Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It is very windy today and is forecast to continue tonight, but tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be really nice days. The pier will probably be fairly crowded over the weekend with the weekend regulars (who have been catching pretty steadily) having to share the rails with the holiday campers. Casting snares from the beach may be a better way to catch your Dungeness crab. Also, keep an eye out for the California Gray Whale that has been feeding inside the bay for the last month or so. It passed by the pier around noon yesterday and can be spotted from the beach about every other day. By boat you are sure to see it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Dungeness crabbing from the pier is still pretty good for those in the know. A few of those "knowers" caught limits last week. For the rest of us it is spotty. The bay slowed down with a lot more red crab showing up where there were only Dungeness a few weeks before. The outer bay is still producing crabs but the quality and numbers have dropped off. If your expectations aren't too high you should leave satisfied.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cormorants And Sawbills - A Serious Threat To Salmonids

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling a sense of utter despair when I arrive at a favoured fishing spot only to be met by a flock of Cormorants or Goosanders flapping across the top of the water trying to take off with their fish filled stomachs.

Not so long ago this was a scene that you would never have dreamt could happen on a tree lined small tributary but nevertheless it has now become quite a common sight on some of the waters I fish in the Welsh Marches.

I'm aware that these birds have been feeding on our inland waters for many many years, but the concern is that numbers have increased dramatically in the last couple decades to what is now an over-wintering population in the region of 25,000 birds in the UK

An all too familar sight above the rivers of the Welsh marches

The fact that these birds are now feeding in quite substantial numbers on our smaller tributaries will undoubtedly have a severe effect on the future wild fish stocks, these rivers & streams are the spawning grounds for Salmonids and the sanctuary and protection that these streams once offered has now diminished.

A survey by Swansea University found that most fisheries have a problem with Cormorants. Dr Dan Forman, who led the study, said that just eight birds could kill 100 fish in a single session. The birds will return to sites three or four times a day, until stocks are exhausted.

When you consider these facts then you begin to realise how the finely balanced eco-system of these rivers could well be on a road to ruin if left unchecked.

The remains in the stomach of a culled Cormorant

The purpose of this blog entry is to further highlight the problem...I don't confess to having any surefire solutions but I feel that this is potentially a far bigger problem than the likes of DEFRA, Natural England, RSPB and some of the other decision makers even realise.

The non lethal deterrents suggested to help fisheries protect their fish such as underwater refuges, noise generating scarers and automatic scarecrows are extremely difficult to implement on rivers and the existing limits that are licenced to be killed seem to make very little difference.

An amazing sequence of photos captured by amateur photographer Stewart Canham

 I would suggest that a big step forward might be for these organisations to consult more closely with angling clubs whose members are encountering first hand the numbers of birds on these rivers and the effect they are having.

 Very informative reading on the subject here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

River Arrow - Herefordshire

Managed to fit in a mid-week excursion to the delightful River Arrow near to Leominster thanks to an invite from fellow blogger Peter Anderson.

The river here meanders through the Herefordshire countryside creating some very interesting water with many riffles and deep pools to search out.

Things started very slow for both of us but as so often happens when Grayling fishing at this time of year you find a pool with some feeding fish in and can take quite a few fish in no time at all.

We ended the day with some very nice Grayling between us and Peter managing to net a real beauty which we estimated at around the 2 1/2lb mark.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not too much different to report. The Dungeness catch numbers have dipped a bit more but are still better than average. The outer bay has slowed down quite a bit and some of the guys are talking about heading back down to Ten Mile. The pier is pretty consistent, slow and relatively steady. The size of the crabs is a bit smaller than earlier in the season. For next year, there will be changes to the regulations regarding groundfish (rockfish and lingcod) but the new rules won't go into effect on January 1st. Fish and Game will let us know when they will apply. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not too much to report except that yesterday a couple braved the rain to catch 16 Dungeness off the pier in a few hours time. Not too much competition on the pier now. Still lots of crab in the outer bay.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You would think that the bay would be out of Dungeness crabs by now. The crabbing is definitely slower but the Dungeness are still there, despite the hundreds of traps and nets that have been dropped on them in the last month. The crab that are left are a bit finicky. Fresh bait is important. The bait shop here will be open on the weekends in December and January from 8AM to 4PM for bait, tackle, snacks and boat launching. If the ocean lays down (tomorrow looks good) the outer bay still has a lot of crab, especially in 60 to 70 feet of water.