Colin Mitchell, our Sunday blogger.

IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every 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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THAT grim date is just a few days away – the start of the Close Season! But I wonder just how many younger anglers are now even worried about midnight on March 14th?

I’d hazard a guess that many anglers under the age of 25 have never fished a river, or rarely been on flowing water. To them the shut-down is an irrelevance.

Hailing from the north I can remember when I was a youngster how the Close Season in Yorkshire ended two weeks early. We started fishing on June 1 – and then we were still able to celebrate June 16 and the new season with everyone else too. The bordering Northumbrian area was also one of the first to have no Close Season on stillwaters, which meant we didn’t get withdrawal symptoms between March 15 and June 15.

Most barbel fans support a close season, I’m sure, but how many other anglers would? This fine spawning pic is by Ade Kiddell, the Korum-sponsored barbel ace. He fishes for barbel each spring over in Holland.

So should we be allowed to fish all-year on every venue, running or still?

Maybe I am a bit of a traditionalist (or maybe just old) part of me believes the Close Season should still exist. But the other part thinks it is a waste of time, certainly for the reason it was initially invented! Shutting down venues for a few months is great. It lets the bankside recover and vegetation spring to life. Some might say it gives the fish a rest from angling pressure. But I’d suggest that in some areas this is not a good move, as the fish are deprived of the food we give them, and they may well need.

On commercials the fish really do need that grub and the people who run these important fisheries also need their income. The Close Season is meant to give fish protection when they are spawning. That is, in a lot of cases, rubbish. Fish don’t spawn between those periods when we can’t fish rivers. They spawn when conditions are right and many species spawn at different times of the year. In addition, have you ever seen fish spawning? They go mental and aren’t interested in feeding in the slightest, so you won’t catch them.

I was once in Holland in May and the bream and roach were so preoccupied with breeding that they weren’t eating a thing. In fact they were so worked up you could pick them out of the water by hand. And why should rivers be any different to stillwaters, or indeed to a number of canals? If you have a Close Season enforce it on every venue or scrap it totally!

Many places in Europe and Ireland do not have a shut down like us. They do have some Close Seasons for different species at different times of the year. Now that, to me, is a good idea. A bit like many clubs who have a winter-only rule for pike fishing (nothing wrong with summer piking though…before the predator boys decide to have a bash at me).

One of my local clubs used to keep its stillwaters closed during the traditional shutdown. Now they have done what I think is a great move – closed down waters on a rotation basis so that there is always somewhere to fish, but venues still get a rest.

Head on the chopping block time: scrap the Close Season but ban the use of keepnets and sacks for fish that obviously contain spawn.

Commercials already look after themselves. Owners will not put their fish at risk. Responsible clubs will keep a close eye on their own fisheries and decide what they want or need to do to protect valuable stocks. The Environment Agency won’t have to worry about policing a Close Season and can spend more time protecting stocks from threats from outside of fishing.

Surely it has to be worth a trial run, at least?


Related videos

Fellow AM bloggers Carl & Alex captured this footage of chub spawning last year.





Here’s some footage made abroad of carp spawning – spectacular stuff!






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