New scheme will help ‘app’rehend offenders

A scheme to share illegal angling activity instantly on the social messaging service WhatsApp has been hailed a success just weeks after launching.

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The Shrewsbury Poacher Alert initiative uses WhatsApp to quickly share information about suspect angling activity in order to assist voluntary bailiffs in the Shrewsbury area.

And already the scheme is bearing fruit. Chris Wood, secretary of Shrewsbury Anglers Club, is one of the officials pioneering the idea, and he spoke to Angling Times about the problems local clubs were encountering.

He said: “One of the problems with poachers is that they will often move somewhere else after being kicked off a fishery, and angling clubs needed a way to quickly pass on information about illegal angling activity.

“The Voluntary Bailiff Service does an excellent job and we wanted to help them by finding a way to communicate issues with them fast.”

After talking to a number of local angling clubs, it was decided that WhatsApp could be used to the bailiffs’ advantage.

 “We found that WhatsApp is the best way to communicate quickly, so we created a group containing head bailiffs from clubs including the Birmingham Anglers Association, Prince Albert Angling Society, and Lymm Angling Club,” Chris added. 

Just a few weeks into the scheme, it’s working. 

“The other day, one bailiff caught four anglers fishing with no permits, and after they were kicked off the water they were reported in the WhatsApp group so that other bailiffs were instantly aware,” said Chris.

“By sharing information about poaching incidents it is also possible for bailiffs to gain back-up when entering potentially hostile situations – when offending anglers can sometimes become aggressive.

“The scheme has been created solely for the benefit of our sport, and I hope that other angling clubs can use our idea to their advantage too.”

How your club can get involved...

If you are an official of your angling club and want to start a similar scheme, follow these simple steps...

1) Go to the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (android)

2) Search ‘WhatsApp’ and download the app

3) Open the app and create an account

4) Add the members’ mobile numbers to your phone contacts (these will automatically become WhatsApp contacts)

5) Open the app and select ‘new group’ on the right-hand side of the menu and add any club members or bailiffs

6) You will now be able to share any information, images or videos relating to illegal fishing

Win BIG in new lure-based fishing competition

Tusses Lure Division have partnered with SPRO Freestyle to bring you the Tusses Freestyle Pairs League.

Anglers across the country have the chance to participate in a lure-based pairs fishing league where the winners will take home a share of a hefty cash prize pot.

Coventry-based angling club Tusses Lure Division have introduced the competition in a bid to get more people into lure fishing and to help promote the excellent rod-bending sport that can be found on the UK’s veining canal networks.

Like any match however there is a competitive element and the club’s Chairman David Warren reckons that the league will be hugely popular with those who are keen light lure anglers.

He told Angling Times: “You see lots of big reservoir lure matches nowadays but there hasn’t really been many held on our canals.

“Light lure fishing is a hugely popular area of the sport and this league will hopefully make lure matches on canals a big hit.

“Our members are hugely passionate about their lure fishing and together we came up with the idea – there definitely was a demand for this kind of event.”

On top of enjoying four/five days of fishing on the bank, successful participants will also have the chance to appear on TV and win a share of a big prize pot alongside some fantastic tackle items.

 “All cash prizes will be paid out of the pot and currently we have £520 in it – so the more people who join, the bigger the prize pot will be,” David added.

“SPRO Freestyle have also kindly donated a number of lure-based prizes including rods, reels, lures, luggage, mats and nets – so there’s plenty up for grabs in the final.

“I urge anyone who is interested in lure fishing to sign up to Tusses Lure Division and participate – and you could even make it on TV as Sky will be filming our final!”

Fancy joining? Here are the details behind the league:

 The Conditions

To participate anglers must become a Tusses Lure Division member which is just £20 for 12 months. To join, please visit You can also receive regular league updates by joining the Tusses Lure Division Facebook page.

Once you have joined you must register your pair at The entry fee costs £40 per pair.

The Match Dates

There will be four qualifying matches and ultimately a final. Only 10 teams will be allowed to compete in the final. Pairs who have caught the highest weight of fish and the longest length of fish over the four qualifying events will make it to the final.

  • Round One – March 24 2019: Coventry Canal Basin (Any size of fish will count)

  • Round Two – May 5 2019: Coventry Canal Nuneaton (Any size of fish will count)

  • Round Three – September 15 2019: Ashby Canal (Minimum fish size requirement 15cm)

  • Round Four – October 13 2019: Oxford Canal (Minimum fish size requirement 15cm)

  • Final – November 3 2019: Hawksbury Junction (Minimum fish size requirement 15cm)

  • Meeting times and locations to be revealed when you sign up


The Rules

  • Lure fishing tactics only – no livebaits

  • No rod limits per angler

  • Bank fishing in designated fishing zone only (fishing zone to be revealed on the day)

  • Single lure rigs only

  • All fish to be photographed on an unhooking mat with competition card in view and to be recorded via a competition log sheet

  • Only one sub allowed per pair for if a team member cannot make a particular date – although a sub cannot be used in the final

  • Your three best results count towards your overall score – meaning you can drop your worst result if you have a bad days’ fishing.

  • The fish that count towards your score are perch, pike, zander, ruffe and chub. No other fish will count





More volunteer bailiffs for 2019

More than 100 new  bailiffs will be joining the fight against illegal fishing and poaching across England and Wales, Angling Times can reveal. 


Successful applicants from this year’s Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service recruitment programme will be trained by policing and enforcement professionals to keep watch on fisheries and report incidents and suspicious activity to the Environment Agency and police.

Up to 20 Phase One volunteers will now be recruited in each of the six regions – the North East, North West, East, Midlands, South East and South West.

Dilip Sarkar MBE, the Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager, said: “Phase 1 Volunteer Bailiffs are the eyes and ears at the water’s edge, keeping watch on our precious fisheries. 

“Over the years, the VBS has reported on a diverse range of incidents and is clearly a benefit to the wider community – in addition to supporting the EA and Police specifically in compliance and protecting fish and fisheries.”

The news has been welcomed by the Environment Agency, which relies heavily on the services of volunteers to assist in pinpointing key areas of illegal activity on the bank.

Graeme Storey, Fisheries Manager with the EA, said: “A network of anglers able to provide good information is essential in directing our enforcement patrols to catch those who damage the sport through illegal activity. 

“The support of enthusiastic volunteers is needed more than ever this year, as we look to trial a further increase in the level of engagement of selected volunteers to closely support enforcement operations in some new locations.”

More about the VBS

The Voluntary Bailiff Service is part of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service which is funded by the Environment Agency through fishing licence income. 

Further information about the VBS can be found on the Angling Trust website and potential applicants are urged to read this and understand the role before applying.

Anyone wishing to apply should contact and those selected will be invited to attend a mandatory induction day in their region this spring. 

Previous enforcement experience is not essential but desirable, and all applicants must be of good character.

Wilson’s Memorial Day is open to all

A memorial day for angling legend John Wilson MBE is to be held in a few months’ time – and every reader of Angling Times is invited to join his family and friends in a celebration of his life.

After his sudden death in Thailand in November, thousands of anglers paid tribute to the man who pioneered fishing on television and was awarded the MBE for his services to angling in 2009.

And now, contrary to earlier false reports, it has been confirmed that an official commemoration of John’s life will be held at 2pm on Friday, May 24 at the magnificent Norwich Cathedral – a fitting setting in which to remember the nation’s favourite angler.

Anyone wishing to honour John’s life is welcome to attend. His daughter Lisa will be speaking about her dad, while our own columnist, Keith Arthur, will talk about John’s angling career.

John’s close relative Martin Bowler will also be at the ceremony, where he will talk about the influence that John had on the sport and share some treasured memories. 

“John had a huge influence on so many anglers, whether they enjoyed his writing, TV work, shows or even simply a visit to his tackle shop,” said Martin. “There cannot be any other fisherman who has had such an impact on our sport. I know John’s widow Jo and all his family will welcome anyone who would like to celebrate his life at Norwich cathedral. There is no need to register in advance.”

l Angling Times is publishing a limited-edition book celebrating the life of our greatest-ever angler. 

The 132-page book will be launched at The Big One Show in Farnborough on March 23 and 24 – but you can pre-order by post on page 11 of this week’s issue.  

It will include many of John’s finest words and photographs, his 100 best fishing tips, plus a section detailing his favourite waters which will allow readers to follow in his footsteps.

Proceeds will go towards a memorial on Norfolk’s River Wensum, one of John’s favourite  angling destinations. 

Big barbel boost for rivers as EA steps up stocks

The Future of barbel fishing is looking brighter than ever thanks to the Environment Agency stocking two popular river stretches with the largest barbel they have ever reared.

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Officials from the EA’s Calverton Fish Farm recently introduced 171 2lb-3lb barbel across the River Great Ouse at Harrold and the River Ivel at Biggleswade in a drive to improve catch rates and to help surviving barbel to spawn successfully. 

These additions follow thousands of fingerling barbel stocked into the Ouse and Ivel over the last 10 years but the EA admits that this latest stocking is its most significant to date because of the average size of the barbel released. 

Kye Jerrom, a Team Leader for Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology at the Environment Agency, told Angling Times: “On Wednesday, February 6 we stocked 171 fish – 80 into the River Great Ouse near to Harrold Country Park and 91 into the River Ivel at Biggleswade Mill.

“Some of these individuals were well over 30cm in length and approaching 3lb in weight – the largest barbel we have ever stocked.

“We have been working at these two locations extensively over the last 10 years to conserve the barbel populations and restore river habitats to help ensure sustainable fish populations.

“Our recent PhD studies have shown that barbel numbers are impacted most heavily by poor spawning and poor fry survival, which in effect means the populations are struggling to support themselves.

“We are doing a lot of work to turn that around by improving spawning habitat, building fry refuge areas, creating fish passages and, of course, stocking.”

In the early 1990s and early 2000s the Great Ouse made its reputation as the greatest specimen barbel river in the country after it produced countless double-figure specimen – including Grahame King’s British record at 21lb 1oz.

Predation has since severely reduced barbel stocks on the river but this most recent stocking has breathed new life into the waterway.

The introduction is also a double delight for local anglers who not only have a chance to catch these new barbel but can also help monitor their progress by reporting their results to the EA. 

“These fish have been dye marked with a (safe) blue agent and we want to take advantage of anglers fishing for them to learn more about their growth, survival and spread,” added Kye. 

“This is a great chance to get involved in some active fishery conservation work and we urge any angler who catches a barbel with a blue spot on its belly to get in contact with the EA immediately.”

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What do local clubs think?

Trevor Johnson, chairman of the Upper Ouse Fishery Consultative Association and Milton Keynes Angling Association, said: 

“These are fantastic fish, probably the largest the EA has ever had from Calverton – partly the result of two hot summers helping them pack on weight. 

“This is a sea-change from the EA’s numerous previous stockings with much smaller fish – and potentially a real shot in the arm for the river with a genuine chance that some will survive and spawn again and again, with their offspring providing sustainable stocks for the Upper Ouse and Ivel.

“But if that happens it will only be possible because of the huge amount of work the EA’s fishery lads have been putting in over the years, and continue to put in, to improve spawning and nursery habitats so that fish like these have a chance of producing a sustainable population.

“That’s an uphill battle because while predation – including that by otters – takes a toll on mature fish, it is red signal crayfish which are the real threat to the species. 

“They eat fish eggs and fry and their constant burrowing deposits tons of silt into the river bed, choking gravel beds and preventing successful spawning.

“That’s where the EA has been and are concentrating the bulk of their efforts – trying to create some areas where the barbel can do the business and produce viable fry.”

How can you help?

If you’ve recently caught a barbel from the River Great Ouse or River Ivel with a distinctive blue mark under its belly, the Environment Agency would like to hear from you! 

Contact them via Facebook at ‘Environment Agency – Great Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Team’. Alternatively, email your catch report to

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welcome to Danny’s day-ticket disneyland

Korda boss Danny Fairbrass has told Angling Times his dream of creating the best tench water in the country is close to reality after purchasing a six-lake, day-ticket carp and coarse complex at Norton Disney, Lincs.

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The Essex businessman is well known in carp circles for creating the not-for-profit Embryo Angling Habitats to help secure carp lakes from predators – now he wants to do the same for coarse anglers.

In December 2018, Embryo bought the six-lake site in Lincolnshire for more than £1.2m and will now transform the unfished former gravel pits into a series of day-ticket carp lakes holding fish to 40lb – but in a double delight for coarse and specimen anglers, a big-tench water will be included too.

Three of the carp lakes are due to open in September, but Danny has his heart set on opening the coarse water soon after.

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He told Angling Times: “Embryo will be five years old in July and from the start I’d wanted to do something for coarse anglers – but it just hadn’t presented itself.”

When the time comes, tench into double figures will be stocked into this lake from Embryo’s existing carp waters across the country.

“Provided they pass a health check, we will take the tench out of all our other syndicate waters, where they’re not fished for and not appreciated, and put them in here,” Danny added.

“I don’t think there’ll be anywhere else in the country where you can go and fish for tench like that.”

Alongside Danny’s vision for the new venue to become a popular carp and coarse fishery, he also says that he wants it to be a place where visitors can improve their angling skills: “We want everybody to have a chance of a bite here,” he said. 

“On some day-ticket venues an experienced angler can turn up, look at some swims and think ‘those poor buggers are going to blank’. 

“I don’t want that – the staff are going to be coaches, not just bailiffs. I want anglers to go away thinking ‘I’ve had a few bites and left a better angler, and no-one has cast into my swim’.

“If that takes us longer to turn a profit then so be it.”

To read the full exclusive interview with Danny Fairbrass concerning Embryo’s brand new day-ticket site at Norton Disney, visit 

Here you can watch Korda’s Norton Disney YouTube video and find out how you can apply for a position to work at the new six-lake complex.

Do you know a fishing hero?

TV star Matt Hayes is to front a new scheme aimed at rewarding deserving causes in fishing, Angling Times can reveal.

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Matt, who starred in classic TV series Total Fishing, Greater Rod Race and Record Breaking Fish, has teamed up with Shakespeare as part of a new weekly show due to air online in 2019.

In ‘Shakespeare Fishing Heroes’, Matt calls on anglers to nominate the unsung individuals, groups and organisations who make fishing special so that their untold stories can be shared.

The most worthy causes will receive tackle donations from Shakespeare to help them with their fishing, and say a huge thanks.

The scheme will be launched at The Big One Show in Farnborough on March 23 & 24, where Matt and co-presenter Zenia Gregorek, of Anglers Paradise fishery, will be on hand to talk to visitors and hear their nominations.

You can purchase tickets to see Matt speak at The Big One here

Matt has also agreed to be a guest speaker in the Angling Times Social Theatre both days.

“The idea for Fishing Heroes started when one of my guided fishing clients, Glenn Baird, told me his amazing story,” said Matt. “Glenn suffered severe depression while working in the military and experienced a severe mental breakdown.

“He described how he became suicidal, and it was while planning his suicide that he rediscovered fishing.

“I felt Glenn’s story might be the tip of the iceberg. We anglers have long understood the benefits that fishing delivers in soothing mind and soul, bringing people into contact with nature and creating bonds of friendship and community, but we rarely celebrate the power of fishing to change peoples’ lives. Fishing Heroes does just that and a lot more.”

Shakespeare brand manager, Dave McCartney, is excited by the scheme. 

He told Angling Times: “Shakespeare Fishing Heroes is about celebrating angling, not catches. We need to promote the wider benefits of angling both as a community sport and as a gateway into nature for many who would otherwise not experience it. 

“Shakespeare has always been a peoples’ fishing tackle company and that’s why I had no hesitation in backing the campaign.”


Matt and the team want you to tell them about your heroes of fishing. It’s not about catches or trophy shots, or even being a great angler; it’s about the people that make this sport of ours so special: mums, dads, grandparents, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends who help the sport massively by taking others fishing with them.

It’s also about conservationists, club bailiffs and the other unsung heroes who work hard to make fishing better for the rest of us.

The Fishing Heroes campaign will be aired over social media, using the hashtag #FishingHeroes. Anyone who fishes can use the hashtag to nominate their hero and thank someone for their hard work with recognition and a wonderful prize.


Shakespeare Fishing Heroes is part of the new Matt Hayes Fishing Show that will be free to view via social media, initially on Matt’s Facebook page.

Featuring Matt and pal Mick Brown, Season One has already been filmed. Unlike a television series which does not allow a great deal of interaction with the viewers, the idea was to create short fishing stories packed with tips and ideas.

Matt said: “I’m constantly being asked by anglers to make another TV series but I’m convinced that it’s fishing shows for online sharing via social media that really hit the mark.

“Modern lifestyles demand short films. So far, those that I have made and shared online have been hugely popular with anglers, who always give me great feedback.”

revealed: FOUR ways the angling trust will use £4.6M!

The Angling Trust has revealed how it intends to spend a whopping £4.6m cash windfall from the Environment Agency.

As we reported last week, the EA has awarded angling’s governing body a four-year contract worth £1.15m annually. 

Now the Angling Trust has announced details of its spending plans, which address poaching, littering, fisheries enforcement and interaction with the nation’s one million-plus anglers over the next four years.

In addition, it has revealed how it will use a further £800,000 awarded by Sport England to promote participation and competitive fishing over the next two years.  

In this exclusive report, leading officers from the Angling Trust explain more about its plan to help the future of fishing...

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1) Enforcement

Dilip Sarkar MBE, National Enforcement Manager for the Angling Trust, says: 

“The Fisheries Enforcement Support Service continues to coordinate a partnership approach to fisheries crime through Operations Traverse and Leviathan – in which the Voluntary Bailiff Service plays a key role – while our Building Bridges team educates migrant anglers from Eastern and Central Europe regarding angling law, integrating them into our conservation-based culture.”

Goals and achievements

l We have recruited nearly 500 Volunteer Bailiffs to help reduce poaching, fish theft, fishing licence evasion and other crimes. Their presence is helping reduce the fear of crime that can deter people from going fishing.

l In the last year volunteer bailiffs across England undertook 10,978 patrols, contributing 25,054 hours to protecting fish and fisheries. A total of 102 patrols were jointly carried out with the Environment Agency, and 70 with the police.

l The Fisheries Enforcement Support Service initiated and coordinated Operations Traverse and Leviathan, targeting illegal fishing and fish theft, involving the Environment Agency and police in England and Wales.

l We ran Fisheries Enforcement Workshops across six regions in England, providing training from the policing professionals of our Fisheries Enforcement Support Service, Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers and police Rural & Wildlife Crime Officers, and our partners at the Institute of Fisheries Management and Cefas Fish Health Inspectorate.

l Our Building Bridges team provided signage and material in up to 12 languages to educate and integrate migrant anglers. They have taught over 1,000 children the ways of UK fishing and provided events for them to catch their first fish. This reaches out to their parents as well.

2) Litter & the environment

Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater for The Angling Trust, says: 

“We will continue to raise awareness and encourage anglers to take part in our Take 5 campaign. This initiative revolves around anglers spending five minutes of their time to pick up litter from the bank after their session, or taking five items of litter home with them.”

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Goals and achievements 

The Angling Trust works with its extensive network of more than 2,200 clubs, fisheries and trade members to promote angling club litter clean-ups in which which anglers in their thousands take part across the country (see here). In addition to our Take 5 campaign we encourage anglers to send their used line for recycling with the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme, all in partnership with the Environment Agency

3) Interaction with Angling comunity

John Cheyne, Regional Co-ordinator for the Angling Trust, says:

“Our Regional Fisheries Forums are a fantastic way for ourselves and the Environment Agency to meet with grass roots anglers, clubs and fisheries right around the country.

“We are delighted that these events will continue under the new contract and look forward to tackling local issues and getting anglers involved with positive initiatives that help to create better fisheries and get more people fishing.”

Goals and achievements 

Over 1,000 anglers attended 33 regional forums held all over England in the last 12 months, giving anglers the chance to have their say on important issues that affect them at both a national and local level.

l Digital engagement across eight regional Facebook groups which promote key campaigns, help spread good angling practice and support and promote local fishing clubs right round the country.

Read about Angling Trust work delivered on behalf of the Environment Agency at our blog

4) Predation & invasive species

Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater for the Angling Trust, says:

“The Fisheries Management Advisors will be continuing to advise clubs and fisheries on predation matters, so please contact them with any issues that you have around cormorants, goosanders, otters and seals. 

“We will also be administering the Angling Improvement Fund, on behalf of the Environment Agency, which reinvests money from licence sales in projects to protect fish stocks from predation.”

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Goals and achievements

In the last 12 months our Fisheries Management Advisors were contacted more than 900 times to provide fisheries specialist support on predation. 

In four years we have distributed over £480,000 provided by the Environment Agency for otter fencing and other deterrents through the Angling Improvement Fund.

From signal crayfish to floating pennywort, we have supported initiatives such as the Check, Clean, Dry campaign to help stop the spread of invasive non-native species.

New Wilson book to be launched.

Angling Times will launch a new John Wilson book next month as a tribute to our greatest-ever angler.

Created with the blessing of John’s widow, Jo, the strictly limited-edition 132-page book is packed with classic stories from Wilson’s lifetime in fishing, and will help to create a memorial to John on his favourite River Wensum.


In his own words he explains how he started in the sport and recounts stories behind his ‘Go Fishing’ years and his move to Thailand. 

It also features some of his most popular magazine articles, amazing catches, classic interviews and behind-the-scenes stories from his career.

A special section called ‘Wilson & Me’ gives readers an insight into fishing trips he shared with famous anglers worldwide, including a full re-run of the Wilson V Dick Clegg series of matches and his US carp trip with Chris Tarrant.

Wilson’s relative, Angling Times columnist Martin Bowler, also recalls several trips with John and how the pair inspired each other over four decades of fishing.

The book will launch at this year’s The Big One Show in Farnborough on March 23 & 24, where organisers are already planning a special tribute to John – the creation of a new John Wilson MBE Legends Theatre.

The theatre will feature talks and demos from the biggest names in fishing including Jeremy Wade, Terry Hearn, Dean Macey, Ali Hamidi and Steve Ringer – all big fans of Wilson.

Angling Times Editor-in-Chief, Steve Fitzpatrick, has helped put the new book together. He said: “This is a true celebration of the life of John who many people, myself included, believe to be our greatest-ever angler.

“He inspired me to pick up a rod and ‘go fishing’ and this book goes a small way to thank him for all those incredible journeys he set us on as anglers, and the memories we created along the way.”

The book will also help readers improve their own fishing, with a chapter containing some of John’s best tips from nearly 70 years on the bank.

Additionally, a huge Where to Fish section will allow readers to follow in John’s footsteps with guides to his favourite rivers and lakes, including many that featured in his hit TV series.


£7,500 to catch a chew pike like this

Thirty dedictated predator anglers have spent more than £7,500 in a bid to fish one of the country’s greatest big-pike waters for just a single day.

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Each year Somerset’s legendary Chew Valley Lake produces fish over the 40lb mark and for the last couple of seasons venue bosses have sold a limited number of boat and bank day tickets on the popular auction website eBay. 

This year has been no exception, with 30 lots put up for grabs by the reservoir’s governing body, Bristol Water Fisheries. The boat permits that were snapped-up have been sold for an average price of £267, with bank tickets going for around £225 on average.

Last year proved to be a tough season for the regular Chew Valley anglers as sport on the 1,200-acre water disappointed. 

Very few 30lb and 40lb pike were caught – but Bristol Water Fisheries officials are confident fishing will improve in 2019.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “We still believe deadbait and lure fishing tickets at Chew are a premium offering. 

“We recognise that fishing in autumn 2018 wasn’t the usual Chew, with fewer 30lb-plus pike being caught than ever before. 

“That said, February’s fishing continued to be exceptional, with more than twenty 30lb fish being reported, topped by a magnificent 41lb 2oz specimen.

“We do truly believe that 2019 has the potential to offer premium pike fishing for our customers.”

Pike fishing on the water begins again in February. 

An additional 38 eBay lots will be made available for the October-November fishing period on Chew Reservoir in 2019.

For information concerning normal prices and schedules at Chew Valley Reservoir, please visit the website at 

Superstars sign up for The Big One Show 2019

Britain’s best anglers, TV stars and fishing personalities will form an unprecedented line-up of exclusive entertainment at The Big One Show Farnborough, Angling Times can reveal.

Get your tickets here


For the first time ever there will be three big entertainment areas at the March 23 & 24 show – the John Wilson Legends Theatre, Angling Times Social Theatre, and a new Lure Live Arena.

In the John Wilson Legends Theatre, hosted by Rob Hughes, there will be a unique indoor lake for live demonstrations from top anglers including Steve Ringer, Tommy Pickering and Des Shipp. These sessions will cover everything from pole fishing basics to advanced feeder fishing tips, with the opportunity to get up close and ask advice too.

There are also talks from carp legend Terry Hearn and a Q&A session with River Monsters and Mighty Rivers star Jeremy Wade.

The stage will see sneak previews of the latest TV fishing shows, including behind the scenes talks from Monster Carp crew Ali Hamidi, Tom Dove and Neil Spooner, plus Fishing Allstars’ Dean Macey, Matt Godfrey and Adam Rooney.

BBC presenter and award-winning author Will Millard – star of A Year with the Tribe – will give audiences a look into his BBC TV fishing series due to air this spring.

For those looking for relaxed chats, advice and up-close Q&A with stars, the Angling Times social theatre – hosted by Keith Arthur – is a must-visit.

Over the weekend there will be guest appearances from Bob Nudd MBE, Adam Penning, Lee Kerry, Andy May, Ian Russell, Julian Cundiff and more, while in The Big One’s Lure Live Arena, Dr Paul Garner will host demos on the lure tank by experts Luc Coppens, Adam Kirby, Julian Chidgey, Severn guide Gary Palmer and TV presenter Thom Hunt.

Dovetail Games will be at both Farnborough and Stoneleigh.Creators of the world’s leading fishing games – Eurofishing Simulator and their new Fishing Sim World – the lads at Dovetail will be giving all visitors the chance to experience the thrill of fishing on the big screen, and will stage a huge competition for avid gamers and anglers over the entire weekend.

500,000m of unwanted line!

A popular tackle shop and its customers have helped recycle 500,000 metres of disused fishing line in just 10 months.

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Johnson Ross Tackle, a family-run business in Hoddesden, Herts, smashed the ‘half-a-million’ barrier when it shipped a 35,000m bundle of old braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament lines to the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme to stop it being sent to landfill sites. 

Anthony Johnson, a director at Johnson Ross Tackle, said: “It’s fantastic to reach a milestone like this, but there is always more we can do. Like many other tackle shops we have our own line recycling bins in store and we encourage customers to bring their old line to us so we can dispose of it. 

“We also run a re-spooling service and have a drill that we use to take old line off a spool in no time at all. A lot of carp anglers use our service, and on average bring in 1,000 yards of old line (roughly three spools) – which is a lot of wastage. 

In 2018 the ANLRS collected a staggering 1.5 million metres of fishing line, with Johnson Ross Tackle contributing nearly one third of that amount. 

Hundreds more like-minded tackle shops across the UK are also joining the scheme. 

Despite launching only 10 months ago, the ANLRS has gone from strength to strength – but admits it needs more people to contribute to the cause.

ANLRS official Viv Shears said: “The team at Johnson Ross have shown what is possible in terms of collecting anglers’ redundant fishing line – 500,000m in 10 months is fantastic, and with over 180 shops now signed up a bin is never too far away. 

“All you need to do is visit the ANLRS website and click on ‘Recycling Locations’. 

“The locator will find all shops that have signed up within 30 miles of you and they will happily take any old mono, braid and even fly lines for recycling. 

“If your local shop isn’t signed up, ask the staff why and point them in the direction of the website and the registration form! 

“Anglers can also post line direct to us at the address shown on the website,” added Viv. 

“It’s been an amazing first 10 months and we are looking forward to the next 10!”

England lose sponsor amid ‘missing cash’ claims

Drennan and Angling Trust clash as Peter asks ‘show me the accounts’

One of the most successful and lucrative sponsorship deals in the history of fishing has come to an abrupt end this week after the Angling Trust ditched Drennan as backers of the England team.

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The shock move followed the release of a statement by Peter Drennan questioning where the funds – estimated to be around £30,000 a year – were being allocated by the Trust.

Angling Times understands the Oxford-based family firm have paid in excess of £750,000 to the governing body over their 25 year tenure, ensuring the England team are able to compete at the highest level across the world.

During that time the team has accounted for 35 team and individual medals, including an incredible nine golds.

But now, questions are being asked by Drennan as to where the funding is going.

Nigel Botherway, who is a huge England supporter and also an Angling Trust Ambassador, broke the news on his TalkSPORT radio show Fisherman’s Blues on the morning of Sunday 27 January.

Here he announced Peter Drennan’s statement.

Peter Drennan statement

Peter Drennan statement

It read: “The Angling Trust has decided not to renew our sponsorship of the England team after 25 years.

“Since late 2017, and for the first time during our sponsorship, we have expressed concerns regarding allocation of the funds we provided and accounts procedures on expenditure.

“Unfortunately, funds could not be accurately accounted for, particularly for the year ending March 2017.

“We also questioned aspects of selection and management, in particular the exclusion of two anglers with the highest international ranking and the best available young anglers from the next generation, from the European Championships 2018.

“These questions remain unanswered, but in the light of our investment for so many years, and for the benefit of the England team, we hope our concerns are taken into consideration by the Trust and the current team manager in future.

“We have been proud of our association and have the utmost respect for all those world class anglers and managers such as Dick Clegg and Mark Addy.

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege for our company to be associated with team England for so long.”

When did the mistrust start?

The Angling Trust’s alleged mishandling of Drennan’s funds first originated from a letter sent by an anonymous writer to Peter Drennan in December 2017.

The information provided by this ‘whistle-blower’ in the short letter read: “Hi Peter – I think you ought to know that since the Angling Trust has taken over from the NFA, £22,000 of the sponsorship money that you give Team England has gone missing. Regards, A Drennan fan.”

It’s now apparent that this letter had caused the breach of trust between Peter and the Angling Trust during December 2017 and January 2019, although officials from the Trust have now responded with their own statement claiming that the allegations made in the letter are indeed false.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said in the statement: “I am very disappointed that this longstanding contract has not been renewed but it became clear earlier this month that it would not be possible to meet the new and onerous requirements of the sponsor. 

“I also want to be absolutely clear that there is no evidence whatsoever of any funds from the sponsor going missing or of any other financial impropriety. 

“Any suggestions to the contrary are entirely false.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we will happily make public our accounts for Team England for the past 5 years.

"The Angling Trust would like to thank Drennan International for all their support of the team over the past 25 years.

“Over the coming weeks, the Angling Trust will be seeking alternative sponsorship from other partners in the trade to ensure that our teams can continue to compete at the highest level and maintain our reputation as the country to beat on the international circuit.

“These discussions have already begun.”

The Angling Trust and TalkSPORT

The Angling Trust’s statement also expressed its disappointment towards TalkSPORT who didn’t give the authority a chance to respond to Drennan’s announcement on the Fisherman’s Blues programme.

During the show, Nigel Botherway said: “I even asked Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, if he’d like to come on the show this morning to talk about the funding he’d just obtained (Angling Trust four-year contract with EA), and he declined saying he had a late night last night.

“To be honest with you I thought that was a bit weak – I thought he should have come on – maybe he was worried I would speak to him about this – when I messaged him I didn’t know about this Drennan story.”

Angling Times can now confirm that TalkSPORT have since invited Mark onto Fisherman’s Blues for a show to be aired on Sunday 3 February.

Mark said via a Facebook comment: “I have spoken to Nigel Botherway today and he has agreed to give us the right to reply with an interview on Talk Sport next Sunday.

“He will also apologise for not giving us that right last weekend.

“I must stress once again that there has been no misappropriation of the sponsor's funds.

“The insinuations and allegations about Angling Trust staff, who have the highest standards of integrity, on this and other online threads are completely wide of the mark.

“The Angling Trust subsidises all the England teams with insurance, registration fees and huge amounts of staff time on administration and support.

“We worked very hard to try and meet Peter Drennan's demands, but some were simply not possible and so the relationship has had to come to an end.

“I don't want to inflame the situation further by spelling out the details of commercially-confidential discussions.

“Please keep this in proportion.

“We're doing all that we can to find replacement sponsors as soon as possible.

“Thank you very much for the many messages of support from those who haven't jumped to conclusions.”

A voice from the current England squad

The statement written by Peter Drennan also posed questions as to why current England manager Mark Downes wasn’t thanked for his work with the team over the past 19 years, whereas past managers, Dick Clegg OBE and Mark Addy, were.

Joint Managers Mark Downes and Steve Sanders said: “We would like to extend our huge thanks to Drennan International for their massive support over the last 25 years, our England teams would have found it difficult to achieve the current World No. 1 status without such support.

“But like everything, nothing lasts forever, we have a hugely talented squad that is brimming with experience and a great pool of youth talent that is rapidly making a name for itself on the International stage.

“We are confident that with this blend of youth and experience we will be able to maintain our No. 1 ranking well into the future and look forward to forging a great relationship with new supporters.”


For full transparency, The Angling Trust have opened access to all transactions from 2012 to 2017 relating to the Drennan sponsorship. These transactions, alongside the Angling Trust’s full statement can be found on a link on their website at 

Official link:

The Angling Trust statement also reveals an accurate timeline of events as the issue unfolded.

Have your say on the close season.

To keep or scrap the close season is a question that has divided anglers for many years. However the Environment Agency are now letting you have your say, from today (14th of Jan) until the 11th of March 2019, you can put your view across via an online consultation which will have you answer questions about the closed and your reasoning behind your answers.

Once over the Enviroment Agency will be publishing all responses minus personal information and people who have opted out of having their response shared.

Once they have collated all the data and if any new evidence for or against the close season has come up then they will consider a possible change in the ruling.

If they find that there is a case to scrap or move the dates for the close then they will put together and advertise new byelaws in 2019. This will then give people a chance to object or support the proposals before sending in an application to the Secretary of State for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs can then confirm any changes they decide on. It will finally then be up to the Secretary of State to decide if they support the recommendations.

You can access the consultation here:

The current close season runs from the 15th of March to 15th of June on rivers in England. Most canals and stillwaters are not affected by this.

The environment agency website had this to say on why the consultation was happening: “We want to better understand the risks and benefits associated with any change and the potential impacts on fish populations, angling and wildlife. We want to hear from all those interested in coarse fish and fisheries, including the businesses that depend on angling, to help us decide whether we need to retain, change or remove the current close season.

We may, as a result of this consultation, make new byelaws. If we do, we must advertise them to allow anyone the opportunity to object. This will most likely happen later this year.”

In 2018 a survey was sent out for angler's opinions on the close season the results were, 43% of anglers support retaining the current close season: 17% support retaining a close season, but changing the dates; and 33% support removing the close season (the remainder were undecided).

In the same year Angling Times asked Its readers to vote on keeping or scrapping the close season with 71% voting to scrap it. See here

For more information check out the lines on the water blog here

Bob Nudd back on the World Champs stage

Bob Nudd is back in the England fold! The four-times world champion has been selected for the 2019 England Veterans team following a trial at Leicestershire’s The Glebe before Christmas.

He’ll now be part of the five-man team for June’s Veterans World Champs on the Scolmatore Channel in Italy – a tidal offshoot of the River Arno near Pisa… and he’s delighted.

“I thought my World Champs days were over, but after talking to vets manager Joe Roberts I decided to give it a go,” he said. “The trial at The Glebe was tough, but I drew at the right end of the lake and caught some decent perch. Now I can’t wait until June!

“I always said I wouldn’t try for the vets team, but I’ve got so much admiration for Joe Roberts and his helpers that I’d decided I’d apply. Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to make the team, but I do feel a bit guilty about taking someone’s place.”

Now the Browning man – one of world matchfishing’s most famous faces – is looking forward to joining up with former Essex County colleague Billy Hughes, who also made the cut.

“Me and Billy go back a long way and we have fished together a lot over the years,” said Bob. “I still see him a bit on places like the Broads and the Fen drains and it’ll be great to travel together again.”

Currently enjoying another brilliant winter on the drains with a recent winter league win to his name, Bob said he’ll be taking the Vets World Champs as seriously as all of the others he fished as part of the main England team.

“The venue is a tidal, shallow offshoot of the River Arno and it will be tricky, but I’ll be giving it my best shot,” he said.

Joining Bob and Billy in the team are Steve Sanders, Danny Sixsmith and Roger Marlow.

England Vets team manager Joe Roberts said: “It is an honour to welcome and include Bob Nudd and I am confident we will all work very hard at trying to secure a podium place finish.” 

Bob Nudd_Fishing_.jpg

baitdropper found on wye was John Wilson’s

Got a story? Then come and visit us at The Big One Show in 2019!

A baitdropper that belonged to John Wilson has been found on the banks of the River Wye.

Just weeks after the fishing world was rocked by the news of John’s sad passing, Angling Times received an email from John Walters claiming that he found the feeding device four years ago while out searching the river for signs of otters. 

Engraved on the front of the dropper is the message: ‘To John Wilson, from Stainless Steve.’

Wilson Dropper.jpg

 “It must’ve been around 2014/2015 and I was out walking the banks of the river at Courtfield, Welsh Bicknor, when I found this baitdropper lying in the grass,” John recalled.

“I’d never seen one like it and assumed it had been custom made as a present. 

“After seeing the engraving I realised it must have belonged to THE John Wilson. 

“I know that Martin Bowler is related to John and after speaking to George, the local ghillie for the stretch, he confirmed that Martin had fished that location before.

“Since I’ve become aware of John’s death it’s caused me to make an effort to return the device to his family, as it may have some sentimental value.”

Angling Times regular and big-fish maestro Martin Bowler believes the dropper did, indeed, belong to the late TV star.

He told us: “ I think there is a very good chance that it was John Wilson’s baitdropper.

“Around that time (2013) we fished together in that area and previously we had made a fishing programme together, upstream of where it was found.  

“I think John would have been pleased to learn that the finder is putting the dropper to good use, and I hope now and in the future a little bit of John helps him to catch plenty of barbel.”