Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog wants anglers to stand up to take care of the environment and the fish they catch.

TRUE anglers care for the country, environment and most of all the fish they catch.

All the above are usually treated with the utmost respect – after all we do claim to be custodians of the countryside.

So what really makes my blood boil is any evidence of these things being blatantly abused.

Ok, let’s climb high on the soapbox this week because just recently I’ve seen all three things we anglers are meant to be looking after totally ignored and worse…

Let’s start with care for the countryside – which in most cases making sure you take home your litter. A visit to a club water – which shall remain nameless because I know they try hard to control the louts – had Music Mike and I furious.

The rules are in place

There are rules about no alcohol and no litter so we were more than a little surprised to find empty beer cans and even vodka bottles thrown into the bushes.

I suppose interlopers will get the blame there even though the fishery is behind fences and locked gates! But there is no getting away from the fact that anglers left behind the line, empty hook and groundbait packets and other wrappers that had contained tackle!

How easy is it to drop that lot in your bag or carryall and take it home, or even into a plastic bag like we both do? One person had actually bagged all their rubbish – and then carefully just left it inside the entrance gate. What’s that all about? It probably cost them more time stopping the car and placing the bag carefully on the floor.

I found braid stamped into the floor at my swim – yet braid is banned at these lakes. A nice micro barb on the hook too at a barbless-only venue!

Some of the sorry haul in one swim, before being bagged - and binned by this week's AM HQ blogger.

Leaving rubbish is not just unsightly but damaging to other creatures in the area.


Now on to the fish…and this is where I wanted to become the Incredible Hulk. At least three of the carp I caught had mouths that defied description. Two of them were obviously victims of bad rig or bad unhooking practice.

That leaves me stone cold. I am not so sure about the third but check out the picture with this blog and you will see why I was almost crying when I saw this fish.

The first two fish had parrot mouths, this third had what can only be described as a hole, and not a very big hole at that as the carp could barely get a size 18 in its mouth. Bad unhooking? Poor rigs? I won’t speculate on what caused the last deformation as it might have been a quirk of nature.

This shouldn’t happen now

But one thing is for sure – many of us have caught fish like this and in these days of barbless hooks, safe rigs and a host of rules aimed at protecting the fish we should not get any fish with badly damaged mouths.

Any ‘angler’ who is seen unhooking a fish without care or breaking the rules to protect our quarry should be banned. There is no excuse and no reason for this – if you can’t unhook a fish properly learn or ask for help on the bank. It doesn’t cost and help will be freely given in this case. If you don’t like or agree with the rules at a fishery simply don’t fish there!

There are a number of venues, both club and day ticket, that have rules I don’t agree with. I either body swerve those waters or accept I will have to accept the laws if I want to fish there.

And yes I do sometimes pick up other people’s litter. I don’t like doing it but I don’t like it cluttering up nice venues. I’d be quite happy to return any litter to those who don’t want to take it home themselves…or bring it to the attention of the club or fishery owner!

WHAT’S grinding your gears, or exciting you, in fishing lately? Drop an email to our magazine’s letters page and your views may get published in Angler’s Mail magazine. Email to:


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