Top angler robbed by tackle-thieving ‘scum’

13 Nov

TOP specimen ace Matthew Fernandez suffered a horrible tackle theft during a fishing trip. And despite publicity for the case he is no closer to recovering his kit.

Matt Fernandez, seem in happier times with a giant tench, before the tackle theft near the River Itchen.
Matt Fernandez, seem in happier times with a giant tench, before the tackle theft near the River Itchen.

The 32-year-old was on his local River Itchen near Mansbridge, early in October, when scumbag thieves targeted his car.

Matt took to social media to get the word out, and the story was covered by the on-the-ball Angler’s Mail magazine.

Weeks later, Matt is still at a loss as to the where his tackle went after it vanished from beside the River Itchen.

Precision engineer Matt, from Southampton, Hampshire, explained: “Some low-life piece of rubbish robbed me of my river fishing kit out of my car.

“I parked up and went for a walk to see where I fancied to fish and was only away from the vehicle for ten minutes, maximum.

“On my return my rods, reels, rucksack full of end tackle, bait bucket, landing net and unhooking mat had all been robbed.

“I worked bloody hard to buy all that of that fishing gear and some scum had it away within minutes.

“Paranoia has well and truly set in now but I’m convinced I was targeted, and that the people behind this knew who I was and what I drive and knew where I fish.

“The sad thing is I can’t afford to replace the items that have been stolen so it’ll take a long time to replace what’s gone.

“When I brought the majority of the kit I didn’t have kids or a missus so I was in a position to waste lots of money on fishing gear.

“Sadly that’s not the case now but it won’t stop me from fishing, that’s the main thing. Maybe karma will give me a monster barbel.

“If any of these items become available on any for sale sites please let me know. Most of it is in mint condition,” concluded Matt.

Kit stolen in the River Itchen raid included:

  • a two-rod Drennan quiver
  • Drennan Martin Bowler 1.75 lb barbel rod
  • Drennan Medium Match Pro feeder rod
  • Drennan Acolyte float rod
  • Shimano 5010 Baitrunner reel plus a Shimano match reel
  • two Daiwa SS1600 reels
  • two Fox Micron M alarms
  • Dave Swallow MK1 centrepin
  • Thinking Anglers coolbag
  • Korum chair

Updating Angler’s Mail, he said: “Thanks for putting the story in the magazine.

“Sadly I haven’t heard anymore. There’s been lots of thefts in the area though, sadly. Lots of vans have been broken into and tools are being stolen.”

With none of Matt’s gear having been recovered at the time of this story going online, if you can help please email him. His email address is: mattfernandez1986@hotmail.com

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Carp fishing giants Erics Angling Centre’s after-life revealed

12 Nov

AFTER weeks of speculation, it was confirmed what is happening to one of the biggest traders in the UK carp fishing tackle scene.

Sam Anderson, seen at a tackle show, has explained his plans after selling Erics Angling Centre to giant chain, Angling Direct.
Sam Anderson, seen at a tackle show, has explained his plans after selling Erics Angling Centre to giant chain, Angling Direct.

Erics Angling Centre was bought by Angling Direct for a cool £1.1 million.

Now Erics Angling founder Sam Anderson plans to use the dosh to develop his Willows Lake in West Yorkshire.

He will turn it into a major fishery to rival the likes of Oxford’s Linear Fisheries. And there will be a huge tackle shop on-site.

Sam told Angler’s Mail: “My plan is to develop the lake into one of the country’s top fisheries and build a tackle shop actually on the site.”

Paul Owens with a 56 lb carp from Willows, which was connected with Erics Angling but is now being developed as an even better fishery.

Paul Owens with a 56 lb carp from Willows, which was connected with Erics Angling but is now being developed as an even better fishery.

Sam continued: “It’s already a great venue with tremendous carp fishing but I want to make it a state-of-the-art fishery on a par with anywhere in the country.

“There would be a number of lakes to cater for different types of angling, and super facilities, which should draw anglers from all over the area,” he added.

Willows, based near Metley, is a 25-acre gravel pit and is already one of the top carp venues in the north of England.

It has a lake record of 61 lb 2 oz caught in June this year by Paul Owens plus at least three other 50s.

Erics Angling Centre changes

Angling Direct had already opened a store in Leeds so Erics Angling  shop has closed down in the Yorkshire city.

But it’s a different story down south. AD will take over the state-of-the-art flagship Erics Angling store at Buckinghamshire’s Farlows Lake.

And it has also taken on the popular Erics Angling internet business.

Now a branch of Angling Direct – Erics Angling at Farlows, near the M25 motorway.

AD chief executive Darren Bailey said: “Erics Angling is a premium business, providing thousands of regular customers with a high standard of service.

“We look forward to welcoming these customers to Angling Direct and introducing them to the high-quality and broad range of our products and services.

“The board is delighted to have acquired this business, which we believe will have a positive impact on our future trading performance over both the short and medium term.”

Angler’s Mail recently revealed AD had announced £26.6 million in sales in the six months to September. That’s a trend-defying 21 per cent increase. And AD were still rapidly expanding their existing 34 stores. Full story here.

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Mandarin catfish is one of the rarest in the world – and it’s huge!

11 Nov

ROBERT WEBB caught one the most iconic fish in the world when he hauled in this 230 lb 14 oz giant.

The mandarin catfish from the River Segre set a new European record.
The mandarin catfish from the River Segre set a new European record.

The 63-year-old dental worker connected with the monster mandarin catfish during a session on the River Segre at Mequinenza. It set a new European record for the albino strain.

Hitchin, Hertfordshire-based Robert is pictured head end in our picture, and he told  Angler’s Mail all about the epic mandarin catfish catch.

“My first trip to Spain nine years ago was memorable for the wrong reasons with the death of my father, and catching one small catfish,” revealed Robert.

“Not deterred, I returned each year for the following seven years with mixed results but a fish of 185 lb was my PB four years ago.

“This latest trip started well with a 155 lb catfish followed by a PB common carp of 52 lb.

“The next four days produced nothing and on my last day I woke having caught some bug. I think I picked it up from the air-conditioning in my accommodation.

“With a blocked nose and sore throat, I made my way back to the river and as the day progressed so did my poor health.

“Just as I was about to call it a day, a group of fishermen left a good swim I hadn’t fished before so I decided to move in for the last evening.

“I was just about to pack up and go for a large brandy when my rod bent from vertical to horizontal – I knew immediately it was a large fish.

“The reel was very tight but this fish ripped line off at will.

“I made only small gains over the next 30 minutes and I was struggling to breathe through my blocked nose, and this fight brought me to my knees.

“A fellow angler, Tommy, was barking instructions at me that I think came from a midwifery manual!

“After about 40 minutes the epic fight was over, and in perfect unison, the cry went out it was a mandarin.”

Mandarin catfish 3 stone heavier than angler!

Robert continued: “I could hardly believe my eyes at its sheer size and it took four of us to lift her from the water.

“It was measured at 8 ft 5 in. long with a mouth 23 in. wide. At 230 lb 14 oz, it was three stone heavier than me.

“After a few photos, it was gently released into the river, and after kissing her for the last time she disappeared from view.

“Wiping away the tears from that emotional moment, I shook a lot of hands then headed back to the UK,” added Robert.

Successful tactic for the mandarin catfish was a string of four 21 mm halibut pellets with a heavy lead and 150 lb braided main line.

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This huge pike was even longer than new World record!

8 Nov

SHOCK news of a new World record pike from the Czech Republic brought another huge Eastern European specimen to the fore – and this one was even longer!

The world pike record could have been this giant caught in Bulgaria.
The world pike record could have been this giant caught in Bulgaria.

The giant that we can show you here – also possibly the world pike record – was caught in Bulgaria almost exactly a year ago. It weighed a whopping  55 lb 12 oz.

It stayed firmly ‘under the radar’, despite being above the previous IGFA world pike record of  55 lb 1 oz, caught way back in 1986 at the Lake of Grefeern, in Germany, by Lothar Louis.

The Bulgarian fish was a whopping 140 cm long – a full 7 cm more than the 58 lb 14 oz Czech giant that we revealed last week, to Lukaz Matejka.

World pike record – possibly!

Captor of the Bulgarian fish Petar Filipov explained what could, briefly, have been the world pike record.

He said: “I am a lure fisherman, and only go spinning for pike these days, often using home-made lures.

“I have been fishing since I was four, and fish whenever I can, and have caught plenty of pike, but only ever before up to 23 lb, so this fish more than doubled that.

“The water is an old, small reservoir that used to have ample stocks of ‘bait fish’, but for some reason most seem to have disappeared, and I wondered whether predation by large pike was a possible factor.

“Once before I had a specimen of 30-40 lb snatch a smaller pike I was reeling in then snap the line above the trace.”

World pike record – Petar Filipov’s catch may have been!

Petar continued: “After struggling to catch, I decided to fish only big lures and completely different spots, like for example deep holes that I hadn’t fished before… and it worked.

“As soon as I hooked her the water erupted. The beginning of the fight was brutal, but it didn’t take much time.

“She ran for ten metres three times, and after ten minutes she was mine. I was surprised that she didn’t jump or shake her head at all.

“She was massive, and I was thinking how to land it without hurting her, but fortunately she was really calm when I took her out of the water.

“I am not aware of any other pike anywhere near this size being caught in my country,” Petar concluded.

This Czech specimen caught in autumn 2019 was claimed to be the world pike record. It weighed over 58 lb! The captor measured the plump fish at 133 cm long – 7 cm shorter than the Bulgarian giant caught a year earlier. Click this photo to find out lots more!

More predators above UK best

Regardless of what really is the world pike record, a number of pike above the British record of  46 lb 13 oz have come from European waters.

That official British record was caught at Llandegfedd Reservoir, in South Wales, by Roy Lewis back in 1992.

The Top 50 Pike List, run by the Pike Anglers’ Club, is topped by a 47 lb 11 oz monster from Scotland’s Loch Lomond, caught by Tommy Morgan in 1945.

Euro giants include a 52 lb 9 oz specimen caught be Dutchman Jelle De Jong in Holland in December 2014.

The largest river-caught specimen, at 47 lb 4 oz, was landed by Ake Nillson from Sweden’s River Lodde in January 1989.

The American pike record of 46 lb 2 oz has stood since 1940, and was caught by Peter Dubuc from New York’s Sacandaga Lake.

The biggest authenticated ‘esox’ of all time came from a gravel pit in Darmstadt, Germany. It scaled 67 lb 1 oz, but this was net-caught.

If you have views on the world pike record, do drop us a line…

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Pike fishing tips for rivers!

 UNDERFISHING of our rivers can be great news for the pike angler. With silverfish populations increasing on a lot of…

New online effort to shoot more cormorants – details and link

5 Nov

THE Angling Trust and the Avon Roach Project are working to encourage anglers to help cull cormorants - and it involves an online effort YOU can get involved in.

They are trying to generate a large-scale response to the Government’s consultation on the General Licence to shoot birds.

It currently permits the shooting of ten bird species that are identified as pests, but it excludes cormorants.

Only a limited number of cormorants can be shot under a special licence, after first proving that they are causing damage in a specific area.

The Trust and the ARP want cormorants to be added to the General Licence to enable fishing clubs and riparian owners to more effectively limit the impact of these fish-eating birds.

Martin Salter, head of policy at the Angling Trust and a long-time campaigner for cormorant controls, said: “The Wild Birds General Licence Survey runs until December 5, and we need responses from as many people as possible.

“If you don’t participate this time around, please don’t complain if nothing gets done,” Martin concluded.

Trevor Harrop established the Avon Roach Project in response to the species’ near-eradicated on the Hampshire river over a decade ago.

He said: “I have worked my socks off for more than a decade helping to reinstate a healthy population of roach into the Hampshire Avon, and I now strongly urge everyone to take part in the online survey, to assist the continued recovery of our rivers, streams and lakes.”

Background evidence and material is on the Angling Trust website, along with guidance notes to help complete the survey. To fill in the survey visit this link.

For more on this story, plus all the big news stories and top tips, read this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine.

 

Rod licence dodgers are on the decline as fear of detection rises

4 Nov

FIGURES released to Angler’s Mail by the Environment Agency show that the number of prosecutions for rod licence offences has dropped significantly.

EA bailiff patrols are on the lookout the rod licence dodgers, but are finding less of them than they used to.
EA bailiff patrols are on the lookout the rod licence dodgers, but are finding less of them than they used to.

The total number of prosecutions of rod licence dodgers for the 2018/2019 season was 1,691 whereas in 2017/2018 the figure was 2,257.

That represents a reduction of 25.1 per cent.

For both seasons, the EA carried out roughly the same number of licence inspections, of around 65,000 anglers nationwide.

Overall fines paid by rod licence dodgers has also reduced, but by a lesser amount of 15.1 per cent, from £323,033 down to £274,535. All of this money goes to the Treasury, not the EA.

This meant the average fine paid by rod licence dodgers went up from £143.1 in the 2017/2018 period to £162.3 in the season after.

The amounts do not include court costs and victim surcharges, which normally get added on and can double the original fine.

An EA spokesperson said: “People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport, but run the risk of a criminal conviction and a fine.

“There’s no excuse – a fishing licence costs just £30 for a whole year, and you can buy it online at GOV.UK.

“We track criminals on an intelligence-led basis using information gathered by ourselves, the Police and other partners, and reports from the public.

“We urge anyone to report illegal fishing as quickly as possible by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60,” he concluded.

There's no excuse for no having a rod licence. This is the 2010-2020 main licence for coarse fish and non-migratory trout.

There’s no excuse for no having a rod licence. This is the 2010-2020 main licence for coarse fish and non-migratory trout.

Fear of detection grows amongst potential rod licence dodgers

Dilip Sarkar, head of enforcement at the Angling Trust, commented: “The reduction in prosecutions is very good news, and shows that the various measures we have been taking are working.

“The whole picture is a complex one – and for a start we must take into account that there are fewer rod licences sold, meaning that fewer people are going fishing. That is a factor we cannot ignore.

“Our overall strategy is based on the following: empowering and upskilling the angling community; raising awareness throughout the Police service and criminal justice system (thereby increasing intelligence-sharing, partnership-working and the administration of more appropriate sentences); providing accurate and current information, free professional training and acting as a ‘bridge’ between the angling community and Police; raising awareness of the better coordinated approach to fisheries enforcement; and educating and integrating migrant anglers.

“This is based upon sound policing experience and theory. It works. Confidence, and with it intelligence, has been increased, awareness has been raised and with it the fear of detection.

“I also think that more anglers are now aware, owing to better PR, of the benefits brought by rod licence income, and how important that is to angling,” Dilip concluded.

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Angling Direct fishing tackle chain defies trends

4 Nov

THE UK’s largest fishing tackle retailer, Angling Direct PLC, has continued to increase sales and has plans for three more shops.

Milton Keynes is one the many places to now have an Angling Direct fishing tackle superstore.
Milton Keynes is one the many places to now have an Angling Direct fishing tackle superstore.

September was the worst month for overall high street sales in eight years, but Angling Direct fishing tackle stores recorded £26.6 million of sales in the six months to September. That represented a 21 per cent annual increase.

It was underpinned by a 41 per cent jump in in-store sales and a 15 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.

AD executive chairman Martyn Page said: “Our efforts on social media to raise brand awareness have created a lot of momentum.

“Having extra stock available in every store also helped drive that increase in sales.

“Fishing is a tangible thing, and people like to come into the store and still feel the product.

“We’ve used Government data to work out where the most fishing happens, and opened stores in those locations accordingly,” Martyn added.

The increase in revenue comes off the back of the company opening four new stores this year.

The latest were Leeds, West Yorkshire, in August and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, in September, bringing the total stores to 34.

Rotherham, South Yorkshire, then opened in mid-October and three more are planned over the next year.

Leeds now has an Angling Direct fishing tackle store. The branch opened around the same time that Erics Angling Centre closed down in the city. It has since been confirmed that AD has acquired the Erics stores and online business.

Angling Direct fishing tackle staff get ‘on their bikes’

Meanwhile Angling Direct fishing tackle shop staff have been doing its bit for charity, trying to raise over £8K for a scheme for youngsters.

They have been raising the cash for Berkshire’s Angling Projects, founded and run by Les Webber MBE. It offers facilities free of charge to groups of youngsters for up to a week.

The event, called Tour De Branches, was the brainchild of the company’s health and safety officer, Mike Leake.

The nine-day challenge has just concluded. It began at the Colchester store, in Essex, and finished at AD head office in Norfolk, covering 1,295 miles.

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65 lb 12 oz carp from ‘lake of dreams’ looks on course for official UK record

4 Nov

THE third biggest known carp in the country, caught recently at a whopping 65 lb 12 oz, is predicted to one day become a new officially-recognised British record.

Ian Bailey with the Grenville Lake giant at 65 lb 12 oz.
Ian Bailey with the Grenville Lake giant at 65 lb 12 oz.

Ian Bailey banked the giant from Cambridgeshire’s Grenville Lake to set a new lake record.

Only the carp known as Captain Jack and Marshall’s, stocked in Holme Fen, in the same county, are known to be bigger.

However, Captain Jack has already been rejected as a British record, despite having been caught at a weight of over the official 68 lb 1 oz best.

The giant known Marshall’s, which lives in the same lake at Holme Fen, has come out at weights to 71 lb. The captor of the fish at that immense weight, Ian Bailey, quickly decided not to attempt a record claim.

The current British record carp, The Parrot, died in 2017 at Berkshire’s Wasing Estate, so now it looks as if this Grenville Lake fish is favourite to take the British crown within the next two or three years.

Korda account manager Ian’s giant is known as ‘Green 124’, a reference to the way in which the original stockings were recorded.

It has gained 1 lb 4 oz in weight since Bernard Sisson caught it in June.

Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk-based Ian, 33, said: “I presented Mainline Cell Cork Dust Pop-ups over 8 kg of Cell boilies in a silty channel between weedbeds at 110 yards.”

Ian’s terminal tackle included size 6 Kamakura Choddy hooks, 3 in. 25 lb Mouthtrap hook links, 10 in. 25 lb Dark Matter booms and 3 oz leads. He also caught a 35 lb 3 oz specimen in the same session at Grenville.

Grenville tipped for even bigger

Previous captor Bernard said: “I think this fish will smash the British record, and there are two others that will also beat the record.

“Grenville is unique, in that there are photos of every fish that have been stocked, which are all colour-coded to the year of the stocking.”

Boss Paul Ward said: “We have had 150 fish above 30 lb in the past 12 weeks, including 44 40s, two 50s and this 60.

“If you catch a fish of over 30lb, there’s a one-in-three chance it will be a forty.”

Mainline Baits consultant Paul Bennett said: “It is the lake of dreams.

“It will not be long now before a ’70’ graces the banks of Grenville.”

Grenville Lake has an astonishing 98 40 lb-plus carp in its 72 acres, including a back-up fish of 61 lb 13 oz and seven 50s.

It was first stocked in 2003 with 100 Fishers Pond carp averaging 10 lb. In total, Grenville has an estimated 1,000 carp.

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World record pike claimed at over 58 lb!

1 Nov

A HUGE pike weighing over the International Game Fish Association record has been a major talking point across Europe.

Lukas Matejka's massive catch - is it the World record pike?
Lukas Matejka's massive catch - is it the World record pike?

Czech Lukas Matejka’s catch is considered by many anglers – but not all – to now be the World record pike.

He caught the 133 cm-long predator, which weighed 26.7 kg (58 lb 14 oz), from a water in the Czech Republic.

It beats the previous IGFA official World record pike set by Lothar Luis, in October 1986. Lothar caught a 25 kg (55 lb 1 oz) specimen on a spoon at Lake of Greffern, in Germany.

Early this year that World record pike was beaten by Bulgarian Petar Filipov. He lured a specimen claimed to be 140 cm long with a weight of 25.3 kg.

Some UK anglers on social media thought Lukas’s immense fish might have been Photoshopped or killed.

But Lukas has a video on his Facebook page that shows the immense size of the specimen, before he returned it unharmed.

Ceske Budejovice-based Lukas said: “It was a perfect morning for big fish, as it was overcast and rainy.

“I cast a rubber lure into a deeper area of ​​the lake, and received a ‘blunt chop’ that made the rod crack.

“I could feel that it was a big fish, but I never imagined that it would pull the scales round to 26.7 kg. I was totally shocked.

“The fish was caught from a water in the Czech Bohemia region, and was released immediately after ‘documentation’.

“The greatest joy is, of course, that the ‘queen’ still lives in a beautiful environment. I wish every fishermen this feeling,” added Lukas.

Reactions to ‘World record pike’

Pike historian and Angler’s Mail columnist Neville Fickling isn’t surprised by such a World record pike claim.

Neville said: “Quite a few pike of over 50 lb have been recorded, though some have been fakes.

“It is hard to tell with this one, but it looks a very big fish, so you never know.

“Big pike are always interesting. I don’t know much about the Czech Republic, but I doubt many anglers will make the journey from the UK, especially if there’s just one big fish to target.

“I’m expecting the UK to produce a big pike out of the blue soon, as there hasn’t been one around the 45-46 lb mark for a few years now. It wouldn’t surprise me if it came from a commercial carp water.

“A lake stuffed with 2-4 lb fish is ideal feeding ground for pike, just like trout lakes.

“Besides, commercial fisheries have got a history of producing big pike, including the two 40s from Boddington Reservoir and one from Gold Valley,” concluded Neville.

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Unexpected river giant caught from a boat

1 Nov

NICK BYWORTH thought he’d caught a massive chub hybrid, but then realised it was a cracking 7 lb 2 oz ide.

This giant ide was a shock catch on the River Medway. The captor told Angler's Mail all about it. Report your catches to us by email to: anglersmail@ti-media.com
This giant ide was a shock catch on the River Medway. The captor told Angler's Mail all about it. Report your catches to us by email to: anglersmail@ti-media.com

The 38-year-old angler was boat fishing on Kent’s River Medway with nine-year-old daughter Scarlett.

He hooked the specimen on a legered 15 mm fishmeal boilie, and told Angler’s Mail the full story…

Hextable-based Nick explained: “I was out on my boat with Scarlett, but on the previous few sessions we’ve been plagued by chub and bream, many of them up to and over 5 lb, and even a 17 lb pike on a fishmeal pop-up.

“Obviously 5 lb chub and bream are great catches in their own right, but not so much on heavy carp fishing tackle.

“After initially netting this ide, my go-to thought was that it was a chub hybrid.

“Once it was onboard, I quickly realised that this was an ide and a fish of a lifetime, and I had to suffer a stinky weigh sling to confirm how big it actually was. It went 7 lb 2 oz.

“The weather was awful, with strong winds and rain, so the picture had to be taken onboard, which is a shame.

“I was over the moon to have caught it, and the picture tells the story of the catch perfectly for me,” concluded Nick.

How the River Medway ide ranks

Ide are the natural version of the ornamental golden orfe, but more specimens are now being caught.

Last month one of 7 lb 2 oz was caught by Dean Crutchley on the River Dearne, in South Yorkshire.

The biggest ide ever reported to Angler’s Mail was a 7 lb 6 oz giant from Nottinghamshire’s River Trent, to Ian Green in 2017.

The golden orfe official record could be taken by an ide, as they are the same scientific species, with the same Latin name, Leuciscus idus.

That target is jointly held by two fish of 8 lb 5 oz each. The first was caught by Michael Wilkinson from Cheshire’s Lymm Vale, back in 2000, and then equalled in 2018 by Lawrence King at Surrey’s Newdigate Farms.

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Top tackle shop closing down after nearly 50 years of trade

1 Nov

ANOTHER popular fishing tackle shop is closing down, after a final sale of stock.

Andy Lush has called time on The Friendly Fisherman.
Andy Lush has called time on The Friendly Fisherman.

The Friendly Fisherman has been run by lure, trout and specimen fishing ace Andy Lush, and his wife Pat.

They are retiring and can’t get anybody to take over their shop in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

Andy, 64, said: “It has been a privilege to have the shop all these years but I’m taking my well-earned retirement.

“Sadly I can’t get anybody to take over the shop.

“The industry has changed a lot over the past 50 years but is probably going through its most radical period with online shopping coming to the fore.

“But I would like to thank all our customers over the years, many of whom have become close friends.

“I’m going to be able to do a bit more of my own fishing and continue to do the odd guiding day as well.

“We’re currently having a closing down sale and winding up the shop in the next week or two,” added The Friendly Fisherman boss.

The shop will be much missed by both its regular and occasional customers.

South East all-rounder Charlie Coppolo, who has impressed with his specimen catches seen in Angler’s Mail this year, said: “I only visited once but I was very impressed.

“A proper tackle shop with good useable stuff. And Andy was very obviously an incredibly knowledgeable angler. That’s something lost with these huge supermarket-style tackle shops nowadays.

“The closure of The Friendly Fisherman comes after two other tackle shops from the same part of the country closed down. Anglers Den at Gillingham and Biggin Hill Angling Centre, both in Kent, shut their doors for the last time. And others across the country are known to be on the brink.

Barry Reed, owner of the local Freshwater Informer magazine, said: “The region has lost a number of its long established tackle shops over the past couple of months.

“In the vast majority of cases, their owners are now taking their well deserved retirement and having the time to do a bit of fishing for themselves.

“Due to the number tackle shops we are losing, this must be a wake up call to everyone that if the local independent shops are not used, we will sadly see more disappear.

“Please support your local tackle shop. When they are gone, they are gone,” added Barry.

The last Angling Trades Association figures for the number of tackle shop numbers showed a decline.

Numbers of trading shops was down from 2,472  to 2,300, from 2011 to 2016.

The next survey is due in 2021 but that could see the figure drop well below 2,000 premises.

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Specimen fish ace gets river surprise

1 Nov

CHARLIE COPPOLO thought he might have found a river carp spot - but ended up with three very big bream topped by this 10 lb 4 oz 'bin lid'.

Specimen fish ace Charlie Coppolo with his biggest river bream.
Specimen fish ace Charlie Coppolo with his biggest river bream.

The versatile specimen fish ace tempted the hefty river bream from a local venue.

Charlie, a 32-year-old tattoo artist from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, told Angler’s Mail how he did it…

He explained: “After scoping out a new spot on my local River Chelmer, using my inflatable boat and my Deeper Chirp+, I located a nice deep spot of 12-15 ft, whereas most of the surrounding river is 4-5 ft.

“I thought it might hold some of the resident carp population so I prebaited on the Saturday and fished it on the Sunday.”

Specimen fish switch

Charlie continued: “I didn’t catch any carp, but I did have a couple of reasonable bream in the morning up to 8 lb.

“So I decided to nip back to my van and get my tip rod out to have a go for the bream properly on lighter gear.

“I set up a makeshift bomb rig with a 12 mm Mainline Activ-8 dumbbell as a hookbait.

“I was glad I did as 30 minutes later I slipped the net under my first double-figure river bream at 10 lb 4 oz.

“I was really chuffed. And it just goes to show that when you’re an all-rounder, you have the ability to adapt to any angling situation and capitalise,” added Charlie.

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Another jumbo river bream!

Maidenhead, Berkshire-based Dan, 25, who is controller for a chauffeur company, legered 18 mm halibut pellet over a small bed…

Sturgeon shocker and huge barbel – in same session!

25 Oct

SPESSY ace Justin Stoddart notched up two new PBs on his latest River Trent trip – this 16 lb 10 oz barbel and a shock 21 lb 3 oz sturgeon.

Trent sturgeon - there have been a few of them reported, but Justin Stoddart also had a 16 lb 10 oz barbel on the session that yielded this 21-pounder.
Trent sturgeon - there have been a few of them reported, but Justin Stoddart also had a 16 lb 10 oz barbel on the session that yielded this 21-pounder.

The shock Trent sturgeon (above) and 16 lb 10 oz barbel (below) came as a rare ‘brace’ from the in-form tidal stretches.

The 35-year-old, from East Retford in Nottinghamshire, told Angler’s Mail all about his Trent sturgeon and barbel catch, and his run of recent form.

Justin explained: “I’ve never caught a sturgeon before. I have always hoped of landing one but never would have believed it would have happened.

“I knew the conditions would be extreme on this trip, especially with a high spring tide thrown into the mix, but these kind of conditions get me a bit excited when it comes to barbel fishing.

“When I got there water was brimming the top of the bank but I was managing very nicely, and had my first barbel at 11 lb just as the light faded.

“I was expecting a massive tide to peak around midnight – and boy was it big!

“By 11.30pm it had rose about 5 ft and had washed all the debris of the banks. All of it was collecting in front of me, making my peg completely unfishable.

“At this point I’d reeled my rods in and was contemplating what to do next.

“One guy near me packed up and went home. The other reeled in his rods and went to sleep in his bivvy.

“Although, for me, there was only one option: I was there to fish.

“So I went for a walk to find a more fishable swim. I decided on a peg 100 yards upstream where the bank was clean.

“By 1am I’d set all my gear up and was fishing again.”

Trent sturgeon and barbel to special feeder approach

Justin revealed: “I’m a really big fan of big cage feeders and I rarely use anything else in my barbel fishing.

“And when the river is in flood I don’t try to get massive amounts of bait on the deck because it just gets washed away anyway.

“Instead I make a sticky mix with mainly scalded pellets and chopped boilies.

“Then I pack it to the feeder really tightly so it stays in there for up to an hour.

“This gives a long-lasting scent trail down to my boilie hookbait wrapped in paste.”

Justin Stoddart braced his shock Trent sturgeon with this giant barbel.

Now for “monster that rocks the angling world”

Justin has enjoyed an eye-catching run of form on the Trent in recent months.

“My PB barbel at start of season was 13 lb,” he told Angler’s Mail.

“After a ten-year break from fishing I only got the buzz for barbel back when I saw someone land a 16 lb barbel in March while I was zander fishing.

“My short-term goal was to beat my 20-year-old PB but my goal for the season was a 16 lb-plus fish.

“Up to now I’ve had seven fish bigger than my original 13 lb fish, and I’ve improved my PB four times.

“I’ve caught 135 barbel since June, including 40 doubles with 20 of them being over 12 lb.

“With winter yet upon us my goal now is for a real monster 17, 18, 19, 20? Who knows?

“Although I would love a big zander, too, barbel have got me by the nuts and I will continue in search of a real monster that rocks the angling world.”

The last giant Trent sturgeon catch to be reported to Angler’s Mail was this one, pictured below.

It was landed by a schoolboy using a special bait. >>> Read about it here.

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.

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Biggest fish ever filmed!

ANGLER’S MAIL star young columnists Carl and Alex Smith have just caught the biggest white sturgeon ever to be filmed…

Monster catfish landed jointly by father and son

25 Oct

WAYNE CLARK decided to take up angling again so he could take his son Billie - and they jointly caught this 81 lb 8 oz catfish.

The pair shared a huge hit of 17 catfish and carp for 848 lb 8 oz from Wintons Fishery, near Burgess Hill in West Sussex.

Wayne said: “I joined Wintons Fishery at the age of 10 with my father where we became great friends with the owner Alan Etherington, who sadly passed away a few years ago.

“I fished Wintons Fishery and many other lakes for big fish including in France and Germany till I was 17.

“After a 19-year break, at the age of 36 I decided to make a come back for big fish with my son Billie who is now 15. After a few good sessions I had a trip of a lifetime which will never be forgotten.

“We had some amazing fights the best was the 81 lb 8 oz joint catch that took us all over the lake.

“For Billie to get three 20 lb-plus commons in his first session for big fish was great to see.

“We fished double 20 mm Sticky Baits Krill boilies, feeding just eight freebies per rod,” added Wayne.

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Gigantic 259 lb catfish

GERMAN duo Horst Grieb and Benjamin Gründer had to joing forces to land one of the biggest wels catfish ever…

Best catfish picture ever?

TWO English anglers have shared a massive haul of Spanish catfish, landing 75 in a fortnight, of which 51 were…

Monster 124 lb UK catfish

TACKLE shop employees topped a fantastic session at Oakwood Park by combining in show of great team-work for bank this…

Wintons record carp

The 65-year-old landscaping boss from Tadworth, Surrey, offered a single 18 mm Mainline Cell boilie on a size 8 barbless…

Koi herpesvirus keeps killing carp into autumn

25 Oct

A DEADLY virus that can kill carp had a late surge this year with seven fisheries hit at the start of autumn.

Tests on yet another carp killed by koi herpesvirus.
Tests on yet another carp killed by koi herpesvirus.

Koi herpesvirus kicked in later this year, nearly a month after the first incident of 2018 was reported.

But once it got going, details of cases emerged. This year’s overall tally of 16 koi herpesvirus breakouts so far is still below the 28 of last year.

Noted bream and carp match and pleasure venue Stanborough Lake, near Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, was amongst the latest to hit.

Also getting koi herpesvirus (KHV) was Abingdon Pits in Oxfordshire; Denne Farm in West Sussex; Harry’s Fishery in Lancashire; Sivyers Lake in Middlesex,;Froghall Fisheries in Lincolnshire and Warwickshire’s Bishops Bowl.

Fish health inspector Joshua Gray, at the Fish Health Inspectorate at The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, explained the situation.

Joshua said:  “The first case of KHV was late this year due to the cool weather.

“Initial controls have been placed on the latest affected sites to prevent further spread of this disease and the FHI are currently assessing the extent of the outbreaks and the options available for the control of the disease.”

You can help stop koi herpesvirus

Joshua continued: “KHV can lead to mortality rates of 100 per cent fish loss. Current water temperatures are within the range for outbreaks to occur.

“As always anglers can minimise the risk of KHV spread by practicing good bio-security of completely drying out all nets, slings and mats.

“Please inform the FHI immediately on 01305 206700 if you witness or hear of any carp mortalities.

“All mortality reports are investigated, and all information provided is kept anonymous. It is your legal obligation to notify the FHI if you suspect KHV.

“Affected carp may appear weak and/or lethargic, display erratic swimming, show sunken eyes and lesions/patches of dead tissue on the gills. The quicker we are informed, the faster we can act,” added Joshua.

But the good news for fisheries is that once the water temperature cools, any infected venue that hasn’t had a fish kill could escape unscathed.

Independent fishery scientist Ian Wellby of Blue Roof Ltd, explained: “The virus appears to lie dormant over winter, doesn’t always return as a mortality the next year but it appears to be retained in the population. So that is why there is the need for good bio-scurtity.”

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The end of KHV?

DEADLY Koi Herpes Virus and other fish killers could soon be eliminated by a super-strong disinfectant called Steri-7 Xtra. Two…