Saturday, 5 June 2010


Much of what we think of as British wildlife has been introduced by man. This has been going on for over a thousand years, with the Romans introducing the rabbit and the Normans fallow deer, both for food.

The Victorians were responsible for the introduction of not only animals but also new and exotic plants from indo-china, including the invasive japanese knotweed and the himalayan balsam. The Duke of Bedford introduced alongside mammals such as the munjack deer and grey squirrel, two fish species from eastern europe the wels catfish and zander (known then as the pike-perch).

When you think about it a significant number of the freshwater species available to the angler have been introduced into Britain. Game angling wouldn't be the same without the ever obliging rainbow trout. The mainstay of coarse angling today is the carp, which were introduced by monks in the middle ages as a food source, however the modern carp angler wouldn't recognise the original slim fully scaled wild carp. Todays carp have been breed to grow fast and often resemble a football with fins. This all brings us back to the pumpkinseed fish which resembles a slightly deflated rather brightly coloured football with fins.

The Pumpkinseed was introduced into Britain by the Victorians and has become established in a number of stillwaters, mainly in Sussex.

I spent another day at Tanyard trying to catch a pumpkinseed fish. By lunchtime I was getting concerned as I still hadn't caught a pumpkinseed despite getting a bite every couple of minutes. Following a couple of conversations with other anglers I discovered that they were generally caught 'on the drop'.

After lunch I rigged up a no10 drennan puddlechucker float with a number 8 shot at mid-depth, the remaining shot being placed directly under the float. Each cast was only fished for a minute, although most casts saw a take on the drop as roach and rudd to just over a pound obliged. I did unfortunately lose a big perch (certainly over two pound) when it fell off at the net. By 4pm I had finally caught my pumpkinseed fish after wading through perhaps three or four hundred small fish of various species.

I decided to pack up there and then and check out Coarse Pool 3 to see whether I could locate some grass carp. Despite carp cruising in the surface layers the heavily coloured water made it virtually impossible to single out a grass carp so I decided to stretch my legs and walk around the complex. After a conversation with the baliff I found male pumpkinseeds guarding their nests and fending off all intruders in the margins of specimen lake 2 which incidentally is where the British record was caught.