Artificial baits could soon be a thing of the past at one of the country’s most popular day-ticket carp waters after its owner revealed plans to ban the popular products amid fish welfare fears.
Since it opened in 2002, The Monument Fishery in Shropshire has become a firm favourite with anglers, many of them breaking their personal bests by catching one of the huge carp to 50lb which inhabit the eight-acre lake.
Plastic corn and boilies remain a popular choice with many visitors to the venue, but now owner Rob Hales is on the verge of prohibiting their use after making a number of worrying discoveries.
He explained: “While netting the lake, we discovered quite a few rigs on the bottom and what disturbed me most was the amount of these which had plastic hookbaits on.
“Unlike boilies, which will break down over time, plastic and rubber baits will last forever and therefore, in effect, the rig will be fishing permanently.” The Monument isn’t the first fishery to go down the route of outlawing imitation baits in recent times. Their use is also prohibited on the Maver Larford complex in Worcestershire: “As the fishery caters for both carp and match anglers, I try to keep my rules close to the NFA official match rules, and I also have concerns about carp swallowing these baits,” said owner Phil Briscoe.
Elsewhere, Staffordshire day-ticket fishery Baden Hall bars the use of fake bread on its Specimen Lake, although it does allow the use of other artificial baits, as bailiff Dave Hayes explained: “I can fully understand the reasons why Rob is doing this because these baits do concern me. We have banned the use artificial bread for surface fishing as people often use lighter gear so the chances of getting snapped up are higher. The rig then becomes dangerous for the fish and other wildlife.”
Despite the issues voiced by Rob and other like-minded fishery owners, the head bailiff at Richworth Linear Fisheries in Oxford, Roy Parsons, believes such rules are unnecessary: “In all the years I’ve been working at Linear, I’ve never seen or heard of any problems with plastic baits. They account for countless fish each year from our lakes without any negative effects.”
Experienced carp angler Iain Macmillan believes the move will receive a mixed reaction, as imitation baits are now a key weapon in many anglers’ armoury: “Rob does make some valid points, but there is always the risk of putting off potential paying customers when you start imposing these sorts of rules.”