Keith Arthur: Banning livebaiting is sentimental nonsense

Like Neville Fickling, I will defend the rights of anglers to use livebaits as long as I can draw breath. It is sentimental rubbish to think that it is wrong to use live fish as bait to catch predatory fish.

Predators eat prey, end of, whether they are impaled on a hook or not isn’t really relevant ¬ we’re not ‘wasting’ the life of a fish.

Indeed this isn’t the first time that I have mentioned that common sense tells you that deadbaiting ¬ all those freezers full of roach, bream, perch etc ¬ is certainly far more wasteful of fish life than catching half-a-dozen baits, using four then releasing the remainder.

So, if Scotland has banned livebaiting (but allows and promotes deer-stalking and has no national limits on taking away fish) the best thing is not to go there to fish, if you want to use livebaits. Unfortunately, the issue has been forced by the number of invasive species turning up in Scottish and Irish stillwaters. If livebaiting is allowed many pike anglers will cheat and take bait with them.

In Bob Church’s excellent book '‘Big Pike’, Neville writes on how to make a set-up for keeping livebaits at home, at the same time insisting that, to his knowledge, no disease has ever been spread by livebaits.

I wonder how those alien shrimps got into Grafham? Livebaiting is most certainly not allowed there ¬ but has someone bent the rules? They have in plenty of other places.
Nev says he wouldn’t inform on someone breaking the rules but that pike anglers should campaign to get the rules changed. My comment on that would be that if angling had a powerful representative body, backed by the nation’s anglers instead of the one per cent that can be bothered, there would be a chance ¬ but the Angling Trust doesn’t work in Scotland because the Scottish Federation isn’t affiliated.

Stop giving them your English pounds Nev, stay at home where you can fish (almost) as you would like.