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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For many years I have been collecting marsh samphire, it grows in abundance on the banks of a local muddy creek. This creek has held shoals of tiny fish as long as I can remember during the mid to late summer months.
While serving as a member of the North Wales IFG I came into contact with marine scientists from Bangor Uni.
These scientists were carrying out the Welsh bass study, but were having problems locating juvenile bass to sample. I told them about our creek being full of baby fish every year, but I didn'y know if they were young bass or mullet. The scientists asked if I could show them the creek, I agreed and they duly showed up with a small mesh seine net to take samples. Bingo, they were year 0 bass.
As we now know there has been a lot of concern over recent bass spawning and year classes, this following the trials carried out in the Solent and other places.
As a part time commercial fisherman, I in turn had some grave doubts over how the trials are conducted.
Does going to the same part of the ocean every year, and towing a small trawl along the same path for the same length of time give a true reflexion of the total stock, or just tell you how many were in that place at that time?
It seems to me that a far more accurate picture could be built up by going to the nursery creeks every year, and sampling the juveniles in a contained area.
If the Bangor scientists didn't know about my local creek, how many creeks do scientists actually know about?
As anglers, bait diggers, and fishermen in general, we get to spend a lot more time in the field than do mostly lab bound scientists. Do you know of any bass creeks local to you?
Bass creeks are found in muddy estuaries, often they are no more than muddy gutters draining salt marshes.
The one essential ingredient is that there should be a source of fresh water running into the gutter, this can be as little as a field drain running in as much as half a mile away.
Baby bass move within the creeks in dense shoals and are very fast swimmers if startled.
Are there any areas near you that match the criteria? Salt marshes, muddy gutters, fresh water.
If we could build up a data base of nursery creeks, and inform the scientists where they are, we will then begin t0 build up a true picture of UK bass recruitment. Find the creeks, then find them on google earth and log the GPS co-ordinates.
I'm sure the mods would allow us to build a nursery creek data base on seaangling.org, our sister site.
I will in turn be pleased to pass on all info to the scientists at Bangor.
 

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fareham creek and inside portsmouth harbour in general
langstone harbour
chichester harbour
most of southampton water
poole harbour

just a few off the top of me head
 

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good post ,I think they should take up fishing then they will know where to look ,if you want to find bass find there food ,small fish up the creeks, bigger ones in the sea river +food . no food shelter no fish . do they think the bass are going to be in the same place all day ?or as the tide is right for them 5 minutes no food gone
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The creek that's local to me only gets flooded on spring tides, the babies they sampled here were very young post larval 15/20mm long. I have seen them up to 90mm in length, but nothing bigger. There is a fresh water stream that runs out even on neaps, this stream is about 6 metres wide but only a couple of inches deep running over gravel. The bass stay close to the deeper part of the gutter where it's over a metre deep. I often see cranes there feeding so the small bass are vvery wary. They arrive round about the middle of June and leave by September. If the water temp drops to 6 degrees they will stop feeding and die, no matter how much food is still available.
 

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fareham creek and inside portsmouth harbour in general
langstone harbour
chichester harbour
most of southampton water
poole harbour

just a few off the top of me head
Had an exploratory match at Bombketch creek Pompey a lot of years ago and we could not get a hook in the water for hoards of 3" basslets.
Not enough water for a boat and mud too deep for wading the best way to sample would be LRF and a 1/2" of maddie on size 10.

The OP is correct , the little 'uns are there and easy to find on bait , fly or mepps !
 

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Had an exploratory match at Bombketch creek Pompey a lot of years ago and we could not get a hook in the water for hoards of 3" basslets.
Not enough water for a boat and mud too deep for wading the best way to sample would be LRF and a 1/2" of maddie on size 10.

The OP is correct , the little 'uns are there and easy to find on bait , fly or mepps !
pompey harbour is absolutley stuffed with em

even when i left the south coast 20 yrs ago, the decline in flounders and the rise in bass between 1" and 6" long was bloody ridiculous

used to see em in shoals all along the walls of fareham creek over high tide, in no more than 6" of water
great shoals of em running the entrance to the river wallington down by the mill pond, even used to get em in the prawn push nets we used to push along the concrete walls to get a feed of prawns!

as soon as the water cleared up, and the **** was stopped from being pumped in, the flatties dissapeared and the bass population hit the roof.
 

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Most of the estuary's up round south Cumbria carry shoals of small fish but not sure if bass or mullet.
do the ICES scientists know about this juvenile stock in the North Sea ? would certainly help explain the supposedly low count of juveniles in the Channel
 

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do the ICES scientists know about this juvenile stock in the North Sea ? would certainly help explain the supposedly low count of juveniles in the Channel
Cumbria coast is in the Irish Sea but same logic holds, maybe somebody from Yorkshire or Tyneside will know about east coast creeks
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cumbria coast is in the Irish Sea but same logic holds, maybe somebody from Yorkshire or Tyneside will know about east coast creeks
quite a few spots just up the road from you mate, you will know where i mean,similar area to where dai's missus gets the samphire.
cheers rab
 

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Had an exploratory match at Bombketch creek Pompey a lot of years ago and we could not get a hook in the water for hoards of 3" basslets.
Not enough water for a boat and mud too deep for wading the best way to sample would be LRF and a 1/2" of maddie on size 10.

The OP is correct , the little 'uns are there and easy to find on bait , fly or mepps !
In the 1950;s to the 1970's I found that Frieston shore used to be alive with small fish in brackish water so did Wainfleet , Frampton Marshes & Foulness .

What's been said about the inlets & mud flats wrt fry & tiddlers has applied to fish for millennium , as big predatory fish cannot get to them easily due to the shallow water. & they avoid the change in salinity in the water from their normal hunting grounds .
I think I recall reading that it takes a bass a couple of days to adapt to coming back into brackish water and in that time it does not feed much till it has adapted.

A small rigid hull craft fitted for hover would soon allow all manner of such so called scientific explorations in these shallow water deep mud places . They are available to hire or buy , so I'm surprised that these doyens of academic intelligence haven't used them .

To my thinking it's what happens when the big tiddlers leave the small pond situation & become small fish in a big sea , they must suffer a tremendous life threatening stress due to change of salinity , different foods , learning how to adapt to the new environment .
In this weakened state they will be easy food for many species of fish , those that escape for a while often get eaten by seals or get caught by humans .


For a long time I've thought that perhaps netting areas off from bigger fish with rigid stainless steel netting might help for the new adventurous explorers learn how to survive and forage for the new diet they need to grow .
I guessed that if this period can be increased /protected we might just see a lot more youngsters surviving.

Add that idea to a continual major seal cull in a large test area and no fishing of any sort whatsoever , then see what happens over a ten year period .
My reasoned thoughts from what I have already observed / read about are little that if anything will increase beyond what the area's food chain can support.

One question to also mull upon .... Will tinkering with this equation cause the growth & spawning cycle of other larger predatory fish to change ? All fish run a massive cycle of prey , growth , spawning and these inter mingle with other species , so that whilst one species is on the up another is going down.
 
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In the 1950;s to the 1970's I found that Frieston shore used to be alive with small fish in brackish water so did Wainfleet , Frampton Marshes & Foulness .

What's been said about the inlets & mud flats wrt fry & tiddlers has applied to fish for millennium , as big predatory fish cannot get to them easily due to the shallow water. & they avoid the change in salinity in the water from their normal hunting grounds .
I think I recall reading that it takes a bass a couple of days to adapt to coming back into brackish water and in that time it does not feed much till it has adapted.

for information, its pretty much still the same, with the exeption of some better fish showing for those brave ( stupid ) enough to get out on the marshes!

pools stuffed with small stuff, and the run offs patrolled by some very good bass !!

easy pickings when the tide runs off for the bigguns, and safe as houses the rest of the time, when the tiddlers get into the really shallow bits
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bass can store sodium and have a much greater tollorance to fresh water than most sea fish. The year 0 bass around 25mm in length love brackish water. They are in more danger from birds than being eaten by bigger fish. The creek where I watch them has a few holes about a meter deep, any threat and they all go into them.
 

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Malltreath estuary at low water a large pool is left along the edge of the marsh used to be full of bass fry they used to disappear into the reeds when we walked up the pool after flounder.....
 
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