An angler has saved the lives of huge perch, barbel and bream following the gruesome discovery of a 50m illegal net that was stretched across one of the best rivers in the UK.
Dedicated guide and predator fishing fanatic Warwick Salzer acted quickly to set free over 400lb of fish on the Thames, including 4lb perch and over 60 quality bream that were tethered in the gill set across the entire width of the venue at Teddington Weir.
It took the boss of Fling Your Hook charters along with two customers 90 minutes to retrieve the mesh and cut free over 90 quality fish, which also included barbel, big roach and flatfish in an incident that could have caused a major fish-kill if the party hadn’t intervened.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, there was no escape for anything coming up or down the river,” said Warwick, who accidentally hooked the net with a float rig intended for pike.
“In the past I’ve worked on trawlers and I recognised that this was a very professional set-up, not the work of your average Joe.
“I imagine it was placed the night before to catch the high tide and get as many fish as possible and that’s pretty much what it got. A net like this used once a week could wipe out a stretch of river in a matter of months.”
Warwick believes the net was attached to a plastic bottle with a paper note inside to serve as a marker and also as an excuse for the poachers if they were caught handling it.
The incident was reported and the police and Environment Agency officers visited the scene.
- If you want to report an incident of illegal fishing or poaching, call the Environment Agency’s 24-hour incident hotline on: 0800 807060.