'No licence, no fishing' says owner

A fishery owner’s quest to create the ‘perfect environment’ for his customers has seen him turn anglers away if they don’t have a rod licence.

Currently, venue bosses are not required by law to ensure that visitors are in possession of a valid permit before handing over their money, despite it being illegal to fish without one.

But since Colin Bartlett began licence checks at Lake John Fishery, in Waltham Abbey, Essex, he says the appearance and atmosphere of the already hugely successful complex has improved by 100 per cent, with poaching incidents non-existent.

The forward-thinking boss firmly believes that the sport would be better off if more fishery owners adopted a similar policy.

“Some venue bosses don’t see anglers, just the pound notes, and don’t give a monkey’s whether they have a licence. To me that’s irresponsible and can encourage the wrong kind of people. A guy turned up recently to fish, and I asked to see his licence. He said: ‘I’ve forgotten it’.

I replied, “Well, you haven’t forgotten your tackle have you? Go home and get your licence,” said Colin.

“It’s no coincidence that there’s no poaching, theft or bad blood here,” he added.
Colin is not alone in his stance, but the majority of fishery owners still believe that checking rod licences is not their responsibility. Many claim they don’t have the funds, resources or manpower to do a job that they feel should be carried out by the EA.

One of these is Mike Hamblin, who owns Tunnel Barn Farm, in Shrewley, Warks.
“I have a business to run and I don’t get paid to check licences, so why should I do the EA’s job for them?” Mike told Angling Times.

“It’s not very comforting that there are anglers out there fishing without a rod licence, but this is my livelihood and there’s no way that I’m going to turn paying customers away.”