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Fishy business

One area which I don’t have a great deal of knowledge about is fishing. Sure, like everyone else I know the rudimentary requirements, either fishing as in rod and reel and what we recognise as fishing as well as the larger scale net fishing from massive fishing boats.

For one thing, I’ve never really done any fishing and thus the nuances in casting and reeling fish in are unknowns to me. I see this being the fish equivalent of hunting with air rifles or bows and arrows. You can catch things but there are vastly more efficient ways such as trapping, in this case nets and fish traps which again can be left in place and collected during the day. I have some books on these subjects and some nets but no real experience because of my distance from the sea and the current fishing laws.

The one area I am looking at is having my own fish farm. Nothing as sophisticated as what you usually understand as a fish farm but more a set of barrels and containers which I can grow fish in and then simply fasm them when needed. There are some recommended fish, Tiliapa, for example which are said to be practically tasteless but as we want the protien more than the taste another dish that we need spices for.

So in my preps I am building my fish farm which I will keep lightly stocked until there is an issue. Nets and fish traps for placement in rivers when it is possible and although I do have a rod and reel, in fact a few of them, I see them being a last resort.

Amyone got any fishing tips they want to share? Personally, I’m interested in nets and traps so an article on those would not go amiss.

7 comments to Fishy business

  • Northern Raider

    What species of fish are you thinking about? Tilapia are tough critters but they will need heat thats why the plans to farm them in northern England was relying on finding geothermal springs in Weardale.
    Trout, Char and Salmon require heavily oxgenated water, Tench taste like mud, that really only leaves cyprinids IE Carp, Common Carp, Mirror Carp, Koi Carp, Goldfish, Grass Carp etc all of which are still essential food stuffs in much of eastern europe. In the UK for hundreds of years Village ponds and monestry stew ponds existed solely for breeding carp, caro like turbid water, they love rummaging in muddy pools, they thrive in conditions that will kills members of the salmon family. Cyprinids if house in a big enough pond well planted and balanced will grow huge and without external heat or filtration. You can also grow Crayfish fairly easily.

    Theres a off gridder in teesside with a huge pond that takes up over half his garden and he grows huge and beautiful koi in it which he intends to eat if TSHTF.

  • One good tip if running your own fish farm – Kill all cormorants you see.

  • fred

    I’m struggling to imagine you with a worm at one end and you at the other. It’s a fantasy I’ll just have to develop, Skean.

  • Lightspeed

    NR’s right,

    The low tech pan-European middle ages solution is the Carp pond. They are pretty much self sustaining once established. Of course extra food scraps help speed up growth.

    I’ve a friend with one into which he introduced crayfish. I thought these would have died in the soupy green water but no, after five years he now has a plentiful supply ofthe little beasties.

    Tilapia are an African species…. I don’t think they’ssurvive year round in un-heated water in UK? They are quire good eating, by the way.

  • Northern Raider

    From Wikipedia Tilapia dont like it cold

    Tilapia ( /tɨˈlɑːpiə/ ti-LA-pee-ə) is the common name for nearly a hundred species of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe. Tilapia are mainly freshwater fish, inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes, and less commonly found living in brackish water. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisan fishing in Africa and the Levant, and are of increasing importance in aquaculture. Tilapia can become problematic invasive species in new warm-water habitats, whether deliberately or accidentally introduced, but generally not in temperate climates due to their inability to survive in cooler waters below about 21 °C (70 °F).

  • fox

    Living by the sea I’d never really been into fishing as it was too easy to obtain fish from friends who work in the industry, but I bought myself some gear and books a few years back as I thought..

    1. I live on the doorstep of the ocean and I can’t fish
    2. It would be good to teach the kids in years to come
    3. In the meantime it gets me away from the kids until those years come

    First things first, off to the fishing shop, like all newbies I had all the gear and no idea and so spent a small fortune on tackle and the works, what a mug. All you really need is a spinning rod and reel some 15lb line a slection of hooks and weights, plus a float.

    Spinning rods can be used from boat, or shore so unless you have a boat and more money than spare time don’t bother with a boat rod, buy two one for spinning/mackereling and another to leave floating. I bought each rod and reel for £50 , shakespeare brand, nothing great but have lasted 5yrs and have caught plenty of fish.

    From shore you wont really be catching anything bigger than 15lb and even if you do you can still land it with 15lb line, if you have spare reels, load it up with heavier line if you want.

    Hooks, hooks and more hooks, dad always said to me big hooks only catch big fish, small hooks catch all fish, so far he has been right.

    Weights, of all the thing you will lose it will be the weights so stock up, the smaller the better 1-3oz is what I normally use anything bigger requires a bigger float to keep it on the surface, remember all weights sink so why use a heavy weight, apparently they reduce performance and line life, not that I know about that.

    Unfortunately there is not alot I can say about floats because I only know by eye what size float to use for the weight, sorry.

    Now for catching those tasty things, unfortunately to you and me a good fishing day equals a clear blue sky lots of sun (maybe some beer) that is not the same for the fish, neither is a rainy day. Fish don’t have eylids so they dont like bright light from the surface, or at least thats what I tell myself when all I catch is sunburn, they are also skittish so don’t like noise on the surface. This is not the same for all fish just those in general, Bass like a nice messy swell after a storm when there is lots of things all moving around in the water, plus bass like a lure, or a small mackerel as bait on a peenel rig (a hook through the head and one through the tail) they are large predatory fish and dont waste their time with worms or bits of bait, however who knows, thats the pain of fishing.

    Location also plays a big part in where you catch certain types of fish, well it does where I am, although you can catch fish anywhere I know certain places where I get lucky (always miles from anywhere I can park) and I know friends who always fish over old wrecks for big fish

    Time of year also plays a part in what you catch, Squid (which require a certain hook) like it around the harbour/moorings in the winter. As above Bass like it after a big brew/storm. Mackerel come in shoals in the summer and Dogfish can be caught anytime of year, but you need to know the technique for removing their sandpaper skins.

    Now for the real fishing, I don’t have much patience for sitting around doing nothing, it’s unproductive, yeah its great when I’m pulling in 4-6 mackerel at a time, but the rest of it you can keep.

    So being a WC man and really lazy I invested in a some Gill nets and a kayak, I know Gill nets are illegal to use in rivers at this moment in time, but nothing about sea fishing that I know of, good bit of exercise kayaking, drop a big weight tied to the net leave it where it lays and go off trawl fishing for a day, or dropping the other nets. You could make your own nets using the SAS survival handbook or the same method in the Longnetting for rabbits book, however you get the running floats if you buy them (have any of you tried making a net yet, what a ball ache – buy your nets NOW, I cannot emphasise this enough)

    Next thing is spider crabs come back from the deep sea at around Jan/Feb time, even with a wetsuit – ITS COLD, so I jumped on tube and made my own crab pots, the best one was some old Scottish guys making them, these are the type that I have used all throughout the winter and summer, I also made one of these crab snares that they use off piers in America, but havent really had much joy I might try off the kayak next time I’m out.

    making a crab/lobster pot = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNZd0sBkAPw
    making a crabsnare pt 1 = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq7WFMJ-3XM
    making a crab snare pt 2 = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_mHJsQ-EYc

    Spear fishing is not much cop round here, it’s cold, it’s dark and people look at you like a nutter when you emerge from the sea with flippers and a speargun, however it’s another cool toy to have if and when people come a knocking, who wants to mess with a spear gun ?

    So thats my experience of fishing, like I said I’m no expert and have only been fishing for about 5 years, but my biggest pro has been the Gill nets, I’ve even caught Cod in these (of course I threw the dead fish back Mr. G-man) if push came to shove I can use the same net for rabbiting, the guy who made my nets will make the mesh to any size you want. The crab traps have also been a huge bonus catching lobster as well, the only problem is I would advise using coke bottles or washing up liquid bottles as a marker, if you use a proper buoy some fisherman/tourist will take your pot and catch, (going hungry tonight)

    P.S. the best book I have bought is the river cottage fishing book, it gives details on everything from gear to technique, skinning, gutting and even receipes, well worth the money.

  • Ysbryd

    I grew up by the sea and paid for my first car by catching and selling fish in gill nets and night lines. Finally a subject where I don’t feel like a total noob.
    Carp ponds are great in theory but you have to put food in to get food out and they take a lot of maintenance, fresh water inlet, outflow sluice, cleaning, oxygenation etc…..They were for the rich to provide choice at the table, not bulk food for the masses. Plus carp tastes like shit.
    The reason that Neolithic man thrived along the British coastline is that it was full of food.jLike a great big self filling larder.
    Fishing with a rod and line is strictly for recreation. A long line is simple and cheap to make, a 200m length of surveyors line tied to a buried sack of sand either end with a 1.8m fishing line attached every 4m each with a baited hook will provide you with plenty of food. Gill nets take a little more setting up and draw more attention but are also very efficient. In effect they are fish traps that you empty/re-bait at low tide leaving you the next 12 hours to get something else done. Fishing from a boat or kayak is still more effective but you’ve got to be there doing it. Estuary netting is illegal for most people these days but it’s a bloody efficient way of catching a lot of salmon over a couple of days.

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