Now that we are enjoying nice long evenings I made the most of it and visited Pollys Flash (aka Kingsdown Flash) in Abram, Lancashire in search of a Bitterling to add to my species tally for the year.
I set up nearest to the car park (lazyness) but then the wind was right in my face blowing food down the lake into my swim (craftyness)
Before I’d even wet a line the bailiff was around asking me if I had an unhooking mat! and I was sitting no more than 10 yards away from the rules board — oops
To my shame I didn’t – and my protestations that I wouldn’t need one, as I was fishing for a species that grew to a maximum length of 2 inches fell on deaf ears…. I wasn’t allowed to fish without a mat. I’d even taken my mat out of my bag as I was leaving home, thinking that it was a waste of time taking it with me.
Seeing my rig – a size 22 hook and the tiniest piece of bread punch I think the man felt sorry for me, and he offered to go home (as he lived just around the corner) and bring me a mat from his garage. You might feel, as I did that this was a bit of overkill, but he assured me that using that rig and bait, in that swim I was likely to hook into a bream and he didn’t want me to put the fish at risk.
Fair play to the man…. I waited for him to nip home and bring me a mat before fishing..
First cast I hooked a Bitterling !! I should have put it on the mat for a photo as it would have been funny, but in my excitement I forgot.
Anyway — here is a pic of the smallest and prettiest freshwater fish in the UK…
Bitterling are a very unusual fish, in that they lay their eggs inside live swan mussel shells, and you can see the spawning protuberance in red (also called an ovipositor) which they use to deposit their eggs in the mussels in the photo above.
I was delighted to catch one so quickly and thought that I was going to be in for an evenings bagging up on mini fish.
Sadly that wasn’t to be.
Next bite nearly an hour later saw my elastic stretching right out and I landed this nice 3lb Bream — now I see why the bailiff was so insistent on me having a mat. It was a great scrap on very light tackle.
And then, apart from half a dozen small roach that was it for the evening
I was highly delighted to add two new species to my list for 2020 – Bitterling and Bream and it takes my total species on The Anglers Challenge up to 11 for the year.
Next weekend – I plan to have a nice long drive,,, and to try for a species I’ve never caught (or even seen) before. Hopefully I will squeeze in a midweek evening session somewhere — we’re in June now and I haven’t caught a tench yet …
And I won’t forget my unhooking mat!