Thursday, 29 March 2012

Silver Bream - Round 2 of the 'Guess the Weight of the Stinky Fish' Competition

I went out looking for silver bream again last night, and found them. Well, I found two, but neither on the end of my line which remained ignored for two hours before I upped sticks and went elsewhere for the chance of a roach, knowing that they still weren't biting yet.

The two I found were both beautiful corpses. Quite why silvers suffer a mortality surge at this time of year is a fact best known to God and the silvers themselves, but I have never seen a belly-up silver bream floating about in the canal in any other month than March. Dead skimmers are found just about every day of summer, carp shuffle off their mortal coil in April and May, roach all year round, pike and zander occasionally, but silvers turn up about now. Then again I have only ever found three, so I might be wrong...

Finding these fish was both a disappointment and an encouragement. A bittersweet thing for someone actively in pursuit of any fish, but especially so with rare ones such as these. Finding two suggests that the canal indeed does contain far more of the species than I hitherto thought, but finding two also suggests that some of the very small population I always have thought it contains, are no more.

That both were fish that would be personal best fish for just about anyone else but myself, Mike Duddy and Keith Jobling, all of whom have caught silver bream from the canals larger than the smallest of the perishing brace, is one thing, but the fact that only Keith has caught one in excess of the largest (and he's only ever caught one larger than the smallest) is both an eye opener, and a crushing blow, because it beats, or would have if I'd caught it before it died, my own personal best. Nevertheless, it does go to prove that the larger fish are certainly there, and are likely to run even bigger still as it can't have been the only one in the shoal of the same, or greater size.

And, because both were found no further from each other than three hundred yards distance, and both in the general locality of their spring territory, it shows that the shoals are there all right, and it's now only a matter of time before they are caught once again.

Here's the fish ~

You may remember back in November last, I held a 'Guess the Weight of the Stinky Fish Competition' when I came across a dead eel floating in the cut? Well, this is round two...

Now, I've given clues in the text about the general sizes of the fish, and the information is somewhere in the April and May 2011 editions of Idler's Quest, so go ahead and see if you can estimate them. If you know your bankside vegetation you should be able to use leaves for scaling purposes, but it should be clear which is the largest, and which is the smallest, going on body shape alone. I did of course weigh them both accurately as admissible data for my own study records, by hoiking them out in the net and hooking the spring balance hook under the gill plates. I didn't actually touch them!

I'll add together how many total ounces you are out in your calculations, and tell you in comments, but I won't say how far out for either fish. So for sauce, you can have two guesses...

The winner (or winners) is the one with the smallest total for the brace of stinky fish!

Competition ends midnight, Sunday, unless someone nails it exactly before then, but I think it will be over by midnight tonight if numbers are taken into consideration. My comments posted whenever I can get to the computer but fishing all day Saturday, so Saturday evening only, but I wouldn't post your second guess till they come.

And the prize?

... or prizes? Cripes, what have I let myself in for here...

Either a pair of my home brew 'widget floats' for canal zander, or a set of three of my home brew canal wagglers, or two pints of Guinness down the Greyhound after a guided trip to the silver bream hotspot, two of which could feasibly have been made out of rubbish found floating in the canal, and the third might well find you floundering about in the canal should we stay on till closing time!

And if you don't want my floats (and I ain't forcing them on you!) or are one of those teetotalers I've heard of, but met so very few, then at least you'll be getting your eye in with silver bream, because even in death, it's clear that both these beautiful corpses really are, the Real McCoy.


  1. OK Jeff I'll bite.
    1.11 and 1.2 It's hard to scale them from undergrouth, your a hard task master. Martin

  2. 12oz and 1lb 7oz

    how big does the grass grow in coventry!

  3. Early spawning casualties ?

    1lb & 1.5lb

  4. 1lb 6oz and 1lb 15oz is my guess. I'll forego the widgets though :)

  5. Well I've gotta go 1.5.0 and 0.14.0...and if I win the trip to the hotspot better include trying to catch one after dawn!


  6. Lee scores - 4

    Dom scores - 18

    Ian scores - 2

    George scores - 2

    That leaves only 8 options...

    I think?

  7. 1.6 and 13oz. I used to be quite good at sums.
    Mark H

  8. You still are Mark, because you are spot on!

    13 ounces and one-pound, six ounces is what they both were.

    Now which of my glorious prizes were you after?

  9. In a perfect world I would love the two guided pints of guinness but with the cost and unavailability of petrol at the moment, I'll settle for the widget wagglers please.
    Mark H

  10. Mark, would that be the widgets, or the wagglers?

    Let me know in an email, and include your address and I'll get busy making em'

    Cheers Jeff