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Sea Angler (UK) - - YOUR FISHING OPINION - Mal­colm Hay­ward, by email Mal­colm gil­bert, st ives, Corn­wall

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.

eND oVer­fisH­iNg

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.”

IDEN­TITY HELP

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

EX­CIT­ING READ­ING

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

HELP­ING HAND

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

CLOTH­ING PROB­LEM

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

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