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THE ULTIMATE ANGLING BUCKET LIST

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Skate ‘kebab’ But

Skate ‘kebab’ But long before the bait goes on the hook, the barb will have been squashed down using a pair of pliers so it can be removed easily with a long reach T-bar disgorger if a fish takes deep or swallows it. The only drawback here is that without the barb, bait can become dislodged from the hook. So a half inch square of rubber cut from an old car inter-tube is pushed onto the hook and up over the squashed barb 'bump' to ensure this can't happen, creating the perfect big stream-lined bait with its own rubby dubby source attached. Obviously, the reel is set on ratchet, but not so light on the drag that line is yielded in the tide. Big skate areas tend to be quite tidal over a base of sand and mud, though invariably, most of the action comes as the tide eases away, allowing the fish more freedom to forage and feed. Sometimes an interested fish will take line. On other occasions it can be no more than a series of bumps and tugs as it settles over the bait to eat it, after which it may not move much at all. Timing the strike is something to be decided on a fish by fish basis, though not so much a strike in the conventional definition of the word as winding hard in to the fish, then pulling at it to have the hook penetrate its thick skin. After that it's a case of hanging on while applying maximum pressure for as long as it takes until you break its suction with the seabed, which when you do, must be taken full advantage of by lifting and holding the fish clear if you can so it doesn't get back down, which I know is easier said than done. Though still hard graft, and often with a few power dives along the way, the journey all those hundreds of feet up usually isn't too bad. It's when you get it to the boat, and worse still inside the boat that the real problems can start, unless you have prepared well. This involves the use of two heavy duty stainless steel gaffs - one for the fleshy leading edge of each wing, inserted well clear of the body cavity with the fish top side facing upwards on the surface. Struggling with a single gaff will do neither you or the fish any favours. A two gaff lift placing the skate gently on to the deck is the way to do it, at which point, despite the size, it will usually lie there motionless accepting of its situation. At this point you can lift up the nose to expose the mouth for retrieving the hook. This is also the stage at which existing tags are read or new ones are put in and photographs or measurements can be taken. But don't take too long about it. They soon start to redden up where they should be white, indicating they've been out of the water for too long. All of that done, as quickly as you can, work a piece of trawl netting or tarpaulin underneath the fish allowing you to lift it at the four corners up on to the side of the boat then slide it back into the water and away. To the uninitiated, sticking gaffs into a fish can sound cruel and potentially damaging, but tagged recaptures and inspection of historical scars have shown that while it can't be much fun for them, neither is it harmful. So much so that some fish have been caught on multiple occasions, and every so often you get the same fish coming up more than once in the same day. 68

From the shore, obviously, it won't be anything like as straight forward, though I would hesitate to comment on just how that would happen as I have no experience here to draw on. But yes, big skate are occasionally taken from the shore. The current record standing at 169 pounds comes from Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis, with reports of three figure skate having been taken from the piers at both Lochaline and Achiltibuie, and anecdotally, there may even be some un-tried potential for them from a few of the deeper rock marks around Crinan. I know for a fact that Ross Johnson has caught and returned fish over the record. There are also historical tales of huge skate having been taken from the long stone pier at Fenit over in Ireland, though from my experiences there, these could well have been white skate and not one of the two common skate variants, which if that were not the case, because of the location, would very likely be the blue skate Dipturus flossada. Speaking of Ireland, there are some excellent boat prospects over that side that are also worth taking note of. Hamish Currie based at Cushendall in Northern Ireland gets some very good fish on his patch, which, as it's not that far away from the western Scottish population, will very likely be flapper skate, though obviously I can't say for sure. Either way, they are very big fish. Double gaffing large skate Further to the south, particularly out from Courtmacsherry, they see a lot of good skate too. Graeme Pullen who is a friend of local charter skipper Mark Gannon has trailed his own boat over, and using GPS coordinates given to him by Mark, had fish to well over a hundred pounds, which again speculating, as this is the Celtic Sea, could well have been blue skate. Either way, as before, they were very big fish. Similarly Clew Bay over on the Atlantic coast is another well known skate area, with lady charter skipper Mary Gavin-Hughes finding her clients quite a few decent specimens up into treble figures. Due to its location, I would not like to hazard a guess between blue or flapper skate for that one. But again, as ever, more very good fish. Associated audio interview numbers: 16, 121 and 153. BOTTLE NOSED RAY Rostroraja alba Bucket List status – no result yet The bottle nosed ray or white skate as it is also known, is listed here so far as I am aware on account of a single British fish taken off The Needles in 1970, plus an undisclosed number of specimens, though presumably not too many from the west coast of Ireland, the biggest of which at one hundred and sixty five pounds was caught in Clew Bay in 1966. So potentially a very big fish, and by all accounts, these days at least, a very rare fish too. What sets it apart from the other so called ray species is the fact that the nipple like extension it has on the end of its snout is noticeably longer and bottle shaped, protruding from an obviously rounded head profile, hence the name, unlike the other large skate species where the line from the wing tip seems to 69

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    THE ACTUAL BUCKET LIST 100 species

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    Colin Penny: skipper of the Weymout

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS Page The Actual B

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    Long Rough Dab 153 Turbot 154 Brill

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    Introduction to the Gobies 251 Blac

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    Bitterling 322 Gudgeon 323 Bleak 32

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    Spain 479 Thailand 479 Tunisia 484

  • Page 17 and 18: As always, with any sort of ambitio
  • Page 19 and 20: Working in conjunction with these i
  • Page 21 and 22: viviparous reproduction, and the me
  • Page 23 and 24: possible, use a landing net, and th
  • Page 25 and 26: Only when a world record claim was
  • Page 27 and 28: pectorals, with the second dorsal d
  • Page 29 and 30: The harbour itself completely dries
  • Page 31 and 32: Nor can weights be estimated by usi
  • Page 33 and 34: shark and porbeagle exploits, all o
  • Page 35 and 36: Mincing also makes demands on the m
  • Page 37 and 38: Plymouth and some of the surroundin
  • Page 39 and 40: That however isn't the entire story
  • Page 41 and 42: Mark Ward, 71 pound Norfolk Tope I
  • Page 43 and 44: off around Shell Wharf to the south
  • Page 45 and 46: Network (SSACN), and it was on thes
  • Page 47 and 48: COMMON SMOOTHHOUND Mustelus mustelu
  • Page 49 and 50: But you would be wrong. Because exp
  • Page 51 and 52: There are lots of good smoothhound
  • Page 53 and 54: But it was a long hard fought campa
  • Page 55 and 56: The object of the exercise was to c
  • Page 57 and 58: LESSER SPOTTED DOGFISH Scyliorhinus
  • Page 59 and 60: One of the few occasions when I can
  • Page 61 and 62: When they were more numerous than t
  • Page 63 and 64: With its recent history, can there
  • Page 65 and 66: Getting back to the history of thos
  • Page 67: Ross Johnson, skate from the shore
  • Page 71 and 72: I remember one particular fish that
  • Page 73 and 74: have a lot to do with numbers, dist
  • Page 75 and 76: That said, I have on occasion been
  • Page 77 and 78: I once took a bucket full of live m
  • Page 79 and 80: With fast tides, a profusion of ban
  • Page 81 and 82: igger than ten pounds, then it's a
  • Page 83 and 84: Spotted Rays also lack rough prickl
  • Page 85 and 86: A strikingly beautiful fish which e
  • Page 87 and 88: An occasional specimen might even t
  • Page 89 and 90: Most of the time we spent fishing i
  • Page 91 and 92: Another of those at best rarely rep
  • Page 93 and 94: A much smaller fish of more souther
  • Page 95 and 96: As with all species, and for a rang
  • Page 97 and 98: Our first trips didn't exactly ligh
  • Page 99 and 100: etween Christmas and the last big t
  • Page 101 and 102: The Fylde would fish best after a b
  • Page 103 and 104: Muppets too began to appear in a ra
  • Page 105 and 106: own boat over there to fish the rou
  • Page 107 and 108: Colouration and lateral line are tw
  • Page 109 and 110: Deep diving plugs too, providing th
  • Page 111 and 112: pollack have a protruding lower jaw
  • Page 113 and 114: The upper flanks and back have been
  • Page 115 and 116: From my own experience, certainly f
  • Page 117 and 118: photograph of a whiting he'd caught
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    s monofilament to help eliminate se

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    fishermen, presented as a flapper,

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    mouth is noticeably dark. There can

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    LING Molva molva Bucket List status

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    Mac McAllister, Whitby Ling Now, th

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    GREATER FORKBEARD Phycis blennoides

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    In common with all the rocklings, t

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    SHORE ROCKLING Gaidropsarus mediter

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    I used to tag along to collect dise

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    As with the more familiar flounder

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    fish, little realising that they we

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    Though it was still very early in t

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    A fish with a distribution potentia

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    aits, and a tiny sliver of squid or

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    e enough to push them right out wit

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    Hooks obviously can be bigger where

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    He also uses this description for t

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    I spent some time chatting to Paul

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    fin extending right around to the h

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    Whatever the reason, it did actuall

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    From the shore it's slightly differ

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    161 And if you are not holding your

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    MEGRIM Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis B

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    Colouration is brown with some dark

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    Dan Burrows, Fleetwood Because of m

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    Where there are still a few bass le

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    ecruitment in the face of imminent

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    As ever, there was always the dange

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    The EU is relying on existing enfor

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    The total reduction in fishing mort

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    south, as it is a common enough fis

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    A fish with a large mouth and power

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    weaning these otherwise algae graze

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    spots, and put in the time both swi

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    Ollie Stenning, 8.7.4 Thin Lip reco

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    Despite living nearby in Hampshire,

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    Simply fold the pectoral fin forwar

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    Otherwise, a family of fishes of vi

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    epeated off the Yorkshire coast. Ye

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    were forced to remove their fightin

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    So far as I can ascertain, this is

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    different scales starting at the gi

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    everywhere as was once the case. Wi

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    Quite an unusual visitor to our pat

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    Four of us we were drift fishing a

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    Physically, the almaco is a slightl

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    Already we are seeing that, not onl

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    the end of the trip, still with no

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    I've had it happen to me on more th

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    What clinched that line of thinking

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    much stronger sharper hooks, and bu

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    Mike Thrussell, Gilthead Bream I ha

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    BOGUE Boops boops Bucket List statu

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    AXILLARY BREAM Pagellus acarne Buck

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    Caught out, instead of reversing th

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    The biggest of the four was put at

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    So there I am winding in, certain I

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    CUCKOO WRASSE Labrus mixtus Bucket

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    For deliberately targeting them, th

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    The scientific wisdom suggests it t

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    As is the trend with most of the gu

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    In this particular case however, re

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    Although I've never caught one myse

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    So you can expect to see them in mo

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    The knock on effect would also sign

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    Phill Williams, Shad on fly Unusual

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    THE GOBIES Potentially quite a larg

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    Colouration varies between reddish

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    TOMPOT BLENNY Parablennius gattorug

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    BLACK FACED BLENNY Tripterygion del

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    A very dark blue-grey fish over its

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    If it's a conger, the eye will be l

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    Yes, conger can be a handful. Dange

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    to make a short flowing 10/0 hook t

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    Anyway, a good hour went by without

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    More recently, that trend has given

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    A fish well capable of weights well

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    eam covered in a mosaic of heavy sc

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    Trigger fish are not overly demandi

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    Distribution extends throughout all

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    exaggerated long filaments stretchi

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    sometimes lighter vertical bars on

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    GREATER WEEVER Trachinus draco Buck

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    SHORT SPINED SEA SCORPION Myoxoceph

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    The anal fin follows a similar patt

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    Colouration is sandy brown with a s

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    By far the biggest numbers I have e

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    RED BAND FISH Cepola rubescens Buck

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    FIFTEEN SPINED STICKLEBACK Spinchia

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    After spawning, the adults drop bac

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    So not a likely repeat prospect for

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    As for mirrors, commons, leathers a

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    That was it. We would film a demons

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    Granted, Richard Walker was from a

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    Anglers however tend to have mixed

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    It took us some searching to locate

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    RUDD Scardinius erythrophthalmus Bu

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    Match anglers love them too, as all

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    ait on their heads and immediately

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    BARBEL Barbus barbus Bucket List st

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    In addition to that, Mike also had

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    More towards the back-end however,

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    Looking at recent reports of catch

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    Let's start with the feel of the fi

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    distances on a regular basis to fis

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    I'd never been to East Anglia befor

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    Phill Williams, small Zander locati

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    Not exactly a fish to set the world

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    Dave and Paul went straight for the

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    For a whole range of reasons you co

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    Let's also not lose sight of the fa

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    You only have to look at the wider

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    villa I stayed in. Using worms boug

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    THREE SPINED STICKLEBACK Gasteroste

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    Included in the adipose finned spec

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    Other boats also came ashore with s

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    Theoretically, a very straight forw

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    particular tenkara fly fishing come

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    A scale count from the adipose fin

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    Living in a three dimensional world

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    the hook inside a small ball of the

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    Colouration is typically dark green

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    In Grayling circles, I have to say

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    around one hundred and forty or so

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    across the lake, and would therefor

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    There were certainly less fish abou

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    One day, Bob Fitchie and I decided

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    Inspired by Wally's catch, John and

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    PART TWO BEYOND HOME WATERS THE CAT

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    Cape Cod is a venue where bass in t

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    The obvious problem was that Dave,

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    FLORIDA - BISCAYNE CANAL When I fis

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    So why go to the trouble of fishing

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    It's just a pity that the hundred o

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    This is controlled by a single lock

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    idea was that as the light faded, t

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    You could drop a live mullet or blu

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    Having fished there on a number of

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    getting access to big fish too for

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    and reels supplied on-board, which

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    Paul Bennett hooked up a huge snapp

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    As one local party boat angler put

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    The entrance can get quite busy wit

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    Each morning at breakfast we would

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    407 What we had not expected was ei

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    cameras, this went into a rucksack

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    The fishing itself was straight for

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    ottom. It was all bait fishing with

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    Smaller asp on the other hand tend

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    also run this river in their millio

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    Surprisingly, for the size of these

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    Eventually it appeared within reach

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    On one occasion, as soon as I touch

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    shark, which, along with a fish I h

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    fixed spool reels. Fortunately we h

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    As it would turn out, this was the

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    A stretch of land separated from th

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    The food was very nice. Fresh lobst

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    What you needed to do was cast as f

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    He in turn blamed the local lads on

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    against the concrete above us and h

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    The one remaining option was to go

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    More important still, so too were t

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    Our problem was catching the necess

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    Unfortunately, everything seemed to

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    was emptied, carried to us by scant

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    me there from Calangute where I was

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    In less than half an hour it was mi

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    said, as I'm not one for aimlessly

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    This happened a couple more times b

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    inside edge of the reef. As the sto

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    limited time, we were satisfied, an

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    Phill Williams, Puerto Vallarta Jac

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    Some days he would even walk into t

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    Were it not for the many bite-offs,

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    Gurnards very similar to our tub gu

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    Cod though were always the number o

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    up into the jungle. So late in fact

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    As was often the case, the chat wen

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    things turned out, it was nothing o

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    SPAIN I've only ever been to mainla

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    These eventually turned out to be f

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    In terms of approach, we used a ver

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    PART THREE INDIVIDUAL TARGETS THE C

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    Dove-tailing very nicely into this

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    I suggested in my representations,

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    Fortunately, most of the recorded s

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    not mentioned in this section of th

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    Opportunities to realistically and

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    Hamish Currie is the only home wate

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    through holes in bushes, around sub

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    to adjust the working depth, depend

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    One of the recorded audio interview

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    Wels Catfish - now excluded from th

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    Okay, so you can access much of it

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    With this mind we motored off down

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    As a sort of prediction as well as

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    Phill Williams & Johan Burger with

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    Let's look at the pro's and con's o

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    It may surprise some people here wh

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    kayaks tied up to some of the buoys

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    Because of the geography involved,

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    I even tried bottom fishing with sm

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    PART FOUR OTHER STUFF PERIFERAL & H

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    magnetometer behind the boat as the

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    Luckily, Pete had installed a bilge

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    But endless pages of print unfortun

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    And now here we are with the bucket

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    with no relevant qualifications, I

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    Deformed surviving Tope Most other

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    you dip the sampling can in at the

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    acteria feeding on it, or other inp

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    separate bucket for reintroduction

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    RESIDS 0.18 0.16 0.14 0.12 0.10 2 3

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    An asteroid impact 66 million years

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    As a point of balance, I should als

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    a vested financial interest in mopp

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    Podcast Interview 8: Graeme Pullen,

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    Podcast Interview 33: Zyg Gregorek,

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    Podcast Interview 55: Dave Beecham,

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    Podcast Interview 74: Justin Anwyl

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    Podcast Interview 95: Sven Hille, B

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    shore, and a 1000 pound fish from a

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    Podcast Interview 134: Mike Heylin,

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    Podcast Interview 155: Ally Gowans,

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    Podcast Interview 176: Terry Mosele

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    his job had to fish with many of th

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    Smoothhound at surface: Photo Phill

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    Dave Devine Haddock trio: Photo Phi

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    Gibraltar harbour: Photo Phill Will

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    Anchovy: Photo Phill Williams. Phil

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    Grass Carp: Photo Bill Rushmer. Vir

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    Char in breeding livery: Photo Phil

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    Danny Cove 200 pound Stingray: Phot

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    My angling hero & mentor, Davy Agne

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    The Lesser Spotted curse: Photo Phi