Monday, October 13, 2008
The last week of our Trout fishing season and as was the case last season, reasonable hatches of fly, clear water and fish rising throughout the afternoon. The biggest fish of the season caught on the first day of the week on a Red Wulff late in the afternoon. The fish weighed over seven pounds and had been in roughly the same area for much of the season. I would see it every morning when crossing the river to feed the fish in the stew ponds, on seeing me each morning it would drift slowly across to some tree roots and tuck itself away until I had passed. I guessed it was around five pounds, but when put on the bank it proved to be a very deep fish for its length. It led the captor a merry dance and has now gone off to be smoked.
Estimating the weight of Brown’s against other species of Trout is often hit and miss, less uniform in shape than Rainbows some Browns will retain a sleek torpedo shape throughout their lives others may have “shoulders” some may be wider and chunkier than a fish of the same length. Rainbows are far more uniform in size and shape, and it is far easier to make an accurate assessment of their weight by sight. This characteristic also renders them more suitable for rearing to supply supermarkets, where they must be exactly 12oz in weight and an exact length in order to fit into a particular size of CAP pack.
I had a look at the middle Test towards the end of the week and saw several fish rising to a variety of flies, although the water still looked murkier than it ought to at this time of year. The next few weeks will be taken up with putting the river to bed for the winter, akin to giving the Blue Peter Tortoise a bit of a buff-up before shoving him in a box under the bed. The fringe must be knocked off and edged in, and the weed cut, in order that the river channel is free from all obstructions and the anticipated increased flows of winter remain within the riverbanks.
The Pheasants are feathering up nicely, there is a lot of natural food around at the moment coupled with the ripe Maize in the Cover Crops. So I have been feeding slightly less each day. It is easy o overfeed the pheasants and if you find that food is not being eaten it is important to cut back on the food. If they fill up to quickly because off an over abundance of food they have more time to walk. The trick is too feed just enough and make them work for their food.
I have also caught a Stoat this week in one of the Run cages, that I have set near the chicken house. Ruthless and efficient predators they kill both game and vermin two or three times their size. We once had a small Tabby Cat who was also a Natural Born Killer. My wife and I watched a Stoat chasing a Rabbit on the bank in our garden into the path of our small Cat. Instead of nabbing the Rabbit, the Cat went for the Stoat and all hell broke loose, the Cat eventually winning the day after several minutes of scrapping, the dopey Rabbit taking a ringside seat for the first two rounds before shuffling off backwards. There is an argument that Stoats are a good thing, if you have a burgeoning population of Rats; something that we have experienced since the fields behind our house were cut. In the end the Stoat was dispatched, poison put down for the rats and the Chicken’s safety preserved.
For several weeks I have been using an off the shelf poison, that has had no effect on the rat population whatsoever. On taking advice from the ratman I have changed the poison, he reported that many rats in the area were becoming resistant to difenicum the poison that I had been using. Since changing the poison the number of Rats have begun to fall. I have also been cleaning the fry tanks and egg baskets in preparation for Fish Stripping at the end of the month. Disinfecting all of the equipment and putting in the order for the fry fish food. The cost of fish food has risen dramatically over the last few years, High Protein Fry Food in particular becoming expensive. These are all costs that have to be balanced by the cost of a day’s fishing. With the current economical climate and people wary of spending money it is often the Leisure activities that people cut back on first, affecting all aspects of the Angling world. From tackle manufacturers to fish suppliers, sport Fisheries to sporting agents, all could feel the pinch over the coming year.