BEATEN BY THE RULES
Do you know a fishery with a list of regulations as long as your arm? Dom Garnett draws a boundary between common sense and madness...
EVER get the feeling that your local club or fishery was rather too heavy on regulations?
From banning your favourite bait to ruling out the most productive hours of the day, there are rule makers who would give lawyers a headache.
Before all the fishery owners decide to make a new rule banning anyone with the initials DG, however, I’m not advocating fishing anarchy. Without some guidelines we would have no fish care standards, for example, to protect our most valued species.
In an ideal world, all fisheries would have just one rule – ‘respect the fish and other anglers’. Or perhaps just a simple ‘don’t be an idiot’, preferably written in about 27 different languages. But as some wise soul put it, common sense is not quite as common as it ought to be, and I fully sympathise with fishery owners driven to despair by a thoughtless minority. People who need signs to tell them not to litter or set fire to the place.
Perhaps the ultimate answer lies not in angry-looking signs and long lists, but in education. Perhaps there should be a universal set of agreed angling guidelines, rather like the Country Code? Some countries already enforce a strict code of conduct, with a test needed to get a licence.
Part of the headache in the UK is that with so many private waters and separate angling factions, what is kosher on one fishery is a shooting offence elsewhere.
The only answer is education and dialogue between anglers. If you produce daft or unenforceable laws, people will always break them... but if you can teach anglers why good practice benefits all of us, most will comply without the need for fines or big sticks.
Another long list of fishery rules – necessity or a nuisance? Clearly this kingfisher can’t read...