Saturday, 26 July 2014

The quest for a specimen Gonk

A chance capture of a ‘clonker’of a Gudgeon last year has always stayed at the back of my mind; pleasure can be had from catching even the smallest of fish it's not all about the biggest. So after a couple of average midweek sessions on the Avon, I fancied a bit of a change. The capture brought back memories as a kid where some of the first fish I caught were Gudgeon, they seemed to be in far greater numbers back then, who knows. I even bought a Tenkara rod with a tiny pole float to try for them whenever I fished the canal, the pursuit of ickle fishes never really got off the ground though.Why ?, well  It didn’t help that the non native Zander are widespread in my local canals so Gudgeon are few and far between, they have either buggered off or been eaten. I did catch a few but upon returning to the same spot they were nowhere to be found.

The ‘clonker’ I caught wasn’t from the cut however; it came from a stretch of the Warwickshire Stour when I was fishing for Roach. It took a liking to a piece of worm, in the same session I also caught a Ruffe, a fish I’d never caught before. So for the Gonk session it was a no brainer I decided to fish a familiar area just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon, a lovely peaceful stretch of the river where in places you can jump from one side to the other. In the summer months they can be scattered up and down the river in the shallows, in autumn however, when the weeds begin to die back, and the weather colder, then they group together, and are often found in the deeper parts of the river.

The problem with a specimen Gudgeon >30g’s is how do you weigh them, that’s where some pocket scales come in, ideal for weighing even the smallest of fish. Accuracy of electronic scales ? well that can be questioned but it’s only a bit of fun isn’t it, well unless I catch a British record that is. A good £2 coin weighs 12.00 grams or 0.42oz’s, that’s a good starter for ten. The record as it stands is 5oz and was caught in 1990, that’s one heck of a lunker. Talking of records and lunkers I remember reading this post from fellow blogger Danny Everitt who caught a huge 7” Gudgeon, didn’t realise the significance and chucked it back, a new record who knows. I wonder how many anglers have done something similar.

Gudgeon are bottom dwellers so my setup was simple an 8ft TFG quiver rod rigged up with a small cage feeder filled with dark groundbait, a light hooklink , size 16 hook with maggot or bits of worm as bait. It's only a small fish but it's surprising just how much bend they can put in to a quiver tip, they give proper bites too, a 4ft twitch in miniature, a scaled down Barbel in both looks and character.

The river was alive with fish, a bite every chuck and from each and every swim. I'd say at least 60 or 70 Gudgeon, with small chub, roach, minnows and even a micro pike taking a liking to the worm. Biggest Gudgeon went 31.5 grams, which is just over 1 oz.  Not the biggest but certainly an enjoyable day.


  1. I like alot Mike, as I said in a recent post I am very fond of the little Gobio Gobio, although when I went out I caught everything but !, a record Gudgeon beckons somewhere just who will catch it, I do believe it would be easier to claim a record Gudgeon moreso than many other species due to the lack of serious pursuit, might you just catch it?

    1. Who knows, they are plenty-full in this river no doubt about that, I'm planning to scale down next time and use a float instead. I could have stayed in one particular swim and had a Gudgeon every chuck :)


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