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THE ULTIMATE ANGLING BUCKET LIST

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STING RAY Dasyatis

STING RAY Dasyatis pastinaca Bucket List status – result Stingray ‘sting’ The whip like tail with a sharp serrated venomous spine at its base will immediately set the stingray apart from all other home waters species, except maybe for one, the eagle ray. Points of difference between the two are that in the eagle ray, the eyes are set into the sides of an almost separate slightly raised and protruding head, whereas those of the stingray are more conventionally placed on top with only the tinniest hint of a snout appearing from its otherwise flat facial profile. The tail of the eagle ray is also very long and whip like with a short dorsal fin immediately in front of the spine In contrast, and a key distinguishing feature here, is that stingrays have no dorsal fin and the tail is very much shorter. Colouration can be variable with olive green through to brown being the most common shades. Of particular note is the thickness of this fish along its central ridge. It can appear almost triangular in cross section, the wing bases being especially thick, making it potentially a very powerful fish. There was a time during the 1970's and early 80's when stingray fishing really seemed to grab the angling public's attention. I'm not sure if that was down to increased availability, increased awareness, or just general angler interest levels. But you certainly don't hear too much about them in the angling press these days. Back then, reports were an almost weekly occurrence, particularly in and around the Thames Estuary from both the boats and the shore. St. Osyth beach was especially famed for them to the point of holding stingray competitions. Moving northwards, both the Welsh boat and shore records have been held from Aberdovey and Fairbourne respectively, both of which are on estuaries in Cardigan Bay, which could just as easily be a coincidence as a behavioural link. We even had a short spate of them being caught up here in Lancashire at Cleveleys around the 1980's, with specimens well topping twenty pounds caught from both the dinghies and the shore. But although I fished the Thames Estuary and probably harboured hopes of catching one there, that wasn't where I had my first stingray encounter, nor my best stingray experience. I've caught stingrays in many parts of the world, and some big ones too. My very first taste however of the power a stingray can turn on came while dinghy fishing out from Lymington on the Solent. Steve Lill and I used to trail our boat down to Christchurch for a couple of weeks during the summer, primarily to fish for thin lipped grey mullet in the lower Hampshire Avon just above Mudeford when the tide times were right, but also heading offshore armed with a tray of nice juicy ragworms which stingrays love when the early morning low water mullet fishing was off the agenda. 88

Most of the time we spent fishing in the Solent was during the daylight hours, though I have done all night sessions there for bass, smoothhounds and stingrays, providing the loose weed washing backwards and forwards with the tide wasn't going to be an added problem. Even so, most of our stingray action came during the daytime, which is maybe as well considering what could happen when you're partly unsighted after nightfall, even with a good lamp. On one of earliest trips one very breezy afternoon, my then young son Ian who couldn't have been much more than about six or seven decided he wanted to tag along, and caught himself a twenty two pounder. And as the boat at that time had no name, he insisted I call it 'stinger', which when we got back home is what we did. Then, maybe four or five years later aboard a different updated incarnation of 'stinger' which Brian Douglas, myself, and Ian had trailed over to Tralee Bay in County Kerry, we spent a lot of time Ian Williams, Solent Stingray fishing a mark known locally as the 'monkhole' which was a slight depression very close in to the shore tucked up well inside the bay miles away from the open sea, where surprise surprise, huge monkfish used to hang out. Not only monkfish though. All manner of other stuff too, including lots of small eyed rays and stingrays which we took plenty of, along with a sprinkling of thornbacks, small tope and the odd huss for good measure, providing us with some excellent shallow water sport where the only way fish could run and fight was away from the boat and as hard as they could. Fortunately, the mix of fish in there all responded well to pretty much the same approach, that being a four to six foot sixty pounds bs monofilament trace with a 6/0 hook and mackerel bait. So much so that you quite literally didn't know what might be coming up next. Then suddenly, the monkfish throughout Tralee Bay were cleaned out commercially and quickly faded from anglers thinking. However they did it, while it was most certainly the monkfish they were in there after, there is no doubting that other species would have suffered too, and that would have included the stingray. Whether they had been the same ones returning year on year is difficult to know. But this hasn't stopped them completely, despite the fact that throughout the north east Atlantic to the north of Biscay, stingray numbers are now considered to be so low that the species has been declared as being under threat. The current Irish record of just over seventy pounds was taken in Tralee Bay in 1999, a good fifteen years after our last visit, so they must still continue to come. One of the main reasons why I love stingray fishing so much is that in terms of surface area when compared to say a thornback ray, they look deceivingly small. It isn't until you take note of the depth of their body along the spinal ridge, and the steep angle this takes into those short stumpy wings, that you really appreciate how much potential power there is there. Steve Perry, shore Stingray 89

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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

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    As always, with any sort of ambitio

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    Working in conjunction with these i

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    viviparous reproduction, and the me

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    possible, use a landing net, and th

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    Only when a world record claim was

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    pectorals, with the second dorsal d

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    The harbour itself completely dries

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    Nor can weights be estimated by usi

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    shark and porbeagle exploits, all o

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    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 and 68: Ross Johnson, skate from the shore
  • Page 69 and 70: From the shore, obviously, it won't
  • 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: An occasional specimen might even t
  • 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
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  • 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
  • Page 119 and 120: s monofilament to help eliminate se
  • Page 121 and 122: fishermen, presented as a flapper,
  • Page 123 and 124: mouth is noticeably dark. There can
  • Page 125 and 126: LING Molva molva Bucket List status
  • Page 127 and 128: Mac McAllister, Whitby Ling Now, th
  • Page 129 and 130: GREATER FORKBEARD Phycis blennoides
  • Page 131 and 132: In common with all the rocklings, t
  • Page 133 and 134: SHORE ROCKLING Gaidropsarus mediter
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  • Page 137 and 138: 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