Male midshipman fish have been keeping scores of families awake in Southampton with their loud mating calls.
The loud droning from their swim bladder, which is used to attract females, can go on for hours and increases in volume when competing males join in.
After a bit of fishing about, we’ve discovered that there are actually some really loud sea creatures out. Some are able to generate noise in excess of 200 decibels. When you consider the average human conversation is around 60-70 decibels and a jet engine produces 140 decibels, you’ll agree 200+ decibels is loud. Fear not though, as most of the noisy stuff is too big (or small) for one of your fishing rods.
Water boatman — 105 decibels
This one isn’t the loudest, but at just 2mm long, the Micronecta Scholtzi still manages to produce around 105 decibels with its mating song, which means that it is the loudest animal on this planet in relation to its body size. Even though 99% of the sound is lost when transferring to water to air, it is still loud enough to be heard from the riverbank when the creature is at the bottom of the river.
Perhaps even more impressive is that the boatman creates his songs by rubbing his penis against his abdomen in a process called stridulation. Don’t try this at home.
Northern elephant seal – 125 decibels
Found in the cold aquatic environments of the north, the large proboscis of the adult males resembles an elephant trunk hence the name. A complex breathing apparatus consisting of multiple chambers for storing oxygen, and it’s also what the seal uses to blow its own trumpet (metaphorically of course).
During mating season the seals make very loud roaring noises with this wannabe trunk to woo females, and can peak at around 125 decibels. That’s loud when you consider how many trumpets will be blowing at the same time. Good job they prefer the Polar Regions.
Blue whale – 188 decibels
It may be the biggest mammal in the world, but this graceful 200-tonne beauty with a tongue as heavy as an elephant, isn’t quite the loudest. It’s not far off though, as the blue whale’s siren call can reach levels of around 188 decibels, which is still much louder than a jet engine or even a rock concert.
The blue whale also emits a low frequency series of pulses, groans and moans, which can travel great distances under the water. Scientists believe that other blue whales travelling at distances of up to 1000 miles can pick up these noises.
Pistol shrimp — 218 decibels
Despite being only 2 cm long the aptly named pistol (or snapping) shrimp is able to generate a split-second sound, which at 218 decibels is louder than a gunshot. Recognized by owning one humungous, oversized claw, which resembles a boxing glove, the pistol shrimp uses this deadly weapon to stun its prey.
The claw snaps shut with enough force to fire a jet of water at up to 62 mph. This generates a low pressure cavitation bubble that bursts with a loud snap and stuns unsuspecting prey. Death by deafness — ouch.
Sperm whale — 230 decibels
So if you like to play Top Trumps, you’d want the sperm whale card to win the noisiest sea creature category. The sperm whales head has a structure called monkey lips, which it uses to blow air through and also produce loud, booming clicks.
These clicks or codas, which are unique to each whale, are used like sonar to find food and also to communicate with other sperm whales. It is estimated by biologist and whale researcher, Magnus Wahlberg of Aarhus University in Denmark, that these clicks can reach levels of 230 decibels underwater. Meaning the sperm whale is the loudest sea creature we could find with the net.
Scientists recently discovered a fossilized fish face at the bottom of a Chinese reservoir that’s believed to be 419 million years old. Making it the oldest known creature with a face (after Mick Jagger).
Rather impressive you’ll agree.
However it’s not quite as impressive as the prehistoric fish that are still around and having it large today. That’s right, the deadly meteor, or whatever it was, didn’t quite wipe out everything. So keep an eye out for this lot next time you’re out with your fishing gear.
Anything named after a goblin is going to be a bit scary and the goblin shark doesn’t disappoint. Its translucent skin is a pinkish colour giving the shark a ghostly presence as it moves underwater.
Yet its weirdest feature is the set of teeth that are able to spring out of its mouth like some Ridley Scott sci-fi creation. The good news is that it swims at depths of over 4000 feet, so rarely comes into contact with human beings.
There is something about the name, hagfish, that suggests this could be a fictional creature. And many wished this were the case when they learn of the gruesome feeding and defence mechanisms of this fish.
Also known as slime eels, hagfish produce large amounts of slime which turns into sticky goo when mixed with water and this can choke potential predators. When it comes to eating, hagfish attach themselves to their prey like a leech and gorge on their victims from the inside out. There’s 500 million years worth of bad manners for you.
Boasting a double-jawed arsenal of sharp teeth, thick-scaled armour and weighing in at up to 200 kilograms, the alligator gar hasn’t survived since the Cretaceous period because it looks pretty and barters well.
It’s a formidable predator and the largest freshwater fish in North America. Quite an achievement when you consider some of the big fish found around those parts.
The magnificent sturgeon is a survivor from the early Jurassic period, which is about 190 million years ago. With 25 known species (the biggest growing up to an incredible 6 metres) sturgeons are protected with bony plates called scutes, and bottom feed in both freshwater and at sea.
These fish pose no real danger except when they decide to leap out of the water and land on something, which usually gets crushed by their weight. Unfortunately for the sturgeon, it’s the main source for caviar, so it’s done well to survive alongside human beings for so long.
Nicknamed the Living Fossil, as it was once considered extinct before popping up again in 1938, the coelacanth is perhaps the most famous of all living prehistoric fish. Its discovery in a fishing net in South Africa caused a worldwide sensation on par with finding a living dinosaur.
Growing up to 2 metres long, these large predators are found in deep, dark waters and feed on smaller fish, including sharks. They have very complex fin movements and almost appear to be running. No surprise then, that they’re considered by some to be the missing link between fish and amphibians.
With its abnormally large dorsal fin, which resembles a dinosaur sail, the lancetfish certainly looks prehistoric and its proper name – Alepisaurus Ferox – reinforces this as a fish with history.
Around since the Mesozoic era, this predator has a long streamlined body similar to a barracuda and six very sharp fang-like teeth. It is often caught by commercial fishermen by mistake and is regarded in this trade as being a nuisance.
This one is a real beauty and one of the most primitive sharks alive being from the Cretaceous period, but is rarely seen in the wild due to dwelling in deep waters where it feeds on squid.
One of the most unusual looking creatures on the planet, the frilled shark has surely inspired many sea monster myths with its almost alien appearance. Its mouth has an incredible 25 rows of razor sharp hooked teeth (that’s 300 teeth in total) and it can extend its jaws to feed on prey almost half its size. It then digests them quite similar to how a snake does.
For all the gripes about the cold, wet weather here in the UK, at least the British don’t have to deal with the dangerous animals, insects and fish found in hotter climates.
Err … actually the fish part needs revising.
With recent news reports revealing the Amazon pacu fish (also known as the Ball Cutter for painfully literal reasons) has been discovered in European waters, we’ve cast the net to keep tabs on how close the frightening fish are getting to the UK.
We’ll start with the big news. Commonly found in the Amazon, the pacu fish, infamously nicknamed the Ball Cutter, has reportedly caused South American fishermen to bleed to death by biting off their testicles. Ouch.
The bad news is that there have been sightings this year in the River Seine in Paris and also the Øresund channel between Denmark and Sweden, which has prompted warnings for men to keep their trunks on if swimming. If that isn’t enough to freak you out, take a look at those strangely familiar teeth. Nothing a good fisherman with some quality fishing gear can’t handle.
Great white shark
National newspapers have this year reported sightings of a great white shark, which was spotted by experienced fishermen off the coast of Cornwall. Now experienced fishermen should know their mackerels from their muscles, so surely they know a great white shark when they see one.
What we can be sure about is that the great white shark is feared by millions of people especially after Spielberg’s terrifying movie Jaws. With its razor-sharp teeth, stealth, speed and power, the great white is the ultimate marine killing machine. Let’s hope it keeps its distance.
Found lurking mainly in dark crevices in sub-tropical and tropical seas, the moray eel’s razor-sharp teeth coupled with its strong, locking jaws will inflict severe injuries on humans if they get too close.
The bacteria which coats its teeth can also cause infection, so all things considered, moray eels are best avoided, which means don’t go poking fingers down dark holes when diving abroad.
Oh by the way — a 4ft-long moray was caught in the UK in 2009, so they do occasionally stray.
This small fish isn’t so frightening to look at and is becoming quite common in UK waters. However it will give you a nasty shock if you happen to stand on it, which is much easier to achieve than you might think.
This well camouflaged fish has sharp venomous spines spaced along its dorsal fins, which stick up out of the sand and can spear unsuspecting bathers and surfers. The venom injected into the soles of feet is a nerve poison, which generally causes excruciating pain in the victim.
The common stingray is found in UK waters and is a fairly placid and beautiful relation to the shark. Its first line of defence is to flee; however, if the stingray is cornered, then it has a brutal alternative to escaping.
Concealed in the stingray’s tail is a long serrated, venomous stinger, which carries a protein-based venom. This weapon can cause fatal injuries especially if it snaps off inside its victim. In 2006, the shock death of wildlife expert, Steve Irwin warned the world about the dangers of stingrays.
The snakehead fish is commonly found in warmer seas, but in 2008 an angler hooked one of these in an East Midland’s river, which came as quite a shock to wildlife experts, who suggest it was abandoned by somebody.
The snakehead fish originated over 50 million years ago and has evolved with all the raw brutality needed to survive crueler times. It owns a large mouth lined with sharp teeth and will devour just about anything in or around water. It breathes atmospheric air too, so it can survive on land long enough for it to crawl from pond to pool wreaking havoc on the native species.
The tiger fish (or goliath fish as it also known) is as ferocious as it looks. It’s renowned for being a highly destructive predator able to take on prey much bigger than itself and boasts all the nasty tools required for a proper job.
Exceptionally strong, fast and well armoured, the tiger fish owns powerful jaw muscles and those frightening teeth mesh together just like a piranhas for maximum mess factor. The good news is that it’s only found in freshwater in Africa. We just thought we’d throw it in the pool to show you how lucky you are living in the UK.
Exploring new countries and cultures is great for the soul, expands the mind and broadens your horizons.
There are some truly stunning fishing spots to find around the world. So pack your suitcase and set off in search of the planet’s most exotic fish and beautiful spots.
It’s time to get World Wide in Waders and put the fly(ing) in fly fishing.
So it’s named after a chubby dog, but nobody cares about that once they’ve gone fishing there. Few destinations in the world can rival the rivers, lakes and ponds of eastern Canada for fishing.
Set against the stunning landscapes of this Canadian wilderness, you’ll be fishing for wild Atlantic salmon, trophy-winning trout, northern pike and much more. And if that wasn’t enough to pack up your waders right away — it’s common to catch fish up to 8lbs in weight.
Just keep an eye out for bears.
The Amazon Basin, Brazil
Yes, the Amazon.
Quite an adventurous location this one, so only thrill seekers need apply. This is the largest freshwater system, and the largest rainforest in the world – so you’re well and truly in the wild here.
The fishing REALLY needs to be worth it then, eh?
What this unique area offers is unique types of fish. There’s plenty of Peacock Bass waiting for you to come and have a go with your fly-fishing skills.
For more of a challenge, try to keep up with the speedy matrichana, or brave the white water rapids to fish for a pacu.
Just watch out for the ‘over-friendly’ piranha.
The Alta, Norway
Norway is the home of the mighty fjords, mightier Vikings and The Alta.
The Alta is an awe-inspiring location far inside the Arctic Circle, so expect it to feel quite fresh.
Not that you’ll be taking much notice of the weather, as the salmon in this area are seriously big and there are lots and lots of them.
In fact fish have been caught in Norway that far exceed the British record of 64lbs for a rod-caught fish. Every August and September the area boasts some of the best salmon runs in the world — time to bring out the waders.
Cuba is high up on the list of holiday destinations for many people.
In this unique and vibrant place, you’ll find 1950s cars, big cigars and friendly people (when you’re not out fly-fishing).
Yes indeed — saltwater fly-fishing in and around Cuba is pretty remarkable for bonefish and the migratory tarpon. The pristine and wader-friendly inshore flats also benefit from a well-enforced protection policy. So fish populations are abundant and won’t shy away from having a go at your fly.
The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy awakened the world to New Zealand.
Both North and South islands boast crystal clear waters, which are teeming with brown trout and rainbow trout.
It can be quite a challenge to land a fish in these waters, as the water is just so clean and clear. This allows the fish to spot any danger well in advance, your casting has got to be perfect if you are to stand any chance.
Home sweet home
When you return home from your worldwide wading expedition, the best way to relax is by visiting your favourite fishing spot — oh, how you have missed it!
From Cornwall’s rocky coastline to the lochs of Scotland, we do all right in the UK for fishing spots too.
There are all manner of high-tech fishing goodies you could spend your life savings on. But sometimes, it’s all about keeping it simple and doing the basics well.
You can still catch your dinner with just feathers and a fishing line if you know your stuff. So next time you visit the fishing shop, see how far you can stretch a £10 note.
Along with hooks, the type of fishing line used can greatly affect your chances of making a catch. If you’re fishing in rough waters, you’ll need a thick, durable line, whereas a thinner fishing line is preferable if you’re fishing in a clear, quiet lake and don’t want to alert the fish.
And you’ll always need extra line in your tackle box as there’s always some jagged rock or piece of rubbish just waiting to break your line (and heart) at a key moment.
Planning an all day session out in your favourite fishing spot? Lunch and drinks are packed, you’ve got plenty of fishing gear, bevvies and bivvy. Sounds like the perfect day. Only you return home the next morning in pain with a face redder than an angry octopus.
Sunscreen is one of those easy things to forget, but even in the oft-sunless landscape known as the UK, the sun can still damage your skin if you’re out all day. It’s technically not fishing gear, but it’s in a fishing shop, so stretch that tenner.
For the well-practiced fishermen, it’s important to have a selection of hooks in a range of sizes from the traditional J-hook to the French hook.
You don’t want to be using monster hooks to catch tiddlers — so stock up your tackle box with a variety of hooks and you’ll be ready for any type and size of fish.
They come in all shapes and sizes with funny names (no, not jelly beans or real ales), but flies. Fishing flies are affordable and you can never have too many.
Different fishing spots breed different types of fish and so you’ll need to change your flies to improve your chances of catching them. See how many you can get for a tenner — sounds like the start of a global challenge.
“Half a pound of the wiggling ones, please …” Depending on what style of fishing you’re planning for the day, you may require some live bait like worms or maggots.
Unless your local fishing shop is importing exotic maggots from somewhere far away, you should be able to afford more than enough bait and still have money left over for something else in the next paragraph.
Everybody loves a bargain bin, so close your eyes and dig in. You never know what you might find. When there’s a sale on anything is possible and your tenner may hook you in something (like a rod!) that may be too big for your tackle box.
This of course depends on two factors — how big your tackle box actually is, and how desperate your local fishing shop is to unload the old stock. Either way, your tenner and some bartering should make an impact in the bargain bin.
It has been said that the world can be divided into two camps: those who love fly fishing, and those who haven’t tried it yet.
It’s an enjoyable, challenging sport, which lures people in from all walks of life and gets them hooked. There are magic moments to be had, that only a fly fisherman would understand.
The beautiful silence
Author Izaak Walton called fly fishing “the contemplative man’s recreation”. When you’re out there alone with your fly fishing rod, watching the evening mist creep over the river, well it’s only natural to feel contemplative.
The beautiful silence is about the seclusion and beauty of nature fusing with the calm, focused mind of the fly fisherman. Simply peaceful is the best way to describe it.
The sound of a can of beer being opened can sometimes break the beautiful silence, but only for a few seconds.
Lost in the challenge
Every river and location presents a new challenge. The fly fisherman must find the correct approach and have patience in order to have success.
It can be utterly engrossing when your mind is completely focused on the challenge. How strong is that wind? Where’s the fish holding? Am I using the right fly? What’s the depth of the fly?
Half an hour speeds by, one hour, two hours and you are lost in the challenge — engaged and involved with the hunt.
Maybe you win, maybe not, either way – every fish is a new lesson.
Every fly fisherman has a favourite spot. Whether it’s the landscape, the location or the fish on offer, it’s mightily comforting to spend a lot of time in one’s own spot. A home from home if you like.
But sometimes you hear of a new spot to explore. Packing up your fishing vehicle with bivvy, fishing gear and refreshments and setting off to a new location can feel most exhilarating.
And it will most likely be a stunning spot too as fly-fishing takes you to some of the most beautiful places one can imagine.
Connecting to nature
You don’t have to be a tree hugger to appreciate how rewarding it is to feel connected to nature.
Fly-fishing provides a wonderful excuse to experience some truly stunning, Zen-like moments and gets you close to the core of what it is to be human.
Watching birds fly past the sunset whilst you’re waist high in water, allowing a curious dragonfly to land on your fly-fishing rod, spotting a deer come down to the river for a drink as the morning mist circles around you — fly fishing puts you at one with nature.
For many — especially beginners who are keen for instant results, the success of a fly-fishing session is measured by what is caught.
Even those that say they prefer the game and the process rather than the catch, still require that magic bite from the fish to confirm their ability.
After you’ve invested a lot of time, skill and practice nothing beats the feeling when you see that fly dip and feel a tug.
The sheer joy of landing a fish has to be the most magical moment of all.
Fishing is one of life’s simple pleasures. The feeling of taking home an impressive catch after a long weekend sea fishing is the definition of satisfaction.
Then there are some creatures out there that will ruin your day if they get tangled in your sea fishing tackle. Check out this deadly catch:
Great white shark
The Hollywood celebrity of the marine world, the great white shark’s fearsome reputation has damaged beach trade around the world after the Jaws movies.
Apparently these cuties are quite calm, but when provoked will even take large chunks out of humans. Keep that fly rod outta his face — you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Box jellyfishes are so beautiful as they glide through the ocean all angelic and jelly-like. Actually they are rather large and have about 15 tentacles — each of which can grow three metres in length with up to 5000 stinging cells.
Those stinging cells are highly venomous and the acute pain will put you into shock. Not something you want to take home to meet the parents.
Prowling through the blue jungle like he owns it, the lionfish generally has a smug look on his fishy face. And that’s because he has a mane of venomous spikes that will cause curious folk some serious pain.
If it makes you feel any better, the stings aren’t deadly, but they’ll certainly spoil your evening.
This scary looking fishy hangs out downtown in the depths of the deep blue, so hopefully you’ll never feel the weight of his considerable bulk on the end of your fly rod.
Considered living fossils, frilled sharks are virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. They probably taste horrid then.
This one’s quite a looker really and those blue rings sure are lovely. But when it’s angry, it turns yellow and the blue rings get even bluer as it transforms into battle mode.
Battle mode is bad as it’s venom will cause respiratory failure, which means you won’t be able to breathe on your own for a few hours. Not such a big deal if somebody can breathe for you though — erm, hello?
If a fish could laze about all day on the couch playing video games, then the stonefish would be that fish. Ugly and unmotivated, the stonefish even has the nerve (a venomous one) to sting you if you give it a kick up the backside.
Be careful where you stand as basically the deadly neurotoxin in their glands can cause temporary paralysis and death. How rude!
Found in dreamy oceans the cat shark is an extremely agile predator and is able to jump out of the water and hunt small land rodents.
Although quite freakish to look at, the cat shark can be sedated by some heavy stroking and fuss. This one obviously isn’t real, folks.
First dates are exciting occasions and can potentially change your life.
They can also be very uncomfortable, like a job interview — especially if you start talking about things you shouldn’t really talk about.
Here are some rocky subjects to avoid if you’re fishing for love.
Your new stunning Airflow V-lite fishing reels might just be the talk of the Fisherman’s Arms and stop anything that moves in the water, but just don’t talk about it on a first date. Unless you want to be told to ‘sling your hook’.
The art of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins of animals with lifelike effect is indeed one of the more alternative hobbies. But it might not be the best thing to bring up over an intimate Sunday roast for two. Get stuffed!
Talking about the world’s rarest stamps can be an engrossing subject and collecting can become a lifetime obsession once you get started. It’s not exactly a passion stoker though and first dates won’t want to hear about what you lick in your spare time.
If organizing a first date at the Paddington Station cafe hadn’t already started the alarm bells ringing, then turning up wearing an anorak and binoculars should do the trick. First class to Singleton, please.
Stating that you’re really looking forward to getting married, buying a semi-detached house in Suburbia and having lots of pets and children is about the scariest thing you could start talking about on a first date. Don’t be surprised if the bill arrives before the starters.
Just like eating olives or trampolining, pole fishing is an acquired taste — you’ll either learn to love it’s simplicity or love to hate it.
Whatever your taste may be, don’t forget fishing poles have some rather fun uses that don’t include fish. Here’s some to get you started.
Urban hat fishing
For this you’ll need a busy town or city and a stealthy position from an open window, which looks down onto a place pedestrians pass.
The rest is fairly straightforward, just catch as many hats as you can with your amazing fishing pole. No prizes for the big blue one though.
There’s a chill in the air, dark clouds lurk around a full moon and there’s zombies prowling the neighbourhood. What’s more there’s a freaky knocking at your bedroom window — well actually, it’s just some joker with his fishing pole.
If fairground favourite, the hook-a-duck stall, ever went Olympic and attracted international, lycra-clad competitors, there’s only one thing long and superfly enough to catch those speedy robotic ducks. Enter the fishing pole.
Re-enact Karate Kid
It doesn’t matter if you play Mr Miyagi or the Karate Kid himself, the fun starts when you get to whip your fishing pole against the wind and make that most excellent noise that instantly transforms you into a ninja.
Lazy man’s poking stick
Every man should own a poking stick. A long, flexible poking stick that allows you to poke from long distances. Whether you need to poke your dog for snoring too loud or poke a crease out the curtains on the other side of the lounge, poking is the new pipe and slippers. [No animals were poked whilst writing this article]
These days there’s just so much to enjoy. In fact it’s quite impossible to get bored what with the Internet and television and the buzzing social enclaves found in cosmopolitan towns and cities.
Oh isn’t life just swell! Well actually some people don’t like things being swell. It’s sometimes a relief to get away from the media smog and the jib-jabbering masses. And the best way to do this, is to scoop up your sea fishing tackle and hop on a boat.
Here’s just some of the annoying things you can avoid whilst sea fishing:
It’s great to own a car and be so mobile, but there’s a problem when everybody else and their dogs own cars too. Not only can they not drive as well as you, but they clog up the roads with their people carriers and hatchbacks and quickly transform mobile to immobile. There are no cars when you’re sea fishing.
“Don’t worry, he’s a big softie,” are words that shouldn’t be taken as truth when a 50-kilo canine comes bounding towards you. Especially whilst you’re quietly fishing by a riverbank. If you want to prevent dogs from scoffing your pack lunch or belly flopping on your bait – head to sea for fishing.
It’s amazing and contains a global brain that can tell you everything about everything and keep you entertained from dawn to dawn and you can watch programmes and play games any time of the day. But you can’t eat it, so you’ll be just fine without it.
There’s rarely any good news in the newspapers or on the 24 hour news channels. So avoid the doom and gloom of society and create your own good news by catching a whopper in the salty air.
Mobile phone networks
OMG! Isn’t it so cool that you can like get a phone signal anywhere? You can text your friends and tell them how cool the Himalayas are and take a picture of the Dalai Lama as he shares a special moment with you — how great it is to be connected all of the time! Well, lets be honest, it can be a little tiring after a while.
“Isn’t she lovely?” Well, yes, and I sort of don’t mind her playing with my possessions, but she is kind of destroying them by chewing them and that constant bawling is kind of annoying and yes, I do have a headache. Is it time for a spot of sea fishing?