Fishing for Gudgeon: Baits, Tackle and Fishing Methods
The gudgeon (Gobio gobio) is rarely fished for deliberately by serious anglers, except when it is required for live-bait. When fully grown it reaches a length of about 12-15 cm (5-6 ins) although some specimens of 20 cm (8 ins) have been taken. It is in fact a smaller version of the BARBEL. You can distinguish a gudgeon from a small barbel by the number of barbels or feelers which hang from the corners of the mouth. The gudgeon has two of these, while the barbel has four. The LOACH, a similar small fish, has six. Gudgeon vary in colour, being grey or brown, irregularly speckled, and generally silver with dark spots on the flanks. The dorsal and caudal fins have a number of brown or grey speckles.
Gudgeon are fairly widely distributed throughout England though rare in Cornwall. They are rarely found in Scotland, and there is only a small, local distribution in Ireland. They spawn in May or June, when a female will lay as many as 3,000 eggs. These are transparent and sticky, and are shed over clean gravel, which they adhere to so that the flow does not wash them away. Although gudgeon much prefer the flowing water of rivers they are to be found in the sluggish water of canals, and even in lakes and ponds. Gudgeon like a river to have a bed of gravel, on which they gather in large shoals. They often come on to the shallows at the water’s edge, and lay-bys are favourite places for a shoal to get together. Gudgeon feed on most forms of aquatic insect life, worms, and small crustaceans, which they find by searching around the gravel or silt on the bed of the river.
Baits and Tackle
No tackle can be too light for gudgeon fishing, since the gudgeon is such a small fish. Use a light rod matched with a fine nylon line. Almost any kind of reel will do — a hooked gudgeon is not likely to pull off yards of line or have to be played out before being brought to the net.
Hook sizes 14 and 16 are generally recommended for gudgeon, but I have found a No. 12 not at all too large for sizeable fish. Bait it with a morsel of crust, a maggot, or, best of all, a small piece of redworm.
The best kind of float is a small crow quill, weighted with one medium.
The gudgeon is surprisingly strong for its size, and will put up a lively struggle on suitable tackle.
If you can stir the bottom with a rake, and then put someinto the swim, the gudgeon will start feeding almost at once — if they are there. If bites are not forthcoming, move a few yards downstream and resume fishing because the gudgeon there will start feeding as the water coloured by the raking drifts down. Insects and other items disturbed by the rake will also drift down to the fish.
Where there is a steady flow to the water, adjustso that the bait just trips along the bottom. If it is set too high off the bottom you will not catch many gudgeon; nor will you lure the fish if the bait is dragging along the bottom. Use the , because it is essential to know the depth, and set the float accordingly.
Gudgeon usually pullright under, or, if hooked on tackle, give the rod a strong thump as they take the bait. This often raises false hopes in the angler fishing deeper water for larger species.