The Cray icosuplets (Entry 162)

“You’re keen! How much longer will you be staying for?”

Their tone was friendly, full of interest and from a non-piscatorial point of view, the question was a reasonable one. It was already well into dusk. In fact, I could hardly see they float any longer. The lady proceeded to water some pot plants and awaited my response.

“Until the worm surrenders,” was my reply, which prompted a look of confusion. I’d like to say admiration, but being both modest and a realist, I’ll settle for confusion. You see, I’d been here since early morning, casually watching my orange float, watching it stutter at times and drag under. But for the most part it had simply remained still; poised and ready to signal interest. Interest that was very thinly spread. Not since the first cast had the float confidently played out its most appealing of actions. In that case it was a fine roach-bream hybrid, comfortably over two pound, that had snaffled the worm hookbait as it fluttered to the bottom. It gave a fine scrap, and it was great to have such quick interest, but it was not the species I was here to catch. Even so, you cannot be disappointed when the unintentional takes such magnificent form, and materialises so quickly.

A fine start to the day

Things then took a turn for the worse. More unintentional captures. A series of small indications, and missed bites, just the beginning. Initially I thought that small gudgeon or ruffe had taken up residence, and looking back now, I would have gladly taken that as an option. What had unfortunately made my swim home was a large group of signal crayfish, annihilating anything I cared to send down to them, and over a vast area. I couldn’t quite believe how many there were. Over a few hours, in the middle of the day, I caught twenty of them. I couldn’t escape them, even casting well away from the baited area, there they were. Ready and waiting.

Not another!

Of course, being an invasive species none of them went back alive, as I turned from pleasure angler to chief executioner. Judge and jury. For the digging out of banks, the stealing of native fish eggs and for the general annoying of anglers everywhere, I hereby decree this day to be your last. Eventually I had to give up fishing with live bait.

A lovely Autumn perch

On the lure rod I managed to avoid the crayfish, and caught a few small pike and perch, which were great fun and just the tonic I needed. I couldn’t help feeling a little aggrieved at being forced to fish in this way, but there is only so much crunching one person can take in a day. At least the reports of super large perch in this waterway had a little more substance now.

The biggest fish of the day - this sleek pike

For the evening I moved well away from the crayfish infested zone to fish into darkness. No loose feed this time; just a worm hookbait cast next to a feature and twitched often. A bed of rushes for thirty minutes, and now, a moored barge until the light faded. Just as the float trundled into the fishiest position, the hatch, which was at the other end to where I sat, popped open and an elderly lady exited.

“You’re keen! How much longer will you be staying for?”

Thanks for reading,



4 thoughts on “The Cray icosuplets (Entry 162)”

  1. Good read, Vinny, and I see you’ve got your lot of anoying foreign species as well. Here the signal crayfish are not that much of a problem because the population is quite naturally controled (by catfish actually). I don’t know what do you do with them but they make a very fine meal. Hope you’ll have more luck next time!

    1. Yes, I have been told they make a fine meal, don’t fancy them myself though! I guess it was a good sign there was no big perch in the area as I’m guessing they would have made a good meal for them.

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