Interesting observations whilst fishing...

tigger

Well-known member
It seems like a lifetime ago now, one day I had taken a girlfriend of mine fishing with me. We had gone to a local clay pit which was very deep. The banks went down on a steep slope and continued on that sloping angle as far into the water as was visible. Anyhow, the fishing was great and I was catching lots of perch and roach some of which were of a good size. Eventually the fishing went quiet for a spell and as we sat there with other things on our minds other than fishing a tiny perch shot out of the pit, flew through the air with great accuracy and landed directly into one of my footprints that had filled with water in the clay. We both looked at oneanother quizzingly and then glanced back into the pit, where out of the shadows and tightly hugging the steep sloping bank came a group of large perch, dorsal fins erect and obviously hunting smaller fish. After a few moments the shoal of large perch passed by and slunk off back into the spooky depths. I have no idea how the tiny perch in the footprint pool knew they'd gone, but as soon as they had it ejected itself out of the water filled footprint and back into the pit and bolted off!
To this day I have a mental video of the incident ambedded in my mind and I think it will be with me till I pop my cloggs.
 

john step

Well-known member
We anglers see more wildlife than some of those who go tramping around the countryside looking for it often dressed in bright anoraks etc.

A couple of things that spring to mind about observations .

Twice I have had crested grebe follow a silver fish in and come up to the surface under my rod top.

I have seen a heron on two occasions hover and take small fish off the surface. I told this to a keen birdwatcher who I could see by the look in his eyes he did not believe me.

I had a barn owl attempt to land on my pike rod sticking out of the reeds while I was holding it on the Warping Drain a few years ago.
 
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whitty

Well-known member
I have fed a heron small roach,which i killed with a flick on the head,not one,probably ten,it returmed four or five times,it stood perhaps twelve feet away,every time I caught a fish it leant over as if to snatch it,cant blame it,it was after a cold spell where most places were frozen,must have been starving...
 

wetthrough

Well-known member
Another for seeing a Heron take a fish from the surface in flight. Even more surprising was a crow picking them off the surface. Four Kingfishers at once which can't be too common a sight.
 

mikench

Well-known member
Lots of similar experiences but the one that's springs to mind was a stoat dancing in front of a rabbit before going for the kill and carrying it off. It's always a delight seeing stoats and weasels.
 

Golden Eagle

Well-known member
I was fascinated as a squirrel sat atop a litter bin, pulling out its contents, while a magpie 530FB711-E6AC-4D47-80D8-6B3B262B122D.jpgsat on the ground patiently waiting to intercept falling bits it found attractive.
 
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steve2

Well-known member
I saw a Heron swimming like a duck and picking off fish while doing so. Also seen Herons take live and dead baits as they are being cast. We do see so much when out fishing, much more than many of the Bird and Wildlife spotters.
Wildlife seems to know that anglers mean them no harm and also are good source of food. I have many birds and animals share the contents of my bait box and lunch.
 

markcw

Well-known member
Lots of similar experiences but the one that's springs to mind was a stoat dancing in front of a rabbit before going for the kill and carrying it off. It's always a delight seeing stoats and weasels.
Unless you are a rabbit
 

markcw

Well-known member
Herons catching fish, kingfisher catching fish, buzzards, hawks,owls and red kites, best of all on Lymm Dam there were a group of swallows/swifts picking insects off near the surface, one misjudged and hit the water, next minute its wings are flapping as it "swam" to the bankside, A group of us anglers stood and watched ,willing it on, A big cheer went up when it managed to reach the bank.
 

flightliner

Well-known member
A rat carrying its young to safety on a rising river Witham. A seagull eating a blackbird that couldn't reach the shore 'cos of hi winds. A stoat or weasel dragging a rabbit into the undergrowth.
A Mink entering holes systematically along a riverbank causing the occupants to shoot out like bullets till it eventually came out with one in its mouth.A Buzzard flying overhead with a rabbit. Two hawks fighting overhead. Lots of casual sightings of deer, barn owls and a mad mad cow eating a few pages of newspaper that were on fire.
 

tigger

Well-known member
I've had a number of close encounters with mink.
On one occassion I was stood out wading in some rapids to trott for barbel and chub and i'd left my waistcoat full of my bits and bobs on the grass banking. At one point I glanced over to my waistcoat only to see a lovely looking chocolate coloured mink rooting about inside it . I squeeked it and it came running at speed straight to me, swam across some fast water and emerged onto a large rock, shook itself and plopped back in the water and swam towards me. As it came nearer it's back end was forced round in the strong flow and it was having trouble reaching me. Then it realised what I was and submerged. Despite there being very little cover I didn't see it re appear anywhere, showing just how good at evading enemies they can be.
Another time I squeaked a large black male out into the river and it actually scraped it's claws on my waders as it tried to climb up them. I was gonn'a try and grab hold of it but it was looking up all the time and I didn't get a chance to grab it without it seeing me first and diving or latching onto my finger. I kept still and it swam round me scraping my waders as it did so and then was forced down river with the flow. I got set in a better position to grab it and tried to squeak it back again. It did try to swim back but was a bit tired and couldn't get to me in the flow. It went back to the other side and layed down on a log.
Another time trotting from the bank on a small river where the bankings were thick with cover I hear some movement amongst it so squeaked at it, right away the grass started moving towards me and a huge black mink appeared right at the side of my left welly. It stood up on it's back legs like a trained pet but I couldn't resist shouting BOO at it and it actually screamed and shot back into the cover at the same time. I could smell the rant it had let go with fear, same smell as a ferret does if it gets hurt.
Same river on another occassion I was fishing next to a small river inlet and heard something crashing about on the other side of the inlet in the cover. I looked over and could see the tall grass moving. I guessed it was a mink and squeaked, immediately the grass erupted as the thing came rushing towards the inlet. I was sat down and could hear the splashes as something had jumped into the stream and was swimming across it. I kept squeaking and the thing kept coming through the undergrowth until three gorgeous baby mink appeared right next to me.
I know mink are a menace but they are an amazing creature, they can swim, climb trees, hunt underground, what skillful hunters they are, you gott'a admire them for that!
I could go on about a few other meetings with mink but me fingers are knumb with tapping lol.
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
There have been too many things to remember. Things that stick and I can recall now, watching roach spawn in willow root fronds closely followed by the biggest carp in the lake having a feast. Watching a squirrel swim across the Tees, get onto the nearside bank for no more than a minute and decide it wanted to go back again. Watching a small group of deer swim across to a gravel pit island, graze for a while then swim back to the mainland. Seeing multiple egrets in a single willow tree with a few herons for good measure. Watching a big dog otter giving chase to a rival, both totally oblivious to quite a few humans in very close proximity. Having an otter nick a grayling I was about to net was annoying, but pretty special.
 

markg

Well-known member
I once watched a mouse making his way along the far bank of a small stream I was fishing followed by a weasel 6ft behind him. The mouse decided to swim across the river and walk right past me followed by the weasel; both totally oblivious to me. I hope the mouse made it but I doubt it.
I once watched a pair of short eared owls quartering a field as I was packing up in the twilight which had me stay a bit longer to watch, I found it quite mesmerizing at the time. Now i have a zoom camera to catch these things, hoping to get a few shots of things like this in future.
 

steve2

Well-known member
Now i have a zoom camera to catch these things, hoping to get a few shots of things like this in future.
After watching a Kingfisher catching fish and returning to the same perch I went out a bought a longer lens for my camera and sat there waiting for it to return, it never did. I always seems that carrying a camera put the jinks on things.
 

markg

Well-known member
After watching a Kingfisher catching fish and returning to the same perch I went out a bought a longer lens for my camera and sat there waiting for it to return, it never did. I always seems that carrying a camera put the jinks on things.
It's the old sods law thing, but I might get lucky now and then; I think that's all we can hope for when we try and catch nature shots. One thing I do know, fishing or not I usually see more by sitting quietly, I think that is why anglers may get luckier than some.
 

whitty

Well-known member
Red kites taking dead fish from the surface of a commercial,it would look in four or five times a day to check,clever bu99er...
 

Keith M

Well-known member
We anglers see sights that very few non-anglers do

Ive had robins feeding from my hands, a wren feeding below my seat, a stoat killing a rabbit in the next swim and then dragging it away into the undergrowth, owls hunting rodents in the field behind and in front of me, a magpie following a heron along the bank ready for the heron to drop something, a fox who would often just sit behind me and watch me fish before eventually wandering off occasionally causing mayhem as he caught wildfowl further along the bank. a hedgehog that came into my bivvie one night and fell asleep in my frying pan after licking out all of the fat in it, rats trying to drag my loaf of bread into the undergrowth and hissing when I retrieved it, a mole coming up out of the ground right under my feet, muntjac deer right outside of my bivvie, hares stamping, I disturbed an adder falling asleep in the sun right in the middle of the path, grass snakes swimming across the water and once saw one trying to catch a frog. Mink and the occasional otter on the bank and in the water etc. etc. The list just goes on and on with different animals and birds all around me.

I dont think that I would have seen half of these things if I wasn’t an angler sitting quietly by the waterside for hours on end.

Keith
 
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whitty

Well-known member
Very,very true Keith,most of the above have happened to me in one shape or form,the hedgehog one slightly differently,a mate and I were camping on the banks of the Severn,at 2.30am I was woken by a strange loud noise in the front compartment of the tent,I woke my mate and he held the torch while I prepared to grapple with what I thought was a badger after the bacon,turned out to be said hedgehog who had climbed the carrying handle of my maggot bucket with a gallon of whites in it,then fell in and had a party...
 

The bad one

Well-known member
Three instances of the many, many that I've seen fishing. Fishing one of the remote upland reservoirs and a weasel catches my eye about 5 yards away whilst it was systematically searching all the gaps in the stone setts. It would disappear down on one gap and come up 2-3 setts away.
It clearly knew I was there but was not phased in the least by my presence. Even popping up between my legs at one point, then dipping back into the setts, coming up to the left of my chair then the right. the whole incident took the best part of 5 minutes.

On the Ribble one autumn afternoon and a sparrowhawk zoomed in and hit a woodpigeon in a elder bush it was feeding on. The strike killed it stone dead and the Woody fell in the river. The hawk followed it down and attempted to lift it of the water. It tried its hardest to lift its dinner of the river, but as the feathers got more and more wet, the surface tension gripped harder and harder. Eventually after about 20 yards of current drift,
the hawk gave up and left the pigeon to the river.

A little further up the river, may be a 100 yds from the Hawk incident the following year, I heard a load of squeaking the other side of the river. I looked across to see a family of mink, 4 of them, running for their lives, followed by a huge dog otter. There was no way on earth was that dog otter going to catch one of that mink family. They were up the trees running along branches jumping from tree to tree and away like the wind.
I smile to myself and said you've no chance Mr Otter!
 

Aknib

Well-known member
Lots of things with fish, most notably a low double figure Pike almost swimming into the landing net with his larger female mate that I'd hooked on a small river close to the end of the season and after they had paired up which made me think hard about fish and feelings.

Even more wildlife, some common and some not so common.

On the funny side a Goose which flew into the upper branches of a large tree opposite and then proceeded to cartwheel, wings spread, through snapping branches only to land perfectly upon the water right over a mates bait, and coming eye to eye at close range with a large dog otter whilst wading a weir pool one stormy Autumn morning.

One thing stood out for me though and demonstrated the parity of all earthly species just trying to survive, it was a mouse which had climbed on to me during a Winter session on the river and was just looking for some food in a clearly desperate state.

I shared my caramel shortbread with him and left him enough to see him through the foreseeable...



I'd like to think he made it and went on to raise a happy family who all went on to travel the world and enjoy top jobs in the city :cool:
 
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