Write to: Sea Angler Mailbox, Media House, Lynchwood Business Park, Peterborough, PE2 6EA. email: [email protected]media.co.uk
CAtCH AND releAse fisHiNg is uNetHiCAl
At a great age, I am returning to sea angling. I once caught a 17lb 10oz cod off Hayling, a good fish but then someone caught three to 50lb also off Hayling in the following week or so.
I’ve noticed many changes. I believe catch and return is unethical and will not target any fish I do not intend to cook. Why stress a beautiful animal just for fun?
Of course, there will always be the by-catches like smoothhounds, female huss and rays and male bream. I would compare catch and return to hare coursing where a kill is merely an accident.
Some fish I have learned to avoid, such as conger eels. To avoid these, use a 3-4ft trace extender and catch ling instead; now there is a meal.
My bass gear stayed unused until the catch and release ruling was lifted on October 1.
There is a trend towards fishing lighter and lighter. Anglers should use the heaviest gear that would still catch. Virtually no damaged fish escape, any unwanted by-catch can be released while still fresh and any fish you keep are not full of lactic acid so taste better. Ethical and total common sense.
I would suggest that carp fishing at a busy venue can be compared to those tourists in Spain who are photographed with small monkeys.
How about an article on ethics? Remember, no mini-species hunting or wrasse fishing. Mullet are just for the table. Just catch a sensible amount and then go home.
Surely, the rules for shore fishing matches could be altered to discourage undersized fish getting hooked in the first place. For instance, I never use less than a size 3/0 hook.
I write in reference to your editorial comment in Sea Angler. I share your concern about participation rates in sea angling and accept that the reasons for a decline are complex and not due to any one single issue.
However, I believe participation rates are linked to abundance of fish. The rebuilding of striped bass stocks down the eastern seaboard of the USA between 1986 and 1996 resulted in a sevenfold increase in adult striped bass stocks, which, in turn, saw angling trips directed at striped bass also increase sevenfold.
Those additional trips derived from existing anglers going striped bass fishing more frequently and the attraction of new anglers who, because they caught fish, largely remained angling over the long term.
Incidentally, the increased expenditure on tackle, boats, bait, specialist clothing and footwear and all the other goods and services consumed by anglers also increased by 700 per cent and those sort of growth figures should be a wake-up call for the UK tackle trade to get involved in ensuring an end to overfishing.
Likewise, as salmon numbers have increased on the Tyne, the level of angling has also significantly increased.
Would the carp fisheries we now have across the UK have materialised without the growth in well-stocked carp waters?
All other things being equal, more and bigger fish available to anglers will increase participation rates.
What have the trends been in respect of marine fish stocks around our coastline, especially those of direct interest to sea anglers?
To do this we can look at the Government’s own published statistics for landings into England. The figures represent tonnes.
One should bear in mind that technology in 2015/6 in terms of fish location and fishing gear is altogether of a different magnitude to the 1970s, which makes these figures all the more alarming.
If you are an angler who has fished since the 1970s and you feel many iconic angling species are scarcer than they used to be – you’re probably right!
The Government department that has overseen this decline in commercial landings from around 300,000 tonnes of demersal species down to less than 20,000 tonnes [93 per cent decline] during the last 40 years is Defra (used to be MAFF).
If ever a Government department was unfit for purpose, it is Defra.
There is a quote (and I can’t recall from whom) but it goes something like: “All that is required for evil to prosper is for good men to remain silent.”
Congratulations on Sea Angler issue 562. I had mixed emotions when I read the six-gilled shark article because I predicted exactly that in my book ‘The Ultimate Angling Bucket List’ maybe three years ago, and now I can’t get out and give it a go myself due to my health situation.
I also read with interest the Sea School piece, particularly as everyone seemed to be banging on about species hunting and fish identification. I have a written book for free download from: www.fishingfilmsandfacts. co.uk/docs/Field%20Guid%20 Saltwater%20Fish%20ID.pdf
It contains the key identification features, plus a picture of every species of fish in the British record list.
Following the link, download it to a computer or smart phone.
In the meantime, keep up with all the good work. Dr Phill Williams, Lancashire
I’m sending a quick message to say how much I enjoyed reading the feature by Dave Lewis about his trip with Kevin McKie’s Size Matters for blue skate and six-gilled sharks (Sea Angler 562).
It was a great read. I found myself getting quite excited reading it to find out what came up next. I can only imagine what the trip must have been like in person. Great work. John Locker, Truro, Cornwall.
SUPERB FROM LEAKYBOOTS
Thank you for the bass article by James ‘Leakyboots’ Batty in Sea Angler 563. It was quite simply the best article since Dave Lewis and Clive Gammon’s epic articles about Namibia in the early 2000s.
It is genuinely ground-breaking and exciting to read an article that challenges how you fish and makes you want to get out there and try new things.
The advice is superb, but the way it is written is fabulous. There is a certain excitable schoolboy approach that makes you part of the action and enthuses you to the point you are desperately checking the tide table.
It is refreshing too that there is no mention in the article of tackle, you don’t feel as though you are being fed some corporate BS.
Thanks again for printing it and I hope there is more of this calibre to come. Top marks to all concerned.
A previously disenchanted subscriber. Simon Jackson, Lamerton, Devon
BACK AND BUZZING
I’ve been reading your magazine since issue 554 and just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for the advice and tips on lure fishing from the shore.
I used to do a lot of beach fishing in the 1980s and 90s, but hadn’t been much since 2000. I started fishing again a couple of years ago, mainly in the summer for bass and soles. On one session I noticed an angler waded out at low tide, always in the same spot fishing for bass with a lure. I’ve seen this about eight times and I thought there must be fish there or he’s just plain stubborn.
I’ve been using an 11ft carp rod and £15 reel from the market and I caught my first bass after several attempts when another angler gave me a Sammytype surface lure. The following week I bought a Savage Gear Roadrunner and a Mitchell Mag Pro 4500, braid, tapered fluorocarbon leader and some lure clips.
Soon afterwards, the weather and tide were ideal so I was fishing by 5.30am. Three others were fishing along a stretch of about 400 yards. I waded out, had a quick chat and one of them gave me a lure. It was soon clipped on to the end of my leader and cast out.
On my second cast, I caught a 2lb 8oz fish, followed by another of 1lb 8oz and then 3lb 8oz in 30 minutes.
Thanks again Sea Angler. ‘Chelsea Jimmy’, Eastbourne, East Sussex
Along with Michael Judge, I am a qualified Angling Trust Coach. We have helped special needs children from the Polygon School in Southampton on Fridays for the last three years.
Alan from Al’s Tackle, a small shop in Bridge Road, Woolston, has supplied bait for the sessions free of charge. We also run a junior section for our club, the King’s Arms SAC, again with Al’s Tackle being very generous in donating rods and reels and tackle free of charge for our juniors. Alan’s support is a great help in enabling us to hold junior coaching sessions for the youngsters of Southampton. We are very grateful for his support. Rod Giles, Southampton
Sea angling has long been confirmed as a ‘sport for all’ to enjoy and there is a vast range of fishing gear out there to suit everyone. Even the most discerning angler would be hard pushed not to find the ‘perfect’ set-up.
When it comes to clothing however, it’s definitely a man’s world with racks and racks of men’s flotation suits and jackets in size Small to XXXL but where are the women’s sizes?
Given the number of women anglers enjoying sea angling, you would think at least one manufacturer would notice a niche in the market and offer sizes to suit.
I contacted the staff of a company recently to see if they could make me a smock in a smaller size because even the man’s small size is mega huge, but they couldn’t due to production costs. However, they did say they are working on a women’s range. Nikki Thompson, Ardrishaig, Argyll