If you go down to the beach today, you could be in for a big surprise. Two anglers were recently shocked to see a substantial shark swimming close to Chesil beach in Dorset. The 7ft predator was the largest shark that the duo had ever spotted in their many years of fishing from Dorset’s beaches.Continue reading “Toothy surprise for beach anglers”
Anglers in Wales are up in arms as new fishing bylaws will be introduced in January 2020.
Wales is notable for the quality of its wild brown trout, grayling and salmon fishing and has some of the best sea trout rivers in Europe. Fishing supports tourism and so is extremely important to the economy of the region.
Unfortunately, fish stocks have fallen dramatically and the new bylaws are aimed at addressing this issue. But anglers are less than happy about the forthcoming curbs on fishing. They have challenged the findings of research by Natural Resources Wales, but their complaints have not been upheld. Anglers now face mandatory catch-and-release, bait bans, slot limits and seasonal restrictions.Continue reading “New fishing bylaws for North Wales”
We have reported previously that the government intended to evolve a new National Angling Strategy. We are pleased to tell you that this has finally been announced. A plan for the next five years, it will be implemented by a new partnership body, the National Angling Strategy Partnership Board. This will be coordinated by the Angling Trust and representatives from the Environment Agency, Angling Trades Association, Get Hooked on Fishing and Canal and River Trust.
The new strategy was developed by Substance, a research company. It follows extensive consultation with anglers and utilises feedback from the 2018 National Angling Survey. The survey featured 35,000 responses and revealed that anglers wanted more information on where and how to fish. Anglers were also keen to promote angling as beneficial for mental health and physical fitness.
As a result, the new strategy aims to encourage more people to experience angling and to deliver the best possible experience in England. All of which sounds encouraging, but what are the details of the National Angling Strategy?
Objective of the National Angling Strategy
The strategy features six objectives. All of which are welcome but none are either surprising or revolutionary!
The first objective outlined is the development of awareness and knowledge of angling. A marketing campaign has been promised and new information will be published about how to fish and the choice of fishing locations. No details have yet been announced as to where this information will be published. Will anglers have access to a new resource such as an angling specific website or will the Environment Agency’s website be expanded?
The strategy’s second objective is to increase participation in the sport over the next five years, particularly amongst women, young people and black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. The government’s announcement did not outline how this objective will be achieved.
Objective three is to develop the social benefits of angling and to increase the number of people getting active through angling. These aims appear to be much the same as objective two! Angling for health projects are promised as is an angling volunteer programme.
Things get slightly more interesting with objective four which is to develop sustainable places to fish and to involve anglers in environmental improvement. Community waters will be created which will provide accessible places for people to fish. These developments would be very good news indeed if they actually happen!
Objective five is to increase the beneficial economic impact of angling via the promotion of angling tourism and new funding for the sector.
The National Angling Strategy is completed by objective six which is to develop an angling research programme. This will dictate future strategies while facilitating assessment of the National Angling Strategy’s success. If it is successful!
The announcement is a little thin on detail. The objectives sound promising but with no information provided as to how the objective will be achieved, it is impossible to consider how effective the strategy might be. The devil is always in the detail and so we wait with baited breath to see if both anglers and the sport as a whole will benefit significantly from the initiatives.
Size matters but sometimes teeth and a bad temper matter more!
The infamous Goliath tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) is huge, toothy and hot headed, making this river monster the ultimate challenge for anglers. Unfortunately, you need to travel to the Congo River Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo if you are to catch the legendary tiger.
Extreme aggression and impressive size
The Goliath tigerfish is an impressively large predatory freshwater fish with a reputation for extreme aggression and amazing strength. It has achieved what can only be described as mythical status. These intimidating creatures grow to 1.5m in length and over 70kg in weight, although most specimens that have been caught were much smaller.
The fish have a reputation for grabbing birds in flight and will happily attack humans. Landing one can mean engaging in an all-day battle but imagine the amazing sense of achievement when you reel in your special catch!
Possessed by Evil Spirits
Those who live near the Congo believe that the evil spirit mbenga enters the fish and then causes it to attack people. There’s nothing funny about encountering a fish which is five times the size of a piranha and even more ferocious. Their eyesight is poor and so they think anything moving in the water might be a meal and tend to react to any sudden movement. Boasting 32 teeth longer than those of a great white shark, this awesome fish is not something you want to encounter by accident.
Goliath tigerfish charters
If you fancy catching a Goliath yourself, you will need a local guide and the Congo River Basin isn’t the most accessible destination. But it is possible to organise a trip if the lure of the tiger is too great.
In 2010, extreme angler Jeremy Wade travelled to the Congo in search of the Goliath tigerfish and it took him eight days to land one. He managed to catch a 45kg specimen which was five feet long. He used catfish for bait and 91kg rod and line.
The Goliath Tigerfish will take any bait, natural or artificial. It will jump out of the water repeatedly when hooked and will thrash its head trying to throw the hook. There’s a serious battle ahead if you hook one!
Wire leaders are a must due to the sharp teeth. Even Wade was nervous of handling the fish he had caught and stood well back until it was safely snared in his landing net. He did manage to pose for photos with it, though!
The demise of the tiger
Unfortunately, the fish was injured in the struggle to reel it in and so Wade gave it to local people knowing that it would not survive if he returned it to the river. The landing of the Goliath created one of the most memorable episodes of the River Monsters TV series. Check it out if you get the chance and let us know if you ever make it to the Congo River Basin.
Those who enjoy sea fishing will have experienced a disappointing success rate compared to just a few decades ago. It wouldn’t take Einstein to work out that poor catches are the result of over fishing. Fish stocks have been seriously depleted and it would appear that the situation is likely to get worse.Continue reading “More fishing boats – less fish”
A memorial service was held recently at Norwich Cathedral for John Wilson. Named by the Angling Times as the greatest angler of all time in 2004, Wilson was known by many for his television programmes which covered diverse subjects from coarse fishing to sea angling.
You will have seen many disturbing news stories and documentaries highlighting the issue of plastic in our oceans. It’s hard to get the terrible images out of your mind. Whales with stomachs packed full of plastic debris and seabirds dying with their intestines blocked by the waste we cast aside. But what about lakes and rivers? Is plastic impacting fresh water too?
A brand new angling facility on the river Moy in County Mayo, Ireland, looks set to change the lives of disabled anglers. Local enthusiasts are delighted but the facility could attract anglers from across the country and also the UK.Continue reading “Angling centre for the disabled will change lives”
Fishing can be a relaxing distraction when you need to chill out. On those lazy days, it doesn’t really matter what you catch. But if you are targeting a dream catch and want to improve your chances, there’s an app for that!
The coarse fishing close season in England runs from 15 March to 15 June each year and covers the spawning times for most coarse fish in the majority of rivers. The season dates back to 1878 but was removed from still waters in 1995.
The Environment Agency has been considering ending the close season for some time and has conducted several surveys on Angler’s opinions. Predictably, opinions are divided! However, as time passes, more and more anglers are stating that they are looking for change. The number of anglers in favour of ending the close season is growing but many would like to see evidence that there would be no negative impact on the environment.Continue reading “Should changes be made to coarse fishing seasons?”