Monday, November 21, 2016

Playing the numbers game.

Last weekend I had a message from my mate Nick about an interesting talk he had attended about Scottish freshwater fish species. He mentioned that the person giving the talk had covered nine spined sticklebacks and this sparked my interest in the species and potential locations that may hold populations. After a bit of Googling and sending off some emails I received a reply from wildlife photographer Jack Perks who very kindly pointed me in the direction of a small pond in the East Midlands that he assured me contained a lot of them. It was a long way to go to catch a tiny fish but I decided to head down there and went early last Monday morning to see if I could catch one. Five and a half hour's driving later I arrived at the venue, a lovely little pond full of lilies, reeds and weedy areas. Keen to start catching little spiky fish I quickly set up my micro fishing tackle.

Stuffed with sticklebacks according to Jack.
 I used a super sensitive pole float and shotted it right down.
A tiny section of pinky maggot on a tanago hook. Ideal for tiny mouths.

Dropping my micro fishing rig down in to a gap in some lily pads in the margin the tip of my chianti pole float soon registered the interest of a little fish and after a few more tiny dips it went right under. The culprit was quickly lifted out and swung to hand but whilst it was a stickleback it wasn't the one I was after being six spines short. This set the tone for the next hour or so with my float barely having a chance to settle before being pulled under by a succession of my target's hungry cousins.

These three spined sticklebacks weren't shy and the pond was full of them.

I slowly moved around the edge of the pond trying different spots but after catching several dozen three spined sticklebacks and nothing else I began to wonder if Jack had been mistaken about the presence of the nine spined sticklebacks or if I was fishng in the wrong pond. I was still having fun though and eventually I caught a tiny fish that had a completely different profile and colouration to all the others I caught so far. As soon as the fish raised its spines it revealed its identity and confirmed that I'd hit the jackpot.

Eventually my persistence paid off and I'd caught a new species as well as the smallest freshwater fish in the UK.
One of each in my observation tank. Very different in appearance.

I carried on fishing for another couple of hours before headed back up the road, having had lots of fun catching the diminutive fish. In amongst a few more dozen three spined sticklebacks I managed to catch a few more nine spine sticklebacks as well. Micro fishing is good fun and with doing more of it in mind I've treated myself to a 6" tanago rod that will be perfect for targeting a whole host of little fish so I'm looking forward to getting out and using it in the not too distant future. 

Tight lines, Scott.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff. I love the idea of hunting down individual species like this :)