COLIN MITCHELLEvery 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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Rules are rules, or are they?


IT’S confession time. How many of you who are reading this have broken the rules – not abided by the laws laid down by your clubs or fishery bosses?

I will be very surprised – providing you are honest – if there is one person among you who, at some stage, hasn’t slipped up at least once.

I was guilty just last week when I forgot there was a tin of meat buried in the bottom of my carryall. The place I fished has a ‘no tins on fishery’ rule.

Now I totally understand why they have that rule, because there are some mindless idiots who would use the meat then just throw the tin on the bank where it would look unsightly and could be a danger to both humans and wildlife.

In my defence, I didn’t know the meat was there. If I had opened it I would have taken the tin home or discarded it into one of the many bins provided.

I had still broken the rules. I could have been banned by the fishery owner and had no real complaint. His rule on tins is justified.

But how many rules installed by clubs and fisheries are sensible? Here are a few that I can’t quite get my head around…

  • The banning of bread. Ok, can see the point if there is wildlife but bread is a natural bait, no danger to fish. Ban floating crusts if there are ducks and birds…but why outlaw it otherwise?
  • No groundbait. Fish eat groundbait. In many cases they love it. I have yet to see a fish die from eating it. A sensible limit yes – but a total ban only makes it even more difficult for anglers to catch fish – and deprives fish of more free grub.
  • Waters that only allow certain brands of baits. I understand sponsorship – but when you visit various waters in different areas you will end up with lots of different pellets, boilies etc which may not be of use elsewhere. Sell only the sponsored items on site – and why not offer special rates to encourage buying them?
  • No feed. Yes, that’s right nothing. Zilch. No groundbait, no pellets, no maggots, nothing, just what is on your hook. I would love anyone to explain that one to me…
  • No pellets but you can groundbait. Eh? Every seen a pellet break down? It turns into a pile of groundbait!
  • Oh…and some waters that don’t allow pellets – usually high oil content or halibut – then allow any pellet on the hook!
  • No keepnets. Then matches are allowed with a limitless number of nets for catches weighing hundreds of pounds. I love match angling but is 300-500lb-plus in five hours really what it is about?

Of course there are also those clubs and commercials which have a massive list of rules that are never enforced. If you have them – make sure that ALL anglers abide by them, or ditch them.

Then there is another of my big pet hates – the changing list of rules! It can easily take you 20 minutes to digest the rules on the board at a fishery entrance and in some cases you have to check them EVERY visit as they change constantly.

And have you ever been told you are breaking the rules only to discover that the particular one you have broken isn’t written down?

Some owners appear to change the rules as they go along. That’s a bit like you getting charged for a motoring offence that the traffic police had dreamed up on the spot!


Rules – every fishery has them!

Clubs put their rules together with the help of their members and a committee. You know what they are when you join. You pay your entrance fee, which says you accept those rules.

If you don’t like them, don’t join the club, or join and make a case at a committee meeting for changes.

Commercial fishery operators have every right to impose whatever rules they like. It is their business, their livelihoods.

You don’t have to fish there. But if you do pay your ticket money you agree to stick to what they ask.

There are basic match rules that the vast majority of competitions abide by, regardless of whether it is a club, Open or commercial fishery event.

Maybe it is time for commercial fishery owners to come up with a basic set of guidelines that they all agree on.

And then just doctor these with their own needs, depending on the type of fishery they operate.

Do you know any silly fishing rules? Let us know by commenting below or on Angler’s Mail’s Facebook page.







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