Fishing Closed Season backlash divides anglers

16 Sep

THE final decision of the Environment Agency to retain the current Closed Season has split the angling community in a similar way to Brexit.

The fishing Closed Season remains as it was in England and Wales, preventing anglers trying for fish like barbel (pictured) in rivers between March 15 and June 15 inclusive.
The fishing Closed Season remains as it was in England and Wales, preventing anglers trying for fish like barbel (pictured) in rivers between March 15 and June 15 inclusive.

Many are angry at the outcome of the river fishing Closed Season consultation. Some have questioning the role of the Angling Trust, who they believe should have campaigned for change.

The springtime public consultation produced a closely balanced outcome, but a clear majority wanted change rather than the March 15 to June 15 break that the EA have settled on.

Out 13,680 responses, just 38.8 per cent of people wanted to retain that current fishing Closed Season, which affects coarse fishing on rivers in England and Wales.

There were 9.2 per cent in favour of reform by changing the dates to 15 April to 30 June; and the biggest slice of the vote, 49.8 per cent, sought the fishing Closed Season’s total abolition.

John Williams, chairman of the UK’s largest angling club, Birmingham AA, has led the ongoing backlash.

He fumed: “To me, the Angling Trust should have been actively campaigning for abolition, as this would reflect the views of anglers and is obviously to the benefit of angling generally, but the ‘dinosaurs’ won the day.

“Basically, the Angling Trust is in the pocket of the EA and won’t do anything to upset them, as that’s where they get nearly all of their money from.

“Until the Trust decides to properly stand up for anglers as a truly independent body, it will continue to fail to attract more new members. Let’s hope the Trust’s new chief exec (Jamie Cook) will make a difference,” he added.

Fishing Closed Season still a ‘live issue’

Angling Trust policy chief Martin Salter said: “The Angling Trust did not take any formal position in lobbying for or against a change in the rivers Closed Season, but did support a full review of the evidence on the possible impact on fish stocks of any changes to the current arrangements.

“As an organisation committed to conservation, it would be irresponsible of us to do anything else.

“However, we accept that this is a live issue and we wanted anglers on both sides of this debate to have their voices heard and for the arguments to be tested.

“This has now happened, and the EA has come to a decision.

“We hosted all the info on the Angling Trust website and published a wide range of views on the subject to help inform the debate.

“With a finely balanced response to the consultation, it is inevitable that one side or the other will be disappointed with the eventual decision.

“It was also clear that there was little appetite for change by the EA, which has decided to adopt a precautionary approach.

“However, at least we have now had an opportunity to look at the available evidence for a rivers Closed Season, as well as examining the regimes in place in other countries with similar fish populations.

“Anglers are split down the middle on the highly contentious issue, and those in favour of change will feel discontented.

“But when only under 14,000 out of 900,000 licence holders bothered to participate in the survey, angler apathy could well have had something to do with the outcome,” Martin added.

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Giant catfish landed on tiny 6 ft rod

16 Sep

TONY OWEN got an unexpected reward in the shape of this 93 lb catfish, which he managed to tame on a 6 ft carp stalking rod.

Tony Owen with his giant catfish from Horton Boat Pool, run by RK Leisure.
Tony Owen with his giant catfish from Horton Boat Pool, run by RK Leisure.

Tony has been targeting catfish since April at Boat Pool, run by RK Leisure, at Horton, Berkshire.

He had been baiting heavily with big boilies and pellets, and the approach brought him cats to 94 lb.

But on his latest visits, the local Slough, Buckinghamshire, angler, decided to target the RK Leisure venue’s carp instead.

He scaled down his tackle considerably, and offered a smaller 14 mm Five Star Baits fishmeal boilie.

Tony scored with one of the ‘A-team’ common carp, called The Square, at 38 lb, but he was amazed when this giant ‘moggie’ of 93 lb struck a week later.

Tony told the Mail: “What makes this catfish catch so special is that I caught it while fishing for carp, on a Nash Scope 6 ft 2 lb t. c. Sawn-Off rod, and 20 lb Korda SUBbraid.

“I would not advise people to use this set-up to catch catfish, but it is possible using it, if you know the water very well and it is free of snags.”

The 53-year-old roofing technician is a seasoned catfish angler who has landed specimens of 173 lb abroad.

He has an English best of 102 lb, also from the same RK Leisure venue as his latest success, Horton.

What is RK Leisure?

RK Leisure emerged after the end of Cemex Angling (formerly RMC Angling and Leisure Sport Angling).

It runs 11 lakes in the home counties of Colne Valley, Surrey, Berkshire and rural Bedfordshire.

They’re within a 30-minute drive from central London and ten minutes from Heathrow Airport… traffic permitting!

Aside from Horton, their historic venues include Wraysbury 1 and Wraysbury 2, Kingsmead 1, and Jones Pit.

RK Leisure acquired the venues in 2012 and have installed state of the art facilities and security systems.

Membership options include cards for multiple venues, but are not cheap. The lowest price option is for Wraysbury 2, costing £500 a year.

Note that the venues’ popularity means there are waiting lists. Find out more about the ticket options by clicking here.

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Jamie Cook is new angling leader – find out more here

16 Sep

THE Angling Trust and Fish Legal have a highly successful angler and experienced business leader installed now as their next chief executive.

Jamie Cook, seen with a tench, is an all round angler with an impressive list of PBs.
Jamie Cook, seen with a tench, is an all round angler with an impressive list of PBs.

Jamie Cook has just stepped into the Angling Trust and Fish Legal role. He has started following Mark Lloyd’s  move to chief executive of The Rivers Trust after ten years at the helm.

The 35-year-old is a married father of two small children, aged three and one. He was working as a regional director for ‘Insider Media’ where he  grew membership by nearly 50%.

Bristol-based Jamie commented: “This is quite literally my dream job and I count myself extremely fortunate that the opportunity came along at precisely the right time in my career.

“I was ready to move on and apply the commercial and business skills that I’ve developed to something that I really care about.

“The chance to put something back into angling, the hobby that has been my lifelong passion, has been a long held ambition and I can’t wait to get started.”

“Naturally I am excited to be taking on this significant role for both the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.

“As a regular, all-round angler I understand the challenges and opportunities facing the sport.

“My long-term vision for the Trust is to create a community, to re-engage with anglers and to build consensus across the many different disciplines of our sport.

“Angling is diverse and all anglers should feel engaged and empowered by the Trust – I want everyone to have an opportunity to influence the Trust’s work to benefit angling and the environment.

Jamie Cook is now the main man at the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.

“Angling is the gateway to the outdoors; we need to make angling accessible to new anglers and win back those who have tried the sport and for whatever reason aren’t fishing anymore.

“Just as importantly we need our current anglers to keep the fishing habit.

“As anglers, if we’ve got the right places to fish, that are accessible and enjoyable and full of fish then we are happy.

“Anything that challenges this will need to be addressed – and will be a priority for me as the next chief executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.”

As chief executive of both the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, Jamie Cook will be responsible for over 60 staff with a turnover in excess of £2.7 million.

He will be attending the Trust’s Annual Angling Conference at Barston Lakes, West Midlands, on Saturday, November 30, which anyone can attend.

Jamie Cook is “a fine angler”

Martin Salter is currently head of policy at the Angling Trust and president of Reading DAA where Jamie Cook is a member.

Martin said: “I was good friends with Jamie’s late father and had the pleasure of watching Jamie develop into a fine angler.

“He is technically skilful but also deeply intuitive and seems to have a real flair for often catching the biggest and most difficult to tempt fish in any water he targets.

“His business and commercial experience coupled with a huge passion and knowledge of angling will stand him in good stead in his new role.”

“Strong impact expected”

George Stephenson, chairman of the Angling Trust, commented: “It is my belief that Jamie will have a strong impact on growing our sport, increasing membership of the sport’s representative body, as well as being able to represent the needs of a broad range of angling interests as leader of both the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.

“The skills he has developed in leading and building a wide variety of organisations stand him in good stead to help drive not only the Angling Trust and Fish Legal towards a bright new future but also for angling as a whole – which is something we are all striving for.

“We now have an opportunity to build on the strong foundations which have been laid by Mark Lloyd and the team and be proud of the fantastic contribution and immense benefit angling provides.

“We have to ensure that anglers not only understand the value and purpose of the Trust but also how the Trust impacts positively on the areas of the sport they enjoy.”

He ‘gets it’ says carp leader

Rob Hughes, manager of Carp Team England enthused: “I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie recently for a TV interview and it’s great to see that he has a very rounded and grounded understanding of angling.

“He’s caught some significant fish in all disciplines, ‘gets it’ and is a very successful individual in his own right. His background and professional experience are exactly what The Trust needs and many of his views mirror my own.

“I am looking forward to working with him in the protection and promotion of both angling and The Trust for the future.”

Quick Q&A with Jamie Cook

Q: What is the best was to someone involved in angling?
A: Its not good enough just trying to explain it and its not like football where you can just put jumpers down. You have to introduce someone to it, taking them fishing with you.

Q: Best angling advice?
A: Treat every fish however big or small as though it was the best fish you have ever caught when it is out of the water. Or always have a disgorger behind your ear.

Q: Who was you biggest angling influence?
A: My dad.

Q: What is your favourite species?
A: Roach without a shadow of a doubt.

Jamie Cook caught big fish from a young age, including this jumbo river roach.

Q: Best recent catch?
A: A bass from the south west coast or a carp I caught with both my son and daughter there to share the moment.

Q: What species would you like to have the record for?
A: Roach, caught from a river.

Q: Favourite Water?
A: Hampshire Avon.

Q: Pet angling hate?
A: Litter.

Q: Next fishing trip?
A: We are going on a family holiday to Cornwall next weekend and the rods will be in the back with the children. Hopefully I will catch a bass or two.

Jamie Cook angling CV

Jamie Cook has been a lifelong angler, in his early years learning to fish his local rivers – the Kennet and Thames and at the age of four caught his first barbel.

From there he has moved on to focus on specimen coarse angling on local lakes and the Hampshire Avon, achieving the remarkable feat of catching a three-pound roach at the age of ten!

Jamie then moved on to carp fishing.

Jamie Cook learned a lot from his dad.

More recently his fishing has again changed. This time he’s focused on sea angling, as well as river fishing, allowing him to fit his angling around being a parent as well.

Jamie also is, or has been, a member of Bristol Amalgamated, Reading DAA, Ringwood DAA, Newbury AA, Ross on Wye AC, Christchurch AC, Oxford & Abingdon Alliance and various carp syndicates.

Jamie Cook PB list

  • Jamie has a highly impressive list of PBs including:
  • Roach – 3 lb 3 oz (Hampshire Avon)
  • Barbel – 14 lb 14 oz (Dorset Stour)
  • Chub – 6 lb 7 oz (Dorset Stour)
  • Tench – 10 lb 11 oz (Reading DAA water)
  • Mirror carp – 47 lb (Pingewood Lagoon, Reading)
  • Common carp – 42 lb 15 oz (Ashmead)
  • Crucian Carp – 2 lb 15 oz (Newbury AA water)
  • Bream – 13 lb 7 oz (Berkshire gravel pit)
  • Perch – 3 lb 3 oz (River Kennet)
  • Pike – 18 lb 12 oz (River Test)

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River ace lures coastal stunner

13 Sep

RIVER ace Nathan Edgell is more used to catching huge pike and perch but this stunning sea specimen shows another side to his passions.

Nathan Edgell displays his jumbo ballan wrasse.
Nathan Edgell displays his jumbo ballan wrasse.

Nathan’s brilliant ballan wrasse tipped the scales at a whopping 7 lb 4 oz.

The 47-year-old, from Dorchester, Dorset, Texas rigged a 12 g green soft plastic lure.

The Fladen design was slowly twitched over the bottom at a secret mark.

Taxi driver Nathan said: “I don’t really sea fish but just love chasing ‘preds’ with lures or bait. The ballan wrasse provide a suitable and awesome distraction to summer pike.

“I just love predators, whether it be freshwater or saltwater. And being fortunate enough to live on the Jurassic Coast, over the last couple of summers I’ve had great fun targeting ballan wrasse.

“It’s been a real learning curve as these fish fight incredibly and the terrain they inhabit can be dangerous so always stay safe.

“I’ve caught hundreds on a variety of different lures.

“When fishing for wrasse the moment you hook one they immediately bolt for cover under rocks or into the kelp. The first run is epic and incredibly powerful.

Nathan’s giant ballan wrasse was lured on a Texas Rig Kit.

“I have my drag set so tight that you can’t pull line out with your fingers, but when this fish ran it took line from my reel… twice. Yes, it was stronger than me!

“All I could do was get the rod up to my face level and start reeling and luckily I managed to turn it and get it up before it snagged me.

“It was an amazing creature and probably the fish of my lifetime.

“I used a Fladen Maxximus 8 ft two piece spinning rod 10-35 g cw, 20 lb cable braid and a 21 lb fluorocarbon leader,” he added.

Nathan’s coarse PBs include river pike to 34 lb 10 oz and perch to 4 lb 2 oz.

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Craig’s super paste trick lures two UK carp for 104 lb

13 Sep

CRAIG MCEVOY is having a brilliant year and on his latest weekend trip matted mirror carp of 54 lb 8 oz (main picture) and 50 lb 2 oz.

Craig McEvoy holds the larger of his RH Fisheries brace.
Craig McEvoy holds the larger of his RH Fisheries brace.

RH Fisheries The Avenue in Shropshire is where Craig has enjoyed his successes.

Craig, from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, said: “Other fish of 36 lb 8 oz and 28 lb 3 oz backed up an epic session.

“A mixture of Dynamite Complex-T and Tigernut crushed boilie with Hemp N Snails, maize, lots of halibut pellet loaded with Red Ammo liquid was the attractive mix that proved irresistible.

Craig holds his 50 lb 2 oz RH Fisheries specimen.

“A little edge I employed was fishing half a Complex-T wafter and half a Tigernut wafter pushed together with bit of Complex-T paste

“With extremely limited time, it’s not been a bad year for the big girls. I’ve had four 50s since March which includes a ten-week lay-off.

“I used a little rig I call the ‘twisted combi’ … but I can’t share all my secrets.”

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Britain’s biggest common carp

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Angling Trades Association push to Keep Britain Fishing

13 Sep

THE UK's main angling trades body hopes to stop the decline in angling, and has started a new working group called Keep Britain Fishing.

The Angling Trades Association wants to get more kids fishing.
The Angling Trades Association wants to get more kids fishing.

The Angling Trades Association held a conference on the decline of angling numbers and adding new blood to the sport, with 72 industry bigwigs and other experts gathering at The Arden Hotel, in Solihull, West Midlands.

Angling Trades Association chairman John Loftus explained: “We know the number of people going fishing is declining and the age profile increasing, and this will be the first of several steps towards action to get new people involved.

“We need to address problems in the industry to get it working together and galvanise the trade to raise funds to promote the sport,” John added.

Many major firms attended, including Dynamite Baits, Nash, Fox, Daiwa, Shimano, Angling Direct plus the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust.

Former Angling Trust chairman Mike Heylin, new vice chair of the Angling Trades Association , said: “A lot of good ideas were put forward during the day.

“It was exciting to see the enthusiasm for positive action to be taken and for the ATA to be more proactive going forward in developing initiatives to get more people into the sport.

“This first meeting was a think-tank to promote ideas, and it was decided to establish a working group that will develop a new marketing strategy.

“When it is finished, the strategy will be distributed to all concerned, and will link in with the recently announced National Angling Strategy, launched by the EA.

“It was gratifying seeing the industry pulling together for the benefit of the sport and providing the skills necessary to develop initiatives,” Mike concluded.

Angling’s real value

Now in its 46th year, the Angling Trades Association is the official voice of the UK angling industry, representing fishing tackle manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and fisheries.

The ATA produces a bi-annual report based on a survey of the industry, the last one of which covered 2017.

The value of tackle sales then was estimated at £548.7m representing a 3.8 per cent decrease when compared to 2015.

The average turnover of each retailer was estimated to be £255,520 in 2017, compared to £248,000 in 2015.

Since the last research the number of retailers had fallen to 2,150 – a decrease of 6.5 per cent – attributed in the main to retirement/closure and merger.

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Specimen chub… on every method!

13 Sep

CHUB are known for their wide tastes in food... and one angler has been proving the point.

Robbie Northman had this 6 lb 5 oz specimen chub on the fly.
Robbie Northman had this 6 lb 5 oz specimen chub on the fly.

After landing a specimen chub of 6 lb on a lure in the morning, Robbie Northman set out in the evening to fish the fly.

The 28-year-old, from Norwich, had walked a fair stretch of the Norfolk river.

Then he located a group of chub holding in an overgrown section.

And following a few false casts, he delivered a slow sinking Montana nymph and tempted the 6 lb 5 oz chevin.

It’s a PB on the fly for the bar manager and Savage Gear consultant.

Robbie has now caught a 6 lb-plus specimen chub on most tactics – fly, lure, livebait and conventional baits.

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Dave Swallow, angling great, is saluted after his death aged 81

13 Sep

ANGLERS have been paid tribute to angling great Dave Swallow after he sadly passed away.

Dave Swallow, who sadly passed away, aged 81.
Dave Swallow, who sadly passed away, aged 81.

Dave Swallow was a popular angling ace, tackle innovator and tackle shop owner. He  died at the age of 81.

Dave was most famous for his amazing centrepin reels that he started manufacturing in his garden shed in the early 1980s.

But he also produced his AV1 electronic monkey climber bite alarm, Pegleg float links and leger stops.

Dave was raised in Luton and moved to Bournemouth, Dorset, in 1969.

It was down south that he opened his first shop Custom Tackle, in Bournemouth.

He then opened another shop in Ringwood called Swallows of Ringwood (now Ringwood Tackle), and then Avon Angling.

Dave Swallow loved river fishing but also scored on stillwaters.

Dave Swallow memories

Ringwood Tackle manager and close friend Richard Middleton said: “Dave was a great thinking angler, who always worked out how to change his tactics to catch the fish in front of him.

“He was something special, a true legend and did a great deal for specimen fishing.

“He never had a bad bone in his body, a true gentleman.

“He loved his roach fishing and I think his PB was 3 lb 6 oz and was very well known on the Hampshire Avon around Ibsley and Fordingbridge.

“But he fished for most species and would fish for anything.

Avon Roach Project co-founder Trevor Harrop said: “So, so sad. A true legend and great bloke.

“He told some of the greatest stories I have ever heard, which we were going to make into a book, but he never got around to finishing.”

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Poaching net accidently intercepted by rivers campaigner

12 Sep

THE leader of the River Anglers Conservation Group got up and personal with one of the biggest threats to angling - poaching.

The illegal poaching net.
The illegal poaching net.

RACG chairman Matt Marlow went for a couple of hours drop shotting on an inner city canal and was disgusted to find a net that was clearly used for poaching.

Matt had only recently returned to fishing after successful treatment for cancer.

The saddle maker, from Boxwich, West Midlands, explained: “I went to the Bridgewater Canal in the centre of Manchester. The canal was like chocolate from the incessant rain.

“I found and removed the offending item, and saved this eel from the pot.

“The poaching net is now in my possession and I have since reported it to the Environment Agency.

“On top of it all, I blanked. I should have taken some worms.”

This eel was trapped in the poaching net.

This eel was trapped in the poaching net.

Matt continued: “This kind of illegal fishing, poaching, is becoming more and more commonplace.

“All anglers should be vigilant and ensure such activity is reported so action can be taken.

“The RACG itself has been going now for just over a year and has done phenomenally well since its inception. It’s important that we that we continue to work hard for our rivers.

“We are actively involved in a number of projects. These include research on river conservation, river conservation activities and fishery development/ improvement activities.”

Matt Marlow, of the RACG, who has seen poaching evidence at first hand..

Matt Marlow, of the pro-active RACG, has seen poaching evidence at first hand.

More examples of RACG work include:

  • hosting a river fish spawning survey in collaboration with Dr Andrew Pledger (Loughborough University)
  • supporting several PHD students in their work on fish habitats
  • habitat restoration works at Kings Weir fishery on the River Lea in Essex where  gravel spawning beds were extensively jet cleaned.
  • helping to obtain funding to develop disabled access facilities on the Kings Weir site.
  • supporting a collaborative Salford College-led river clean-up scheme.
  • running a work party on the River Goyt in collaboration with Mersey Rivers Trust.

Matt added: “We also had a highly successful fish-in on the River Swale which we are repeating again this year on Sept 30 – Oct 1. Full details are on the RACG website.”

Membership of the RACG is just £10 per year and all money is spent on projects and activities to help improve rivers and river fisheries.

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Forces veterans carp fishing project goes full steam ahead

10 Sep

MORE ex-servicemen who have been wounded or suffer from mental health issues are to get support from an effective project called iCARP.

Forces veterans are benefiting through iCARP.
Forces veterans are benefiting through iCARP.

Angling is known to improve physical and mental health and well-being, and Forces veterans are benefiting.

iCARP has connected ex-military service PTSD sufferers to help reduce depression, anxiety and stress after their years of service.

The Essex-based research project, run by Dr Mark Wheeler, takes groups of Forces veterans that are struggling with mental health issues away for fishing trips.

They not only get the kit to use, but also get support from qualified angling coaches and mental health professionals.

Over 100 men, women and their children have been through the experience, and now the project will push further ahead.

Mark’s former six years of studies with patients found that angling shone out as an activity when dealing with the broken military bonds, mental health stigma, isolation and reluctance to discuss trauma.

The Angling Trust will now give iCARP the financial support to help more Forces veterans, more frequently.

The Trust’s head of participation, Clive Copeland, said: “Defra’s 25-year Plan for the Environment, the Sport England Strategy for Sport and the just-launched National Angling Strategy all reference the contribution that sport and the outdoors make in improving the mental health and well-being of individuals, and our sport of angling makes a huge contribution to this outcome.

“The Angling Trust hopes to ensure angling can make a real difference to the lives of trauma survivors, by helping fund research into this vitally important area and providing support to Dr Wheeler and his team to deliver the iCARP programme.

“Our contribution will be mostly used to up-skill iCARP’s growing workforce of willing volunteers, specifically by training angling sports coaches.

“This will enable iCARP to reach its goal of running weekly fishing trips that could mean over 250 participants experiencing the intervention annually,” added Clive.

Mark said: “iCARP are really proud to have the backing of such a prestigious organisation as the Angling Trust. The finance to help further studies, and to train our volunteers and make them fully qualified, licensed angling coaches is invaluable.”

One of the facilities used by iCARP is Les Webber MBE’s Angling Projects, in Wraysbury, Berkshire.

The centre originally helped mainly schoolchildren get into angling, but now also helps Forces’ veterans.

Les said: “We were the first venue that Mark ever used, and they have been coming here once or twice a year for about six years now, staying two or three nights in our accommodation. It is clear that they really benefit from and enjoy the fishing and the trip.

“Our patron, Chris Tarrant, has been down in the past to have a chat with them, and they are due again in mid-October. They also have an annual
week-long trip to a lake in France,” Les added.

Mark Wheeler explains Peer Outdoor Exposure Therapy

Q Where does fishing fit into what you call Peer Outdoor Exposure Therapy (POET)?
A We take participants to fishing lakes in peer groups. They are joined by psychologists, mental health professionals, first aiders, angling coaches and peer mentors. During their stay (usually three days and two nights) they’ll have their own individual ‘bivvies’ (fishing tents) and camp beds set up around the lake and will fish under the supervision of their angling coaches. They are encouraged to socialise with other participants, peers and support staff. Meals are eaten communally, and social support is established through a closed Facebook page.

Q Does it work?
A The research into POET has been extensive and has taken six years to complete. I’ve run pilot studies into various outdoor “green exercise” options including horse riding, falconry and archery and all of them were found to beneficial and reduced the symptoms of PTSD and other mental health disorders. However, the most noteworthy improvement was found when we used angling as the green exercise element of POET, with significant improvement being recorded in PTSD, depression, anxiety, stress and work and social adjustment when I compared before and after scores. This improvement was still seen when I looked again after three months. I went on to run a randomly controlled trial (RCT) and this further demonstrated the efficacy of POET.

Q What do participants say?

A Since beginning the research over 100 participants (men, women and their children) have been through the experience. We have testimonies directly from participants expressing that their attendance at the study “it saved them from taking their own life“. We have had family members state “without you he would have taken his life“. Many of the veterans that have experienced POET have gone on to volunteer at further events too.

Q What are your plans for the future?

A Well, so far participants have been predominantly adult, but this is mainly because up to now we’ve only run one family day. We want more children, young people and families to get the benefits too though so we’ll be running more family trips though, and already have dates pencilled in for this year so that more families can experience the benefits of fishing together.

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Biggest eel of 2019 reported from holiday fishing venue

10 Sep

CHECK out this jumbo eel, carefully measured at 111 cm long and weighed in front of the fishery bailiff.

Biggest eel reported in 2019 - 8 lb 14 oz
Biggest eel reported in 2019 - 8 lb 14 oz

It’s the biggest eel reported to Angler’s Mail this year, scaling 8 lb 14 oz, and was caught at Shropshire’s Wigmore Lakes.

Ireneusz Zajaczkowski was fishing overnight for carp, using worm as bait, when the mighty wriggler struck.

Ireneusz, who measured it at 111 cm, revealed: “It’s the best eel of my life and I think this is the same eel I caught two years ago but now bigger.”

The scene of the biggest eel of 2019, Wigmore Lakes, is on the England-Wales borders, between Shrewsbury and Welshpool.

It’s an idyllic 25-acre site with holiday lodges, plus camping and caravan space.

The two pools at Wigmore were created as clay pits to supply local brickmakers, and the fishery was developed in 1997.

Bailiff Bob Hubbard confirmed: “I was present when the fish was weighed and can verify that the scales were zeroed to take account of the net.

“It was a tremendous fish and safely returned to the water.

“Ireneusz is a local lad and a regular at our fishery and was on a 24-hour session.

“He was with his two sons who are under ten and one also had a smaller eel.

“Ireneusz loves his fishing and particularly enjoys river fishing for pike,” revealed Bob.

The biggest eel ever caught on rod and line in Britain is officially 11 lb 2 oz by Steve Terry at Kingfisher Lake in Hampshire.

Then a young carp angler, Steve caught it way back in 1978. It later died and was for some time displayed in a case at a West Sussex tackle shop.

That iconic catch remains the British eel record, but has been challenged by some catches which have never been ratified.

One was for a 13-pounder in the Colne Valley, which was hushed up amid very tight publicity rules. But some respected specialist anglers believe to this day that it was genuine.

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Sardine bait trick tempts huge British river sturgeon

6 Sep

SCHOOLBOY George Marsden enjoyed a birthday treat on Nottinghamshire’s River Trent when he landed this huge sturgeon.

George Marsden with the jumbo Trent sturgeon caught on a special bait involving sardine chum.
George Marsden with the jumbo Trent sturgeon caught on a special bait involving sardine chum.

Dad Andrew couldn’t weigh the fish, as he’d left his digital scales out in the rain, but he estimated it at well over 20 lb.

Andrew said: “We had a week-long trip on the Trent, on the A1 Pits stretch.

“George was targeting barbel, and after a handful of ‘doubles’ this turned up.

“I’d estimate it at around 30 lb, but to be honest I haven’t a clue.

“The fish was caught two days before his tenth birthday. George said it’s the best birthday present he’s ever had.

“His ambition is to catch every British freshwater fish, and he’s been getting down the list quite well.

“I told him last year that a sturgeon and a salmon would most certainly elude him. He’s out to prove me wrong,” added Andrew, who lives in Clowne, Derbyshire.

Andrew uses sardine chum called Amorce Strouille.

Andrew uses sardine chum called Amorce Strouille.

The successful tactic was sardine flesh wrapped in a mesh bag and soaked in krill liquid for two days.

This was presented with a size 6 hook alongside a 7 oz pellet feeder.

Andrew buys sea fishing sardine ‘chum’ called Amorce Strouille, and creates a 20 mm barrel with the mesh and soaks it for two days.

Successful tactics was sardine meat wrapped in a mesh bag and soaked in krill liquid fished with a size 6 hook and a 7 oz pellet feeder.

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Kevin Nash calls for ‘new thinking’ to turn around fortunes of UK fishing

6 Sep

ANGLING legend Kevin Nash has expressed his horror at a lack of new blood coming into angling, and threats from ‘antis’.

As Angler’s Mail revealed last week, the Angling Trades Association held a mini conference, entitled Keep Britain Fishing, in the West Midlands.

Carp tackle, bait and fisheries pioneer Kevin Nash attended the day after he rejoined the ATA this year.

He did so following the change of ATA hierarchy, including experienced John Loftus becoming chairman/chief executive, and former Angling Trust chairman Mike Heylin as vice chair.

Kevin said: “Well, at least it was a start, and it was pleasantly surprising to see so many there, although there were a few dinosaurs in the room.

“What the industry needs is new blood, greater vitality and new thinking. I’m not 100 per cent sure that the ATA is the best organisation to lead on this, but new chief exec John Loftus has a lot of experience in the industry and is clearly trying to galvanise things – for a start he has made history by getting me to join.

“Angling and the trade face two big threats – declining participation and possible barring altogether.

“I was shocked to find recently that one club I was a member of when young no longer has a junior section, and some 50 per cent of its sharply declining membership are over 70.

“A quick survey of other clubs showed seven out of ten no longer have junior sections.”

Kevin Nash on threats to fishing

Kevin continued: “A warning shot across the bows came this summer when an animal welfare group, through crowd-funding, managed to get the funds to persuade the courts to ban the culling of nuisance bird species.

“If we aren’t careful, in 20 years time fishing itself might be impossible, with the anti-hunting and animal rights agenda!

“What we need is more funding, and the trade could contribute to this by companies accepting a levy on their profits to go towards schemes that promote the sport and encourage participation, as well as defend it from possible threats,” added the Essex-based big carp angler.

Other views on moves to boost angling’s future

Like Kevin Nash, John Ellis, fisheries manager at the Canal & River Trust, was also present at the ATA’s event.

John said: “I felt very optimistic after the meeting, with the trade realising that they have to work together to raise participation levels.

“To get that many together, albeit with differing ideas, is a huge step forward.”

Clive Copeland, head of participation at the Angling Trust, added: “It was highly constructive and a positive first step.

“The Trust is very keen to forge stronger links with the trade, and I will be attending their AGM in September.

“I met with John Loftus the next day, when we both attended the first meeting of the board set up to implement the new National Angling Strategy.

“This was a first meeting, and was chaired by Tom Sherwood of the Environment Agency, and we agreed our terms of reference.”

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River pollutions are being tackled – but more funds urgently needed

3 Sep

THE Environment Agency say they are doing the best to tackle pollution, but really need more money to make a difference to this growing problem.

River pollutions are being tackle by EA staff, as seen here in Devon, but more funding is required.
River pollutions are being tackle by EA staff, as seen here in Devon, but more funding is required.

The comments came at the same time as the worst of all known river pollutions in Devon, which wiped out fish.

Just over three miles of the River Mole in South Molton were affected and about 10,000 fish, mainly trout and roach perished.

The Environment Agency were quick to respond to the incident.

Their staff cleared up the worst of the problem, preventing it spreading further, but a lot of damage had already been done.

An EA spokesperson said: “Our initial response into the fish kill on the River Mole has been completed and the pollutant identified as anaerobic digestate.

“The source has been identified and our investigation is ongoing,” they concluded.

Growing concern about river pollutions

River pollutions comes from a variety of sources, including agriculture and industry, is a growing concern.

National media, including a recent front page of The Times newspaper, recently suggested that all of our rivers aren’t fit to swim in.

It’s even been claimed that water companies can do their own testing and escape prosecution by setting their own fines.

This has lead to a spirited defence of the work of the EA by their chair, Emma Howard Boyd.

Emma said: “Water quality in our rivers is now better than at any time since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

“Rivers in England are not currently certified for swimmers because there is no current system of certification.

“Water companies are not ‘free to pollute’. They have to meet tough standards set by Law and the EA, which they do meet in all almost all cases.

“If they fail to do so we take action against them, up to and including criminal prosecution.

“Water companies are not allowed to mark their own homework.

“While they do carry out some tests for the EA we do our own testing and we monitor and we monitor and regularly inspect their facilities.

“Nor are companies allowed to ‘set their own fines’. If they commit a serious offence they are prosecuted, and we will seek the highest possible penalties

“But where there is less harm we do in some cases accept Enforcement Undertakings, by which the company provides money to make good the damage.

“Whether or not to accept an EU rather than prosecute is our decision, not the companies’.

“Last year we accepted 15 EUs, totalling £3,432,150 – which allows environmental groups, such as the many Rivers Trusts, to deliver major environmental improvements.

“Where the critics are right is the EA do need more resources if we are to tackle pollution as effectively as we all want.

“The funding the EA gets from the Government to protect the environment has been cut from £120 million in 2010 to £52 million now, a cut of 57 per cent, and this has affected our ability to protect and enhance our waters.

“The forthcoming Spending Review is an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to the environment and to protecting our rivers, streams and lakes,” Emma concluded.

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Youngster’s death is tragic reminder of river dangers

2 Sep

THE dangers of fishing fast moving rivers have been reinforced in the wake of the tragic death of a six-year-old boy who was swept away.

Lucas Dobson , who was tragically swept away during a fishing session on the River Stour in Kent.
Lucas Dobson , who was tragically swept away during a fishing session on the River Stour in Kent.

Despite his dad and two friends diving into save him on the River Stour, Lucas Dobson’s body was dragged away.

His body was only found six days later despite intense searching by emergency services.

The awful incident happened when the Deal-based family were fishing Kent’s tidal River Stour.

Lucas was fishing with members of his family and friends in a back garden adjoining the river in the Richborough Road area in Sandwich when he fell in.

After a tragic end to the search operation for Lucas, anglers have been warned of the real danger when fishing on fast rivers.

His aunt Maciee Stanford told Angler’s Mail: “He was with his dad and his dad’s friends along with other children.

“They fish there regularly as it is behind one of the men’s houses.

“They were simply having a lovely time fishing and having a BBQ. Lucas was on the jetty and fell in.

“His dad and two friends jumped in straight after to find him, but the current was too strong, he had already gone. In the short amount of time he could not be found.

“The current was so strong the three men could barely swim in it.

“I’m so overwhelmed at the turn out for the search. Our community is strong and has helped us as much as they can through this hard time for my family and me.

“I cannot begin to express how grateful we are for every single person out there that has turned up, shared likes, donated anything, because it all helps it really does.

“To see that many people supporting my family through this tough time really does make you realise how precious life is and how we MUST cherish every moment,” added the 18-year-old.

A vigil was kept by friends, family and well wishers after Lucas was swept away.

Take care, says River Stour local

James Covus is sales manager of Active Baits Solutions, who have an office and tackle shop in Sandwich.

He commented: “The River Stour there is tidal and can be treacherous, flowing extremely fast when the tide is running.

“As a result the fishing can be quite hard with only legering possible other than at low or high tide when there is slack water.

“But silver fish like roach, dace and bream are present and the odd carp, plus the chance of a flounder.

“I can well imagine the lad being quickly swept away and nobody being able to get to him. It’s a great pity he wasn’t wearing a buoyancy aid.

“I always take one everywhere when fishing, especially from boats.

“And I even put mine on ‘just in case’ recently when I went into shallow water to land a pike snagged in the margins,” he added.

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