DOGFISH & GILL NETS


Just for a change, my fishing buddy, Mike Johnson & I, went with my Wife, Patsy, to fish a patch of rough ground just to the east of Dartmouth.

Our original intention was to catch Conger eels, but the combination of a fresh breeze against a medium tide made anchoring in the spot where we had intended impossible, without the help of a simple "grapnel" in place of my anchor.  Needless to say, I left the disposable grapnel at home in the garage!

To put down a new 9Kg plough anchor in the reef did not make sense, so we anchored off the reef and dropped back on our anchor rope until we could fish into the edge of it.

On the smooth ground alongside the reef we caught some Lesser Spotted Dogfish, up to about a kilo.

Patsy got quite excited when she hooked a fish on her newly bought "Star" heavy boat rod, using her Penn 245 multiplier reel & braid line, tipped off with a size 8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus circle pattern hook.

She was disappointed when it turned out to be a very emaciated Lesser Spotted Dogfish.  Her surprise quickly turned to disgust and revulsion as she lifted the fish into the boat.  We were all horrified to see the poor fish was trapped tightly in the remnants of a monofilament gill net discarded or lost by a commercial fisherman.

You can see from the above photo that the fish had been steadily growing since it was trapped in the net.  The mono line from which the net was made had incised deep into the fish's skin, which undoubtedly caused it considerable discomfort and needless suffering.

We carefully cut away the remnants of the net from the fish and released it back into the sea.  It may survive the ordeal, somehow I rather doubt it.

It is sights such as this that remove any vestige of sympathy for the job of the commercial gill netter and the trail of havoc they wreak amongst fish stocks.

Is it any wonder our fish stocks are so depleted when foul commercial methods such as this are permitted to be legally perpetrated by greedy unscrupulous men.

It is far past the time when gill nets should be outlawed in all EEC waters.

It's important to state the rod and line sport angler's point of view in such circumstances.

We view the sea and its fish stocks as a finite resource.  We enjoy pursuing them and keep a small proportion for our table.  We return the majority of what we catch, relatively unharmed. to fight again another day.  We respect fish as an adversary and prize those we capture.

Most anglers regard themselves as guardians of the aquatic wildlife they encounter.  We try to leave the sea a better place for those creatures that live in it.  The majority of rod and line sea anglers act responsibly.  Few would condone fish left in the state of this poor "Doggie."

Back to the tale....

As the tidal flow altered and the wind swung us back onto the reef we started to catch some good sized Bull Huss.

Huss are superficially similar to Lesser Spotted Dogfish, but grow much larger.  We caught more than a dozen Huss, with the larger specimens, such as the one I am holding here, weighing about 10 lbs.

We also caught Pouting to just over 1 Kg and Pollack to about 1 Kg.

It made a welcome change from our usual Plaice fishing trips and all done within less than a mile of the coast.

We returned all our fish after admiring them and briefly photographing them for your perusal.

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