The Mersey may not be the first river which springs to mind if you are looking for a great day’s fishing. It is a river which had once been severely polluted. Water quality in the river had been impacted by industrialisation since the 19th century. 200 years of pollution had taken its toll and led to the Mersey becoming one of the most polluted waterways in Europe.
By 1985, the Mersey Estuary received up to 60% of the mainland pollution caused by the 5 million residents in the Mersey Basin area.
But that year, the Mersey Basin Campaign was established to improve the situation.
£2.5bn was spent enhancing water quality and an investment of £1.5bn was made into regeneration of communities including Toxteth. It was money well spent as the results have been impressive!
Fish supported along entire length of the river
In 2002, oxygen levels that could support fish along the entire length of the river were recorded for the first time since industrial development began on the Mersey. Since then, fish have been returning to the river. Salmon have been seen at Woolston and Howley Weirs and have been caught in the Mersey’s tributaries. Cod, whiting, dab, plaice, flounder, mackerel and dogfish are present in the estuary.
The cleanest water since the industrial revolution
In 2009, it was found that the river was cleaner than at any time since the industrial revolution. The recovering fish stocks have led to a number of successful charter operations being established. A catch and release policy remains in force to protect the ecology of the water but there have been issues with poachers in recent years.
Highly-regarded fishing charter yields record cod
Angler Nathan Barrie recently took a birthday trip on the Size Matters charter. Skipper Kevin McKie is enjoying a growing reputation for excellence and is attracting a constant stream of customers looking to fish the Mersey. Nathan was certainly a happy customer on his special day as he managed to land a 12lb 3oz cod, the largest caught in the Mersey during 2018.
From Fleetwood to Liverpool
Hailing from Norris Green, Skipper McKie is impressing anglers with every voyage. His reputation as a great skipper grows by the day. News of the record cod will only serve to enhance his business further. Nathan Barrie, who had travelled to Liverpool from Fleetwood to join Size Matters, was certainly glad that he placed his confidence in McKie.
Lug and squid fishing bait
The record cod was taken on a lug and squid cocktail presented on a 6/0 penned rig. The catch was encouraging for anyone looking to fish the Mersey and provides further indication that the ecology of the river continues to improve. The cod was safely returned to the water after being photographed.
If you hadn’t considered fishing the Mersey, it could be time to think again. With an expert skipper and the right fishing bait, you can now enjoy a first-class day out on the Mersey.