Angling: Leeds are worming out coarse culprits

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Only a couple of months ago, I wrote of a small number of Pacific pink salmon being caught close to home in the north-east’s rivers Wear, Tyne and Tees and the likely possibility of a few straying up Yorkshire’s river Humber.

This is the main artery to the Ure and Swale’s noted spawning grounds for our native Atlantic salmon.

I made my feelings known regarding the call from fishery bailiffs to kill or dispatch any invader unfortunate enough to have given the angler the catch of a lifetime.

I would add that using the accepted decimation caused to our waterways by the American signal crayfish or even zebra mussels as a comparable does not stand up, as they were introduced by man and the pink salmon is a wild migratory fish just doing its thing.

The recent capture of a pink or humpback from the west coast’s River Severn shows that a visit to our local waters is almost inevitable, the fish caught on meat by an angler targeting barbel weighed in at 13lb 10oz. After photographs, it was, as requested, dispatched.

Across the country at Suffolk’s Minsmere, the RSPB reported a red-necked phalarope to its members as a welcome infrequent visitor from Siberia. The salmon that had done all the hard work escaping from Russia got bashed on the head for being an alien, so it just makes me wonder what else our governing bodies can come up with to promote angling!

Leeds and District this week gave me hope that not all was lost in doing the right thing.

Using its fisheries management committee’s emergency power ruling, they put a stop to anglers who claimed to be fishing for trout on its river venues but were targeting the more prolific species such as chub and barbel by using worms in the coarse fish close season.

The wording to be introduced to the 2016 membership yearbook will read: “Fly or artificial lure only to be used in the coarse fish close season on all society river venues.”

Last week’s floodwater bleak battles on the River Ouse were made to look ordinary with the catches recorded on the last Riverfest practice before the final held on the River Wye.

Ouse regular Durham’s Eddie Brydon put in an awesome display of bleak fishing on a flooded but holding River Wye to win the Hereford Open with an incredible 1,450 bleak catch weighing 43lb 4oz all in just four-and-a-half hours. A 40lb of bleak took second and over 36lb of the tiny silvers was needed for a top-six place.

Dangerous water levels on our river systems made the decision easy for me this week to follow the trout and coarse anglers back to the impressive Fewston and Swinsty.

Trout averages were affected by the levels rising though fish were still being caught in some of the worst weather for months.

Best fish of the week fell to a Mr G Ballas, who fished a cat’s whisker to take an immaculate blue trout of 3lb 4oz.

Lower down the valley, Otley AC held another of their popular matches on a rain and wind lashed Swinsty, Jim Smith coming out on top with a creditable 9-12 of skimmers and small roach all caught on the feeder and maggot at 40 yards.