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

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Best catfish picture ever?

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Monster 124 lb UK catfish

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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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Antis jump on scientist’s latest fish ‘pain’ opinion

25 Oct

OPPONENTS of angling have jumped on a research paper on the issue of 'do fish feel pain?".

Perch were amongst the fish studied for the review that anti angling groups pounced upon. Its claims have been countered by the Angling Trust..
Perch were amongst the fish studied for the review that anti angling groups pounced upon. Its claims have been countered by the Angling Trust..

Anti angling groups were featured in coverage by the national media of the latest review conducted by Dr Lynne Sneddon, from the Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool.

But angling’s governing body, the Angling Trust, believe the science hasn’t been validated, and that Dr Sneddon’s opinions are incorrect.

Angling Trust policy chief Martin Salter told Angler’s Mail:Dr Sneddon has form on this issue and her opinion contradicts the vast bulk of scientific research that demonstrates fish are cold-blooded creatures and do not possess the pain receptors to feel pain experiences by humans and mammals.

“If you put a ring through the nose of a bull you can easily lead it along but fish do the complete opposite and will pull wildly in the other direction.

“They just wouldn’t put up a fight if they felt pain the way a bull does,” added Martin.

The report’s claims

Dr Sneddon was quoted by national newspapers stating: “When subject to a potentially painful event fishes show adverse changes in behaviour such as suspension of feeding and reduced activity, which are prevented when a pain-relieving drug is provided.

“When the fish’s lips are given a painful stimulus they rub the mouth against the side of the tank much like we rub our toe when we stub it.

“If we accept fish experience pain, then this has important implications for how we treat them.

“Care should be taken when handling fish to avoid damaging their sensitive skin and they should be humanely caught and killed.”

Anti angling comments

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were quick to jump on the report’s publication.

Elisa Allen, director of the charity, said: “Anyone who has seen fish gasping for air while trapped in a trawler’s net, impaled at the end of a line, or floundering on the deck of a boat is sure to recognise that these animals experience fear, pain, and distress – just like humans do.”

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Sexism in fishing exposed – and has to stop

24 Oct

LEADING female anglers are calling for more equality within angling after suffering discrimination.

Marina Gibson has called out the sexists in angling, and been backed in calls to stamp it out.
Marina Gibson has called out the sexists in angling, and been backed in calls to stamp it out.

Sexism was highlighted recently by fishing guide Marina Gibson when she produced a video on the BBC website.

The two-minute 54-second video quickly netted thousands of views, and highlighted prejudice in fishing.

Marina has a huge online following, including 40,000 people on Instagram.

She guides on the River Test in Hampshire, and also runs fly casting lessons in parks in London and North Yorkshire.

Enthusiastic fly angler Marina Gibson is helping get many more people into angling, including many ladies and girls who might not have bothered.

Marina revealed how sexism and negative attitudes have affected her personally.

“I’ve had encounters quite a lot online and offline,” she said.

“Once as I was dispatching a fish in a quick and humane way, and a male angler who was also taking fish, started shouting at me and called me sadistic, called me a sadistic woman twice.

“Fishing isn’t just for one type. Fishing is so healthy physically and mentally, I feel I have a duty to spread the love of the sport as I know it can lead to good things,” added Marina.

EA and Sport England tackle sexism

The Environment Agency are trying to get more ladies and girls into fishing, and launched a campaign last year. They are working to combat sexism.

An EA spokesperson said: “One highlight last year was Get Fishing’s connection with ‘This Girl Can’, Sport England’s celebration of active women that aims to inspire women and girls to exercise.

“Angling gained a position alongside football, golf, tennis, rugby, cricket and other well-known sports on the homepage of www.thisgirlcan.co.uk

“As a result, more people learned that fishing can involve a whole range of low, medium and high intensity physical activity and that it’s a great way to de-stress, develop coordination, strength and even a competitive streak.”

Kate Dale, Sport England’s campaign lead, added: “The fantastic thing about angling is that you can take it at so many different levels, so you can really adapt it to be as active as you want.

“We are really happy to support angling at ‘This Girl Can’, it’s a great outdoor activity that is accessible for girls and women of all ages.”

“Prejudiced in many ways,” says carp ace

Top female angler Arezue Wright feels angling has to cut out sexism to get more people to the banks.

Manchester-based Arezue, who set-up the Carpin’ Pink brand, said: “To be honest this has been an ongoing and major issue ever since I first started fishing five years ago.

“To this day there are those who are still undermining everything I do as a female angler and can be prejudiced in many ways.

“Since I started fishing I have received a huge amount of support and encouragement from other anglers and have met so many wonderful people who I now consider as great friends.

“But I have also heard so many comments directed at me which has to this day stayed with me and sadly not for the right reasons.

Sexism has been apparent to big fish ace Arezue Wright during her time in the sport.

“Back in 2016 I won an online fishing competition and found that so many were joyous for my achievement and the level of support I received was truly overwhelming.

“However, I would also receive defamatory messages and often come across negative comments which would have a huge impact on my confidence levels.

“One in particular sticks and said ‘It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you have won, all you have to do is look in the mirror’.

“Unfortunately these comments would not only come from male anglers themselves but other outside audiences. They would say that they were shocked to see how passionate I am about fishing, and that they would never had thought of a less likely candidate for the sport.

“Other comments would go along the lines of the fact that I am so petite and ladylike they could never picture me as a woman who would feel comfortable about getting my hands dirty!

“Whilst I was working as a sales assistant in the tackle industry, male customers would often be dismissive of a female such as myself. These comments would continue daily.

“I appreciate that I may not fit the typical angler stereotype, but I truly hope to see the day that females are represented just as equally as their male counterparts in the world of fishing.

“I hope for the day where we are all seen as one and where there is enough room on the bank for us all and that scathing, sexist and highly critical comments become a distant memory,” concluded Arezue, who recently secured a deal with top carp tackle firm, Sonik.

GOT A STORY, OR VIEWS OR GREAT PHOTOS? You could appear in print and online with us! Email pix with info to: anglersmail@ti-media.com

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Barbel novice bags one of biggest Severn beards ever

21 Oct

MIKE CASH decided to swap his carp rods and go for his first-ever river trip and was rewarded with this amazing big barbel.

Mike Cash displays his impressive River Severn barbel.
Mike Cash displays his impressive River Severn barbel.

River Severn barbel don’t come much more impressive that Mike’s 14 lb 8 oz specimen.

The engineering manager had just banked a PB carp of 29 lb 9 oz four days before but decided to borrow a barbel set-up.

In search of a River Severn barbel, he traveled down from his home to Sydney Avenue in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Mike, 34, from Stockport, explained: “I fished feeder with micro pellets and a 14 mm pellet on the hair. First cast I had a small chub – within minutes.

“Second chuck, however, I hooked my first barbel and after a 30-minute battle I had landed an enormous 14 b 8 oz barbel.”

River Severn barbel is stretch record

Mike continued: “My mate who had fished this stretch for years was ecstatic and to be honest I didn’t realise just what I had caught.

“The bailiff reports that this is the largest photographed barbel caught from this stretch.

“A 9 lb barbel soon followed to back it up and a few small chub throughout the rest of the day with my mate having three barbel to 7 lb as well.

“It’s very likely I will never better my first trip on the Severn but it’s not going to stop me trying.

“I am well and truly hooked on the barbel now.”

River Severn barbel background

River Severn barbel boomed after stocking back in the 1950s, making it famed during the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s as the ‘mecca’ for fans of the species.

Anglers travelled from across the country, often for a week at a time, to target the barbel, most famously around Bewdley and Bridgnorth.

Fish during the years of prolific sport were mainly in the 2 to 6 lb bracket. Many thousands of anglers caught their first barbel on the Severn.

Robust block-end maggot swimfeeders, with hefty leads to hold bottom in the strong flow, were cast regularly to build the swim.

The maggot feeder tactic was pioneered on the middle reaches by  tackle dealer Mal Storey, and other top West Midlands matchmen… and copied by pleasure anglers.

But as UK specialist barbel fishing evolved, so too have baits and end-tackle used by anglers on the Severn.

Today, pellets are widely used throughout the noted barbel stretches, including by matchmen.

Since the heydays, River Severn barbel stocks have since declined massively for a variety of reasons. But multiple catches can still be made, and occasional double-figure fish feature, too.

The River Severn barbel record is a debate topic.

Mark Doherty reported a 17 lb 9 oz giant in 2015.

But officially, in records kept by the Barbel Society, the river best stands at 16 lb 11 oz by Kevin Gittins in 2014.

Most famously, in 1997, a River Severn barbel briefly beat and held the British record. That specimen scaled 16 lb 5 oz and fell to Howard Maddocks on a Campbell’s Meatball bait.

GOT A STORY, OR VIEWS OR GREAT PHOTOS? You could appear in print and online with us! Email pix with info to: anglersmail@ti-media.com

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Huge brace of crucians reward extra long return trip

21 Oct

JAMES HOWES didn’t mind a 300-mile round trip from East Anglia for a day session as it produced this stunning brace of big crucians.

James shows his brace of giant crucian carp.
James shows his brace of giant crucian carp.

James’s big crucians, rewarding him for hours on the road, scaled 4 lb 2 oz (top fish) and 4 lb.

Tackling an undisclosed lake, the 36-year-old used a 35 g Method feeder and short braided hooklink, deliberately targeting the big crucians.

His size 16 hook had a hair-rigged fake caster for bait, and it was fished over groundbait, dead maggot and micro pellet.

Diss, Norfolk-based James said: “It is a long way for a day, and this was only my third day session on the venue.

“I did a day in July, another in August, and will do one next month which will probably be my last day session until next year. With work, and having a young family, it’s difficult to go very often or for longer.

“I usually leave home at 2am, get to the lake around 5 am and fish through till dark before heading back home again.

“It’s been worth the long drive as I’ve caught on all three trips so far.

“I’m still in shock to be honest at the brace of ‘4s’ I had. They were my only two fish and fell at 35 yards over ten Spombs of bait.

“The biggest crucian beat my previous PB by 10 oz which was also caught from the same lake back in July,” concluded the coastal repairs maintenance operative.

GOT A STORY, OR VIEWS OR GREAT PHOTOS? You could appear in print and online with us! Email pix with info to: anglersmail@ti-media.com

For the best exclusive content, read Angler’s Mail magazine this week. The print issue of Angler’s Mail is in shops priced £2.20. Get your copy asap.

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