IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.

He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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“FREE FOR ALL” MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!

IT’S JUST a few days into the Close Season and I am already well angry.

I’m not upset that I can’t get onto the rivers (they are over the banks anyway as I write). I’m not even bothered that the weather is a bit cool to get the best out of stillwaters.

No, I am well annoyed to see people already breaking the official shutdown.

There’s simply no need for it. There are plenty of waters open for fishing and many of them are better than where I have seen people fishing.

I applaud the Angling Trust for this poster in different languages, but will it make much difference? Click here to read about it and to download it as a pdf.

Mind you let’s get this clear…I’d hazard a guess that the “anglers” I spotted on the local canal and a stretch of river were not from this country.

In fact it would not be a guess. The foreign stickers on these guys’ gear gave away their origins. And it’s a fair bet too that if they had caught anything the fish did not go back into the water.

I only wish I had spotted them still fishing. They were coming off the bank as I went past. I also now wish that I had turned the car around and gone back to clock their number plates.

Next time I see a similar incident the culprits will not walk so freely. Notebook and pen at the ready in the car…

But this is not my job and it’s something else that makes me see red. Where are the bailiffs? I’m not talking the ones from clubs here but Environment Agency.

For more years than I care to remember I have always bought my rod licence. Part of the deal for that is to see fisheries protected. Policing them for illegal fishing like this would be protecting them.

I know bailiffs can’t be everywhere but how many times have YOU been asked for your licence in the past few years? I can tell you I have been asked twice (once I didn’t have it on me, but having bought on line that was easily checked). Both times were on commercial fisheries.

Have you EVER been asked for you licence on a public venue, a piece of free fishing? I haven’t for the past five years, at least. It could be more.

Considering that I get out and about quite a lot to a big variety of venues I find that quite astounding.

I’ve also been asked a couple of times during matches to produce my licence. Matches with quite a few people on them that had been publicised.

I’ve already said that bailiffs can’t be everywhere but how about giving them a hand?

Why don’t clubs insist on seeing a licence before selling a book to members? Many clubs benefit from EA help.

I only know of a handful of commercial fisheries where you have to produce a licence before getting a day ticket. Why don’t more ask to see your card? Commericals get EA help too.

Angling and its official bodies have come a long way in the past few years. As anglers we have also fought hard to protect our image.

If we want to maintain that standard we need to stick to the laws and ensure that the law-breakers are not wanted in angling.

And most importantly…we should be protecting our fish!

 

COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY, MARCH 31.

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Related post

What the Angling Trust are doing about Close Season law-breaking – you have to read this blog!

The rod licence website that charges extra – beware!

 

 

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