Common name: Gudgeon
Latin name: Gobio gobio
Description and Habitat of Gudgeon:
Gudgeon are sometimes mistaken for small baby Barbel but can very easily be identified. The gudgeon has two barbules ( one barbule either side of its mouth ) as opposed to the barbel which has four and the stone loach which has six barbules. Gudgeon are bottom feeders and these barbules are used to search for food on the river bed ( lake, canal, or water it lives). It has a rounded, elongated body with a slightly flattened belly and rather large scale less head with an under slung mouth with thick lips. Both dorsal and anal fins are short and heavily spotted. Coloration of the gudgeon is silvery blue or greeny brown on the back with a row of large, dark spots on the yellowish flanks.
Predominantly found in rivers or fast moving streams, the gudgeon can be found in most waters across England and Wales, but they are rather scarce in Scotland due probably to the different water quality. Gudgeon are noted as preferring the faster running waters with a gravel bottom where they search for food. They are a shoal fish often found in large shoals. Catch one and your likely to catch many more. Being rather easy to catch the gudgeon is a good fish to target when teaching beginners to fish. Fished for on the bottom with light tackle using the humble maggot for bait they fight reasonably well for their size. The gudgeon has saved many a match angler from blanking on hard days. Gudgeon feed on bottom dwelling organisms and a variety of invertebrates and insect larvae such as midge, caddis-fly, bloodworm, may-fly larvae, crustaceans and molluscs.
The fish rarely grow to more than six or seven inches in length and maturity is reached in the second to third year. They spawn in the early summer between April and July in shallow water at night and usually over sandy gravel. The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton 1653 The fourth day-continued Of the Gudgeon, the Ruffe, and the Bleak Chapter XV "The GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very wholesome: he is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three times in the year, and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of excellent nourishment: the Germans call him Groundling., by reason of his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself in sharp streams, and on the gravel. He and the barbel both feed so, and do not hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do: he is a most excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a small red-worm, on or near to the ground.
He is one of those leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken. They be usually scattered up and down every river in the shallows, in the heat of summer; but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deep parts of the water, and are to be fished for there with your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a float, or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand, with a running-line upon the ground, without a cork, as a trout is fished for; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod and as gentle a hand."
Fishing Methods for catching Gudgeon:
Any method can be adopted for catching gudgeon but fishing with light tackle is more productive and more fun. Try float fishing with maggot or any of the baits listed below on or just off the bottom. Once you start catching keep the fish interested by loose feeding. Groundbait can also be used but make sure this is mixed so that is sinks to the bottom before breaking up or you may disperse the shoal.
Baits for catching Gudgeon:
Maggot, caster, red worm, brandling, pieces of worm, small pieces of bread, bread punch, bloodworm - ( although I consider buying bloodworm as bait for general gudgeon fishing to be expensive )
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