Last week-end, we kept a Rainbow from the Umgeni.
That is only the third Rainbow I have ever seen come out of the Umgeni, (It is a Brown Trout stream) and in the interests of purity I encouraged my fishing buddy to smack it on the head. We don’t do that very often anymore, so it took me repeating the suggestion several times before he reluctantly harvested the little fish.
What was remarkable about it, was what was in its stomach. There was a whole bunch of digested stuff that wasn’t immediately identifiable, but then there were these hard little shells. Anton reached up from the river and passed them to me. We couldn’t work them out. They were not snails, and it was too gloomy to get a really good look. I popped them into an empty coke bottle in my vest.
It was not until a few days later that I go around to washing out the coke bottle, and sieving out the little fellows. I cleaned them in a little sieve the size of a tea strainer. (My wife asked me shorty thereafter what I had used the sieve for, and could she safely use it to sieve some cork out of her glass of wine. What you don’t know can’t hurt you). The coke seems to have cleaned the little shells up, and they shone like little barnacles, but I still had no idea what they were.
I sent the pictures off to my friend Jake Alletson a little later, with an explanation that these had been found in a trout’s stomach, but that no crow bar had been found in its possession at the time. Jake is a wise man, and we hang on his every word when it comes to aquatic bugs. Jake responded immediately so say that he had no idea how these may have found their way into a trout’s stomach and that they are limpets (Ancylidae). He went on to say
“I am not sure of the genus or species and would probably need to see the actual specimens to make a call on that.
Like marine limpets, these ones stick tightly to the rocks so I have no idea of how a trout would be able to get a hold on them to eat them. Also like the marine forms, they only move very slowly. Therefore, if you want to tie an imitation I would suggest that you use a heavy wire treble hook. This will sink rapidly to the bottom, get stuck on something, and behave just like the natural!”
Well there you have it! I told you he is a wise man.
Now to source some heavy wire treble hooks in size 18, and take a month off work to go and wait it out on a deep pool on the Umgeni!
Pretty amazing. I’ve never seen a limpet.
A shad that took a wrong turn?