|1984 - an 8lbs 10oz zed.|
Like-wise, I have been bombarded by the anti-otter campaigning of celebrity anglers - get real? Anti-otter? A native British mammal which, due to habitat degradation, has suffered a massive range reduction but is now in the same position as the Common Buzzard - repopulating areas from which it was lost in times gone by. I have got a real problem with this mind-set; yet do know where the problem originates - stupidly arrogant anglers, those (of my era) who took it upon themselves to illegally introduce barbel into rivers across the UK.
|It's 1985 - my PB zander of 9lbs 8oz|
The result of arrogant disregard to environmental issues by the Great Ouse River Authority
A look at the rise and fall of Adam's Mill is a micro-insight into the bigger picture. I have no sympathy with the guys who blame otters for their inability to catch fish. Otters belong in our rivers - barbel don't - well certainly not the 82 that are host to the species at present. Let's think about this situation? Otters love to eat eels, a species which have suffered a massive decline due to the pressures of modern water management techniques and the "solution to pollution being dilution!" mentality of the water companies. The massive spread of barbel has negated the demise of the eel, to such an extent, that the preferred prey has become the newly introduced alien.
|A regular feature of the mid-80's - a multiple catch of Zander (4 - 6 lbs)|
Good angling or the result of "arrogant" disregard to environmental implications?
The actions of meddling anglers is mirrored by the crazy decisions of River Authorities (predecessors of the Environment Agency) which saw the introduction of Zander into the Great Ouse system. Wels Catfish, Zander, Barbel, Carp and many other exotics have given UK anglers so much more to fish for, thus sport. If the provision of these populations has provided the native wildlife a chance to regain a foothold in areas that they have been lost, maybe anglers are conservationists after all?
My accompanying photos are of my years (1983 - 1986) spent on the Fenland drains; Zander fishing is a direct result of Water Authority arrogance in their introduction of these fish into the Great Ouse river system. Anglers have ensured that the spread of this species hasn't been restricted to the Great Ouse catchment - The Severn, Thames and Trent are all host to these fish - who knows where else?