Homegrown barbel to help boost stocks on top river

Lea fishery manager grows on ‘predator proof’ barbel in his back garden!

The manager of one of the country’s most prolific river fisheries has introduced nearly 200 barbel into his local waterway after hand-rearing them in a purpose-built tank in his back garden for the last three years. 

Andrew Tredgett is the proud owner of Kings Weir Fishery in Hertfordshire and since 2016 he has been growing-on barbel fry in a bid to improve stocks of the species on the waterway.

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This week 181 barbel between 8oz and 2lb were released into the Lea at Kings Weir by Andrew with the help of Environment Agency officials, and each has a much higher survival rate than smaller barbel fry.

Andrew said: “I’ve got mixed feelings really, but I’m ecstatic to finally get to the stage I was aiming for.

“I’ve been feeding these barbel by hand every other day for a long time so it’s sad to see them go, but bigger barbel have now been released into the fishery and they have a much better chance of surviving to help sustain and repopulate the current numbers in the river. 

“We first decided to do this as we felt that too many small babel were going into the rivers and weren’t surviving for very long due to factors such as predation.

“A lot of people said it would never work and that I should leave the Environment Agency to sort out fish stocks, but we have now proven them wrong.

“The growth rates of the fish we have reared have been very impressive, and the hope is that one day one of these fish can break the venue record or even the national record.”

Andrew’s hard work mirrors the Environment Agency’s annual ambition of helping to improve barbel stocks on many other rivers across the country. 

Predation and poor spawning grounds seem to be making the biggest impact on barbel survival rates on smaller rivers and other factors do come into play, although EA officials agree that the stocking of larger barbel could start to make a significant difference. 

Kye Jerrom, who is a Team Leader for Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology at the Environment Agency, said: “Over the last 10 years we have been helping to improve barbel stocks at locations on the River Ouse and Ivel, plus other venues that don’t necessarily have sustainable barbel populations.

“Earlier this year we introduced barbel well over 30cm in length and approaching 3lb – the largest barbel we’ve ever stocked.

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“Our recent PhD studies have shown that barbel numbers are being 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.

“These bigger barbel have a much larger survival rate than the fry and they have also been dye-marked with a blue agent.

“We want to take advantage of anglers fishing for them to learn more about their growth, survival and spread.”

Canal Champs pull in the youngsters

A record number have signed up to the Canal and River Trust’s Junior Canal Fishing Championships.

A total of 75 young anglers aged eight to 18 are already confirmed for the event on the Shropshire Union Canal near Stafford this Sunday, September 15.

The Championships were created in 2014 in an attempt to get more young people fishing and have gained in popularity ever since. 

The Canal and River Trust’s national fisheries and angling manager, John Ellis, helped create the match in association with the Angling Trust.

He said: “Creating incentives such as this match is one great way of keeping young people interested in fishing.

“These Championships form a pathway for kids with a passion for fishing and who love friendly, healthy competition. If you grow up loving football you join a football team – the same can be said of angling. To create something that enables these kids to compete and further enjoy their sport is important.

“It’s been great to see the Championships grow in popularity each year and our Let’s Fish campaign has certainly helped get these young people interested in fishing.

“I expect at least 80 people to be attending this year and perhaps more than 100 in 2020.”

To help increase participation in this year’s championships the Canal and River Trust has added a cadet section for eight- and nine-year-old anglers.

Those fishing in this category will fish for just three hours, while the juniors (10-15) and the Youths (16-18) will fish for four. 

Licensed angling coaches will be on hand on the day and all anglers will take home a £25 Angling Direct goodie bag alongside a trophy.

“The many coaches on the banks will help the kids if they get into difficulties,” John added. 

“Overall it’s going to be a fantastic day where many youngsters will catch well over a kilo of fish in their allotted time, and all will win a prize.”

Closed season decision splits angling world

Angling Times readers have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the decision to keep the closed season on rivers..

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On August 20 the Environment Agency confirmed that the present law would be kept to ‘help preserve coarse fish species on running water’, and within minutes of the news being announced Angling Times’ Facebook inbox was flooded with comments for and against the verdict.

In addition, many wanted to see more action being taken to deter poachers and predators as a result of the law being kept.

The EA’s public consultation on revealed that 49.8 per cent of the 13,680 people who participated wanted the closed season scrapped altogether.

A further 38.8 per cent wanted to keep it as it is, while 9.2 per cent wanted a change to the season’s dates. 

Finally, 2.2 per cent were undecided or didn’t respond.

To gather a greater understanding of what anglers wanted, Angling Times carried out its own online poll in 2018 asking the same question.

 The results revealed that from a reaction of more than 7,000 responses, 71 per cent wanted the closed season on rivers to be scrapped, 20 per cent wanted to keep the current closed season and 9 per cent said they would prefer it to be moved to a different time of year. 

Overall, the decision of the Environment Agency has brought mixed opinion with passionate responses from Britain’s anglers on this crucial announcement. Some of the comments are shown below...

For...

Trevor Bexfield: “I agree with the closed season. Most lakes are open 365 days a year so no-one really has tackle gathering dust for three months.”

Malcolm Hallows: “This is the right decision. We need more bailiffs patrolling the rivers, and predation of our fish stocks needs sorting out, but we can still fish stillwaters over the three months. It also gives us the chance to clear banks ahead of the new season.”

David Sellers: “All venues should now close! We all pay the same licence fee so let all the fish have a break – we’re seeing 500lb nets of carp that can’t be healthy for the fish.”

Donald Allan: “By far the best result for everyone. Most of our river coarse species will continue to be protected during spawning and it gives us anglers a chance to try stillwater or canal fishing for at least three months!”

Ben Fairbrass Jonas: “Brilliant news for river anglers. We can continue resting our precious fish and maybe just need to cull the otters now!”

Against

Alan Stewart: “So call a consultation with associated costs, get a result and then ignore it? Sound familiar?”

Andrew Cunnington: “I want a river-only licence. Why should we have to pay for 12 months when we can only fish for nine?”

Karl Davis: “What’s the point in asking public opinion and just do what you want anyway? I can’t see what difference it will make to rivers. It should be managed by clubs as some stillwaters are.”

Paul Harrison: “The survey was just lip service, they’d already their minds up, but thought ‘let’s make them think they have a say.’”

Mike Voller: “There is no closed season with the number of people fishing after March 15. Time for proper anglers to follow suit and fish all year round.”

Agree but changeclosed season

decision splits
angling world

Pete Harrison: “It doesn’t go far enough. All waters should be closed to fishing. Police should be given powers to see fishing licences, force arrests and confiscate equipment.”

Marc Bailey: “It’s all very well and good having a closed season, but in the 10 years I’ve lived in Maidstone I’ve never seen anyone enforcing it, although I have, however, seen plenty of people – usually of Eastern European origin – fishing during the break.”

Bob Davis: “Having made this decision it should be enforced more rigorously, with much tougher penalties.”

John Gearing: “I support this decision myself but this isn’t the issue with fishing as a sport. It’s ridiculously hard to get into as a child with all the costs of club licences, day tickets, rod licences and then the tackle on top – which isn’t cheap these days.”

Andy Mike Ward: “I’m glad they are keeping the closed season, however, I do also think that the EA really must start thinking how it can police rivers to stop these illegal anglers and the taking of fish. I’m sure the cost of the licence will go up for the extra bailiffs that would be required.”

Clegg calls on Trust to support england

Match legend Dick Clegg OBE has urged the new boss of the Angling Trust to put his weight behind competition fishing and provide more support to the England squads.

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With the announcement of Jamie Cook as Trust’s new chief executive, England’s most successful team manager used social media to voice his opinion on its outgoing CEO, Mark Lloyd. 

“I never got the impression that Lloyd had competition very high on his list of priorities,” wrote Dick on Facebook. Asked about his comments, he added: “I meant what I said, but I would like to make it clear that I support the Angling Trust, and I think that everyone should support our governing body.

“However, I really do hope that its new CEO gets behind competition fishing.

“I come from a matchfishing background, and I know that if you have someone that supports you, you’re okay, but Mark Lloyd never gave me the impression that competition fishing was a priority. 

“Neither Mark nor his colleagues ever went to a World Championships, and there were competitions at places as close as Ireland. It’s disgusting, really.”

Dick was involved in team management for 35 years and knows more than most about competition anglers. “Angling Trust membership numbers aren’t good enough, and I know that lots of match anglers will join only because they have to do so in order to fish certain competitions. 

“If the Trust doesn’t start putting money back into match fishing it will become a problem, as people will realise and simply stop joining.

“We have so many teams now, including juniors, veterans, and the disabled squad, that something needs to be pushed from the top to give these teams the support they deserve.

“Internationally, we need someone who is responsible for looking into how to fund our teams, find new sponsors, and create a good working relationships so we don’t experience the debacle that was the Drennan International calamity.”

Dick believes a voice for match anglers in the Angling Trust is required, and there hasn’t been one since the retirement of a few key individuals. “When the NFA and the Trust joined we had three members of the NFA on board – all with a competition fishing background. All three have now retired, and nobody has replaced them,” he said.

“As a result there is no voice for competition anglers in the Trust, but I hope that the new CEO can be just that.”

Eight hours battle results in hook pull

Imagine playing a huge catfish for eight hours and losing it at the net – well that’s what Gareth Hawthorne suffered on a trip to Avalon Fisheries in France.

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The massive moggie, estimated to weigh around 150lb, devoured Gareth’s snowman hookbait at 4.30am and shook the hook more than eight hours later at 12.35pm! 

He said: “The giant ignored my two catfish rigs and took my rig intended for carp instead – which included a 2.5lb tc rod with 18lb line and 20lb coated braid. 

“I was fishing the middle peg halfway up the lake and the fish tore off to my right, where it stayed for around three hours.

“It then decided that it didn’t want to be there any more so it went two-thirds of the way back down the lake to my left!”

After another hour or two of intense battling the big cat managed to lodge itself in a snag, and Gareth and a friend had to go out in a boat to dislodge it. “At this point I’d been battling the fish for about six hours,” he added. “The water in my swim was quite shallow and I couldn’t get the fish to come closer than three metres from the bank.

“I also noticed that my line was now in a terrible condition and my reel was starting to really struggle. We got back into the boat and moved to a swim with deeper water, and the cat decided to go on another long run back towards its favourite spot to bury itself again! 

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“I managed to turn it and get it back in front of me but at 12.35am it wasn’t meant to be. 

“I only saw the head of the fish once and it looked to be around 12ins across.”

Gareth tried to compose himself after the intense battle but luck still wasn’t on his side, as he explained further…

“After a shower and a beer I got back to my swim to get the baits back in the water but my old Patriot bait boat gave up, the fish started to spawn and we got hammered by the heatwave – so the cat was my only run all week!

“I’ve been going to France every couple of years but have only managed catfish to 47lb – so this was a bitter pill to swallow.

“I will definitely be going back to Avalon to clear up some unfinished business!”


Closed season is here to stay

The Environment Agency has made the controversial decision to retain the current coarse fishing closed season on rivers throughout the UK.

The news follows the results of an eight-week public consultation carried out earlier this year. Many of the 13,680 respondents agreed that abolishing the closed season would pose a potential risk to coarse fish. 

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In addition, the EA maintains that while changing the start or finish dates of the season would protect some species, it would have an adverse effect on others.

In the consultation, 38.8 per cent of respondents wanted to keep the closed season, 9.2 per cent voted to change the dates, and 49.8 per cent wanted to scrap it altogether. 

The decision has angered some sections of the angling community, prompting Kevin Austin, the EA’s deputy director of fisheries, to comment: “We recognise that some anglers will be disappointed with this outcome, while others will welcome it. This reflects a shared passion for fishing.”

As well using the consultation responses, the EA also relied on the experience of the team at its Calverton Fish Farm, who noted that chub and barbel are sensitive to spawning ground disturbance.

“We have analysed the many comments from the 13,680 responses to understand the evidence and opinions around the closed season,” added Kevin. “Given the limited further evidence on risks to coarse and other fish stocks, we have decided to retain it.

“We will continue working with partners to consider any new information on the closed season, as and when it becomes available.”

What our readers think

Craig Cook 

“Brilliant, the magical first day will remain and we can spend three months looking at our favourite river planning for that magical June 16.”

John Turner 

“What a complete waste of time that was – the vote was overwhelming to scrap it!”

James Oates

“Glad they have kept it and not given in to people’s greed. That magical day will stay magical.”

Lee Crisp 

“Backwards attitude. Fish don’t always spawn in the closed season – it should be down to people that run/own the water if they want to close it.”

Gary Armiger 

“What an absolute waste of time and money. Ignore the result, well done EA, continue to ‘protect’ river fish in rivers that are hardly fished any more.”

Three big names have their say

Dave Harrell 

“I was very disappointed to learn that the EA employees in charge of making the decisions have decided to keep the 1878 closed season law on rivers. 

“I truly believe now that the EA individuals were only paying lip service to us all along. 

“They were pushed into a corner to carry out a survey, and when the majority of the initial small consultation voted in favour of change, they then had to carry out a full consultation.

“I honestly believe now that even if 90 per cent had gone for abolition, it still wouldn’t have been scrapped.

“I personally feel that I’ve wasted an awful lot of my own time on this campaign, but I did it because I believed (and still do) that the river closed season law of 1878 needed changing.

“River fishing is in decline, and the EA’s decision will keep it going in that direction.”

Paul ‘Woody’ Woodward
woody’s Angling Centre, Hereford

“The way I see it, we should have changed the dates and moved the closed season back to the months of June and July, when the river is warm and the fish actually spawn.

“All year long we feed the fish high-protein baits, but when they come out of their winter dormancy and are looking for food we can’t feed them because the rivers are closed to angling.

“This is the time when fish need to eat the most, and the more food they get, the higher the quality their milt and eggs will be, so spawning will be more successful.

“It’s just the way nature is, and I don’t see why we can’t follow this natural cycle with our fishing season.

“I’d be happy for all fisheries to shut during June and July – and I sell bait and tackle! It’s for the good of the fish.”

TV Star and Specimen Angler Dean Macey

“In my opinion it’s good news that the EA decided to retain the closed season. However, I’m fully behind the idea of changing the dates to protect the fish through the summer months.

“For example, close the rivers on May 1 and reopen them in August, or even September.

“I’m not sure if what was good for the fish decades ago is the same nowadays.”


Are matchmen turning their backs on carp?

A growing number of Britain’s top match anglers are abandoning carp lakes in favour of silverfish venues... with stunning results.  

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Over the past few weeks, bumper nets of ‘traditional’ match species have been taken around the country, including 100lb-plus bags of bream and hauls of roach in excess of 70lb. 

Among the match stars embracing this silver fish revolution is Kent tackle dealer Richard Taylor. The Preston Innovations Delcac man has enjoyed some spectacular recent results, including a phenomenal 69lb 4oz of roach in a match on Bough Beech Reservoir in the county.

“I used to go carp fishing on commercials all the time, but I hardly bother any more,” he said. “Carp are a bit predictable, with certain pegs always performing, and there’s definitely a rising demand for silverfish matches. 

“We’ve had loads of people calling up for tickets to the South East Reservoir Championship that we run through Medway Tackle.”

Elsewhere, the prolific silver fish venue Tamar Lakes has also witnessed a steep rise in visitor numbers, with matchmen travelling hundreds of miles to fish it. 

Match organiser and venue expert Simon Poynter, who recently won a Tamar match with 53lb 1oz of roach, skimmers and perch on the whip, said: “Everything in angling seems to go in cycles. Ireland used to be really popular, then commercials took over, but now people seem to be coming back to natural venues. 

“Some people get sick to death of ‘carp puddles’, and when venues like Tamar are fishing so well it’s easy to see why they are going elsewhere.”

The spike in popularity of silver fish matches isn’t confined to the South. Up in Yorkshire, Keith Marshall landed more than 122lb of bream from the Aire and Calder Canal in a recent match... despite the unwanted attention of some local wildlife.

“I was catching well before a cormorant dived in my peg, but to my surprise the tip pulled round and I was into a 5lb bream! I caught all my fish on a groundbait feeder with dead maggots cast tight to the far margin, and the catch is a record for the Happy League we run,” said Keith, who has seen a rise in angler numbers on the canal. 

He added: “Bream fishing seems to be becoming more popular. I think people are getting fed up with carp and are returning to natural venues, so many of which offer brilliant fishing at the moment.”

Such is the quality of silver fish angling now on offer around the country, a new competition called ‘Silver Fish’ has been launched by organiser Tom Scholey, where a handy £14,000 could be up for grabs.

Anglers have warmly welcomed the event, with tickets selling like hot cakes and some venues already close to being fully booked.

 “I think silverfish matches are becoming more popular because anglers love to be busy though the cold months, and this style of fishing offers plenty of bites,” Tom explained.

“Ticket sales have gone far better than we expected and loads of people are talking about the event.”

Tom also revealed that F1s will be allowed in the event. “F1s feed in all weather, and offer good cold water sport,” he explained.

“We have included qualifying venues without F1s for those who would rather not catch them, and the final venue, Hallcroft Fishery, has no F1s – so it will be big bag of true silver fish that wins!”

Ouse is alive and kicking!

The Environment Agency’s Great Ouse fisheries team has revealed some of the amazing fish caught during its monitoring programme, rubbishing rumours that the record-breaking river is dead.

Huge barbel, chub, perch and pike are just a few of the many thriving species revealed by the team during recent population surveys, which are used to investigate fry recruitment levels and the impact of pollution incidents, and are funded by fishing licence sales.

A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said: “The main issue for riverine fisheries such as the Great Ouse is the lack of habitat, and that’s what we invest in to really improve fish numbers and fishery performance.”

Speaking of the team’s latest findings, he added: “We had a good catch of large barbel on the Ouse at Cosgrove, near Milton Keynes. That was positive, as we’ve been working to conserve barbel populations in that area.

“Big perch are common throughout the Ouse and Fenland system, and there have also been significant chub catches, especially on the Cam, Ivel and Upper Ouse.

“It’s not just specimen fish that seem to be thriving, with juvenile silver fish populations also proving strong.

“The last two long summers have given perfect spawning conditions for many species, which means fry survival has been excellent, and fish numbers have boomed as a result.

“The local Great Ouse from Bedford through to St Ives has been on great form for local anglers, with impressive roach and dace weights,” the Defra spokesman added.

Match records fall as huge weights taken

Match records have been tumbling all over the country in one of the most prolific months ever in UK matchfishing.

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Big weights of carp and F1s have been the main feature of contests, although silver fish and big bream have also muscled their way into anglers’ keepnets.

The largest reported weight
in a long string of records was 510lb 4oz, taken from peg 11 on Ash Lake at Oaks Lakes fishery in North Yorkshire.

The monster haul fell to County Durham matchman Tony Watson, who polefished just few metres out with pellets to amass nine keepnets-worth of carp in five-and-a-half hours. 

He said: “When I turned up at the fishery that morning I told the owner I had a feeling the match record would go today. Everything just felt right.

“The weather was mild, it hadn’t rained the night before and the wind was blowing into my end of the lake, where carp could be seen shallow. 

“I pretty much fished a top-kit plus two with 6mm banded pellets, feeding 4mm offerings from the start of the match, and I didn’t look back. 

“I ended up with 183 carp averaging between 2lb and 3lb, which I think we worked out to be a fish every one minute 48 seconds.”

Despite obliterating the venue’s previous record of 459lb, the 45-year-old tackle shop owner reckons he lost at least 50lb to hook-pulls, and had to step up his hooklinks from 6lb breaking strain to 8lb.

“The last hour-and-a-half of the match was silly fishing, and during this time I probably put 180lb-200lb in the net,” Tony added.

“I had to increase the strength of my hooklinks for insurance as I knew that match could have been close and every fish needed to count.

“At this point I asked the angler in the next peg to me what the match record was but he just said, ‘don’t worry mate, you’ve smashed it.’

“It’s taken me four years to compete on this venue so I’m over the moon to be the first angler to break the 500lb barrier here and claim the new record.”

It’s not just commercial fisheries that have been impressing in matches either, as Danny Chetwood proved in a recent memorial match at Patshull Park Fishery. 

Using pole tactics on the venue’s beautiful main lake, Danny alternated between red maggots and bunches of redworms fished over groundbait to take 141lb 10oz of skimmers and bream to 6lb.

“It was probably my best day’s pole fishing ever, and I’m so very proud to be the new match record-holder here at Patshull,” he said.

CLOSED SEASON decision is made

The Environment Agency have made the controversial call to retain the current coarse fishing close season on rivers throughout the UK, following the results of an eight week public consultation carried out earlier this year.

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The results of the consultation which received 13,680 responses indicated that removing the close season would pose a potential risk to coarse fish and whilst amending the start or end dates would protect some species, it would significantly impact others.

This decision is likely to anger some sections of the angling community with support for keeping the close season at 38.8%, changing the closed dates at 9.2% and removing it altogether at 49.8%.

As well as the evidence provided by respondents in the consultation the Environment Agency also relied upon the experience of the team at their Calverton Fish Farm who have noted that species such as chub and barbel are very sensitive to spawning ground disturbance.

Deputy Director of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, Kevin Austin, said: “We have analysed the many comments from the 13,680 responses to understand the evidence and opinions around the close season. Given the limited further evidence on risks to coarse and other fish stocks, we have decided to retain the close season."

“Our priority is to find the right balance between angling and protecting fish stocks. The current close season is risk-based and maintains protection for the majority of coarse fish.

“We recognise that some anglers will be disappointed with this outcome, while others will welcome it. This reflects a shared passion for fishing.

“We will continue, working with partners, to consider any new information on the close season as and when it becomes available.”

Angling Times will provide an update on this breaking news story as feedback from the country’s anglers comes in.

Tackle giants back for Big One shows

Fishing’s big boys – Korda, Guru, Preston Innovations, Korum, Sonubaits and Avid Carp – have this week all confirmed they are to attend The Big One shows in 2020!

In addition, in a bonus for all coarse, carp, and match anglers, they’re planning even bigger stands with more new tackle launches than ever before!

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As tickets went on sale a fortnight ago, Angling Times revealed there would be TWO The Big One shows again in 2020, starting with an expanded Midlands-based event at Stoneleigh Park on Saturday February 29 and Sunday March 1.

This new show will be followed just three weeks later by the famous The Big One Farnborough, all set for Saturday March 21 and Sunday March 22.

The Big One show director, Vince Davies, said: “You can’t have the biggest fishing shows without the biggest brands and so I’m delighted that we’ve managed to secure their attendance for the 2020 events.”

The Korda carp team, including Danny Fairbrass, Ali Hamidi, Neil Spooner, Tom Dove, plus Guru-backed anglers Dean Macey and Steve Ringer, have been a must-see for all visitors to the event, offering one-to-one advice and show-stopping stage performances.

Preston’s team are remaining tight lipped about their new launches but have confirmed they are to ‘go big’ with an expanded stand space that will blow visitors away.

“There can be no denying the powerful draw of the Farnborough Show, and that appears to extend to Stoneleigh,” a spokesperson for Preston told Angling Times.

“We are really eager to make the most of both shows – with more floor space, improved branding and more interactive elements on our stand. 

“All four of our brands draw crowds, but we anticipate new levels of engagement following a number of changes to our physical presence.

“Preston Innovations, Korum, Sonubaits and Avid Carp are all bringing new things to the table – in more than one sense of the word!”

Buy Tickets

Tickets are now available for both events – head to www.thebigoneshow.co.uk for special early-bird offers.

Exhibit at the show

If you want to exhibit at both shows contact Vince Davies on 07793 404006 or Donna Harris on 01733 366481. Email: donna.harris@bauermedia.co.uk

Five minutes with Mike Smith, founder of ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’

Britains’s anglers are being urged to take ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’... and raise money for research into the disease which kills thousands every year. 

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Already the ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ scheme has raised £4,600 for Cancer Resarch UK, and with fundraising events planned this autumn, it looks set to pass the £10,000 mark in a few months.

The idea has been so successful that it has now been accepted as an official group within Cancer Research UK.

A Bite Out Of Cancer is the brainchild of Cumbria angler Mike Smith, who came up with the idea of encouraging anglers to donate £1 for every pound of fish they caught. 

On a bench at his favourite fishery, placed to commemorate a bailiff who fell victim to the disease, Mike revealed all…

Q) Why did you start ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’?

Mike: “It all started after the loss of my father and grandfather who both fell victim to the disease. I wanted to raise money to help others beat the illness, and seeing as I’ve always had a passion for fishing, I thought that would be the best way to do it.”

Q) How did you get the idea and come up with the name?

Mike: “A lot of people were encouraging me to get involved with angling coaching for kids, but I had a lot of factors blocking me from doing that. 

“So when I was out fishing for cod with a mate one day the idea just came to me. 

“The name then followed after weeks of overthinking. I wanted something catchy and felt this fits. After all, every bite we get, it’s a chunk out of cancer.”

Q) What are the movement’s biggest achievements so far?

Mike: “Getting to over £4,500 was crazy. I wasn’t sure if we would make £1,000 in the first year. Helping to get the charity noticed more in publications and on the ITV news recently is also a mega achievement for us.”

Q) What makes ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ different from other fishing charities?

Mike: “Other fishing charities I’ve found generally focus on one-day events throughout the year, whereas we want to be, and are, an on-going thing. It could be your biggest fish or the smallest, or it could be all the fish you catch. There are so many different ways people can get involved.”

Q) What’s the best fish posted/amount donated to date?

Mike: “The best fish to date was a cracking 54lb 10oz mirror caught by Justin Carter. Our biggest donation was a whopping £500 which came through a sponsor.”

Q) What do you hope for ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ to achieve? 

Mike: “We want to be known by all anglers in the country so when they catch a special fish, they can share it and donate to a great cause. 

“If every angler in Britain donated just £1 imagine what we could do for cancer research!”

Q) Where does the money raised by anglers go?

Mike: “Every penny made goes to Cancer Research UK. What are staff doing with it then? We are getting the chance to head down to their Manchester headquarters to find out next month.”

Q

What can anglers do to support causes such as this?

Mike: “Stick their hands in their pockets! Being on the bank really is a pleasure and can be so rewarding – it really doesn’t take too much to give something back. 

“Anglers already contribute to some great causes, and as a group we should be proud to show an image that there’s so much more to fishing than just catching fish.”

Q) What are your plans for the future?

Mike: “We have only really just begun our work and have loads to look forward to. 

“We have a big talk coming in October which will be to over 400 people and will be alongside legends such as Julian Cundiff, Simon Crowe and Steve Reynard.

“We also have the first of our carp fishing socials in France which will raise thousands for the charity in just one trip – the first and biggest fish of the trip for each angler being donated!”

Q) This must all be a lot to manage. Do you have another job outside of ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’?

Mike: “It is pretty manic managing things around my job as a waiter. I have a great team behind me, though, and a partner who I couldn’t do it without. 

“I need to especially thank Alistair Kirkwood, Carl Jay, Lewis Clarke, Paul Neil, Laura Balderson and Marcus Morris.”

Q) Finally, how does it feel to see such great feedback to what you are doing?

Mike: “It’s brilliant to see people taking an interest. I’ve had people message me saying how much of an inspiration it was. 

“Jason Lockyer was so impressed that at one stage he was donating everything he caught every time he went fishing!

“It really doesn’t matter what the sum of the donation is, though.

“Every pound is a step towards beating cancer and potentially giving another angler out there some more precious time on the bank.”

How it works

All you have to do is go fishing! If you catch a fish you are proud of, take a picture of it.

Then donate the weight of your catch (or any amount) to ‘A Bite Out Of Cancer’ by visiting fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/abiteoutofcancer or follow the link in their Instagram bio and click ‘donate’. Then email your catch to Abiteoutofcancer@gmail.com. It will be shared with the hundreds of other donations on all their social pages and stored in their photo album. 

Stay tuned to the Facebook page for ‘pic of the month’ comps and updates on merchandise.

River trent’s roach form is better than ever!

Just 10 years after being ‘devoid’ of them, the Trent is now being hailed as the best roach river in Britain thanks to a surge in bumper match weights and specimen catches. 

Monster barbel might have grabbed the headlines on the Trent over recent years, but roach have taken over this summer with better-than-ever catches since the season opened.

Nottingham & District Federation AS regularly hold matches on their Clifton Bridge and Powergen stretches of the river and double-figure nets of roach and dace are now featuring in evening knock-ups.

The society’s match secretary Neil Pitfield thinks there are several reasons for the resurgence of roach on the river. 

“In the mid-1990s to early 2000s you really couldn’t get a bite from a roach on the Trent, but 10 years ago it started to pick up,” he said. 

“Whether it was due to the roach getting used to the turbines on the numerous weirs dotted across the Trent I’m not sure, but as soon as the penny dropped anglers started catching huge bags of them.

“The river match weights now often exceed the 20lb barrier but pleasure anglers who are fishing hemp and tares are regularly catching 30lb-40lb bags on certain pegs. It’s fishing better than ever for roach! 

“Barbel anglers introduce a lot of pellets and boilies which the roach thrive on, but the combination of no floods and hot weather has meant roach fry have boomed, leading to some excellent catches in our matches and others all over the river.”

Alongside numbers of roach, specimen-sized fish are also making an appearance for many pleasure anglers of late.

Daiwa and Nutrabaits-backed ace Alfie Naylor managed to hook a fine 2lb 10oz example during his latest trip to a middle reach of the waterway.

He fished a light feeder setup using 3lb line straight through with a Daiwa Powermesh 1.5oz tip, size 16 Gamakatsu hook and a simple banded 8mm River Plus pellet to tempt a bite.

“I honestly thought these hook baits were far too big for roach, but how wrong was I!” he said.

“I landing several good roach to just under 1lb and then at last knockings I landed my personal best at 2lb 10oz – a fish that turned my legs to jelly!”

Trent regular David Jones also enjoyed a bumper day on his local stretch of the Trent where he banked no fewer than 100lb of roach and chub, topped by a brace of 2lb redfins. 

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Regularly casting a 20g feeder loaded with groundbait, hemp and casters, with two casters nicked onto a size 16 hook, ensured bites kept coming with a 2lb 4oz roach proving to be the best of the day.

He said: “It was an area where I’d previously enjoyed some fantastic summer days for roach but the brace of two pounders definitely topped it for me.”

Angler Who ‘Forgot How to Fish’ takes big carp haul

A man who lost all his fishing memories 15 years ago has just returned from the trip of a lifetime – landing three new bests in a week topped by a mirror carp of 56lb 12oz.

After having operations on bowel cancer in 2004, John Barter suffered a hypoxia attack on the brain which resulted in a large part of his memory being lost. 

His fishing experiences were among these but, undeterred, John decided to start all over again and has since enjoyed some spectacular results.

“My mates used to say I was a good angler, but I had to ask them what I did with rigs and bait,” he revealed. “After 30 operations and 10 years of recovery I started fishing again in 2015.

“So far I have had great success – catching tench to 11lb 3oz, a 220lb arapaima, a 60lb redtail catfish and an 88lb Siamese carp.”

“Fishing has helped me from bad times to a great recovery.

“My most recent trip to Le Moulin de Graffeuil in France was especially good, and I landed a grass carp of 40lb 2oz, a common of 34lb and a huge mirror weighing 56lb 12oz – I just can’t believe my luck!”

John is a member and fundraiser for Anglers Against Cancer, and has run an annual fishing event for the last five years to contribute towards the funds to children with cancer. Over this time, a fantastic £250,000 has been raised.

5 Minutes with: John Weeden

Few quests for world glory have been fuelled by tea bags, but a box of PG Tips helped play its part in securing the England Disabled team World Champs silver in Italy recently as part of a fundraising campaign by team manager John Weeden.

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London tackle shop Oakwood Angling donates the annual proceeds from their tea and coffee box on the counter to John and that came to £300 this time around, which when combined with donations from mates, local businesses and anglers up and down the country, saw John secure a massive £13,500. 

This selfless process begins again as the team receives nothing from the Angling Trust. Nor do they have a sponsor. But the recent success has left John proud of the team’s achievements and now even more determined to send his lads off to Slovenia next year.

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Q) What was your reason for managing the Disabled team and how did you get involved?

JOHN WEEDEN: I first went out in 2003 as a helper with the then manager Dave Vincent. When he retired, Joe Roberts took over and I carried on but took a more active role, helping mix the groundbaits and so on.

Joe took over the Veterans and fished for them so the position became vacant in 2010-11. The team were asked who they wanted to be in charge and to a man they said me! I wanted to do it, of course I did. It’s a lot of time and effort and costs me money, but I love the lads and love every bit about the team.

Q) How many anglers do you have to pick from, and are there levels of disability as per the Paralympics?

JW: The pool is small – this year I had nine lads to pick from – but a few more are interested for 2020 which I’d like to think our recent success has helped achieve. That said, the anglers I pick from are very good so there’s no lack of talent. 

In terms of disability levels, yes there are, and it’s done by the world match governing body FIPS on a points basis. You have to have a team of anglers whose disability points add up to 11 or more, no less. An angler who is relatively able-bodied would score one or two points while someone with one arm like Alan Chadbone would score six points. With this restriction in place it does influence team selection as I may have four lads who all score two points but one of them has to make way.

Q) Disabled anglers are allowed helpers in the World Champs. What can and can’t they do?

JW: Most anglers at this year’s World Champs had a helper and their level of influence is under scrutiny by FIPS all week, but no one ever tries it on. 

Depending on the level of disability of the angler, helpers can land fish, unhook them, put the bait on, make balls of groundbait and so on – basically what the angler can’t physically do. 

Their tactical nous is also important and that’s why I was delighted to have Alex Clements with us this year as his knowledge is out of this world. There’s also Tony Troth, Rick Martinelli and Colin Wedgebrow who come along and they’re all experienced anglers. Without them, the job would be nigh on impossible.

Q) You spent over £13,500 this year to go to Italy – how is that all broken down?

JW: It sounds a lot doesn’t it? Accommodation and van hire plus tolls and fuel to get to Italy amounted to £6,800 alone and then there’s flights at £2,300, food for the week at £1,000, bait at just shy of a grand, van hire in Italy, the cost of a recce trip to the venue and even something as small as gifts for the captains of opposition teams, which is a World Champs tradition. 

We spent the lot, but it meant not one of our lads had to put their hands in their pockets to pay out. I’m also strict on cataloguing everything so there’s 100 per cent transparency on where the money goes.

Q) Are you amazed at the generosity of people regarding funding?

JW: I am overwhelmed really. I’ve had money come from New Zealand, Spain, Malaysia and local businesses. Anglers have given me their section winnings on matches, we’ve had charity matches with a big raffle, local businesses pitching in and a big handsome donation from retired businessman Pete Laughton. 

My mate runs a local sign firm TG Lynes and he put in a grand and has promised the same for 2020. Even the tea box in Oakwood Angling contributed £300 so it all helps.

Q) What’s the one donation that made you smile more than most this year?

JW: My ex-wife Jill gave me £20 and wished us well, which is odd because fishing is the reason we got divorced. I remember I was going fishing with Graham Dack and the evening before she said: “If you go fishing I won’t be here when you come back”. She wasn’t either, and at our divorce hearing she said: “If I was a mermaid I’d have had more chance of seeing him”. God bless her though for donating. It still makes me laugh.

Q) Does it anger you that the Angling Trust receives millions of pounds yet gives teams like yours nothing to help?

JW: Yes it does. We ask for very little yet they can’t even pay for our entry into the World Champs. That’s not too much to ask is it? Usually the team have to fund themselves and that can be up to £2,000 a man, but this year they didn’t have to pay anything and that was great. 

These guys are disabled – they don’t work and don’t really have the money but they give everything they have to fish for their country. To have no backing from your governing body is disappointing to say the least so it’s down to us to raise the money again and we’re on our way with a few early donations. 

Q) If we cold host the Disabled World Champs in this country, where would you like to see it held?

JW: I’d love it to be here but it will never happen for two main reasons. One, we don’t have the venue and two, there’s not the money to do it. A disabled venue needs to have vehicle access to behind the pegs, and flat banks that are suitable for wheelchairs and 100 per cent safe. 

We could make a river like that but it would cost a lot. If the Angling Trust can’t pay anything to help us in the first place, why would they blow it doing something like venue development?

John Wilson’s dream fishery goes up for sale

Angling Times readers have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase their own slice of paradise – the late John Wilson’s luxury home and lake in Thailand.

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The Bung Sawan estate, set in seven acres near Chumphon, has been listed on the property market by John’s widow Jo, who plans to move back to be near family and friends in East Anglia.

Created by John himself, the dream property – on sale for 25 million Baht (around £625,000) – includes a four-acre lake boasting an impressive stock of monster fish such as arapaima, redtail catfish and Siamese carp – not to mention a luxury three-bedroom villa providing exceptional views over the site.

Add-ons include a fully stocked tackle den, swimming pool and a guest villa located on opposite sides of the lake.

John and Jo had originally planned to sell the estate back in 2018 and return to the UK, but the sudden sad passing of the Go Fishing TV series legend in November last year put the sale on hold.

Along with John’s brother Dave, Jo has been working hard to ensure this dream location the couple created remains a fitting legacy for the TV star, and a great opportunity for a new family or business to enjoy for generations to come.

Jo told Angling Times: “To get the fishery ready for sale, the far bank of the lake has recently been cleared so there are more swims for anglers to enjoy around the whole lake.

 “The lake is now larger and is looking so much better, while the island has been cut back to half its size and all snags have been removed.

“I feel that this could be a way that a syndicate could get together to own the beautiful place that John and I created in Thailand.

“I’m really proud of what I have done because I am sure John would be too. He taught me so much and, with his brother David’s help, it is now a beautiful place to live and a great investment for a commercial fishery.”

Jo added that she would consider a rent-to-buy option with a 25 per cent deposit upfront and the remaining balance to be paid over two years.

What does the estate include?

• Four-acre lake stocked with more than 12 Asian and South  American species of fish

• Luxury three-bedroom villa with three ensuite bedrooms

• Fully stocked tackle den

• Swimming pool

• Gated entrance

• Gatehouse bungalow with two ensuite bedrooms

•  Two smaller ponds – one a growing-on facility for stock Fish and the other a lily pond

want to know more?

Interested parties should visit the estate’s website: johnwilsonfishinglake.com

five-year plan to get more of us on the bank

Officials behind the National Angling Strategy have revealed plans to get more people fishing over the next five years. 

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The National Angling Strategy Partnership Board unveiled its objectives last week at Get Hooked on Fishing’s Northala Fields headquarters in Northolt, West London, when it admitted that that 33 per cent of anglers fished less in 2018 than they did in 2017. 

Martin Salter, policy chief for the Angling Trust, said: “We’re currently dealing with some very real challenges in this sport, and this strategy is a sensible, considered and honest document that doesn’t shy away from these challenges. 

“The board is already doing everything possible within the current strategy and the current resources available. 

“We have already engaged nearly 40,000 participants over 1,095 angling participation events, of which 21,000 were juniors. 

“The Angling Trust has also trained some 295 new angling coaches who delivered around 250 domestic angling competitions involving over 12,000 anglers. 

“We have helped, through the Angling Improvement Fund grant and other projects, something like 58 clubs with infrastructure projects – so significant good work is happening at grass roots level. There has to be more of it, however, and it needs to be properly funded.”

The strategy has been developed by research company Substance after 35,000 people responded to the National Angling Survey survey last year. 

Among the most common responses were the need to make more information available on where and how to fish, alongside emphasising the mental health and physical fitness benefits fishing can bring.

Get Hooked on Fishing’s chief, Sarah Collins, added: “We want to try and change the image of fishing and show that it’s not just for the lonely man on the bank but that it’s something that families can get involved in. 

“We do a lot of work with young people but more has to be done.

“We want to create opportunities for them and help improve their lives.”

Officials from the Environment Agency also attended the launch, with the authority’s chair Emma Howard Boyd agreeing that fishing has superb health benefits to participants: “The National Angling Strategy aims to get more people out to experience angling – because we know that getting outdoors and experiencing nature is good for health and well-being.

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“I’m really pleased that the Environment Agency is working with the partners and anglers on this exciting vision for growing the sport and delivering the best possible angling experience in England.”

The National Angling Strategy is coordinated by the Angling Trust with representatives from the Environment Agency, Angling Trades Association, Get Hooked on Fishing and Canal and River Trust.

THE BIG PLAN

The National Angling Strategy Partnership Board’s six objectives to improving angling participation between 2019 and 2024:

1) Develop Awareness and Knowledge of Angling 

Angling needs to be visible, attractive, exciting and affordable. For angling to prosper, more people need to be aware of it, realise what they can get from it and how and where they can take part, in both sea and freshwater.

2) Increase Participation in Angling

Make it simple to recruit, retain and re-engage anglers. Angling needs to reverse declines in participation and grow its numbers to deliver more benefits to society and angling. It must recruit new people and broaden its appeal, retain anglers, increase their participation and reengage those who take part.

3) Develop social benefits through angling

Make people more active, healthier, happier and engaged in nature and communities through angling. Angling will be used as a tool for social development by getting more people active, increasing their health and well-being, developing education and skills and increasing volunteering. 

4) Develop Sustainable Places to Fish 

Develop fisheries that are local, environmentally healthy and accessible. Anglers must be more involved in creating healthy, sustainable fishery environments that are close to where people live and are accessible to all. Government and its agencies need to work with partners to tackle environmental problems and improve sea and freshwater fish stocks.

5) Increase Angling’s Economic Impact

Anglers will deliver a greater economic impact, be more financially sustainable and deliver additional value to the UK economy, rural and coastal communities. There needs to be investment supporting long-term growth in the angling sector to support the development of the market, increase income for angling businesses to enable more sustainable development, and boost angling tourism in rural and coastal areas. 

6) Understand angling data and evidence

Use data to ensure angling’s development is informed, accurate and measurable. There needs to be better evidence and data to inform angling’s growth, including better knowledge about non-anglers, the impact it makes and what works in angling development.

kan-roo believe it?

Strange happenings are a common occurrence when night fishing – but we challenge you to top tackle editor Mark Sawyer’s recent drama on the bank, when he had a close encounter of the marsupial kind. 

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Fishing a qualifier for the British Carp Cup at Wetlands Fishery in Retford, Notts, Mark was stirred at 1am when the head of a large animal appeared in his bivvy…

“I heard a noise outside but thought it was one of the other anglers, then I got the shock of my life when what I thought was a kangaroo head appeared in the door of my bivvy.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was sure I was dreaming, so I put my head back down on the pillow. Then the alarms went off on all three of my rods so I shot out of bed to see what was going on.

“The animal had totally trashed my rods, and apparently had done the same to Jamie Londors in the next swim.

“I’m not sure who was the most surprised – us or what was clearly a panicked wallaby – and when I turned my headtorch on to see what was going on it jumped straight into the lake.”

Early the following morning event organiser Mick Coxon did a lap of the lake, and he couldn’t stop laughing when Mark recalled the events of the previous night:

“It’s not a common occurrence at all,” Mick chuckled, “and it’s totally alien to what you normally get on a weekend match!

“Wetlands used to be an animal park, but when it closed its doors they kept the animals to do lessons with local schoolchildren, so there are still plenty of them about.

“The wallaby Mark encountered had escaped during the night, but these animals don’t usually like water, so it’s very strange that it jumped in the lake.”

Thankfully, the wallaby was found safe and sound the next day, but who’s to say it won’t be bouncing into another angler’s swim sometime soon?

Have you ever had a strange encounter on the bank while fishing? 

We want to hear your stories, so drop us an email at newsdesk@anglingtimes.co.uk

Unveiled: Your complete guide to the trent...

Trent legend Bob Roberts has produced a comprehensive online guide to his favourite river for anglers to visit before they set out to fish... and it’s free! 

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With more than half a century’s experience of fishing the award-winning waterway, Bob has spent several months working on the groundbreaking guide which features 30 fishable areas – each one with an overhead map – starting downstream in Gainsborough, North Lincs, and finishing at Shardlow, in Derbyshire. 

Each map highlights which banks can be fished and who controls them. There’s also a detailed description of each location from Bob himself, with advice on tactics, baits and the best swims to target.

Bob explained his reasoning behind the guide and the challenges he’s faced in its creation along the way:

He said: “I’ve been featuring in Angling Times Trent articles for more than 25 years and I’ve pretty much been the Times’ ‘go-to’ man for Trent-based info. 

 “Consequently I found myself receiving countless requests from angler for day-ticket information on a level that was pretty overwhelming. 

“I was answering emails on a daily basis!

“Of course, there’s a risk of sending everyone to the same venue – same pegs even – so I decided quite a while ago that a definitive guide was required. 

“It had to be free or I’d still get all those requests!

“I know a lot of the stretches and have fished most of them at one time or another during the past 50 years, but actual boundaries took a bit of pinning down – I know a few of the ‘secret squirrel’ mobs want to keep it that way. 

“The thing is, if everything is put out there, everyone benefits – the anglers, clubs, tackle shops and syndicates. 

“Most responsible anglers just want to know where they can buy a ticket, what the rules are regarding night fishing and the best access points, things like that. 

“Give them the full picture, allow them choices and poaching will be reduced dramatically.”

Now Bob is asking Angling Times readers to help complete the mammoth task.

“I’ve had fantastic help and support from many people who know the river well, including Tim Aplin, Mark Perkins, Nev Fickling, Simon Bettis and Simon Matheson, to name just a few, but there are still some gaps that need to be filled,” Bob said.

“ I would love Angling Times readers to help – just drop me a message on the website or via my Facebook site so that I can refine the guide.”

Bob has decided not to publish day-ticket or club prices as these always change, but the individual club websites are included in the guide and will cover these. 

“When you add the essential rigs and essential baits articles from my website to the guide, you pretty much have the complete Trent visitor guide in one location. It’s been a labour of love.”

To view the full Ultimate Trent Guide, please visit Bob’s website at www.bobrobertsonline.co.uk