Monday, 8 January 2018

Return of the Mysterons

Heavy turbidity as the aftermath of snow melt, rain, silt and road salt eased away. The Stream remained fulsome and hearty but since the preceding tea time Little Johnny Frost had been at work. Sparkled did everything; the grass, teasels, flood flotsam, burdocks, fences, trees and of course the water margins

Over the past two weeks the fortune to see three otters, two certainly dogs, across three watercourses, and all in daylight, has been a dream. Some brethren of the maggot might claim this a nightmare, but not here

These magnificent, intelligent, artful creatures mesmerise like no other. Bites and ravens ignored as peripheral

Hauling-out onto a vast raft of torn-out bulrushes, logs and branches deposited by the first high waters of this turbulent winter the dog otter slipped in and out of the water of this County's primary river and then out of sight just 10m away, oblivious to human presence and the 11m of carbon pole running past his flanks

Later at dusk he returned, swam past this silent still frame, took-up a lounger on the raft again and proceeded to utter a series of chesty coughs. Fish bone stuck? Who knows, but another fascinating moment in the company of a top predator was there to be absorbed

By this time mist, leaning towards fog, was befuddling the autofocus and all we were left with was those Mysteron eyes and ghostly apparitions

Dodgy pic of Mr Ron

The canal of childhood development, tough but rewarding, was behaving as is its wont. Perfect colour for fish but Mr Hackett had preceded us and "The Bushes", those that the great Billy Makin would seek on a bee-line after an early bath on another stretch in pursuit of ten pounds of caster roach before tea, were no more. The whole stretch, and indeed every other we have seen, trimmed to the piles (nasty business)

They will regenerate of course but what focusses the piscine attention meanwhile with no cover? Marinas? Quite possibly. One might like to think the fish will spread-out and offer greater eveness throughout the affected parts but that is for the future to solve

One twelve ounce roach (plus a thirteen ounce perch to TBW) and thoughts turned to the flask. Reaching for it a stream of bubbles appeared, diagonally, near side to far, then a log appeared tight to the concrete under brambles followed by the logs head, it had eyes. This beauty was a good four foot long; sleek, oily, alert, and hunting

Capturing inadequate film it turned and zig-zagged bank-to-bank with more bubbles, occasionally raising its head to breathe

The canals in these parts support otter sprainting locations under the majority of bridges, the longer the bridge the more used it seems, yet this was the first canal sighting of His Majesty where, it might be suspected, he and his kith are generally nocturnal given the levels of bankside and waterborne disturbance
Dodgy pic - Ron's Head

Back to the stream...

Eventually some topping fish were spotted and three or four nice roach up to three parts of a pound enhanced by two chub of just a big gudgeon over two pounds made for a very nice 6lbs+ catch in the conditions 

It was during this period of intense concentration on the pole with bread feeder that a splashy swirl occurred upstream and, turning to view, it was immediately obvious what had caused it.

More bubbling through the swim and head and body popped up some ten metres or so downstream. This one not so big but clearly also hunting among the bankside roots and debris. Suspected as a female, camera in hand the pursuit commenced but she was brighter and was out of sight all-but instantaneously leaving only emptiness and some out of focus film to remember her by, AGAIN, and this time to poor to contemplate sharing
With apologies to:
  • All otters called Ron
  • Gerry Anderson
  • My reader


  1. I met her on a Monday and my heart stood still
    Da doo ron ron ron, da doo ron ron ron

  2. Every Otter I see will be called Ron from now on :)