Friday, 12 October 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Ladybirds, Lobcocks and Lickspittles

In the week, the spinney car park, tackle being unloaded from the car, out the corner of my eye, hmmmmm, a swarm of insects, wonder what they are? Very weird. Then I’m under attack, one lands on my ear, so I flick it off, then another lands on my head, brushes it off, then I notice my trousers are covered. Oh they’re ladybirds, wow, haven’t seen that many before.

Then a bit of Googleing, STD riddled ones apparently, you see these by all accounts are a species called Harmonia Axyridis, otherwise known as Harlequin ladybirds and have been ‘invading British homes in biblical plagues.’

Now these ladybirds which migrated from Asia and North America around 14 years ago, carry a disease called Laboulbeniales which is a form of fungi, and Scientists say the fungus, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species, which are already under threat from habitat loss. While they don't yet know if the fungus is harmful, they say it is possible that the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce over her lifespan.

Luckily there is no chance of catching this Coccinellidae chlamydia, however the advice is to leave them alone, because a defence mechanism many ladybird species exude a yellow fluid (called reflex blood) which has an unpleasant acrid smell, and which can stain soft furnishings.

To be fair, much like the kids then !!!!

Also when hungry, harlequin ladybirds will bite humans in their search for something if there is no food available. The bites usually produce a small bump and sting slightly and there are a few documented cases of people having a severe allergic reaction to harlequin ladybirds.

Scientists have dubbed the animal Britain's most invasive species, as it preys on seven native ladybirds, including the common two-spot. Don’t worry though, The Harlequin Ladybird Survey will monitor its spread across Britain and assess its impact on native ladybirds.

Now talking of invasive species….

….for this after work afternoon session in the peeing rain and strong wind (I had the choice of shopping with the Wife or going fishing ) I teased my rubber band equipped car down the perilous potholed path (a little better now) to the upper reaches of the deep bit of a stretch of the Warwickshire Avon I fish, you see I’ve concentrated in and around certain pegs of late further downstream and that’s probably not helping my catch rate, so this was born out of necessity.

These Zander have been rather sluggish of late you see, where have they all gone, that’s the question ?, because I thought I was on to something, I really did. It was out with the lure rod to try and locate a few but as back-up I’d also fish a sleeper rod in and around some marginal cover with my favourite Zander bait of recent times, yeap the smelt.

The colour and clarity isn’t helping for sure, because Zander love turbid water, more colour the better in-fact such their superior eyesight that give them an advantage over their prey. Just look at the canal fish I’ve been catching, I actively look for areas where the water is brown because that’s where the Zander will likely be, it’s not finger in the air type stuff I tell thee.

They love being top dog, feet up, smoking jacket donned with a big fat Cuban, then again who doesn’t….

With the acid house poncho at the ready (bought for an outdoor rave but not used) I decided to brave the conditions. The rain luckily eased up after an hour or so but the wind picked up and got worse throughout the session.

I worked really hard in this session, dropping in and out of swims with the deadbait to try and stumble on to a Zed and using the lure rod in anger. I had two dropped takes on the smelt and not even a nudge on the lure which surprised me as usually there is a jack that is up for it.

So a big fat blank but I'm glad I braved the conditions !!!!

The river felt very low and lifeless though and very clear indeed, so not ideal conditions to target the Zander.


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