Rule breakers get red carded at Fir Tree

A FORWARD-thinking fishery boss has revealed how he stamped out rule-breaking at his complex by introducing a radical ‘red and yellow card’ discipline system more commonly associated with sports such as football.

Lancashire’s Fir Tree Fishery draws anglers from all over the region, but last year boss Martin Taylor became disillusioned with visitors paying little attention to the rules board. As a result of their ignorance, he was forced on occasion to ask fishermen to leave the complex for disobeying regulations that put his prized fish stocks in danger.

“I was fed up with people ignoring the rules and when I collected day ticket money I found some doing things they shouldn’t have been,” explained Martin.

“I had to tell people to pack up and leave the complex. It wasn’t something I liked doing at all, so I had to come up with a way of making people take notice,” he added.

He went back to the drawing board, and after months of consideration decided to implement a scheme which splits rules into two different categories. Yellow card ‘offences’ cover issues where discretion can be used, such as anglers who put too many fish into a keepnet, with a warning over their future conduct being included. Those breaking red card rules, such as using prohibited baits and tackle, are banned and asked to leave the fishery immediately.

The new system has had a dramatic effect, as Martin revealed: “I haven’t had to kick a single person off. The red and yellow card rules are clearly stated on a big board and because it is so noticeable, people read it and do as they are politely asked.”

News of the scheme’s success has already reached other venues and Makins Fishery boss Alan McDiarmid said: “It’s a very good idea and it brings a bit of humour to a serious topic. If it makes people take notice and abide by all the rules then it’s something other venues including ourselves should consider.”

Yellow card offences
- Landing nets must be used for all fish.
- Pole elastics must be tensioned to a sensible level.
- All litter must be removed from your peg.
- No more than 75lb of fish in a net during matches.
- Fish must be carefully placed back into the lake after capture.
Red card offences
- Barbless hooks only.
- No fixed rigs to be used.
- Boiles, nuts and pet food are banned.
- All fish must be placed back in the same lake after capture.
- Matchmen must use the fisheries scales and weigh sling to prevent the spread of disease