Friday, May 25, 2012

Seven!









Bitterly cold weather delayed the start of the Mayfly which is only now just starting to get going, and as I write the first dance is forming up above a hedge at the bottom our garden. Wind is lowering marks and not many are getting a “seven!” from Len. Many take respite in the pear tree before returning to the floor and several of the successful couples retire to my shed door for l’amore.
The dance is a dangerous one as squadrons of swallows fly through the mass of mayflies plucking them from the air as a shark would a herring from its swirling mass. Many of the fish still rise clumsily to both the natural and artificial but most now have their eye in and fill their boots at tea time.
The biggest fish so far are a four and a half pound lump taken on a Klinkhammer. It was in great condition and has been in the river for at least two seasons. Tucked away below a weir pool it was difficult to spot as it lay hard up against the bank, its safe haven betrayed by a flurry of olives that drew it from its lair. A fish just shy of five pounds topped it and must have been lost earlier in the season as it had a Greenwell’s Glory lodged in the roof of its mouth. Both fish were caught on a Friday, by different anglers.
A few overwintered fish have been take that have been a little on the skinny side, which is surprising as many fed steadily through February and March. The stream in the garden is full of minnows as is the Mill Stream which draws the attention of a pair of Kingfishers who have nested in the steep bank at the top of this beat. Last year there was a rival pair of Kingfishers on the beat below and several times there was the blue flash of a kingfisher dogfight as each staked its claim for the bounty of Minnows. The candles are out on the conker tree and each afternoon the slightest breeze sends clouds of willow blossom
dancing across the water confusing angler and fish alike as to what is a fly and what is not. The decline of the cuckoo has been lamented in the press of late although they obviously didn’t interview the poor bird detailed to bring up its ravenous young, we have a few around at the moment and if ever a bird warranted an ASBO for unsociable behaviour and neglecting its offspring then this is it. Another prime candidate for an avian ASBO is a brute of a Cob Swan who along with his Pen has been in this parish for a few years. They have set up shop in a spring hole below our bottom boundary with their sole offspring. They have made a couple of forays upstream and each time the void behind has been filled by up to a dozen or more swans who have deined to nibble the shoots of ranunculus on our bottom shallows.

The introduction of the world’s worst and wobbliest spaniel unsettles this alpha Cob (that dog doesn’t behave as other dogs should), and they gently drift back to their spring hole with the Cob raising merry hell with the interlopers who have dared to sally forth to his precious spring hole, where the happy threesome remain like a cork in a bottle protecting the precious ranunculus at the bottom of this beat. Recently the Cob has drifted north alone for a few hours for a break from the demands of fatherhood, but as long as he keeps the swans downstream at bay for the coming season he can be tolerated, although the world’s worst spaniel has other ideas.
A current warm spell has sent the few carp that remain in the flight pond frisky and the fiddling around in the roots of the willows has begun. There are some fry in the river which may be Roach or Grayling who could do with a little more weed cover for protection
The Section 30 application was successful and confirmation received by phone from our excellent fishery officer on Friday. I also received a disk through the post to guide me through future online applications, I will give it a go next time.
The relevant authorities have been busy with a diesel spill, the perpetrators purported to be the salad farmers on the Bourne. Sponges, booms, pumps have all swung into action along with blanket media coverage of the clean-up operation. I have not heard reports of any significant damage, no oiled seadbirds or dead dolphins have been seen, so I can only assume that the operation went to plan.

5 comments:

Running Man said...

Do you know if the anglers returned the fish or kept them ?

Test Valley River Keeper said...

Big fish normally end up at the smoker in Chilbolton

Running Man said...

Is that a commercial place that anyone can use ?

Personally if I'm fishing in the UK I'm travelling too far to get it back in reasonable state so I usually put everything back.

Test Valley River Keeper said...

They are a small smoker on the banks of the Test, anyone can drop off fish be it one or a dozen. They do get quite busy but then they do a fantastic job. One 3lb fish costs around £9 to be smoked, it takes around two to four weeks and you get two sides of sliced and packed cold smoked Trout. They have been in business for quite some time and have a very good reputation. They are called Test Valley Smokery and I think they do. mail order service.

Running Man said...

All seems to be very civilised and organised in England, in Scotland I think fishermen seem often to be barely tolerated as a species unless its on the big Salmon beats....