Presently

Unemployed but never idol

Just starting a BA(hons) in Graphic Design

Completed Level 5 HND in Computing and Systems Development

Working as a volunteer engineer at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum
where I look after the two
Harrier Jump Jets

Also volunteering at Brooklands Museum Weybridge restoring a Danish Hunter

Click on logos below or come and visit our friendly museums

associated sites

fibrosupport

tangmere_aviation_museum

brooklands

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

crayfishing 2005

signal

When I worked at GT Products, I met a customer who needed some traps modifying to catch fresh water crayfish. As it turned out the customer was Mike Robinson, famous for setting up TV cookery programs such as 'Ready Steady Cook' he goes around the world now cooking on foreign shows, some for Sky TV.

His wife with another local chap set the traps and caught the crays, and I saw pound signs before my eyes.

crayfish

The Crayfish in question are alien to this country, they are the American Signal Crayfish, and in our waters they are a menace, borrowing into our river banks and damaging them till they collapse. They eat absolutely everything even each other and our own native crays are disappearing, they are spoiling the bio-diversity of everything around the rivers.

bartonmap

Map of Barton Mills, the red arrow shows the half mile section where I caught the crays.

damage done

Damage done to the river banks, the banks collapse and the rivers fill in becoming shallow and wide.

I became involved with a conservation group in Suffolk who had some serious problems with crayfish. So I offered to meet with them and took some sample traps for them to try. They showed me a garden near Barton Mills that had lost six foot off the end in three years due to crayfish. I left them with some traps to try, leaving them with the water bailiff I met for the area. A nice chap named Roger, he only had one leg due to a motor bike accident years ago, and worked for the Environmental Agency.

prawn trap

I rang him a few days later to find out if the traps had made a difference, and got a surprise. As Roger explained how he went down the next day in his wheelchair to check the traps and on pulling on the string ended up by pulling himself into the water. I was very sorry to hear it, but he was still laughing about it, very amusing. The traps worked better than expected, like this one above, there were something like 4.5 kilos inside, around 90-100 crays, they normally only caught 4 or 5 crays in there own traps.

roger n toby

So we started with a small boat. Roger on the left, Toby who I met through GT Products.

biggens

Our first Catch, several hundred.

toby

Now a bigger boat. Over a four month period we caught 43,000 crays in a half mile section, and yes they have to be counted for the Environmental Agency records.

shed loads

basket load

They have a good feed on sardines, and then its our turn.

traps a full

This was a result, these three traps I put in at the flood gate, the water is very well oxygenated and the female crays are all collecting to keep there babies healthy. I nearly lost a trap when the string broke due to the weight of the contents. Fortunately the float was still attached and I was able to retrieve it.

that big

Some as big as your hand. Baby Lobster.

tasty

Before.

pretty crays

And after. Pretty and the taste is fantastic.

my tank

As you see I brought some home to study, they are a lot of fun to watch, very clever, superb escape artists. I've watched them climb the air filter, scale the mains cable like some cat burglar, and escape through the hole in the lid and off to the bathroom, they have a sense for water, just can't seem to climb up the side of bath or toilet. I found a very young one dehydrated, dead next to the loo once.

Here's two short films I took when a crayfish shed its skin/shell, being such a complex shape its interesting to see how its done with all those legs and claws. They produce a slippery enzyme which helps slide out of the skin, which splits between head and tail section along the back. Just like slipping off your shirt. It takes a few moments and a few flicks later its off. Now at its most vulnerable with its soft new skin, they have to take cover as they are in danger of becoming food themselves as you'll see in second film.


baby bull fish

I picked this pretty little chap up from a river near Newbury, think he's a bull fish, he changes colour, unfortunately the evil crayfish got him. He looks so grumpy.

toad

A bit of wildlife from Barton Mills, another alien to our rivers, an American bull frog, I found him in the boat one morning, jumped off the bank into boat and couldn't get out, he was huge, head to tail about 8".

Unfortunately, due to fuel expenses and the fact that my car at the time blew up, and the crayfish being seasonal as they breed during the winter months I was unable to sustain as a living. Market prices were falling rapidly as well, but it was great fun, I learnt a lot and could at least do it as a hobby.

totop