Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Warwickshire Avon - Murklins and Megadriles

A few years ago Dave lived his life in a vegetable patch in Widnes, a small industrial town in Cheshire along the River Mersey. It’s difficult to surmise exactly when Dave was born or know whether his life was particularly difficult. But by the time Paul Rees pulled the lob worm, Lumbricus terrestris, from his garden, Dave's size indicated he lived a safe and healthy existence. He needed to preserved for all to see.

Very healthy indeed, at 16-inches long and twice the girth of the average annelid, Dave was the largest earthworm ever collected in Great Britain.


Now Dave surpasses the previous all-Britain record earthworms which were discovered in 2015 on the Scotland’s Isle of Rum. Those worms were similar in length to Dave, but not nearly as heavy, clocking in at about 12.6 grams. Dave, on the other hand, was 26 grams—nearly five times the weight of the average worm. 

“I was bowled over by the size of this worm when I opened the plastic box they sent it in. Not only is it really long, it is almost twice as heavy as any other wild earthworm ever seen, weighing the same as a small chocolate bar,” said Emma Sherlock senior curator of free-living worms of the History Museum.

Dave lived in a world full of hedgehogs and moles, making his survival all the more remarkable. Though no one is certain of Dave’s age but there are reports that lob worms are found throughout Europe and have lived up to six years in captivity.

Dave a true giant amongst megadriles

So Sunday a big Barbel (I've no doubt) picked up half a Dave lobworm and did me over like HMRC will do with the IR35 legislation to 'jobbers' come the next tax year. The bream rod, like most end clients avoiding responsibility rolling over with white flags raised, hands rubbed with any responsibility. The Barbel really did give me a proper doing over so it was out with the big guns.

For this short after work in to dusk session it was out with two barbel rods, one equipped with a huge chunk of Spam, the other a 'hot fish' boilie which has banked me a double recently. The boilie rod with a PVA bag full of freebies fished upstream and the meat would be fished 20 yards away downstream.

The sunset was one of the most vibrant I'd see for a while, the sun glowing a ridiculously glowing red which was reflected off the water. Fifteen minutes in a couple of initial pulls of the boilie rod all went quiet, but then out of the blue two foot long pulls of the meat rod I thought I was in to a Barbel. 

Barbel tend to hook themselves however so I wasn't surprised that after the initial pulls the bite didn't continue on riverward and when on the retrieve the bait was gone, I'm sure a gluttonous chub had decided he would like the meat offering.

I re-baited with a smaller bait and sure enough, another 15 minutes or so of the session left now firmly in to dusk, another proper bite but this time a fish was on. I knew it was a chub straight away and even unhooked it in the water without landing it.

 3lb or so and sadly would call time to the session disturbing the swim too much and was biteless when I packed away.

Not all lost though, the big Bertie might not have been in the swim, or even up for a feed. At least I know it's here though so after this cold snap has gone and we are pack with more kinder conditions I'll have another go for it. Sometimes hooking a fish like this can bring back all the excitement of fishing again because of late despite catching some reasonable fish I needed something to help with the monotony.


Next time I'm planning to stick with the meat but I'll switch the other rod from boilies to lobworms, maybe a wise old fish this, naturals could well be the way to go just to see how big this fish actually was because my best Warwickshire Avon Barbel of 12lb 14 ounces was a plodder compared to this. This was Eddie Hall of the barbus world, I'm sure of it. 

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