Isuggested in this column in our previous issue that there would be a lack of support for the Sea Angling 2017 survey and, sure enough, the Angling Trust is asking anglers not to support the Government-backed project.
The survey, commissioned by Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science), will build on the results of similar data collection exercises carried out in 2012 and 2016.
As reported in Sea Angler 538, the project is designed to fulfil EU requirements for the UK to provide data on recreational catches for a number of species. Anglers will be asked to use logbooks detailing their catches over the course of 2017. However, many believe that the information could be used against anglers.
Earlier this year the Angling Trust stated that its contribution to any future data collection exercise would depend on better data collection, particularly from commercial landings.
You can’t fault the logic of the Angling Trust spokesman, who said: “In the meantime, catches by recreational anglers get closely scrutinised and used to restrict members of the public fishing for publicly-owned fish stocks.’’
As this issue goes on sale, anglers should be finding out the rules for bass fishing during 2017. In 2016 we were limited to catch and release for six months and then the option to keep one fish a day for a similar period. Proposals for 2017 were revealed in our previous issue, which could see a monthly bag limit and limiting commercial fishing to hook and line only.
Such a monthly quota would certainly help charter skippers who saw a serious decline in business as some bass anglers decided a one-fish limit was not worth the expense of a charter trip.
Ian Noble, chairman of the Professional Boatman’s Association, which represents many of the UK’s charter boat operators, has urged our Fisheries Minister to support the livelihoods of charter boat owners. He said: “We believe that no consideration was given to our sector when the 2016 EU fishing opportunities were agreed. It is essential that a fairer deal is reached for the recreational angling and charter boat sectors in 2017.” I hope these pleas don’t fall on deaf ears.
While some concentrate on the ‘politics’ of angling, many of you are out there catching fish. The team here at Sea Angler is getting reports of plenty of big bass and cod caught from boat and shore. These included a 24lb cod for Robert Moore and a 16lb 4oz bass for Bob Booth (find out more on page 104-107). Our contributor Dave Barham caught two double-figure bass, too, and you can find out how on page 54.
Hopefully, good fish will be showing in all areas during the Christmas and New Year holidays. You may even get to catch on some new gear you might get for Christmas. If you are looking for a piece of new kit, my colleague Paul Fenech got his hands on the new Okuma ALC-20CS Mag reel (he’s pictured testing it on this page). He reckons it’s a real winner (see page 88). Paul’s also taking a look at nine of the latest headlights too (check them out on page 92).
I know anglers have a wide range of opinions about tackle, so why not vote for your favourite kit of 2016 in our awards and you could win a rod. You’ll find details on page 100.
As usual, we’ve produced an issue packed full of informative and entertaining articles for shore and boat anglers. Our popular Sea School advice section includes a 10-page rig special (starting on page 32) as well as the usual seven pages of expert answers to your angling questions.
Finally, a few congratulations from all at Sea Angler. Well done to Ireland for taking two team golds in the World Shore Champs. Both the men’s and women’s teams won their events, held in County Wexford. England’s men secured team silver. Find out more on page 106.
Congratulations as well to the Garry Evans Match Team, which won the National Sea League final held on the North Norfolk shingle beaches on November 26-27. The team of Andrew Hutchins, Phil George, Gerald John, Chris Read and Stephen Smyth took the title with 73 penalty points, to push last year’s winner’s Team Breakaway, from Suffolk, into second place. Zziplex Match Squad, from Hastings, finished third.
Well done also to Plymouth angler Nick Green, who won the 20th National Two-Day Flounder Championships, at Teignmouth, Devon, with a specimen fish of 2lb 12oz 8dr.
Thanks for your continued support during 2016, and we look forward to sharing more great sea angling with you in 2017.
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