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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Barbel id - it's all about the detail

I'd been chatting with a couple of guys, at work, about my two barbel from the R.Stour - which led to the question "are they the same fish?" A no brainer, in my world, but a very valid query from an outside perspective. The id of individual fish is all about the detail. With pike, it is aided by the obvious patternation of their dappled flanks, as for barbel? Well it is about the obvious flaws in the scale pattern and other spawning marks, so very similar to the subtle differences between Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler wing formulae and leg colour? Attention to detail; don't look for the similarities - it's all about the differences.
It doesn't require the skills of Sherlock Holmes to spot the split in the pectoral fin and damage to the lower left barbule.
The small group of missing scales, just behind the pectoral fin, are the clincher?
My first thirteen pounder had some marks that make it impossible for the two specimens to be the same fish as the second one. Once a fish looses a scale, or damages a fin/tail, these scars remain for the rest of their lives; they certainly can't repair in a few days!


Ignore the odd bits of pond weed, this is clearly a different fish - both the pectoral fin and lower barbule being
intact  - with no scale loss.
I've spent a lot of time researching the details of barbel movements along the R. Severn, looking at the results of tagging programmes and the comments of anglers fishing the river. Whilst I am in no position to make any comment upon the barbel behaviour in the context of the R.Stour, at present, I find it quite interesting that I'm able to draw many similarities with my experiences of these initial captures.
I don't feel that my success qualifies me to make any conclusions (I've only taken four fish in 10 weeks!) - although I am continually seeking to learn from my sessions and experiences.
 

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