-new ‘Catching with Collett’ feature in this week’s issue.
Steve’s blogs focus mainly on match fishing but also delve into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling. He also appears regularly in Angler’s Mail magazine.
Please share this blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.
IT’S pretty heart-breaking to see this devastation going on in the news, from bright orange rivers caused by underground iron deposits, to bream and pike being stranded in the streets.
I always wonder what happens to our precious fish stocks and, touch wood, the majority seem to do ok, but pools near rivers and streams struggle as their precious stocks have a mooch around and end up in the breached water source.
But what got the old grey matter itching was the restocking of these venues should anything happen, and in my opinion it’s all wrong the way we go about it, and I would go as far to say as someone is a better fiddler than Vanessa Mae!
A few years ago a great canal in the West Midlands became contaminated due to a factory fire – all of its toxic waste got washed into the canal killing fish immediately for miles along the stretch, a really devastating sight. I went down to the canal a few days after out of curiosity, and a good pal of mine has a house that literally backs on to it.
It was horrible for an angler to witness, as the canal’s mysteries came to the surface; tench over 6lb (hundreds of them), pike to 20lb and the most heart-breaking was the leviathans of the canals – 30lb-plus carp, fish that have evaded capture for ten, maybe twenty, even thirty years – on the surface dead. All of this teamed with literally thousands of dumpy roach and gudgeon brought home what a great canal this was, and it’s now gone, and I felt guilty for not spending more time and effort on it.
After a pint and a bite to eat we were discussing and reminiscing about old catches on the canal, even a feature we did for the Midland Angler magazine where we caught 10-15 tench in a very short session – stunning fish 4-6lb that had probably never seen an angler before, and fought like tigers. I remember it well.
Turn the clock forward a few months and a good PR story for the agencies involved comes round and the “re-stocking” of this great water way is about to commence. I really wanted to have a look at this, out of curiosity again, and to see what was going in.
For the second time in as many months my heart sank on this waterway. After seeing the great numbers of tench, huge carp and pike, and thousands of roach dead, they were being replaced by… cormorant and goosander food; livebaits, 2-4” silvers, tiny roach, stunted perch and cast offs from other fisheries. Not one tench, no 30lb carp, and no double-figure pike.
So every time I see a fish kill followed by a fish “re-stocking” I can’t help thinking that we are getting a bum deal here, a company fined £30,000 is all well, but there was no way there was £30,000 quids worth of fish going back in. How many times do we see these “re-stockings” only to be greeted with PR pics of some executive throwing £20 quid’s worth of livebaits into a river or canal that once held specimen chub, and barbel or, in this case, 30lb carp?
I can’t help thinking that instead of helping the stranded waterway, we have just created a feeding station for predators, and set back its eco system 10-15 years.
On that bombshell, this week’s Anglers Mail Performance of the Week was another difficult choice as again – hats off to anyone who braved the mud, the gusts and the rubbish weather we have had of late. This week’s winner has done the rounds before, and to get a win, even a frame on this latest ‘who’s who’ of matchfishing venue is a real feat.
Drawing peg 261 this weeks winner shipped 13-4-0 of roach on bloodworm at 10m alternating to 13m for better caster fish, and took the latest round of the Thorne teams of four on the Satinforth and Keadby Canal. With names like Steve Barraclogh, Matt Godfrey, Simon Willsmore and most of Team England present, this venue has no hiding place, and to come out on top is more than worthy of this week’s Anglers Mail Performance of the Week. Mr Nathan Hughes, take a bow.
STEVE COLLETT STARS IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE WITH HIS NEW FEATURE ‘CATCHING WITH COLLETT’ AND RETURNS NEXT TUESDAY (FEB 25) ONLINE WITH A NEW MATCH BLOG. FOR LOTS OF MATCH RESULTS AND REPORTS PLUS STEVE’S NEW FEATURE CHECK OUT THE NEW ISSUE, ON SALE THIS WEEK >>>