Sunday, 28 March 2010
A different kind of "social net-working" for me this weekend, meeting up with the lads from Exeter and District AA and the Environment Agency to try to get a rough idea of the fish population on one of the club's Sampford Peverell ponds. It was a real team effort and the group were in good spirits. We were hoping for reason to be optimistic after a tough year for the water, from algal blooms to icy, deoxygenated water denting fish stocks.
Netting itself is quite a fascinating process; far from straightforward in a lake with various snags and other challenges. Any good then? "If we blank doing it like this, we may as well give up fishing!" was a fair verdict I'd say. Our first sweep revealed little more than one or two tiny roach and so we went for another try.
As well as fish, there are all sorts of other obstacles in a deep pond: from logs, sticks and odd bits of fishing line to talk of a mini metro crashed by joy riders.
Top curiosity on the day though, was this strange morse code transmitter thingy:
The second sweep was more successful and as well as several dozen little roach we found skimmers and a little carp- a bigger one was also spotted. Numbers were obviously hit hard by a freakish winter, but fresh stock have already been earmarked and hopefully the fishing at this historic pond has a brighter future.
Credit is also due to Nick Maye and the other EA staff- let's face it, netting a silty old pond isn't the best fun you can have on a Saturday morning. Nick has also issued some sound advise with recent poaching troubles on Tiverton Canal. "Clubs and fishery owners can do a lot to help themselves by publishing their regulations in several languages and erecting multi lingual signs at common access points. It all helps, especially when trying to get someone into court." This is something sadly lacking on the Tiverton Canal which we're keen to redress. Anglers also need to report incidents however, rather than just complaining. "If it's not reported we can't take action," Nick adds, and the more detail the better (ie: note times, locations, group numbers and even nationalities and car registrations). New legislation set for June/July will also help however, making the taking of pike above a set length a criminal activity. The chief message is clear though: we can all lend our eyes and ears to the problem- and the better information we can offer, the more that can be done.