“The most overlooked essentiality for any angler is a pair of binoculars. So few anglers pack these regularly into their kit that I’m amazed. With a pair of bins, you get to see so much of what’s happening - so much of what’s overlooked by the normal angler.
Take one single day down at a local lake: through the binoculars, I could see carp actually feeding on spawn recently deposited by roach and bream. These great fish were actually gorging on the eggs and pushing the weeds aside in their fury to get at this food bonanza.
Then, in a sheltered bay, I saw tiny, needle fry, only millimetres long being pursued by three large common carp all closing in on thirty pounds. The carp were just hoovering up these tiny shards of silver life. They were gorging on the tiny fish and totally ignoring any other food form.
Later on that day, I could watch the swans move into the weed beds, take over from the carp and gorge on the recently laid and fertilised eggs. 20 swans were there feeding through the hours of the late afternoon and into the early evening. It was a massacre. No wonder the big bream in the lake are an ever-declining species.
It’s interesting that the Victorians realised that swans did immense harm to the health of fish stocks. It’s a fact that we seem to have overlooked a century on. Of course, we wouldn’t do without our swans but with all the other pressures on our waters in this day and age, perhaps there could be just a few too many?”