Fishing the River Crouch... New Years challenge!

New Years challenge, Fishing the River Crouch

OK, so here goes.. This year my Dad and I made a new years resolution. I never normally make resolutions as I don't have the will nor want to keep them, however this one I plan to keep! I have always enjoyed cooking, and in the last 10 years I have found that I love locally grown fresh seasonal produce. This passion has developed and I have become quite a good cook who relishes the opportunity to cook new dishes that are dictated by the seasons. Cooking seasonally forces you to make the most of what is available, especially in the winter when exciting vegetables are limited and the food has the potential to become monotonous. When you are on the verge of a new season such as Spring and the new green shoots start to appear (especially the Asparagus!) you know that the menu is finally changing and new recipes and meals are soon to be on the menu… Anyway I digress, back to the new years resolution.

My Father used to be a professional fisherman plying his trade in the English Channel, North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Fishing back then was a profitable trade with plentiful fish stocks and the opportunity for the hard working average Joe (although my Dad is far from average!) to earn a very good living. My Dad even told me of a story where on a single trip he earned enough money to pay for our house to have central heating in a single trip, back in the late 70’s this must have equated to earning £4000 to £5000 in under two weeks! When the fishing industry started to die down and the un-managed waters surrounding our coasts became devoid of this fishy gold my father changed jobs and worked at a yacht station in North Fambridge still on the shores of his beloved River Crouch. The fishing bug never left him and he continued to fish and brought me up with the same yearning for the sea air….
The Challenge:
Oh yes, the new years resolution! New Years Eve 2009after one or two beers I decided to pit the father and son team a challenge. I wanted to catch every edible fish that entered or swam in or outside the River Crouch in one year. The rules where simple..
1) Either of us could catch the species to hit the overall target (although personally I hope that we both catch everyone).

2) We could use any technique to catch them. We luckily have a plentiful supply of fishing equipment, rods, reels, nets and pots from the many years of our obsessive hobby!

3) Every fish has to be caught in the year of 2010! This means that whatever happens we must persevere and catch them whatever it takes!

A brilliant challenge you may think, but soon after I sobered up.. The next day of course! I realised what a challenge I had set us! The sheer number of species of fish that swim, feed and breed near and around the River Crouch are few in number and mostly shy! Some species can be spooked by a dusting of Winters snow and some can not be caught by rod and line at all! For many years a personal mission of mine was to catch the elusive Grey Mullet on rod and line. Since my teenage years I estimate that I have fished for this species as many as 30 times and I have only ever caught 3 fish. Frustrating to say the least!!
So that was it, every edible species, 2 men to catch them, 1 year to do it!
I will report on this blog my successes and no doubt my failures too but what a challenge and if we succeed ….. Well let’s see how we get on!?

More posts on the new year Fishing the River Crouch challenge to follow Fishing River Crouch

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