Showing posts with label depford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depford. Show all posts

Monday, 1 March 2010

Spinning: A Yarn With An Urban Fly Guy

Some lesser known species of ‘trout bum’ found in the mud

A long-time ago another blogger had given me my first lesson on the fly, we’d stalked wild trout inside the M25 (the orbital road that encircles London), a summers day in the garden of england, a delightful afternoon spent on the banks once fished by Dickens, out in the further reaches of the ‘burbs but still technically within the city. 

Ah Mr Quinn I Presume?

After much to-ing and fro-ing we’d set a new challenge, fishing the lowest pool of the Ravensbourne, where it meets the Thames, just as the tide turns and starts to fill it with salt water – as the big-uns came to snaffle up the little-uns. Cold enough to snow, wet enough for the constant light rain to keep it from ever settling, welcome to urban fishing, in London, in the mud, in February. Brrrrrrrrr! 
'Where the Ravensbourne meets the Thames' sounds kind of classy doesn't it? 
It's also known (somewhat more figuratively) as Deptford Creek.

'And for my next trick..............'

We’d both attended the Creekside Centres excellent Low Tide Walk (my version of events here) and seen first hand evidence of the juvenile Flounder, Mitten Crabs and Urban Detritus. The tackle shop didn't have a 'caddice of old bike flys' so  Jeremiah had armed himself with a Flounder Fly. He's an optimist.

The history books are full of mentions of the Eel fishing industry that flourished in symbiosis with the tanneries the area was also known for, even all these years later the mud is still throwing up plenty of evidence both of the tanneries and of course the south londoners inbred impulse, that when disposing of almost anything, lobbing it in the river is best practice.

There is very very little solid ground in this part of the river mouth. Armed with 9 ft of spinning rod I cast out a sprat intending to freeline the current. I was temparily fascinated, and distracted by Jeremiah's vigorous casting.

I thought I was standing on the only other bit of solid ground, I took his photo and suddenly I relaised that my bait had crossed the river at 90 degrees to the current and my line was now disappearing into a mud bank. I stuffed the camera into a pocket, pulled and pulled at the line, but before I could get any back my legs had sunk beyond the tops of the famous YELLOW wellies! Opps!
The guys from the building site on the opposite bank were pissing themselves laughing, and shouting. [As yer do].

Building Site Guys: “Should we come and get you out?’
                                  SBW: “No No I’ll be fine”. [gives cheery wave]

I literally had to use my hands to dig out my boots, thankfully with my feet still in them. The mud really stank. It sucked.

Defeated but not disheartened, we retreated to The Birds Nest to plot further adventures, where our arrival was celebrated by another group of builders.

Building Site Guys: 
"Fishing in the morning, pub in the afternoon, that's the life boys"
I made him about right.
Your pal
The bushwacker

Saturday, 21 July 2007

What The Fox Happening?

Three hundred and ten days ago, while I still lived on the other side of the hill.
I was sitting in my living room working on my laptop, when I heard a noise downstairs.
It wasn't very loud, just the sound of something falling over.
Then there was a tapping sound on the stairs, not loud enough to be an adult, but defiantly the sound of someone coming up the stairs. I looked down the stairs and found myself face to face with an urban fox, the cheeky little toe rag had come right into the house!

We looked at each other for a tenth of a second before he turned tail and scampered out of the back door.
Further investigation showed that the bushy-tailed-interloper had come in through the back door, gone into the bathroom, and then (what is euphemistically called) 'scented' our bathroom floor, Phew!!

To add insult to injury the little sod then did a victory lap of the bedroom, leaving 'scented' footprints all over the bed.
Not content with this chemical attack he then chose one of Mrs Bushwacker favourite boots and dragged it outside for a chewing session on the deck.

In the words of the late Bill Hicks

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Mitten Crabs

Seen in the River Thames since the 1930s, the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) first arrived in Blightly as tiny larvae in ballast water in ships from China and Korea. Now there are loads of the bastards!
By burrowing into the rivers banks, (which causes rapid erosion) and eating enough stuff to put pressure on native plants and animals, they haven’t always received the welcome the deserve.
The good news is they’re not only delicious, but also very easy to catch!!
These hairy-clawed-snax-on-legs are rated 'proper delicious' in china.
The shell of a large one can be eight centimetres across. Making them perfect for the BarBQ.
You'll be please to hear the scientific community is united in its praise for this culinary delight; one serving suggestion, that sounds both thrilling and practical, comes from Richard Tullis, biology professor at California State University,
"Fixed Asian style, stir-fried with garlic, soy and ginger... it will also turn on non-Asians."
Who could ask for more than that?
Philip Rainbow (keeper of zoology at the Natural History Museum in London, England) concludes:
"The culinary route may represent our best culling strategy if we are to limit its potentially damaging environmental effects." Yummy!!

PS FOR READERS FROM THE USA (especially on the east coast)
If you catch or find a mitten crab: please keep it, frozen is best, on ice second choice, or preserved in rubbing alcohol.
Take a close-up photo of the beastie, and email your picture with
the precise location and date of the find to If you can’t take a photo, contact the
Mitten Crab Hotline on (443-482-2222).