Tag Archives | sea

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Parr’s Diary: July 2016

July is normally a good month for an angler. The rivers aren’t always at their best, with low water levels and bright sunshine, while many of the fish remain more interested in one another than they are in eating. The long days give us plenty of time though, and sultry summer evenings can offer some […]

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Dawn on the Hook

“Wexford. The oldest place in Ireland,” some would say. “Like Cornwall, only wetter,” say others. I snuck an old sturdy carp rod into a packed car heading for a family holiday in Ireland, and found myself fishing on Booley Bay beach near Duncannon on the aptly named Hook Peninsula. The tide was racing in, the […]

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Vendace

The Lake District in Cumbria is one of the most unspoilt areas of England. Though hugely popular with tourists, there are secluded spots where even on a sunny bank holiday, you can feel as though you are the only person on earth. The largely glacial lakes have long been popular with anglers, with trout, charr […]

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Herring

Ah, the herring. Now here is a species that, unlike the vendace/powan/gwnyiad/schelly, can be discussed succinctly and without any confusion… …unless of course, one forgets to consider the Pacific and Araucanian herrings or the (rather large) freshwater family Clupeidae, or various other fish around the world, that are known as ‘herring’. So, before the madness […]

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Fish wives

Herring fishing was once a big industry throughout northern Europe and North America. As vast shoals of fish were located and plundered before being readied for shipment across both continents, entire communities were founded upon this single process. As Donald S Murray explains in Herring Tales, though the fishing itself was undertaken almost exclusively by […]

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Sailfish

There is some conjecture as to whether there are one or two species of sailfish in our Oceans. Some bodies recognise the Atlantic (Istiophorus albicans) and Indo-Pacific (Istiophorus platypterus) as separate species, yet they are anatomically the same and most authorities only recognise the single species – platypterus. Despite so often swimming stubbornly against the […]

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Whiting

We may be experiencing one of the mildest winters on record, but the sea is still a tough proposition at this time of year. Many fish move offshore or head south to warmer water, but in turn species will enter British waters from further north. One species that is particularly common through the cold months […]

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Cuttlefish

Yes, Fishpool is well aware that the cuttlefish is not technically a fish, but as Dominic Garnett proved in Fallon’s angler Issue 1 (and Fishpool mentioned in Bits and Pieces Issue 7), squid and cuttlefish can be successfully targeted with rod and line. The most frequently encountered species in British waters is the common cuttlefish […]

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Coalfish

Regular readers of Bits and Pieces (though surely there can be no such thing as an irregular reader?) will be only too aware of the pattern found among many of the fish featured. All too often the species in question is either in decline or facing extinction, and though this particular fish might not be […]

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The Catch

Fishpool has long been a fan of Channel 4. Aside from giving a massive shot in the arm to the British Film Industry and offering the viewer a diverse and sometimes controversial selection of programming, Channel 4 has also catered for us anglers. Go Fishing, Catching the Impossible and Screaming Reels have all featured in […]

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Brixham

On the southern curve of Torbay in Devon sits the fishing town of Brixham. Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 there is evidence to suggest that a settlement existed here many centuries earlier. Its situation, being protected from the prevailing south westerly winds, made it an ideal spot for a harbour, and while Brixham […]

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Atlantic cod

The autumn may have been absurdly mild, with record breaking temperatures and weeks without rain, but as winter nibbles deeper into the tail of the year, so the saltwater anglers prepare for the arrival of cod. The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) has long been sought by Man. The white flesh makes for excellent eating, whether […]

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Simon Smith

Teacher, writer and, for nearly 25 years, a sea angler, Simon Smith is unsure exactly how to categorise himself. The author of a sea angling book, Running with the Tide, Simon lives with his wife and daughter on the south Wales coast, spending what little spare time he has writing, too much time working, far […]

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Blue shark

While Fishpool recently discovered that some sharks are utterly Pathetic, one species for which such an adjective could not be less accurate, is the blue. The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is a fish of temperate and tropical waters, occurring in all but the coldest seas. It is a slender bodied shark, with large pectorals and […]

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Looe

Tucked away on the south-east coast of Cornwall, straddling the estuary of the river with which it shares a name, is the picturesque town of Looe. A derivation of the Cornish word Logh – meaning deep water inlet – Looe is renowned for the quality of its fish and the boisterousness of its New Year’s […]

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Tarpon

Perhaps it is its similarity in appearance to a sprat or bleak, but the tarpon is a fish that really doesn’t look as if it should grow as big as it does. The closely related Atlantic and Indo-Pacific tarpon (Megalops atlanticus and Megalops cyprinoides respectively) are fish that require warm water in which to breed, […]

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Kerry’s estuary of Eden

This summer of 2015 found us in a wet Co Kerry, joining old friends and extended family for the first time in a very long time just outside the village of Glenbeigh on the Iveagh Peninsula, part of the world-renowned Ring of Kerry. I spent many happy summers in Kerry as a child with a […]

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Great white shark

No fish commands such fear and awe, or is perhaps so misunderstood as the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). This is a truly massive fish – specimens approaching 20 feet in length have been reliably reported, while many believe the great white can grow significantly larger. They are found throughout the world – though require […]

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Walker Bay

For many years South Africa was regarded as one of the premier spots in the world for shark fishing, with anglers coming from across the globe, many hoping to hook a great white shark. As the great white became increasingly threatened throughout its range, many countries, South Africa included, banned the fishing for them. This […]

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Sand eel

The poor old sand eel lives a life not unlike the minnow – constantly looking over his shoulder. There are two species common in British waters, the lesser and greater sand eel – and it is the lesser (Ammodytes tobianus) that plays such a key role in the food chain. Just about everything bigger than […]

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Plaice

Probably our most well known flatfish and certainly one our most highly regarded culinary fish, the plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is one of the few sea fish to have appeared in Bits and Pieces that isn’t under threat. Not growing particularly huge, the shore caught record is a little over 8lbs in weight, the plaice is […]

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Pollock

Found throughout the north Atlantic, the pollock (Pollachius pollachius) is fish often overlooked. A big eyed, big mouthed sight hunter, the pollock is found throughout the British Isles, with smaller specimens frequenting rocky, inshore marks and bigger fish, weighing up to and over thirty pounds, found in deeper water and off-shore wrecks. Once hooked, the […]

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River Cottage

Ahhhh – 1998… Beckham’s red card – that goal by Michael Owen – B*Witched and Boyzone dominating the singles charts….and some floppy haired bloke moved to a cottage beside a river. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tends to divide opinion, but his efforts to publicise sustainable fishing should be applauded. His ‘move’ to River Cottage, a small-holding on […]

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Grey Mullet

Though often regarded as a single species, the ‘grey’ mullet found in British waters is either thick-lipped (Chelon labrosus) or thin-lipped (Liza ramada). To add to the confusion, there is also the golden grey mullet (Liza aurata) which is related closer, taxonomically speaking at least, to the thin-lipped than the thin-lipped is to the thick-lipped, […]

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Ballan Wrasse

Widespread throughout the north-eastern Atlantic, the ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta) is one of our most familiar inshore species. They are spectacularly coloured—wearing a variety of greens, reds and browns, and sometimes resemble a relic from the great 1960’s tie dye age. All ballans are born female and remain so until they are at least four […]

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Sea Horse

One of the most extraordinary creatures in our Oceans, there are over fifty species of seahorse on the world, though only two are found in British waters. The Spiny Seahorse (Hippocampus Guttulatus) and the Short Snouted Seahorse (Hippocampus Hippocampus) are found in small numbers around our coasts, predominantly off western and southern shores. Despite their […]

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Tiger Shark

Found in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world, the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is one of the most widespread fish in our seas. It is classed as an ‘average’ sized shark, though they will still reach a length of 15 feet which is plenty big enough in Fishpool’s eyes. The largest ever caught was […]

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Basking Shark

Every summer comes the same sensationalist headlines: ‘Giant Killer Shark off Prestatyn!’, ‘Great White at Weston!’, normally accompanied by a photo of a slightly droopy dorsal fin poking through the waves. Though there is evidence of great whites in British waters (more of that in a future Bits and Pieces), the sightings that are sparking […]

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Crabbing

Summer—time to don some shorts, hit the coast, dangle your line and catch a few crabs. No—we’re not suggesting you partake in a Club 18-30 package holiday, but rather that you enjoy the classic pastime of crabbing. Seaside shops are packed with handlines, you just need some bait and off you go. You can use […]

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Conger eel

Back in May, a commercial fishing boat brought an enormous eel back into port. Despite being misreported by some sources as measuring 20 feet in length, it was still a considerable specimen and weighed over 130lbs. Sadly, such a fish used to be far more regularly encountered, as the conger eel (Congridae conger conger) is […]

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Common Skate

It is slightly tragic that the ‘common’ skate (Dipturus batis or Raja batis) was, in 2006, listed as a critically endangered species. Once widespread across the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, over fishing has decimated the population. They are long lived – a female only reaches sexual maturity at eleven years, and is subsequently fertile […]

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The Shanny

In the unofficial hierarchy of rock-pooling, having ticked off shore crab, shrimp and then the butterfish (see Bits and Pieces Issue 6) the next target in the list is the shanny. Also known as the common blenny or seafrog, the shanny (Lipophrys pholis) is a fearsome looking fish with more than a passing resemblance to […]

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Blue Marlin

Few fish capture the imagination like the Atlantic blue marlin (Makaira nigricans). For many, these are the ultimate game fish. Not only do they grow huge—the rod caught record is over 1400lb—they fight like no other fish. Blue marlin are built for speed—with slim, streamlined bodies, great fan like pectorals that can fold into grooves […]

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Black Bream

(Spondyliosom cantharus) Few British sea fish have benefitted from the rise in sea temperature and restrictions on inshore fishing more than the black bream. Lovers of rough ground, the bream arrive back from their deep sea winter haunts in April and May and do so in number. They are hard fighting – perhaps because they […]

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Chesil Beach

Arguments continue regarding the creation of Chesil Beach, but fishermen don’t worry themselves with such trivia. This is one of the top marks on the south coast and is particularly noted for its trigger fish. In early summer the mackerel are the biggest draw, with shoal after shoal crashing into the shingle when the whitebait […]

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