Let’s go fishing
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.