In his popular weekly blog for this Angler's Mail website, Colin Mitchell discusses the weird and wonderful catches he's experienced over the years.
THE MAIL’S Facebook and Twitter accounts got me thinking last week when they asked about unusual catches.
At first I couldn’t think of any – then a whole load started popping into my brain and I thought it would be good to recount some of them.
A pike fishing trip to the Basingstoke Canal with my son and Music Mike produced just one fish (ok this time Mike got it but we reckon he fished the spot so often he had a deal in place with the Essox). But at least Glenn and I really bagged up with different ‘species.’ Mitchell junior had the most unusual on his plug – a golf club! Not sure what a specimen size is for one of those but believe me it was a good ‘un!
No surprise that we also hooked a supermarket trolley (Sainsbury’s if you really want to know the species) but the best fight of all came from…a red and white traffic cone. I thought I had hooked the bottom until it started to move and when it did shift I had visions of the best-ever pike from the Bassie. Dreams were easily shattered…
I then cast my mind back quite a few years to when the River Tees was tidal and I was running a stick float down what was usually a productive winter stretch for dace and roach. Clunk! The float zoomed under and I was into something that had a really dogged fight. That should read reely dogged fight…as I had hooked a fixed spool reel! Not ordinary reel mind you! This didn’t have a maker’s stamp on it, I had never seen one like it before and it was a silver colour (sadly not silver) with a black spool.
Well at least that meant I had a spare reel to go with my kit which was rather limited in those days.
A week later, in the same swim…yes, you have guessed it…ANOTHER reel, EXACTLY the same! I never did discover the wheres and whys about them but do wish I had kept those reels as they would be collector’s items now!
Of course I have also had and seen some rather unusual fish catches during my many decades of fishing.
Just recently I went to a day ticket fishery in Hampshire and watched a fly fisherman bag up with carp. The boilies, floating bread and every other method anglers were landing fish but the fluff flinger got one EVERY cast in.
That brought back memories of one of the first times I went fishing with the late Ray Mumford. Ray was noted for his match angling but loved having a go at many other aspects.
This day we had gone after pike at a gravel pit near Heathrow. He told me it was stuffed with them (they did a great job of hiding that day!).
So we were walking around the water, flicking out decent sized spinners – just normal oval shaped silver ones – when Ray struck into something that didn’t really fight. It wasn’t long afterwards that he slipped his net under a nice bream, hooked fair and square in the mouth. Gobsmacked…that was me, not the giant skimmer.
And just a few years ago, whilst fishing the River Wey for pike, Mitchell junior felt something hit – well more like brush past – his plug. When his lure came to the bank there was a small roach impaled on just one part of the treble hook. Fair and square – and his catch was smaller than the plug. I don’t know if the roach was attempting to be Mr. Big or it was a fluke hook-up, but on one hook of the treble it was, right in its top lip!
My final unusual catch memory didn’t actually get landed but it’s worth a mention.
I was fishing for roach on a club water up north when a pike grabbed a fish as I reeled in. As you do, I tried to play out the pike – but the predator was grabbed by an even bigger pike! Needless to say after what seemed ages – probably ten minutes – the whole shoal escaped from my line. I always wondered which fish managed to get a feed…
Now it’s your turn…come on, confess to the weird and wonderful catches from your angling past! Email your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org – it may even get published in the weekly magazine!