Richard Holroyd

WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle.

There will be something for everyone – pleasure fishing, carp fishing, match fishing, specialist fishing or anything else. 

This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by production editor Richard Holroyd. 

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This carp wasn’t the only one suffering from mouth damage on my most recent visit to a commercial fishery. In fact, most of them were!

I AM not averse to commercial carp fisheries. I know they provide a lot of anglers, myself included, quick-fire action without requiring the angler to be too tactically astute. In fact they are ideal for anglers that lead busy lives who do not have the time to coax tricky fish into feeding.

I do have a concern, though, on the condition of some of the carp being caught. I have noticed on the last couple of visits to commercial carp fisheries that most of the carp showed signs of mouth damage to varying degrees. Of course, this observation is not new. It is fairly common knowledge that many carp, especially in heavily stocked fisheries, have damaged mouths.

This is not a new phenomenon either. I can recall a carp fishery that I use to fish regularly 20 years ago whose inhabitants suffered from mouth damage. I do know one or two friends who still fish the same fishery and they report that most of the mouths of the carp that they catch today come in all kinds of irregular shapes.

All of the anglers that I speak to much prefer to catch carp in tip-top condition, and there are a number of opinions as to why carp have damaged mouths. Barbless hooks, braid hook links, pulling carp from snags, poor angling, bad unhooking, repeated captures and match anglers in too much of a rush to drag in carp for personal gain are some of the reasons branded about. It is the last three points that Where To Fish columnist Brian Gay openly admits to witnessing during his match days, as he describes his transition to specimen carp fishing in My Say in this week’s unmissable Christmas bumper issue of Angler’s Mail. In all probability it is a combination of the above factors.

I believe there is a genuine concern from anglers. I’ve heard plenty of remarks from anglers who describe their carp catch as being a good one, but it was just a shame that the mouth was damaged. And it is a shame – both for the angler who wants to catch a carp in pristine condition and for the carp who has to deal with a deformity and, in worst case scenarios, affect its ability to feed.

So what of the future? Do we simply brush this concern under the carpet and accept that carp in highly stocked commercials are going to be caught on a regular basis as they compete with other carp for food and are, therefore, going to suffer from some kind of mouth damage as a consequence. Or are there genuine rules that we can abide to, to minimise damage. Should there be guidelines at every commercial fishery highlighting the most appropriate tackle to use? Should there be regular teach-ins at commercial fisheries to educate anglers on how to play carp to the bank correctly? And should it be obligatory for every commercial carp angler to have a carp care kit so, if required, they can treat any fresh wounds found on carp? Brian Gay in his My Say points out another possible regulation. Brian suggests that carp in heavily stocked fisheries should be retired after they have been captured a number of times to avoid damage.

We all have a duty to care for the fish that we catch. And as John Bailey rightly points out in this week’s issue of Angler’s Mail, fish care is going to be an important issue in 2013 – more so than ever before.

Baits with supreme appeal

Adding strawberry flavour to deadbaits for pike? Just one of many essential flavour recommendations in this week’s Angler’s Mail.

A few years ago I fished a new shore mark for the first time as I had heard it had a good track record for producing quality flatfish. My line of attack was to cast out fresh lugworm hook baits as far as I could using a beachcaster.

A biteless hour later, another angler turned up on his bike with a qivertip rod and was immediately into fish. After he caught half a dozen dover sole in quick succession, I just had to enquire as to what method he was using. He was simply casting out about 20 yards using light leads and he then revealed his bait… frozen lugworm sprayed with WD40. I then decided to cast out 20 yards using my fresh lugworm and managed to catch a couple of dover sole, but nowhere near the amount of fish he was catching.

The frozen lugworm and WD40 obviously appealed much more to the dover sole’s senses, and understanding how a fish detects food and what flavours they are attracted to the most is an absolute vital piece of knowledge that every serious angler must comprehend to maximise their chances of catching.

You will find two excellent features on this subject matter, amongst many others quality articles, in our bumper issue of Angler’s Mail.

Fishery scientist Dr Stuart Clough examines the different senses that fish use to detect bait, along with insight on the dispersion of baits. To compliment Stuart’s scientific study, we have invited big fish specialist Ian Welch to reveal fishes’ favourite flavours. Having spent many years experimenting with flavours for all kinds of species you can be sure that his recommendations have maximum appeal.


The Angler’s Mail winning poem and song for 2012. Videos below.

None. Tis the season to be jolly.



Here are the videos of the Angler’s Mail 2012 song and poem winners.






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