London angling specialist needs to crack the heart of the city

25 May

THE angler who is attempting to catch a fish in all 33 London Borough in one year has nearly finished the challenge after ticking off the 31st and 32nd boroughs.

The Borough of Southwark was ticked off by London angling ace Shaun Luke.
The Borough of Southwark was ticked off by London angling ace Shaun Luke.

But a fish from the City Of London is the last one that still eludes London angling specialist Shaun Luke.

The intrepid Plumstead, South East London-based rod has been trying hard to land an in-season sea fish from the tidal Thames at Tower Bridge.

But in 16 attempts he has only had one bite and that was when he hooked a surprise giant catfish.

Sadly that fish, estimated as much as 6 foot in length, was lost after a 50-minute battle when a youngster grabbed Shaun’s line and it snapped.

As it is the river Close Season (until June 16), the London angling ace is being careful how he fishes in the heart of the city.

He is sticking strictly to using sea tackle and baits which he believes make it perfectly legal for him to fish there even though the Thames byelaws are ambiguous.

The 51-year-old explained: “That catfish was probably a one in a million chance as I was only expecting flounders.

“Nobody usually fishes here but the publicity surrounding my catch has now brought some catfish anglers down but I don’t think they have caught anything.

“I’m using ragworms or mackerel as bait and I have been advised by someone in the know that it is perfectly legal as there is no Close Season for sea fishing which is what I am doing.”

Angler’s Mail asked the EA to clarify the law for fishing for sea fish on sea tackle and baits on the tidal Thames.

An EA spokesman said: “Anglers fishing in the lower Thames for sea fish don’t require a fishing licence and the Close Season does not apply to them.

“Anglers fishing for coarse fish on rivers do require a licence and the Close Season does apply.”

Dagenham is now ticked off the London boroughs list after Shaun Luke caught this carp.

London angling mission ticks off boroughs

Shaun continued: “I’ve now completed all 32 of the actual boroughs with the latest being a nice carp from Dagenham and a bream from Southwark.

“There is nowhere else but the Thames to fish in the City of London so I am going to stick at trying to hook a sea fish there, but with ragworms at nine quid a pack it is quite expensive.

“If I haven’t caught by the start of the new river season, I can switch to coarse tactics and hopefully pick up a fish fairly quickly.

“I want to finish before (June 16)  if I can so I can have a short break before I start my next challenge on June 21.

“This involves catching a fish in all 69 of the UK’s cities and all the 48 English counties.  I am starting with the River Stour in Canterbury, Kent.

“As I only use public transport it is going to take me quite a while, and I don’t want to stress myself out, so I’m going to allow four years to complete this next challenge.

“It’s also one way to explore our country and meet a lot of interesting people along the way,” concluded gardener Shaun..

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Teenager lands London record carp

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Makins Fishery – a pioneer of commercial venues – is up for sale

25 May

ONE of Britain’s most popular day ticket fisheries is up for sale – at a cool £1.75 million.

The huge Makins Fishery site is up for sale.
The huge Makins Fishery site is up for sale.

Makins Fishery in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, was the creation of former top match angler Billy Makin. And it could be yours, if you have the money!

The venue initially helped popularise the concept of very well-stocked pools to thousands of anglers, and even caused a stir when Billy stocked barbel and chub.

Eccentric Billy, who recently published his memoirs Fishing With Testacles, sold it to the then-called British Waterways in 2003.

BW then sold Makins Fishery on to Alan McDiarmid in 2008 for a reported £1 million.

The 58-acre Makins Fishery site includes 18 fish-stuffed lakes, tackle shop and café.

Plus there’s an adjoining caravan park catering for 35 touring caravan pitches, three high-specification holiday lodges, and a three-bedroom owners’ bungalow.

Day tickets start at £8 for adults for one rod and there are over 600 pegs to tackle.

Makins has produced carp to over 35 lb, barbel to 12 lb, perch to 4 lb 10 oz and tench to over 7 lb as well as huge match hauls.

Steve Collett in action for Angler’s Mail magazine at Makins Fishery.

Angler’s Mail magazine columnist Steve Collett said: “It is a fantastic fishery, definitely the best commercial in the Midlands and anglers flock to it.

“I don’t think the owner has been that well so maybe that is why he is selling.

“It was the go-to fishery when Billy set it up and I remember going as a boy. But times have changed and there’s now a lot of similar fisheries about.”

Makins Fishery sale a “rare opportunity”

Robert Smithson of estate agents Colliers International, said: “The current owners have done an excellent job in growing the business and establishing its reputation across the UK.

“This is a rare opportunity for a new owner to acquire an outstanding commercial coarse fishery business in an ideal and accessible trading location.”

“After developing an extremely successful fishery, Mr and Mrs McDiarmid diversified into the holiday market to ensure the business maintains a year-round range of income streams; which is proving to be worthwhile and offers substantial room for further growth.”

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Specimen angling at its best in the shape of three PBs

23 May

DANIEL NEWTON had an amazing mixed haul when he landed THREE impressive new personal bests.

Daniel admires his big bream, the second specimen in his hat-trick of PBs.

First Daniel had a 66 lb catfish…. followed by a stunning 14 lb 4 oz bream and a 7 lb 10 oz tench for a memorable spree of specimens.

He also landed a mid double-figure mirror during the run of specimen fish at Northamptonshire’s Bluebell Lakes.

The 26-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire explained: “I was targeting the carp but I had three PBs, all of a different species.

“But I was very happy to have these fish as I do a lot of multi-species angling.

Specimen smile – Daniel was delighted with this tench.

“The cat fought like mad. It took 45 minutes to get in and wiped my other two rods out in the process. Also it was during a storm which made things even more crazy.

“The bream bite came about 5 am the following morning but it was just solid.

“I thought it was a carp and had taken me into some nearby rushes that I was fishing to at about 80 yards.

“I kept putting the rod back on the rest and slackening off, then the bobbin would pull up but again after a couple of turns on the reel it would just be solid.

Daniel’s run of specimens started with this catfish.

“When my friend arrived at 7am he asked the bailiff to get the boat.

“The bait was Lo-30 boilies from Carpbait Solutions using a slip D-rig with wafting plastic corn over hemp and corn,” concluded the sales executive for Toyota.

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Targeting big catfish

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Stickleback could be the biggest-ever caught in this country

21 May

TWO 'massive' mini species have been banked from lakes in the South West.

three-spined stickleback record
three-spined stickleback record

Ben Iles thinks he might have broken the British three-spined stickleback record with a beast he caught from a secret venue near Warmley in Bristol.

Local Ben said: “I’m not exactly sure how big it was but I’d say it was about 20 gr.

“I couldn’t believe the size of it and it managed to be hooked on a size 12 hook which I’d baited with a single red maggot.

“It was absolutely massive and it was the same size of my hand and I’ve got big hands.

“I might go back and target the sticklebacks on purpose as this fish just blew me away,” added Ben.

The official three-spined stickleback record is 4 dr – 7.09 gr – caught by mini species hunter Dennis Flack at High Flyer Lake in Cambridgeshire in 1998.

Giant minnow to schoolboy

And schoolboy Wilbur King got in on the mini action with this 14 gr minnow from a Devon lake.

The six-year-old from the Isle of Scilly, Cornwall, was float fishing maggot with granddad Chris Robbins. He took the titanic tiddler in the middle of bagging roach.

Wilbur King

Wilbur King and his jumbo minnow.

Chris said: “I thought it must have been some kind of record because we’d never seen a 4 inch long minnow before so kept it in a bucket until I’d had done some research.

“But this little minnow is now back in the lake to grow some more. Maybe when Wilbur is a bit older they may meet again.”

The official minnow record is 13.5 dr – 23.92 gr – caught in 1998 by J Sawyer at Whitworth Lake in County Durham.

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Mighty brace of minnows

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Angler quits and gives £10K of gear to pioneering project

20 May

A DISILLUSIONED angler has revealed why he is giving up the sport and has donated his extensive tackle collection to charity.

All-rounder Kevin Keep kindly gave all his kit – that he paid over £10,000 for – to the Angling Projects centre run by angling hero Les Webber in Berkshire. Chris Tarrant (pictured) is a patron.

It included 18 rods, a £1,700 pole and seatbox, six Shimano reels, five Abu reels, a bait boat and 80 kg of bait.

Normanton on Soar, Nottinghamshire-based Kevin, 56, explained: “I try to do something for charity every year and I had heard of Angling Projects (run by Les Webber) through several radio programmes.

“I have been a keen fisherman for 50 years since boyhood and had acquired a lot of tackle along the way for various types of fishing.

“But I had been going less and less in the past few years, even though I had bought a house on the banks of the River Soar eight years ago.

“Frankly I have been put off by a number of things including the rise in illegal fishing and fish being taken from our rivers, as well as swans, which I have reported several times but nothing seems to get done.

“In all my years fishing I have never once had my rod licence checked.

“Also there has been a rise in commercials which I detest, a decline in the fishing generally and by the arrival here of wretched floating pennywort which isn’t being dealt with properly.

“And pike have become a nuisance fish on the river, with every session spoiled by fish being grabbed on the retrieve.

“I’m the sort of guy who likes to be properly equipped for the job, so I had a set of tackle for each carp fishing scenario – long range, short range, river carp – you name it and I had it.

“I hadn’t been carp fishing for a couple of years and originally I was going to donate just the carp gear but in the end I thought blow it, I’m going to let the lot go, and give up all together.

“I have enjoyed my time fishing and hope the gear will help bring youngsters into the sport but I have had enough,” concluded the landscaper.

In addition to Kevin’s huge donation, Les Webber has also just had a £3,000 cash donation from an angler’s will.

Les Webber

Les Webber

Les Webber MBE, explained: “I got a phone call out of the blue from Kevin saying he had lots of tackle he wanted to donate if I could come up to collect it.

“I drove up in the van and was just amazed by how much there was.

“The tackle will be put to good use when our beginners come to fish and we could possibly sell any we can’t use.

“At the same time I heard that Buckinghamshire’s Howard Mann, who had been chief executive of McCain Foods had sadly passed away last September, aged 71. And he had asked for his tackle to be sold and the proceeds to come to us.

“That £3,000 will help pay for the refurbishment of the roof of our residential building where we offer accommodation for the youngsters.

“We are hugely grateful for both donations which will help to keep the scheme running,” Les added.

Anyone interest in making a donation or learning more should go to: www.angling-projects.org.uk

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Mega money boost for angling

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Line Recycling Scheme soars in popularity throughout UK and beyond

20 May

GREAT strides have been made in the efforts by anglers to dispose of waste line responsibly.

One of the many bins that is ensure a success for the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme.
One of the many bins that is ensure a success for the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme.

The Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme is celebrating their first anniversary with news of big expansion plans across Europe… and possibly beyond.

As well as over 300 sites all across the UK, the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme have just launched their first scheme in Northern Ireland.

Not-for-profit Go Fishing NI will be acting as co-ordinators for the scheme working with fisheries, clubs, tackle shops and other organisations and businesses.

Line Recycling Scheme growth ‘phenomenal’

Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme founder Viv Shears (pictured) said: “The growth of the scheme in the UK has been phenomenal since it was launched 12 months ago.

“To increase the availability of recycling locations in Northern Ireland is fantastic and when Darren Walker approached us offering their support it was an obvious extension to the scheme.

Viv Shears of the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme.

“A local focus within a region or country with proactive volunteers like those at Go Fishing NI can only be a positive for line recycling in general.

“Since then I’ve been approached by a magazine in Southern Ireland so that should be up and running soon.

“And in Belgium, they are just finishing a scheme based on ourselves and that’s 85 per cent there and should be up and running in the next month.

“We’ve also been invited to the EFTTEX show in Belgium in June, and our stand and expenses paid by the European Anglers Alliance and I think it could snowball from there.

“We’ve already got a meeting planned with a German organisation and I’m sure we’ll create a lot of interest.”

Next steps for Line Recycling Scheme

Viv revealed: “So far in the UK we’ve collected 2,500,000 metres of line and have a UK recycler partners in the form of The Maltings Organic Treatment Ltd.

“The first recycled line product should be finished soon with plywood-type building sheets but we hope next year to make frames for polarised glasses so it will turn full circle.

“We now have 240 shops signed up and over 70 fisheries, guides, charter boats and angling clubs as well braid and fly lines now being recycled too,” added Viv.

Darren Walker, founder of Go Fishing NI, commented: “I am delighted we will be part of such a wonderful and worthy scheme.

“Whatever our relationship is with angling, we have a responsibility to ensure its future by looking after the environment we fish in.

“Playing an active role in the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme will help to ensure we look after our waterways for generations to come.”

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Barbel Society say that action is vital for the future of their favourite fish

17 May

FISHERIES and angling officials are likely to be in for tough questioning about the state of barbel stocks, and their future.

Barbel Society committee member Lawrence Breakspear, seen with a 13 lb 9 oz lower Severn giant, has aired his views.
Barbel Society committee member Lawrence Breakspear, seen with a 13 lb 9 oz lower Severn giant, has aired his views.

Barbel Society members are disgruntled by the perceived lack of action by the Environment Agency in addressing the continued decline in barbel numbers in most of the country’s rivers.

The annual Barbel Society show will be attended by staff from the EA including Calverton Fish Farm, and a talk will be delivered by Mark Lloyd, the outgoing chief executive of the Angling Trust.

Barbel Society committee member Lawrence Breakspear (pictured) explained: “The time has come to demand answers to the question of what has happened to our barbel rivers and why?

“Both the east-facing rivers where they are indigenous and others where they were artificially introduced, are suffering in the same way, with few exceptions.

“Yes some huge boilie-fed barbel are being caught on rivers like the Thames, but the back-up smaller fish aren’t there, and Thames tributaries like the Kennet and the Cherwell have been devoid of the species.

“Big bags and large fish might be present on the tidal Trent but higher upstream the situation is bleak.

“Match anglers on the River Severn at Bewdley used to not even get in the frame with 90 lb but are now lucky if they even catch one.

“Bransford AA, a once thriving club in Worcestershire on the River Teme which I know well, had to close last year because of the huge drop in membership following the total decline in barbel fishing.”

Barbel Society look to Environment Agency

Lawrence continued: “In 2017 only 3 per cent of fish stocked from Calverton were barbel.

“It’s all very well re-stocking with new fish but there isn’t a lot of point if the factors which caused the problem in the first place are still present – its more of a PR exercise.

“It’s fair to say that we are disappointed by the EA’s inadequate intervention, not properly investigating and researching the cause of the decline so proper corrective action can be taken.

“On the continent the barbel is revered as a species on which the health of rivers is judged.

“If a similar problem happened in somewhere like Germany then a full scientific investigation would have been launched.

“We know there might be a number of factors involved but to us the biggest and most obvious cause and arguably the easiest to tackle is the growth in predators, particularly otters.

“Barbel eggs are taken by crayfish, then the fry and smaller fish fall prey to cormorants and then big breeding barbel, usually females, are destroyed by otters.

“A female barbel can live 20 years and lay 20,000 eggs per annum and their death at the hands of otters can therefore impact on many future generations to come.

“Maybe now the risk otters present to rare birds is being highlighted by the RSPB, some action will be taken about the damage they cause.

“I’ve also seen recently on social media pictures of large salmon which have been ottered, and maybe attacks on this valuable and threatened species might help persuade the authorities that more action is needed to tackle the otter menace on our rivers.

“It’s worth considering that one river that seems to have bucked the trend is the Hampshire Avon where there is salmon fishing and country estates where they have river keepers who make sure predation is kept to a minimum,” Lawrence concluded.

The Barbel Society Show is being held at Telford Centre Hotel, Telford, Shropshire, on Sunday, May 26.

Entry to the day costs £10 for members and £15 for non members.

As well as Mark Lloyd, speaks include Angler’s Mail columnist John Bailey and Wye barbel expert Bob James with a scientific overview from Dr Paul Garner.

Tickets are available in advance via the Barbel Society website: www.thebarbelsociety.co.uk

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Atlantic salmon crisis piles pressure onto official angling funds

14 May

COARSE anglers fear the Environment Agency are ploughing money they have raised into salmon fishing.

Atlantic salmon, like this one on the Tyne, are in grave danger.
Atlantic salmon, like this one on the Tyne, are in grave danger.

Government figures released recently show that Atlantic salmon catches declined by 33 per cent in Scotland, with numbers down to their lowest levels since 1952.

There is increasing pressure to step up projects to save the iconic species. But that is not a prospect all coarse anglers welcome.

John Williams, secretary of mighty Birmingham AA said: “It is an issue I have been highlighting for years back to the days of the old National Rivers Authority and I doubt if it will ever change.

“Back then I calculated that only four per cent of licence money came from salmon but the amount spent on game fishing was disproportionately much higher and I doubt whether it will have changed much today.

“The EA boasts about how much it spends on fish passes and opening up the rivers for all fish but we know that this is almost all for the benefit of migratory fish like salmon and sea trout.

“And in my view much greater time is spent by staff checking for licences on game fishing rivers.

“I’ve just seen that £100,000 has been given by the EA to the Angling Trust for fishing projects but this is only licence fee money which we have paid being given back and the amount is paltry for the entire country.

“There are just too many vested interests in game fishing with the landed gentry to the fore, and sadly I can’t see it changing in my lifetime,” John added.

According to the latest EA’s annual report, 35,100 salmon licences (including day and concessionary) were sold in 2017 generating £1.56 million of the £22.29 million total income from anglers.

In that year, the EA stocked 406,506 salmon into the River Tyne alone but these were paid for by Northumberland Water. In comparison, they stocked just 358,552 coarse fish across the whole of England.

And as we revealed, Natural Resources Wales, which took over from the Welsh EA, don’t stock a single coarse fish despite an income of £1.24 million from coarse anglers.

Despite a number of requests from Angler’s Mail over four months, the EA have not given any figures of how much rod licence income is actually spent each year on fishing for Atlantic salmon.

End of the Atlantic salmon?

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH has warned that Atlantic salmon are in danger of going extinct.

And 2019 was declared the Year Of The Salmon by the European Union in order to highlight the risks to this iconic species.

David, 92, said: “The very survival of this astonishing fish is at stake.

“In recent years the building of damns, overexploitation, the spread of diseases, farmed salmon escaping from their pens and the effects of climate change have affected salmon.

“All have contributed to a decline which threatens the future of the species and co-ordinated action is urgently needed to ensure their survival.”

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Save Our Salmon success

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Bait boat ditched… and wonder brace of carp landed!

14 May

SHANE THOMAS had a dream trip to a secret lake when he took a pair of heavyweight carp.

He's not got a bait boat anymore...but he's catching big carp!
He's not got a bait boat anymore...but he's catching big carp!

Ditching the bait boat saw him cruise to success with a PB 44 lb mirror carp (below) – and then a day later took a 53 lb 6 oz giant (above) from the same spot.

The 44-year-old from Newport, Isle of Wight, used a baiting pole to present Sticky Baits Krill boilies over matching freebies and new Krill Clusters.
Shane said: “After catching a UK PB 44 lb the day before, I didn’t dream that I would smash that 24 hours later from the same spot.

“I decided few weeks ago to ditch the tech, and I sold my bait boat and purchased a baiting spoon.

“I waded along the margins and found a lovely hard spot under an overhanging tree.

“With the spot located, I loaded the baiting spoon and careful placed my rig in position.”

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DNA testing to the rescue in battle to beat carp diseases

10 May

THE Environment Agency has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in 2019 to tackle coarse fish diseases.

DNA testing of fish is being stepped up in England.
DNA testing of fish is being stepped up in England.

Three new DNA testing facilities have been installed by the EA fish health team at their Brampton Laboratory in Cambridgeshire.

They hope molecular testing will help stop carp edema virus and koi herpes virus.

Deadly spring viraemia of carp was thought to have been eradicated but a case cropped up in Warwickshire in 2017.

An EA spokesperson said: “Our new molecular labs will be used to test for viruses in fish samples we collect during mortality investigations, including KHV, SVC and CEV – three extremely damaging viral diseases affecting carp

“Molecular testing is a reliable and efficient way to detect all kinds of fish species, parasites and pathogens.

“These tests allow us to monitor all types of disease, from all fish species, at all fisheries. Very exciting stuff.”

How DNA testing of fish works

“The molecular testing allows us to extract DNA from fish tissues,” said the EA spokesperson.

“We take a pea-sized amount of fish tissue and break it up using tiny ceramic beads shaken at a very high speed. This releases DNA, including that of any viruses present,” they concluded.

The three diseases annually kill millions of pounds worth of prime carp in the UK with 26 cases of KHV alone in 2018, but none so far this year.

Independent fishery scientist Ian Wellby, of Blue Roof Ltd, said: “Diseases like KHV are here to stay and we are likely to get good years and bad years depending on the weather with worse cases when the temperatures are higher.

“However, the management practices of some fisheries owners who stock large numbers of carp into small spaces will continue to play the biggest part in the number of mortalities.

“But DNA testing will help identify diseases much quicker.”

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Top carper Simon Crow nets a huge common carp to really crow about!

10 May

ONE of Britain's most experienced carp anglers was 'crowing' about this catch... what a stunning big fish!

Simon Crow admires the stunning 53 lb 4 oz common carp, one of the UK's most admired fish.
Simon Crow admires the stunning 53 lb 4 oz common carp, one of the UK's most admired fish.

Simon Crow had a feeling something was going to happen at the mega tough Spitfire Pool in Norfolk – and the next morning banked the stunning Wood Common at 53 lb 4 oz.

The 48-year-old from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, explained: “Spitfire’s been fishing really hard this year, mainly due to the amount of weed in there.

“It’s such a rich water, the 12 residents in the one acre pool don’t need to take bait.

“Nothing had been caught since last September, and the big two hadn’t been out for two years.

“I did six nights a couple of weeks ago and I knew when I walked on the banks it was going to be hard. I wasn’t surprised I blanked.”

“We’d timed it right” – Simon Crow

Simon continued “This trip, however, it looked completely different.

“When I saw owner Rich Wilby we both said something was going to happen, and it did.

“Having spoken to previous captors of the Wood, they’d all told me they’d seen it prior to catching it.

“I’d only seen it once before when I filmed it one sunny day while I was up one of the trees a couple of years ago.

“Despite searching for it on every visit, it’s surprising how these carp hide themselves away.

 

Spitfitre is no easy lake - and the common carp Simon Crow tempted had eluded capture for two years.

Spitfire is no easy lake – and the common carp Simon Crow tempted had eluded capture for two years.

 

“On this occasion I saw it in the back bay on my first circuit.

“My mate Chris Felton, who was fishing with me, managed to film it and we both knew we’d timed it right.

“The first rod I put out was in the back bay where I’d seen the Wood, opting for a single hookbait of a DNA Baits SLK Dumbbell Corker Wafter.

“The fish has a small mouth and as I tested the bait in the margins it looked perfect.

“I put no bait out at all, just the single, because I’d seen lots of uneaten bait in some of the margins from the lads who fished last week.

“All evening I was plagued by the swans touching my line as they grazed on weed between my rod and the hookbait.”

Heavy thud and a big boil

Simon added: “They carried on feeding in the night and the following morning.

“So when I had a couple of bleeps at 9am, I casually strolled to the rod expecting to see one of them on my line again.

“This time, however, they were at the opposite end of the lake.

“I gently lifted the line wondering if I had a nuisance rudd on the end, only to be met with a heavy thud and a big boil over where my bait was.

“The fight didn’t last long, and when I saw a massive common hit the surface I knew it was either the Wood or Long Common, and both weigh close to fifty.

“As the fish went into the net I actually thought I had the Long because it was so big.

“I then saw the tell-tale white tips of its fins… and let out a silent punch to the air.

Thumbs up for a very special capture – Simon Crow with the epic common carp ready to be photographed before being carefully returned.

“It’s hard to tell anyone who’s never fished Spitfire how hard it is,” revealed Simon.

“It might be a small water but they just don’t need to eat bait.

“What a special few minutes it was with one of the UK’s most special carp,” he concluded.

Simon Crow is the former editor of Carp Talk, the specialist weekly magazine which sadly closed last spring. He’s currently a consultant for the brand Avid Carp.

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Biggest angling region revealed in new Environment Agency figures

8 May

THE biggest and most thriving angling region in England has been revealed by Environment Agency figures.

Yorkshire is No.1 - the launch of The Fishing Show excited many anglers, but sadly it's been cancelled. However the region is still a winner in EA statistics. Pic: Charlotte Graham.
Yorkshire is No.1 - the launch of The Fishing Show excited many anglers, but sadly it's been cancelled. However the region is still a winner in EA statistics. Pic by Charlotte Graham.

Latest sales figures reveal Yorkshire produced an income of £2,100,844 from 120,961 rod licence sales in 2017 to make it the nation’s most important region.

The next biggest EA sub-region was Kent & South London with 106,741 licences (£1,748,061) then Greater Manchester, Merseyside & Cheshire with 93,971 sales (£1,690,277).

The smallest coarse and game angling region was Devon And Cornwall with 27,678 rod licences sold (£510,100).

 

 

Latest EA enforcement figures showed Yorkshire had the second highest evasion rate with 6.04 per cent not having a rod licence after 5,970 anglers were checked and 372 issues.

The worst region for rod licence evasion was Solent & South Downs with a 6.67 per cent evasion rate.  Thames region anglers were the best behaved with just a 1.8 per cent evasion rate.

Dave Rushton, vice president of giant Yorkshire association Leeds DASA, said: “I think the general perception amongst anglers is the EA are a waste of time but they have been very helpful in the dealings I have had with them.

“They have obviously been cut to the bone in terms of staffing and I think there’s now only two enforcement officers for the whole of Yorkshire.

“But they have been very proactive in stocking our local rivers with barbel and grayling and we have a healthy membership of river anglers so that helps our cause,” added Dave.

Bad news for Yorkshire

The news about Yorkshire came soon after the first The Fishing Show at Harrogate, North Yorkshire was cancelled due to poor subscription of exhibitors.

The launch of the indoor and outdoor show had noted Yorkshire wealth of anglers, but the trade did not rush to get behind the new event which had been scheduled for for June 8-9.

Show spokesperson Jenny Rose said: “It is with great regret that the organisers of The Fishing Show have cancelled the event.

“Although we have had good support from anglers, unfortunately the take up from exhibitors hasn’t been as high as needed at this stage, making the event unviable.

“We would like to sincerely thank those who made the commitment to the show.”

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Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse on their Gone Fishing BAFTA TV nomination – and their love of fishing

8 May

COMEDY duo Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse have been promoting their new brilliant book from their TV series Gone Fishing. Dave Petch caught up with them with Angler's Mail…

Mortimer and Whitehouse - and Angler's Mail contributor Dave Petch (centre).
Mortimer and Whitehouse - and Angler's Mail contributor Dave Petch (centre).

COMEDIANS Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are delighted that their popular BBC2 TV series, Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, has been nominated for a BAFTA award.

Show consultant, John Bailey, revealed in Angler’s Mail magazine that Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is up for a BAFTA. The glitzy awards ceremony will be held at London’s Royal Festival Hall on May 12.

Paul, 60, told Angler’s Mail: “It’s the first TV show about fishing that has been recognised in this way by BAFTA and I know our fishing consultant John Bailey is totally made up about an angling show achieving such success, particularly professionally for him and for angling generally.

“Whatever you might think about the show from the pure angling perspective, it just wouldn’t have been so successful with the public if it had concentrated more on the technical aspects – who really wants to know about helicopter and zig rigs?

“The focus was on us two old guys who have had heart problems getting out there, enjoying the sport, the countryside, and each others company, almost reliving our childhoods, and it struck a chord with viewers.

“I don’t want to get too spiritual about it but today’s life is so frantic and we can get caught up in all the things we have to do, and fishing is the one thing that gets you away from it all.

“I was introduced to it by my dad on the River Lea in North London, and I fished with him right through his life, taking him on his last session to the River Test when he was in his early 80s and in a wheelchair, although sadly he blanked.

“I’ve fished ever since, more game than coarse, and fishing has changed a lot over the years.

“Nowadays you can catch a train up north and pass many canals and rivers and never see anyone fishing, but you see small commercial fisheries that are full.

“I much prefer fishing wild rivers, but it’s great if commercials get youngsters hooked on the sport – as they say, at first you want to catch a fish, then as many as possible, then bigger fish, then specimens and finally you may not even be bothered about catching any at all.

“Of course nowadays it’s a lot about the equipment but as Chris Yates told me, the fishermen have changed but the carp haven’t.

“I’ve had some great catches in my time including a 30 lb salmon from the Dee, with many others over 20, but my favourite fish was a wonderful glistening silver trout of 12 lb I had in Iceland.

“I’ve also had a 6 lb chub caught while pike fishing with sprats at Dobbs Weir, and pike to 26 lb.

“The best pike though was a 21-pounder on a fly on the River Test at Broadlands with John Hall – we were fishing with huge flies right into the bank and boy did it shoot off.

“During the programme my best catch was the barbel of 12 lb plus some nice chub I had on the Wye, and the most memorable was when we were bass fishing off the Needles on the Isle of Wight, and I had a 9-10 lb specimen on the very last cast.

“We have already filmed the second series, and it is just going through the editing process but we are not sure when it will be coming out – probably sometime over the summer.

“The first series came out just after the World Cup and maybe there was a bit of a crossover with a lot of blokes used to watching the football, then watching fishing,” Paul concluded.

Bob’s angling return

Bob Mortimer is the novice angler in Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing – but he still loves the sport.

Bob told Angler’s Mail: “I went fishing as a lad with me mates but it was more of a casual pastime that we all did on a day out in the country.

“I was brought up in Middlesbrough and although it was an industrial town, lovely countryside was only a short bike ride away.

“I had a cheap fibre-glass rod bought in a kit from Woolworths and a float with size 16 hooks and I just bunged the float in.

“I never continued with it as a hobby and doing this programme really re-connected me with the countryside that I had lost touch with, and to me it is still all about a great day out, going to wild places like when we were kids.

“I really loved a trip we had to Monsal Dale to fish the Derbyshire Derwent – it had a real wow factor, but you only have to turn left and you are in Sheffield.

“I can completely absorb myself in fishing unlike anything else, particularly watching a float, which I can do for several hours and it seems like ten minutes.

“There’s nothing to beat watching a float lifting and sliding away while sat by the water’s edge on a warm sunny day.

“Who knows, if I tried modern carp fishing I might get into the boilies and all the technicalities, but I like to keep it simple with natural baits like the good old worm which can catch anything.

“Paul and I went back to the Derwent and had a magical experience watching two barbel that were real pigs, easily doubles, spawning on the gravel shallows.

“I’m suggesting we should book a night at the Peacock Inn for June 16 and go after them – Paul reckons some rolled luncheon meat in any deeper holes nearby could tempt them out.

“Fishing is traditionally seen as a male pursuit but the show did have a lot of female fans – I have had a lot of comments from anglers saying its the only fishing show their wife has ever watched with them.

“I’ve loved making the programmes and being nominated for a BAFTA is like the icing on the cake,” Bob concluded.

Future angling show?

Bob Mortimer would love to do another angling TV show – this time combined with travel.

The 59-year-old caught a PB pike of 28 lb 8 oz during sessions for the first Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series.

Bob said: “I was only reading the other day about being able to take a boat down the River Wye for 140 miles – it would be great doing that and filming us fishing along the way.

“I reckon we would need a canoe for some of it but we could row in places.”

“There would be quite a few species – chub, barbel and trout.”

Paul added: “The Wye gets deeper lower down and we could do all types of fishing on the way – float, leger, fly and lure.”

“It’s a great mixed fishery and there’s grayling, and even the odd salmon, plus some whopping pike, and I believe some big perch.

“I could possibly even remember spots I fished when I was young, as I used to come to the Wye with my dad.”

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