This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by production editor Richard Holroyd.
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THE FUTURE OF RIVER FISHING
The Institute of Fisheries Management report this week that cormorant breeding fell by 11 per cent between 2010 and 2011 and, as a consequence, cormorants should now be left alone.
If their data is correct and cormorant populations are on the decline, this may offer a glimmer of hope for the longevity of river fish.
I say glimmer of hope, because we all know that there are still huge numbers of inland cormorant populations feasting on ever-declining stocks of river fish, and much more control is needed to keep their devastating impact on river fish to a reasonable level. Cormorants are not the only concern, though, as there are other predators for river fish to contend with too, notably man (pollution and poaching) and otters.
Matt Hayes not too long ago revealed plans to work on a new stillwater fishing complex which he intends on stocking with specimen fish. Matt sees these types of venues as the future of fishing, as he believes specimen river fish are doomed and rivers in the future will hold small fish only, due to otter predation.
Although Matt has done lots for angling, I find his attitude towards the future of rivers defeatist. Commercial interests aside, maybe Matt, like others, are resigned to the fact that remonstrations against cormorants and otters fall on deaf ears at Government level.
But if star anglers have stopped fighting for the future of river fish and fishing, then what message does this send out to the rest of us anglers. We must fight to the very end to protect the future of river fish. Now is not the time to bail out.
Cormorants, otters, poaching and pollution are what we need to be fighting against and there are dedicated anglers, including employees of the Angling Trust and Environment Agency, who are involved in various projects to restore and safeguard river fish.
The Institute of Fisheries Management suggest that anglers are to blame for the huge numbers of inland cormorants as we have deserted rivers for commercial lakes, thereby giving cormorants the platform to thrive on neglected river stretches.
Of course coarse anglers are not responsible. Over-fishing from commercial sea fishermen is the route of the cormorant problem, with the lack of sea fish driving cormorants inland.
The IFM do have a point, though. Once populated river banks are now deserted as increasing numbers of anglers have turned to commercial fisheries for their fishing fix. Predators thrive on abandoned areas and, unfortunately, it’s not only cormorants and otters that are taking advantage, but poachers too.
The craze is to catch carp from the many ‘runs’ waters found on commercial venues these days, but, in my mind, it’s a far greater challenge to learn river fishing skills on natural waters. I think it is time, therefore, for anglers to rekindle their passion for river fishing. By doing so, new skills will be acquired and, with more anglers on the bank, predators will have less chance to prosper.
As mentioned, there are organisations and clubs who are committed to making rivers a safer environment for fish but their numbers are relatively low and, without your help, they are fighting a losing battle in the long-term.
With the start of the rivers season only a few weeks away, I say let’s pack away the carp rods, and equip ourselves with river tackle and hit those banks on June 16.
JUST ADDED! Vote in the new poll about river fishing and June 16th on this website – the poll is down the right hand side of this page. Your vote counts!
DISLIKE OF THE WEEK: anglers not equipped with the correct unhooking gear.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Bill Rushmer’s video instruction on making your own effective low-cost boilies.
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