freeline-24 - Page 134



Made In England
Size and good looks for Ricky Preston in the shape of a lovely 41lb mirror.
Contrary to popular belief, otters
were last officially introduced into
waterways in England in the last century, 1999 to be precise. Since then,
their steady spread has been due to
successful breeding, with the young
otters moving away from their parents’ territory and on to pastures new.
So, the question is, where did this person get a young otter pup from?
Whether it be that they trapped a protected species or had bred them, the
bottom line is that they are breaking
the law, and I’ll be very interested to
see what DEFRA or English Nature
propose to do about this breach of
their rules and regulations.
The second question is possibly
more disturbing because there can be
only one possible reason for this
otter’s introduction to the fishery, and
that was for it to feed on the carp
therein. But maybe it’s more sinister
than that. I mean, why would someone want to kill a load of carp? Did
they suffer some cyprinid-based
trauma as a child? No, I think that
they may be anticipating, or engineering, a response from the fishery owner
towards the otter, and if that was a
fatal response, maybe they are ready,
somehow, to spread that across the
airwaves. Either of those scenarios is
134 FREE LINE
not good, and what if someone hadn’t
witnessed it happening; and how
many other similarly protected carp
waters have been infiltrated in the
same way?
There are some strange, twisted
people around, aren’t there, and unfortunately we all know the answer to
the question about DEFRA and
English Nature, don’t we? John Wilson said a few years ago that cormorants and otters pose the biggest
threat to angling in Britain for
decades, much more so than pollution, and at the time most people just
laughed it off as the ravings of a fool.
Now, it would appear that the fool
was not raving at all, but was so very
right. Unfortunately, John will take no
solace from this, preferring instead to
try to get the DEFRA’s of this world to
listen!
Even more than ever, vigilance is
the watchword. We need to be so
much more aware of the world
around us, and not just the water in
front of us.
Well, that was a bit of a ‘real’ start
to this month’s column, and I haven’t
even got round to ‘Harry for England’!
I see, however, that my request for
winter to make an appearance was
granted, and, it would seem, that most
of the country has been under a blanket of snow and ice for a couple of
weeks, rendering most lakes unfishable. A lot of people will be wailing
about the lack of fishing, but, secretly,
I think most of us crave a break of
some sort, and, with the demise of the
close season, this time of year tends
to give us that opportunity. I know we
all tend to go a bit stir crazy when we
can’t get behind the rods for a few
weeks, but the hardier souls will grit
their teeth and spend the odd day by
the river. There’s some great sport to
be had on a lot of our rivers, and
although finding carp in some of them
might be tricky, there are plenty of
places where you can catch good
quality perch, roach, chub and barbel.
Don’t forget, though, that some of the
biggest pike in this country are to be
found in our rivers, and now is the
perfect time to be targeting them, as
they get close to spawning. I’m in the
final stages of proofing Mark Walsingham’s book, ‘A Fool and His Eel’, at
the moment and his chapter on river
pike fishing is fascinating. But it could
become even more so if he is able to
get out to a certain stretch of river in
the next couple of weeks. He’s heard
of three massive pike that have been
caught from there in the last couple of

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