BARBARIC illegal multi-hook carp fishing rigs have been found in a park lake featured in Angler’s Mail last May as a hotspot for illegal fishing.

Top angling coach Nick Watkins, who patrols the lake, is calling for the Environment Agency to take more action after Method feeders with multiple hooks were found at Central Park Lake in Chelmsford, Essex.

Poaching was so bad last spring that locals launched a major campaign to tackle the problem – with the local MP taking an interest and patrols being set up to monitor the water.

Nick, who used to work as a development officer for the Angling Trust, told Angler’s Mail: “The problem mainly seems to lie with Eastern European anglers either flouting the rules or not knowing them, particularly when it comes to using multi-hook rigs.

Popular angling coach Nick Wakins, seen here with a sturgeon, has spoken up about illegal goings on in Essex.

Nick revealed: “Someone I know shared the pictures of the rig he caught some anglers using when they were unhooking a fish. In this case they seemed generally unaware that this practice is illegal in this country as it is quite common where they are from, and when he has seen them subsequently they were using correct tackle.

“So it is partly a question of education and I know the Polish Anglers Association, for example, do a lot of work to educate their community about the differences here in fishing practices and rules, even going into schools to give talks, but clearly some Eastern Europeans in particular seem to carry on regardless,” said Nick.

Similar rigs with up to seven hooks were found a couple of years ago at popular carp hauling venue Thorpe Lea in Surrey – but few have emerged since, until now.

Other illegal fishing going on

Nick continued: “There was a lot of fishing going on down there during the close season and I know some anglers were caught with a bucket of goldfish which they were using to livebait for pike on the river nearby, and were taking what they caught.

“I have not been down there recently but also on a stretch of the River Chelmer a couple of miles away there has been an encampment of mainly Romanians staying on the river and eating all they catch, and anyone who has tried to approach them has been responded to aggressively.

“Sadly the EA has only one enforcement officer for a very large area of East Anglia, but more needs to be down to stamp out poaching and illegal fishing,” he concluded.

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