Michael joined our team during the busy Autumn period when we harvest much of our coarse fish stock to confirm numbers and sizes available for the restocking market. This is what he had to say about his work.
‘Having completed five weeks work experience at Hampshire Carp Hatcheries, I have been asked to reflect upon my experience. First of all, I can’t emphasise how quickly it has gone. The list of jobs I have carried out and assisted with is very long, but includes imperative daily oxygen checks, seine netting, box grading, hand picking of fish, net repairing, bagging orders, and health checking to name but a few.
The most enjoyable job and steep learning curve, however, has been harvesting a favourite species of mine – the barbel. It can be very hit and miss due to the barbel’s streamlined shape, and apparent ability to get into any small footprint or soft area of silt. Due to this, some nets would harvest a mere 300 of 3,000 fish, and others a couple of thousand. As the water is drained down gradually it begins to come away from the profiled banks of the ponds, making a far better seine net due to less hiding places, and eventually a full drain down to remove all of the fish. This essentially involves wading around in knee deep silt creating channels for the water to flow, and eventually picking out the last remaining few from the silt. I don’t think it matters how many times you do it, there is still an essence of excitement prior to draining a pond. It’s part of the passion of being an angler. Prior to starting my placement I was very skeptical about stillwater barbel, but all of the harvested fish were in tip-top condition, and clearly thriving!
I have to thank the elite team that run Bowlake Fish Farm for the past five weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and gained invaluable experience and knowledge along the way!’