Let’s go fish­ing

Sea Angler (UK) - - Welcome - Cliff Brown, Ed­i­tor

Amaz­ing! There’s re­ally no other de­scrip­tion for this winter’s cod fish­ing. It seems like an­glers all over the coun­try have been reap­ing a shore and boat-fish­ing bo­nanza. You’ve been send­ing in loads of great photographs of your catch suc­cesses, in­clud­ing boat-caught cod weigh­ing more than 40lb, and shore fish to nearly 30lb.

They’ve not been one-off fish ei­ther, as we’ve seen plenty of big dou­bles and loads of fish in the 5-10lb range. Of course, this great sport will even­tu­ally de­cline, but many an­glers are al­ready pre­dict­ing that the com­ing spring will be one to re­mem­ber. Check out the views of our Bristol Chan­nel con­trib­u­tor Jansen Teakle on page 20. It’s def­i­nitely too early to put away your cod gear.

It will soon be time for plaice; early fish are usu­ally caught at Ch­e­sil Beach, Dorset and in Cum­bria, but don’t dis­re­gard the es­tu­ar­ies of the west and north of Wales, where Mike Thrus­sell reck­ons there could be some good fish­ing. Find out more on page 16.

The milder than nor­mal winter weather has meant an­glers have caught fish they wouldn’t ex­pect to see at this time of year, none more so than smooth­hounds in South Devon in Jan­uary. I’m told they’re off Sussex too.

The 2016 bass reg­u­la­tions con­tinue to cre­ate con­tro­versy. The fact an­glers must re­lease any bass caught be­tween Jan­uary and June, and can keep only one a day from July is con­demned as un­fair, par­tic­u­larly when they feel harm­ful gill net­ting has been favoured.

The An­gling Trust will con­tinue its noble cam­paign for sus­tain­able bass fish­ing, but its tac­tics prior to the reg­u­la­tions be­ing an­nounced are un­der fire from some an­glers.

Mean­while, an on­line pe­ti­tion, launched by Welsh an­gler Mike Flynn, call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to re-ex­am­ine the de­ci­sions made in Europe, has gained sup­port (14,000 sig­na­tures and count­ing – where are the claimed 800,000 sea an­glers?), caus­ing De­fra to de­fend Fish­eries Min­is­ter Ge­orge Eus­tice’s role, and also sug­gest the gill­net­ting mea­sures were fair. That re­sponse was quickly re­but­ted by the An­gling Trust, and the merry-go-round con­tin­ues. All the pro­tag­o­nists should stop the blame game and reach a sat­is­fac­tory so­lu­tion.

The fact is, an­glers have been made to look like fools, and it’s no won­der they’re un­happy. Check out the views of our read­ers, start­ing on page 52. It’s a sam­ple of opin­ion, but rep­re­sents the many let­ters and emails we are re­ceiv­ing on this di­vi­sive matter.

Turn­ing to a dif­fer­ent sub­ject, our 2015 Penn Sea League con­cluded with a Premier Divi­sion win for Eng­land international Ge­orge Smith. That’s two vic­to­ries now for the pop­u­lar an­gler from Grimsby, and he’s keen to equal the three wins of both Alan Price and Joe Arch. By turn­ing to page 108, match an­glers can find out where they fin­ished and if they’ve made the Penn fi­nal. The 2016 PSL is up and run­ning, with the lat­est re­sults on page 112.

The Eng­land shore and boat teams have gained a new backer in Tronix­pro, which is the com­pany now spon­sor­ing the Ques­tion & An­swer pages in this magazine. You can check out what’s on of­fer on page 42.

Fi­nally, don’t for­get to en­ter our £7,000 hol­i­day com­pe­ti­tion on page 117.

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