Saturday 14 July 2018

The Tiny River Alne – Tiny Tiddlers and Titanic Tits

An insulated garage door, the relentless sun a space like a sauna. The result a usually well cared for batch of lobworms somehow forgotten turned in to a rather smelly ball of yuck. Their cries of help unnoticed whilst chilling at the White Isle. 80 died due to my neglect, and I put ones hand up for the monumental massacre that occurred under my watch.

It could have been avoided, the expense and mental turmoil ever strong in the back of one’s mind, there was blood on my hands, don’t let me forget it.

What a tit !!!!

I've another four holidays planned before this year end, here and abroad so need to get on top of my bait management quick sharpish.

Maybe a sort through the bait fridge and be ruthless with chucking stuff away is the first thing to get sorted.

To be fair you only have to look at the grass to see it's been stupidly hot and no rain in what seems like weeks and weeks.

I'm sure although it could have been avoided, I'm not entirely to blame. A local fete had seemingly raised flags in honour to mourn the victims, such the public outcry.

So bait remaining, well, hmmm a few small worms and half pint of pinkies.

“Hey Sam, fancy trying to catch a sticklebacks, maybe a bullhead or two, oh and even maybe a stone loach to add to your species tally !!!”

“Dad, what’s a stickleback look like”
(Shows Library Pic)

“Whoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaa, they look cool, like a dinosaur fish”

Now a few species of sticklebacks inhabit British waters after a quick peruse of archive of fishing books .

They are the three-spined stickleback, the ten spined stickleback and the fifteen-spined stickleback. The last-named is a marine species living in shallow coastal waters and rock pool and is therefore not qualified for further mention.

Size 22 Hook with a pinkie
The names of the sticklebacks are self-explanatory, and the three-spined has thee spines in front of the rayed dorsal fin. The rear spine is smaller the other two. Sticklebacks with four spines are not uncommon. On rare occasions specimens with only two spines have been recorded, but these are varieties of the three-spined, not a different species apparently.

Their armament is not confined to the upper deck. A pair of formidable spines are set just in front of the single-rayed ventral fin and there is a short sharp spike immediately forward of the anal fin.

Frequenters of still and running water, preferring the shallows of ponds and quiet reaches of the river to fast currents and turbulent waters. They are the haunters of side-streams, backwaters and drainage ditches, where they live upon the countless animaculate such water afford and the smaller insects, molluscs and fish fry.

Fish spawn is also a favourite dish, they are hardy too, being tolerant of salt and brackish waters. They are also revel in and partake in the digestive dunking in low oxygen level waters which we are experiencing as anglers and fish during this ridiculous heat wave we are having.

No thumbs down to be seen here !!!!

The plan was to pay a visit to the Alne again, to search for some big fish from small waters, the brook visit was bit of an eye opener with some decent dace caught, as well as trout and even some bullheads, but the stingers would be huge, and Sam is like a magnet to them, so the Alne was probably the better choice for a couple or three swims.

I bet like the brook, there are so nice fish to be had here. The alne was also pastures new to him and with a chance of a small trout, a fish he’d not seen before as well let alone caught, it was a no brainer.

Our countryside streams and small rivers are not quick to yield their better fish that easily, and a season or two is required to at least get familiar with the water to ascertain what it can produce. It calls for a specialised form of fishing, and a very cautious approach to the water. By comparison with larger waters, the inherent shyness of the fish will be greatly magnified, and while the discerning angler may enjoy good sports with caution and concealment, the clumsy angler may find it an unrewarding pastime.

A disturbance in the confines of a small stream can finish the fishing for several hours along a length of two or three hundred yards. I've experienced that a few times myself, being a little heavy handed and lead footed. How one agitated fish can convey fear to another fish I don't know, I only know it does happen. Those that fish for chub know what I mean.

So one should start small stream fishing by exploring every foot of the available water, and no area should be disregarded and classed as 'fishless' until it has been thoroughly studied. There are definite holding points which, provided they are fished cautiously and wisely, will always produce fish, but catches can always be made in the most unlikely looking spots and it will take the angler a few trips, even seasons to find and memorise all the holding spots.

Enough of the David Carl Forbes preamble Mick, back to the fishing....

So two small light rods, one quiver one float. Lines lights and small hooks, as would be the bait for this session….

Now at one time I had perfect 20/20 vision, in-fact when having a cyst removed from ones eye around 5 years ago, when I had my eyes tested I was up there with some of the best eyesight the tester had ever seen with someone of my ageing years.

I'll be 46 this year though and despite weighing less than I did when I got married 10 years ago, unlike my waistline my eyesight isn't going down the same path. My left eye for proper close up stuff is a little more blurry than it used to be and to be honest tying a small hook was a little more difficult than I imagined.

Guru size 22 F1 eyed hooks are the smallest I'd got in my armoury and not having tied hooks that small recently having used hooks to nylon in the main, it was a pain in the proverbial's to be honest. So I need to seek some more suited to the task in hand.

Now with the river really low as expected the fishing was tough, plenty of minnows, in-fact they were on the pain in the backside but to occupy a 7 year old old, with a small attention span ideal.

Roach succumbed as usual, but no stickebacks or bullheads. Some of the minnows were of proper quiver bending size, so I might bring my scales next time, proper fatties.

Trout, trout, more trout...

We caught quite a few and one nearly gave us a proper doing over. I thought it was a chub at first the way it powered off but it was quite clear to see what it was when it came up stream.

Not a bad session but where were the species we were after ?

There is plenty to explore down here, with some water in it, I bet there are some nice fish to have. I'm sure there are decent Roach and Dace here, I'm sure of it. I might venture down to the deeper swims next time. More feature and areas where trout less likely and coarse fish prevalent.

On to the next one...


  1. Hi Mick. May I ask where on the Alne you fish. We have a caravan in Aston Cantlow and I've had roach, dace and trout from the sites stretch.

    1. Not a million miles away !!! I'm sure with some water on it there will be some cracking fish to be had.


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