This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by news editor Thomas Petch.
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SHOULD THE RIVER CLOSE SEASON BE SCRAPPED?
THE opening of the river season this week will have delighted many anglers.
But for me it raises the question of just why do we still have an ancient byelaw like this when the Close Season on stillwaters was lifted nearly 20 years ago?
I know many traditional river anglers quite like having the Close Season which probably doesn’t help the case for getting it lifted.
But for some unknown reason to me the Environment Agency have always been adamant they will not even look into changing the status quo.
They’ve always said it is science-based to keep river stocks healthy and the fact stillwaters can be managed better.
But there has been a zero amount of detrimental impact to stillwater stocks and I’d bet a lot of money there wouldn’t be on rivers either.
The simple fact is fish don’t want to feed when they are in spawning mode anyway so they won’t be caught.
You could argue barbel are quite a fragile species, but they are delicate all summer long so need exactly the same care in April and May as they need come June 16.
I don’t like the fact the EA have always stuck their heels right in and won’t even commission proper scientific trials on a few rivers around the country to find out once and for all if there’s any science behind the byelaw.
The byelaws were introduced centuries ago, stemming from the gentry classes wanting to protect their prime salmon and trout fishing with no science behind it at all.
A lifting of the river Close Season would massively boost the angling trade from tackle shop to manufacturers to angling clubs – in a time when everyone is struggling.
And the financial reason might just, only just, be the only way the Agency will ever look into lifting the river Close Season.
The EA are massively struggling to sell rod licences, roughly about ten per cent down for the past two seasons and the trend is continuing.
If river-only anglers don’t bother getting a licence until June 16, and might only use it a few times over that summer, they might risk not buying one. How often have you been asked to show your rod licence to an EA bailiff on a river? Not often I guarantee.
The EA cash-cow of rod licence money is drying up – and they might look into scrapping the Close Season for that reason alone – but don’t hold your breath.
I think the whole rod licence system needs to be reviewed anyway with us not having a 12 months licence from the day we get one like you would for a TV or car tax licence, the silly two rod licence and the thorny Close Season issue, but that is too big a subject for now!
Nice to see Prince William sporting an angling baseball cap in the Angler’s Mail magazine this week, he proposed to Kate at an angling retreat and seems a keen angler to me. If only Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton took up fishing then we might see more anglers on the bank – well male ones anyway!
DISLIKE OF THE WEEK
England suffered more disappointment this week in the World Club Champs in Italy, with Kamasan Starlets finishing a lowly 17th after not knowing the methods for mullet and wels catfish! We’ve not won that many times, I think the first was in the early 1980s to the late tactical mastermind Dennis Salmon’s Essex County team containing Bob Nudd. After our embarrassment in the carp world champs last year and not having the right bait, it shows how hard golds are to come by. It doesn’t bode well for our footballers at next year’s World Cup in Brazil – IF we qualify!
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Barbel stars give top tips at the show, talking to Carl and Alex for Angler’s Mail TV. Further coverage of the Barbel Society show is in AM mag.
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