Friday, 13 June 2014

The return of the algal bloom?

That was the question on everyone's lips yesterday, as we fished round the back of Filey Brigg.  The area, which in the memorable phrase of one boat angler on channel 10, had "fished its tits off last week", with various claims of 30 stone of fish and more going to several boats.  A fellow kayaker (Phil) was also dismayed at how the fishing had gone from hero to zero in just a few days.  We ended up with a couple of fish, but nothing to write up about.

I guess no one really knows what kills the fishing when this happens.  It's true that the sea had turned that horrible green we all associate with the algal bloom that's often called the "May Bloom", as that's when it usually appears.  But my own theory is that the bloom is caused by excessive nitrates (fertilizer) being washed off the land into the rivers and then into the sea after periods of heavy rain.  Yes, it's most common in May, but if that lot gets washed off the farmers put a fresh lot on.  And the next time it rains (mid June in our case), back comes the algal bloom and bang, there goes the fishing!  At least that's one theory.  The truth is that there have been times when I've fished 12 hours after a fantastic session, same place, same tackle, same conditions and had no fish.  So you just can't tell.

So with the fishing not up to much, we pootled along the Brigg, looking at the nesting guillemots, razorbills and puffins.  From the water, the Brigg is pretty impressive.  While obviously not on the scale of its near neighbour Bempton, and apparently devoid of gannets nesting (plenty flying about), it's still a pretty site and seems particularly popular with guillemots for some reason.  There was a smudge of the lens for the first shot, but the others are reasonably clear (click to enlarge).

There is somewhere an old hand drawn map that gives names to every part of the Brigg and the fishing features nearby, and no doubt this bit has a name too, but I don't know it.  The water just below the cliffs had escaped the dreaded bloom, and was absolutely crystal clear, which is how it should be at this time of year.

Roll on clear water next time we go!

Tight lines.


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