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

Lindholme record smashed by deadly shallow approach

The venue record at Drennan Lindholme Lakes has been smashed out of sight with an incredible 495lb 11oz bag of F1s.

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All were taken on a deadly rig that’s being used to dominate commercial fisheries – the ‘jigga’.

The record was claimed by Dynamite Baits-backed Les Marshall, who targeted the big stock of F1s in the complex’s Benny’s Lake with pellets.

In an exclusive interview with Angling, Les said: “The jigga rig is brilliant for catching big weights of F1s when they’s feeding shallow and it will work at many F1 venues across the country. It’s especially good on deep venues where the fish can move up and down in the water column because it enables you to search the peg.

“I like to slap the rig on the surface to mimic feed going in, then feed around the float with pellets. Normally there’s a fish on straight away but if not, then just slowly lower the rig down with the loosefeed and repeat until a fish is hooked – trying to get into a rhythm is key to success.

“The main reason why the jigga is a must for big weights of F1s shallow is that it’s completely tangle-free, so you can ship in and out really quickly without risking any snarl-ups. It’s also a self-hooking rig, and so there’s no striking or missing bites”

Twenty-seven-year-old Les wasn’t the only one using the method during the recent Lindholme Festival. Other anglers were quick to jump on the bandwagon, the lowest weight claimed on the lake being a remarkable 193lb.

Match fishing legend Tommy Pickering also found success on the jigga, catching a 325lb bag of F1s. He said: “The method is quicker than any other at finding the depth the fish are feeding at.

“It’s a very responsive way to fish and is easier than other shallow tactics. Some of the Lindholme regulars really have gained an exceptional understanding of it.”

Previous record at Lindholme Lake was 427lb taken last year by Andy Bennett.  

5 minutes with: Will Millard

Author, TV star and fanatical angler Will Millard has unveiled his few fishing show – ‘Go Fish!’ – in which he explores stunning parts of Wales in search of the country’s biggest fish. 

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Targeting everything from carp in central Cardiff to pike in the Brecon Beacons, Go Fish! says it will be taking viewers on journey through everything unique about angling, from the characters we meet on the bank to fish of myth and legend.

We caught up with him for an exclusive insight into the new series and to find out just what floats Will’s own angling boat...

Q) What is the new television series about?

Will: It’s an exploration of the reasons we all love angling, such as the stunning places it takes us to and the friends we make on the bank, but I also think ‘Go Fish!’ shows just how accessible fishing is. I visit urban venues that anyone can fish, and feature people from all walks of life, which all goes to show that angling is beyond social divides.

Q) What was your inspiration for making the show?

Will: I’d love to come up with a really apt response, but to be honest I’ve been a mad-keen angler since I was four years old, and I’ve always wanted to make a fishing programme! I was quite young when I started working at the BBC, and this opened an opportunity to show the public angling in a new way.

Q) Are there any stand-out episodes?

Will: It’s difficult to pick just one! I really enjoyed the carp episode, as I’ve done lots of fishing for carp on commercials but never tried proper specimen carp fishing, despite always wanting to. I made some real bonds with the anglers along the way, and I know it’s a cliché, but it got to a stage where the fish really didn’t matter. Although, when I did finally catch one after something like 65 hours of fishing, it was a really emotional moment. 

Catching sea trout on the fly was absolutely incredible, as there is so much skill involved with fly fishing, and having to learn how to cast was a real challenge.

The pike episode was special, as this is a species I absolutely love, and I was targeting fish that were legends of a small public lake. When I finally landed one, which over 20lb, it was a magical moment of the sort that only angling can deliver.

Q) What made you investigate the ‘underground’ carp scene?

Will: The urban carp fishing scene is something that’s really booming at the moment, and Cardiff is a real hotspot for this. Because it was once the biggest exporter of coal in the world, the city has huge freshwater areas right in its centre. One of these is the Atlantic Wharf, and it offers some incredible fishing for stunning, scaly carp.

I suppose there is a sort of subculture of anglers who target the venue, and its ‘underground’ nature comes from the fact that there’s a red light district not so far away and the odd drug deal going on!

However, the Wharf Angling Club is an incredible syndicate that has done amazing things for the city. Its members do litter picks to keep the place clean, and the people living nearby find comfort in having anglers camping out by the Wharf, as this shows just how safe the area is. 

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Q) You show that angling can be a positive thing, particularly for its impact on conservation. Why did you want to portray this?

Will: Not long ago I posted a picture of a huge thresher shark on my social media and I received some unexpected backlash. People were saying it’s cruel to catch an endangered species, and it made me think, do they have a point? 

I admit that I had a few doubts when we went to film our shark fishing episode, but during the filming process I learned of the positive impact on conservation that shark fishing has. In the UK our waters aren’t clear enough to see the fish, and using a rod and line is the most ethical way to catch them. The sharks can then be tagged and recorded, which helps with our understanding of the species and allows us to further our protection of these incredible creatures. 

The only other way to catch them would be with nets, and this almost always results in dead fish.

But it’s not just shark anglers that are conservationists. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t pick up litter when they go fishing, or report incidents of pollution and poaching. We’re all conservationists, and we must promote this to show the non-fishing public the positive side of angling.

Q) You say pike are your favourite fish – what do you find so special about them?

Will: I have an enormous amount of respect for pike. There’s a savagery about them, yet they’re so sensitive at the same time. They hate pressure, and it’s a real adventure fishing for them in isolated and unusual places. For me they’re also a very symbolic fish, and I think catching one is a bit of a coming of age experience. 

As kids, they were a fish we feared, as we heard monstrous tales of these predatory fish, so when you finally catch one it’s like you’ve become a ‘proper man’!

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Q) Fly fishing was something new to you. Do you think this is something more coarse anglers should try?

Will: I would certainly encourage coarse anglers to have a go at fly fishing! I’ve been a coarse angler all my life, and my grandad told me that ‘fly fishing isn’t for us’. I think lots of coarse anglers believe that there is still a class divide in the sport.

This couldn’t be further from the truth, and fly fishers are really trying to shake off the upper-class stereotype. They’ve been so helpful with me, and I’ve had a fantastic experience of getting into game fishing. 

When done right, I think there’s nothing better than fly fishing. It has a metronomic quality that I think is more therapeutic than coarse fishing. When you finally hook a fish it’s so direct, as you’re effectively freelining, which adds a purity to fly fishing that is hard to match.

Q) What are your plans for the future?

Will: We want to do ‘Go Fish!’ 2, and already have plans for another four episodes. I think there’s a good feeling about fishing in the telly world at the moment after the success of ‘Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing’, and we want to get as much fishing on TV as possible. 

It has to be done in the right way, though, and making something that makes non-anglers say ‘that looks amazing, I’d love to try that’, is the key to success.

I’m currently filming ‘Hidden Wales 2’, but my priority at the moment is fishing, and I have plans to write another book after being so inspired over the last 12 months. 

5 minutes with: Carl and Alex Smith

Fishing brothers Carl and Alex are well known for their inspiring and entertaining fishing videos on YouTube. The pair, both in their early twenties, are also highly regarded in the industry for their work with popular tackle and bait brand Nash.

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It was, therefore, a surprise when in a recent video they revealed they’d be leaving Nash in order to focus more on their own channel ‘Carl and Alex Fishing’.

We caught up with the ambitious siblings to find out why they took the decision and what the future may hold…

Q) How long have you been making videos for your channel?

Carl: So long ago we can’t even remember the year! We would have been about 10 years old, though, because it was soon after moving house away from all our friends. Fishing the lake in the woods gave us a great project, and filming it added another dimension.

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Q) How long did you work for Nash?

Carl: I worked there for five years, Alex a little less. 

Q) How and why did you come to the decision to leave Nash?

Carl: When we noticed that our films were regularly reaching more people than the videos we were paid to produce, we started to think about working full time on our own content. To be honest, due to our love for the Nash team, we tried our absolute best to work on both Nash and Carl and Alex films. This wore us down, to the point where we were struggling to get everything done. I decided to streamline our workload and begin focusing on our number one passion – making videos about our adventures! 

Q) What was Nash like to work for as a company?

Carl: Deadlines were troublesome at times, but the fact that everyone had fun and the company’s family spirit kept us all sane was brilliant! We hugely appreciate the time we spent working with Nash, and we learnt so much about fishing, filming and business. It prepared us to become self-employed and step out into the world independently, without a guaranteed income! 

Q) What was the reaction from the Nash team, friends, family and fans?

Carl: The reactions went a bit like this. Friends: “WOW, go for it guys!’ Family: “You should have done this years ago!” Fans: “Awesome, this means more videos!” The reaction from the Nash team was broad, from tears and congratulations, to smirking, thinking we’d lost the plot. 

Q) You have seen your channel grow from 100 to 100,000 subscribers. Why do you think you have become so popular?

Carl: This question reminds us of a time when our content really wasn’t popular! There were four years or more when barely anyone watched our films, and those that did often left pretty negative comments. It was a strange time, because we loved making videos and going fishing, but we were so poor at angling and filming that people really were not impressed. Luckily the hate comments and messages didn’t discourage us and we just kept filming and learning. A few years later, around the time of ‘Quest for a 20lb Carp’ and ‘Park Lake Campaign’, people became more positive about our films, their visual quality had improved and we were catching some better fish. 

Things just grew from there, with our videos gaining audiences across Europe and in the USA too! What seemed to help with our popularity was being very honest, showing our mistakes, and sharing our struggles as well as successes. People could relate to this, and the ups and downs helped us tell stories which they engaged with. 

Q) Since starting your channel, what have been your most memorable moments?

Carl: A few big captures stand out as moments we will never forget: landing the three biggest carp in a 280-acre reservoir, and the capture of a sturgeon just under 10ft long was truly mind blowing! Meeting Omi (now my partner) while out fishing on the canal in the snow was quite memorable too! I’m sure Alex would put his recent capture of a 5lb-plus perch high on his list.

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Q) Who or what inspired you not only to pursue this as a career but to start a fishing channel in the first place?

Carl: Starting a fishing channel was just so that we could store our videos somewhere and not worry about our camera breaking and losing our clips. As things grew and an audience developed, people like Jon B and Victor from Ich Geh’ Angeln inspired us to work hard on our videos and think about making it our career. 

Q) You are going to be living the dream, but to come to this decision must have meant the channel takes a lot of work. What goes into making a successful YouTube channel? Is it easy?

Carl: Our dream has always been to fish and film all around the world and inspire as many young people as possible to fish too, mostly because as kids we had no friends who liked fishing and we don’t want others to be in that situation! 

Making videos is the best job in the world for us, as we are hugely inspired by storytelling, filming, editing and, of course, the fishing. However, behind the scenes there are hundreds of comments and emails to try to reply to all the time, and the video editing process takes days and sometimes weeks of concentration and effort. 

Q) We have seen you go on some pretty crazy and inspiring adventures over the years. Where is the best place you have fished?

Carl: Canada, Slovenia and Iceland were all incredible places to wet a line, but I think Alex’s most recent trip to Tennessee in the USA might just top it all. He boated out into a lake so big you can’t see the other side, camped up for two weeks and caught numbers of huge carp, most of which had probably never been caught before! Stay tuned for the video coming very soon! 

Q) We have seen you fish some very bizarre waters. What was the most unusual of them all?

Carl: A shipping canal between the Great Lakes in Michigan was pretty mental – cargo ships are huge and move so much water that all your rods are peeling off at once. Even more crazy was when all the fish fed hard at the same time and we ended up hooked into a carp ripping line towards a ginormous ship! We also dangled some bread into some service station ponds on a long journey when we got bored. Despite there being no signs indicating ‘no fishing’ we did end up in rather a lot of trouble with the police and are now banned from almost every service station on the M25!

Q) You always seem to have fun and a good laugh on the bank, even when in awkward situations. What would you say are your funniest moments?

Carl: We go fishing to relax, have fun and enjoy ourselves. Yes, we want to catch big fish, but much more we just want to chill out and spend our life doing something outdoors. We’ve had our fair share of slips and falls, mostly ending up neck-deep in a lake laughing our heads off. 

On a pretty hilarious night session, a friend of ours had just landed a big linear, and while holding it up for the camera in the late-evening darkness, two head torches appeared on the far margin. They began moving towards us, two figures in high-vis jackets. It was then that our friend remembered he had forgotten to buy his rod licence. Certain that these two figures were from the Environment Agency, we frantically tried to buy a licence online, before deciding that reeling in and hiding would be a better option.

We desperately didn’t want our friend to be fined, and as we panicked and came up with some poor excuses the figures strolled up. Nervously we just stared at the two women, who asked politely if ‘we’d seen any newts!’ They were just wildlife geeks, who wanted to try and find a rare newt, not at all interested in our friend’s rod licence slip-up!

Q) We know you fish for pretty much any species, but do you have a favourite?

Carl: Perch, barbel and carp are all super-awesome! 

Q) In your latest video you mention some work you have been doing managing a local syndicate water. What’s that been like?

Carl: I’ve been keen to improve the access at a small pool we know of as ‘The Secret Lake’. It’s a lovely secluded place, but the reeds, pads and bushes have made it almost impossible to fish. With the lease for the fishing rights secured, it’s now time for us to make it a little more accessible for the members. 

Q) You have fished with some of the country’s best anglers, but who have you learned the most from?

Carl: We’ve picked up little bits of information from everyone we’ve fished with, but Alan Blair taught us the importance of energy and staying on the move. That has resulted in more fish captures for us than anything else. 

Q) What plans for the future?

Carl and Alex: We want to make more, and better, films for the people who enjoy watching them. We’d like to help with protecting lakes for the future of fishing, particularly free park lakes and village ponds, the sort of places where kids can learn to fish without paying big bucks for a day ticket or club membership. 

Q) Advice to others wishing to follow the same path?

Carl and Alex: Go for it! Whatever inspires you in life, providing it doesn’t hurt other people, is well worth pursuing. One thing making our YouTube films has taught us is that inspiration is rife, delivery is all but absent. It’s scary to follow up on an idea because there’s a risk of it not working out. In our opinion, though, having regret in old age is far more daunting than giving things a go while you’ve got the chance. 

Where will you fish on june 16?

With just a few days to go until the start of the river season, the UK’s leading running-water enthusiasts have revealed their plans for the glorious June 16. 

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Last month we revealed how angling clubs have been preparing for the big day by improving access on popular river stretches – not to mention the thousands of fish that have been stocked into waterways across the country.

Bigger river events and match sell-outs have also provided positive signs that the resurgence of UK river fishing shows no signs of slowing down. 

It’s certainly looking bright for the start of the season, but what are you plans for June 16?

We caught up with some of the biggest names in the sport to see what they have up their sleeves  for the start of the season on running water…

Angling Times columnist - Des Taylor 

“I’ll be on my beloved Middle Severn during the opening week in search of some chub and barbel. I’m not after big fish and simply want a few bites and to enjoy a lovely day on the bank. 

“I’m going to fish a feeder with boilies with a fantastic groundbait made of crushed boilies and pellets that works wonders on this river.”

Angling Times columnist - Martin Bowler 

“I never have to leave the rivers due to being a salmon angler, but that doesn’t mean June 16 isn’t magical. 

“I hope this season will bring with it more opportunities to target big roach. One day I might even tempt a 3lb monster!

“However, first will probably be barbel on the float. I might catch a few less than I would with a feeder but each one will be double the fun!”

BBC Go Fish presenter - Will Milliard 

“This season is going to be the one! There have been some great fly hatches on the Wye, and I have a feeling we’re in for a mega year. 

“I’m thinking about a campaign on the Wye at Monmouth, but I’m also contemplating doing some pre-baiting on the Taff, or exploring the River Ely in Cardiff.”

Top River Trent angler - Bob Roberts 

“I have issues with the 16th and feel it is too early. The fish have barely done with spawning and if we have a warm spell they will probably go again.

“I will catch the odd barbel here and there in the opening weeks in short sessions, but not go all out to do so. I will celebrate being back on the rivers and indulge myself with different methods and species, but not at the expense of fish welfare.

“On the other hand I have been working on creating an ultimate guide to the River Trent, which features a detailed description of which clubs own particular stretches on the river. You can find the Trent Guide by visiting my website at www.bobrobertsonline.co.uk/the-ultimate-trent-guide/.”

River fishing expert - Dave Harrell 

“I’ve got tickets for 12 qualifiers this year and I’m very much looking forward to another bid on making the final!

“I’ll be starting on the Swale and Calder in Yorkshire, and I have lots of other matches and festivals throughout the year. Lots of these events have sold out, which is a fantastic sign for river anglers.”

Two-time Drennan Cup winner Dai Gribble 

“June 16 is a little different for me as I’ve spent what’s probably 25 of the last 30-odd opening days fishing a stillwater that still upholds the current closed season law. I head out on my boat and target tench on the float and leger – you can probably tell it’s become somewhat of a tradition for me now!

“I like to leave the barbel and chub fishing at least until July or August so that they have longer to recover from spawning. I find barbel and chub are particularly vulnerable after spawning so the more time you can give them, the better.”

Specimen Ace and Bait Doc - Paul Garner 

“Rivers across the country fished incredibly well last season, and I can’t see why they would get any worse this time. I could see the barbel record going, especially after multiple fish around the 20lb mark were caught last season.

“In terms of my own fishing, I’ll be spending most of the summer filming barbel underwater which I’m really looking forward to. 

“Towards the back end of the season a big pike would be nice, and as always I’ll go for a few chub.”


All of this.... from your old, used line

Kayaks, bobbins, sunglasses and buckets are just a few of the angling-related items that can be made out of old fishing line, according to one of the men behind the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme.

Now, ANLRS co-founder Viv Shears is urging more anglers to recycle their discarded line and help save the planet. 

“When fishing line is melted down it helps bind other recyclable plastics together, which can then be moulded into a shape,” he said. 

“What you can create from this plastic is up to the manufacturer – so there’s no reason why it can’t be moulded into a tackle box, a pair of sunglasses or a bobbin. The possibilities are endless. 

“All it takes is the imagination of a recycler to produce a raw material that a manufacturer can use to make other products. 

“How often have we heard that certain plastics aren’t recyclable? But we can now take all fishing lines including fly lines and braid along with the plastic spools that these come on!”

To help transform fishing line into other items, Viv is working  with Maltings Organic Treatment Ltd director Steve Carrie, who has been involved in the recycling business for the last 30 years.

Steve is also a keen angler and is co-owner of DNA Baits and understands the effects plastic waste has on the environment.

He said: “Getting involved with ANLRS was a no-brainer for me and I’m glad I can be helping in some capacity to support the scheme and give it some longevity.

“At Maltings, we are able to take these lines that the guys from the scheme are sending us and turn them back into usable products very quickly, while also looking into new developments for using the products. 

“We’ve already used blended down fishing lines to create surface boards which can be worked into anything you could imagine.

“They’ve been turned into work surfaces, toilet cubicles, chairs, fishing platforms and signage, to name a few.

“The arty design is also deliberate and is created by a unique blend of melted plastics.

“One tackle brand I was talking to last year also got excited about having one of its products made from recycled fishing lines – it’s all possible with the right mindset and support from the industry.”

The development has been welcomed by anglers and is evident by the hard work of many volunteers who have removed waste line from the environment.

Since March 2018 the ANLRS has signed up 256 tackle shops, 75 fisheries and angling clubs, seven angling coaches and five charter vessels, with an estimated 2.8million metres of line recycled. 

Adding to this, the scheme has now been implemented in Northern Ireland and Eire, with plans to do the same in Germany and Belgium.

Viv said: “A local focus within a region or country can only be a positive for the scheme. The recent appointment of Go Fishing Northern Ireland and Bill Brazier, of Off the Scale magazine in Ireland, as volunteer co-ordinators to increase the promotion and availability of recycling locations is fantastic and an obvious extension to the scheme.”

 

The angling world says goodbye to John Wilson

More than 300 anglers, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the life of angling legend John Wilson MBE in Norwich Cathedral.

John, voted the greatest angler who ever lived, passed away at his home in Thailand in November 2018.

As news of his death spread across the globe, fans, followers and anglers alike paid tribute to the Go Fishing star, and at 2pm on Friday, May 24 all were invited to celebrate John’s life at the stunning Norfolk venue. 

A host of recognisable faces filled the impressive cathedral including Des Taylor, Jeremy Wade and John Bailey, before heartfelt tributes were led by Keith Arthur and Martin Bowler – who took to the stand to pay their personal respects to a man loved by so many.

Keith said: “It’s been a privilege to be honouring John Wilson today. He inspired millions to take up fishing through his programmes, which were both aspirational and inspirational. His legend will live on.”

Martin struggled to fight back tears in his emotional speech, as he remembered a lifetime of fishing on the bank with his ‘Uncle John.’

“Many here fished with the great man and even if you didn’t, a favourite angling show or book meant you did in a way because the person I knew was the same person you did.  

“I can assure you that the laugh was real and so was the fun because he loved angling and angling loved him. So goodbye John and enjoy the river in the sky. I can hear him now as that longed-for 3lb roach comes over the net – ‘Careful Wilson’!”

Aside from being a superb angler John was also a proud father and his children Lisa and Lee made several appearances on his TV shows.

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His daughter Lisa gave an emotional dedication towards her dad on the day:

“He was a fishing legend, an author and TV presenter – but more importantly he was a husband, brother, son, uncle, grandfather, father, my dad – my world. Being in his company was something I never tired of, and never would have.

“His passion came out of the TV and enabled other people to spend time on the bank together too – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, grandparents and grandchildren. It was a privilege to be his daughter.”

Big-name dedications

Jeremy Wade: “I only met John a couple of times at angling shows but the impact he had on people and the sport we all love was incredible.”

Des Taylor: “He was larger-than-life and his laugh was infectious – louder than a church bell on some days and he still managed to catch fish! I will miss my mate.”

Chris Yates: “I loved watching his programmes. They were very methodical, and he was great at conveying the message that fishing could be fun and productive at the same time.”

Bob Nudd: “John was always good company and an excellent angler too. More than that, he was the first angling celebrity. Even if they didn’t fish, people knew who John Wilson was.”

Ali Hamidi: “I could write an essay on what this man has done for angling. John had so many wonderful terms and phrases, so many incredible TV moments shared with millions.”







49.8% vote to scrap the river closed season

Nearly half of Britain’s anglers want to see an end to the closed season on running waters, Angling Times can reveal.  

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The results are in following the Environment Agency’s consultation earlier this year, which saw 13,680 people having their say on the future of fishing on running water. 

Of those who responded:

  • 49.8 per cent voted to remove the closed season altogether

  • 38.8 per cent voted to keep the closed season as it is

  • 9.2 per cent voted to keep the closed season, but change the dates to April 15-June 30. 

  • 2.2 per cent were undecided

Because the survey was a consultation, not a referendum, the EA will now review the comments it received alongside the votes. 

However, it has stated that, after such a close result it is ‘even more important’ to consider whether the evidence supports a case to change the current bylaw. These findings will be published in several weeks’ time.

Commenting on the results of the consultation, the Angling Trust’s Head of Policy, Martin Salter, said: “While I would have liked to see an even higher level of engagement, the fact that this is the largest-ever response to an EA consultation shows just how important it is to ensure that anglers’ views are taken on board on this highly contentious subject, which has evoked strong opinions on both sides.

“In the past, changes were made to the closed season without any reference to those affected by the decisions.”

Top river angler Dave Harrell, who wants the closed season abolished, was pleased with the responses to the consultation. 

“The closed season was created in 1878, which is the same year that Alexander Graham Bell presented the telephone to Queen Victoria! It’s well overdue an update, and the fact that 59 per cent of people want some sort of change speaks for itself. 

“Clubs and fisheries should be allowed to manage their own waters, but as a consequence of the closed season they struggle for revenue for three months of the year. 

“I like to think that the EA will follow this through, and I believe that it would be wrong for it to sit on the fence.” 

However, One of Britain’s leading specimen anglers, Martin Bowler, has a different view…

“I’m disappointed that so many anglers want to scrap the closed season completely, but I guess the anglers wanting change are always going to be more vociferous in expressing their opinion. 

“I spend a huge amount of time on a rivers in the current coarse fishing closed season due to my love of salmon. 

“I appreciate it’s a wonderful time to be by flowing water but I watch our coarse species spawn during this period, starting with perch and ending with barbel. 

“I might be missing the point here, but isn’t that the reason we have the current closed season? It seems to be perfectly timed to me.

“I do wonder whether the reasons behind the push to change the status quo are motivated by environmental concerns or selfish desires?” he concluded.

Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, Kevin Austin, said: “We are really grateful to the people who took the time to respond to the consultation. 

“We are processing the many comments from the 13,680 responses to understand the evidence around the closed season and to determine whether there is a case to change the current bylaw.”

Makins: Why I’m selling up

The outgoing boss of one of the country’s oldest commercial fisheries has revealed his reasons for putting it on the market.

Speaking exclusively to Angling Times, Makins Fishery owner Alan McDiarmid admitted the time had come to move on after being in charge at the Warwickhire venue for 11 years.  

“I’m now 70 years old and retiring. My wife and I would like to move closer to our granddaughter in Wiltshire – but it’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly,” he said.

“I’ve loved every minute of being in charge of Makins, meeting so many anglers over the years and watching some huge matches won on these waters.

“Everyone who has fished here has been so nice and I’ll probably miss that the most.”

The fishery – one of the country’s largest commercials with 18 lakes and more than 600 swims – is up for sale for £1.75 million, according to estate agents Colliers International, whose Robert Smithson said: “The current owners have done an excellent job in growing the business and establishing its reputation across the UK.

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“This is a rare opportunity for a new owner to acquire an outstanding commercial coarse fishery business in an ideal trading location.”

Makins first opened its doors to the public nearly 30 years ago. It was created by match angler Billy Makin who sold it to British Waterways in 2003 before Alan took over five years later. It remains one of the country’s most popular commercials and was most recently sponsored by Guru.   

During his time there, Alan opened a bait shop and café, as well as an adjoining caravan park with 35 pitches, three high-specification holiday lodges and a three-bedroom bungalow.

Top match angler Phil Ringer, a regular visitor to Makins since it opened, was full of praise for the fishery and its owner.

“Alan has done an amazing job in the 11 years he’s owned it,” said Phil. “It’s a fantastic fishery and hopefully the new owners will keep it that way.” 



BBC reveals new fishing TV series

The BBC is to air a brand new TV fishing series this June, Angling Times can reveal.

‘Go Fish with Will Millard’ is set for screening on Friday, June 21 and will follow the BAFTA award-winning presenter through four half-hour episodes in search of giant sharks, monster pike, sea trout, and some of the UK’s biggest carp.

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Will, a lifelong angler and author of one of the most popular fishing books of 2017 – The Old Man and the Sandeel – is known to viewers through previous ground-breaking BBC shows including My Year with the Tribe and Hunters of the South Seas, both of which won global acclaim.

He was also a star guest on the John Wilson Legends stage at the recent The Big One Show in Farnborough, where he wowed visitors with stories from his book and the forthcoming series.

“Go Fish is very different to other fishing series on TV,” admitted Will. “It’s not about rigs, baits, or tactics, but each episode has a theme which sees me investigate unusual and classical venues, look at environmental issues, and meet some remarkable people with amazing stories which wouldn’t normally be told.”

Locations for the first series are centred around Will’s adopted home of Wales, with the imposing Wharf Fishery in Cardiff and Caerphilly Castle moat providing the dramatic backdrops for the must-watch carp episode.

“The Wharf is home to possibly the biggest carp in Wales at present, but this episode isn’t just about catching big fish – it’s very much character-led and highlights the sub-culture of the growing urban carp scene and some of the people involved in it,” he said.

“I also wanted to find out whether it was ethical to catch sharks on rod and line so I went out to the Celtic Deeps with a shark tagger to investigate both sides of the story.”

Angling Times Editor-in-Chief, Steve Fitzpatrick has followed Will through the production process of the new series, and has sneaked an early viewing.

“I defy any angler not be inspired by Will’s enthusiasm, his brutal honesty when things don’t quite go to plan, and the joy he exudes when the target fish are caught.

“This isn’t a ‘how-to’ fishing series, it’s much more than that, showcasing the diverse characters in angling, our passion for the environment, and the amazing moments we experience and love about our sport,” said Steve.

l Go Fish will initially screen on BBC1 Wales on Friday, June 21 at 7.30pm with following episodes each Friday. BBC1 Wales is on Sky channel 952. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

Five minutes with: Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer

Comedy legends Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are set to hit the shelves across the UK with a fishing book, following their award-winning TV series.

The book ‘Gone Fishing’ is a guide to angling like no other. With lessons in both fishing and life, the duo take you through their journey into angling, with hilarious insights into their experiences along the way. 

We caught up with the two friends to find out more, as well as get a glimpse into the contents of their new TV series…

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Q) What was your motivation to write a book after the success of your TV show?

Paul: In a book we can tell more of a story, and we wanted to tell people why we started fishing together. We’re also pre-empting other people writing it!

Bob: I think one of the most appealing parts of the TV show was that it highlights the beauty of the British countryside. While we can’t do this in the book, we can go into more detail about other things. Take the section on recipes, for example. We show you how to make all the heart-healthy food we made during the series. We couldn’t do this on TV, but in a book we can show much more.

Q) Your TV show appealed to both anglers and non-anglers. Does your book do the same?

Paul: I think we’ve filled a gap with the show, and have shown the non-angling public how accessible fishing is. We showed that you can go fishing, and that you don’t need loads of tackle and all the rest of it. In the book we’ve continued this simple theme, and hope that we convey the same message.

Bob: I think Gone Fishing was almost the ultimate fishing show! It appealed to loads of people, and we’ve had lots of women telling us that they like it. In the book we talk about history, as well as fishing and food, and I like to think we’ve included something for everyone.

Q) Have you heard from many people who have been inspired to start fishing after watching your programme?

Bob: There are lots of people who fished as kids, but like me they lost touch with angling as they got older. I’ve had a steady stream of people who tell me they’ve got back into fishing after watching the show, and we like to think that we’ve brought fishing back into the public eye.

Q) Although you do lots of fly fishing, what is it you like most about coarse fishing?

Paul: It’s been a joy for me to do more coarse fishing again. Floatfishing is a real favourite of mine, and I love trotting for grayling. Oh, and fishing for tench – not a lot beats that, I think.


Bob: There are all these extreme sports that people do, but I like coarse fishing because it advocates a pastime where you can just sit on your arse! I also just love the mystical, invisible connection between you and the float. I think it’s the best form of meditation. The only thing I don’t like are the bream! They disgust me. They’re like naan bread.

Q) What do you think of on the modern carp angling scene?

Paul: I remember going carp fishing with Chris Yates, and all we used as bait was maggots. His approach showed that you don’t need all the hi-tech stuff, and this simple approach to angling is still incredibly effective.

Bob: As I’ve already said, I’m a sucker for sitting, so I like carp fishing!

Q) What are your opinions on the closed season?

Paul: I’m on the fence about it. I love June 16 – it’s such a special day for anglers. I suppose it gives the fish a break, and it’s good to leave them alone for a bit.

Bob: I’m no expert on it, but I always feel that absence makes the heart grow fonder. I suppose it’s a bit like football. I hate the break when the season ends, but I love it when it comes back.

Q) Tell us about the new TV series…

Paul: We’ve followed the same theme as the first series, as this was what worked and appealed to so many people. We show the British countryside in all its glory, and still include sections talking about things away from fishing. We travel more around the UK and target new species, such as salmon in Scotland and pike in Wales.

Bob: We also go carp fishing in Essex, where we have a match of the new techno approach verses traditional float tactics. You’ll have to watch the episode to see which comes out on top.

Q) How are your hearts? Are you well?

Paul: We’ve both been eating healthily, but we currently have a Twix sat in front of us! In all seriousness, we’re both all right. I’ve been doing a show every night, and have been keeping busy doing lots of exercise.

Q) Finally, what are your angling ambitions?

Bob: Catching a tench on the float is currently my fishing goal. I love that classic scene of watching a float sat next to the lily pads. You really can’t beat that.

Paul: Do you know, Bob, some anglers fish for tench with feeders, casting miles into the distance? 

Q) Would you not fancy doing something like that?

Bob: Oh no, Paul. I don’t think I’m interested in that!

Paul: At the end of the book we talk about a man we met on the banks of the River Tay in Scotland. He had cancer and knew he didn’t have long left to live, but he had made the decision to spend the last of his days fishing. This is how we’d like to spend the last of our days, and I think that is the ultimate ambition.

Buy the book

Bob & Paul’s book Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing (Blink Publishing, £18.99) is available now in audio, print and eBook.

listen to an extract here: 

Iconic Fishing T.V series available for the first time since the 70’s!

HIT 1970’s fishing series ‘Go Fishing with Jack Charlton’ is set to receive its first ever home-entertainment release, Angling Times can reveal.

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The show will be available to buy on DVD from May 20 and is sure to be a hit with anglers and football fans alike.

The series sees the football legend and accomplished fly-fisher take us entertainingly and instructively through river coarse fishing and the thrills of sea wreck fishing, not to mention salmon fishing in Scotland – where the legend shows us he is just as skilled on the river bank as on the football field.

His down-to-earth common sense and humorous approach make him the ideal guide, and across the six episodes he meets with various experts to discuss their gear and specific tactics for different types of fishing – a proper blast from the past!

Go Fishing with Jack Charlton will be available for purchase on DVD from May 20 2019.

RRP is £14.99 but is available from www.amazon.co.uk for £10.99, or from www.networkonair.com for £9.00.

It’s all change for Britain’s superwaters

Two- of Britain’s biggest and busiest fisheries have unveiled exciting plans for expansion over the next 12 months in a bid to keep up with anglers’ demands.

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A mile-long snake lake is on the schedule for Doncaster’s Drennan Lindholme Lakes, and at Oxfordshire’s Linear Fisheries there are proposals to add new waters to the already massive complex. 

Both fisheries are doing this to cater for the countless anglers that visit every year, and in recent weeks sport has been so busy at Linear that venue officials have taken to Facebook to warn oncoming visitors of peg shortages.

We spoke to owners Neil Grantham (Lindholme) and Chris Blunt (Linear) to find out why both fisheries are so successful.

“Anglers have invested money into Lindholme, and we’ve put everything back into the fishery,” said Neil. 

“We’ve not been too greedy, and we try to look after everybody by putting the anglers first. 

“We continuously go forward, and if you stop you’ll start to go backwards.”

Neil’s plans for Lindholme include investing £40,000 in fish stocking for the lakes to keep the 60,000 annual visitors happy. 

“We’re also adding a new café and restaurant, alongside a large new tackle shop featuring a pole alley,” he revealed. 

“In addition, we have purchased 20 acres of land, where we plan to build 40 new lodges, 50 touring caravans, and 300 new fishing pegs.”

By next year Lindholme will have a total of 1,000 pegs – 150 of which will be on the new
mile-long snake lake. 

“We will also build a new specimen water to cater for anglers who like that style of fishing. It’s a really exciting time for the fishery,” he said

Linear Fisheries can be seen in a similar light to Lindholme in terms of its popularity too, as fishery manager Chris Blunt explained:

“One of our main approaches to managing this busy fishery is to just be honest with people. 

“We always let people know how busy we are over social media because people travel a long way to fish at Linear and we don’t want them being disappointed.

“There certainly appears to be a lot more carp anglers these days – not necessarily with a demand for record-breaking fish, but more who want a social experience when fishing. 

“This is why I think people don’t mind fishing the complex when it’s busy, as we certainly offer that social aspect.”

Like Lindholme, investing in fish stocks and lake expansion is also key to Linear’s success:

“Our stocking policy over the past thirty years has played a big part,” said Chris..

“Even though we don’t have necessarily the biggest individual fish in comparison to other waters, the numbers of 20-40lb-plus specimens on site is staggering and almost unrivalled.”

And with such a large demand for pegs, Chris is always looking for new ways to develop the fishery.

“We have another syndicate opening in the next 12 months, a new tackle shop, and without giving too much away, a new day ticket water is also being planned.”


Top 10 ‘super-waters’ to try

Drennan Lindholme Lakes, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Contact: 01427 875555

Postcode: DN9 1LF

The Oaks Lakes, Sessay, North Yorkshire

Contact: 01845 501321

Postcode: YO7 3BG

Decoy Lakes, Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire

Contact: 01733 202230

Postcode: PE7 2AD

Makins Fishery, Nuneaton, Warwickshire

Contact: 01455 220877

Postcode: CV11 6QJ

White Acres, Newquay, Cornwall

Contact: 01726 862519

Postcode: TR8 4LW

Wyreside Lakes Fishery, Lancaster, Lancashire

Contact: 01524 792093

Postcode: LA2 9DG

Baden Hall Fishery, Stafford, Staffordshire

Contact: 01785 851495

Postcode: ST21 6LG

Bluebell Lakes, Oundle, Peterborough

Contact: 01832 226042

Postcode: PE8 5HP

Linear Fisheries, Oxford, Oxfordshire

Contact: 07885 327708

Postcode: OX29 7QF

Anglers Paradise, Beaworthy, Devon

Contact: 01409 221559

Postcode: EX21 5XT 

Spawn to be wild... Kids help to save our eels

Thousands of children are seeking to raise public awareness of our critically endangered eels – by getting involved in a rearing project to increase their numbers in UK rivers.

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The Spawn To Be Wild project, run by the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust and Avon Wildlife Trust, is rolling out to 11 schools this spring and involves the growing of eels in school classrooms. 

The project is funded by Bristol Water, A Forgotten Landscape and the Avon Frome Partnership.

“We are excited to announce the project will be running again this year, with even more schools signed up,” said Spawn to be Wild organiser Harriet Alvis.

“How the project works is this – each school will receive 50 elvers (baby eels) and the students will rear them for four to five weeks before they are released into nearby rivers. During this time pupils will learn about the life cycle of the eel, threats to their survival and what we can do to protect them. The learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom. Part of the project involves net dipping on local rivers. 

“This teaches the children about all the life forms in our rivers, from small invertebrates to larger fish. It’s great to get them interacting more with the freshwater environment and learning how rivers connect to the seas.

“Primary and secondary school pupils as well as our first special needs school are all taking part. The project starts in April and the eels will be released in May.”

Other Rivers Trusts around the country are rolling out similar schemes under different names, with all are featuring eels. 

“It’s great news that this focus is being put on the eel, a fish that has suffered a catastrophic decline of 97 per cent since the 1970s and is a largely unknown, and critically endangered species,” Harriet said.

Simon Nicoll, one of the teachers involved in the scheme, said: “The children loved having the elvers. They were so excited and haven’t stopped speaking about releasing them into the river.”

Stolworthy crowned drennan champion!

“I’ve got the biggest smile on my face – I didn’t expect to win the Drennan Cup at all!”

These are the words of an elated Darryn Stolworthy, who has been crowned champion of the country’s most prestigious specimen fishing competition.

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The Angling Direct-backed ace took top spot and a cheque for £2,000 after one of the closest-run votes in the competition’s 35-year history, with Darryn finishing just 10 points ahead of his nearest rival, Rich Wilby.

In a phenomenal season Darryn scooped four weekly awards, the first of which came in June after a mega haul at Bawburgh Fisheries in his home county of Norfolk. Darryn landed tench to 12lb 4oz and part of a haul of 60 fish that also included a 10lb 1oz male and a 33lb 12oz carp.

Over the following months Darryn added an 18lb bream, a 4lb 4oz perch and a 3lb 3oz stillwater roach to cap off a truly superb season’s fishing.

“When I had that big hit of tench in June I wasn’t going to publicise it, but thankfully my mate convinced me to. 

“Then the big perch and bream came along and I really couldn’t not send them in!” 

Of his four winning catches, it was the bream haul that turned out to be his favourite, as he explained: “Only two bream were caught all season from the water but I managed fish of 12lb 13oz, 14lb 14oz, 15lb 3oz, 16lb, 17lb 2oz and the 18-pounder in a single session.

“There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so you couldn’t have had worse conditions for bream, but somehow I still managed to catch them!” he continued.

“You can be a skilful angler, but at the end of the day luck ultimately has the biggest part to play. I’m just completely shocked and delighted to have won.”

There was little surprise that Rich Wilby took second-place after his maiden Drennan campaign yielded no fewer than five weekly awards – the most taken by a single angler throughout the season. 

These included a haul of rudd to 3lb 6oz, 15 eels to 5lb 2oz and a 2lb 14oz River Waveney roach. 

“I’m delighted to have come this close and it’s definitely given me the motivation for next year,” Rich told Angling Times. 

“I’ve really enjoyed the experience but it’s totally deserved for Darryn,’ he added. 

Third place went to Essex-based angler Paul Faint who won a quartet of Weekly Drennan Cup awards for his catches of huge barbel (19lb 11oz), rudd (3lb 6oz) and perch (brace of 4lb 1oz and 4lb 7oz).  

All round specimen ace Dan Gale filled the final position on the podium following his captures of a 3lb 2oz roach (River Frome), a 16lb 9oz barbel and a 3lb 8oz rudd. 

How it works

Captures are submitted to Angling Times, then forwarded to Drennan to be considered for an £80 Weekly Award. Anglers who break a British record get a one-off award of £300. After 12 months a list of winners is published and voting letters are sent to previous Drennan Cup Weekly Award winners from previous years. 

They list their top four anglers – four points going to their top pick, down to one point for their fourth pick. The result is revealed in late April, when the angler with the highest total number of votes wins the trophy.

You could win!

Due to the rolling nature of the competition, entries are already being accepted for weekly awards in the 2019-20 Drennan Cup competition. 

Entries will cease being taken at the end of March 2020. If you catch a specimen coarse fish (other than a carp or catfish) by design in the next 12 months, try to take good quality photos, weigh the fish carefully and, if possible, have a witness on hand. Tick all three boxes, and you could have a chance of winning!

DRENNAN CUP HOTLINE

If you’ve caught a specimen fish, contact Angling Times news editor Ian Jones on 01733 395111 or email ian.jones@bauermedia.co.uk. All big fish are put forward for consideration by Drennan and will be featured in the Angling Times.

£23m cash injection from rod licence windfall

The future of fishing is looking brighter than ever after the Environment Agency revealed it sold more than one million rod licences in the 2017/18 season – generating a whopping £23,132,885 for our sport.

The figures were showcased in an annual EA report which highlighted where the money was spent during that year; with habitat improvement, fisheries enforcement and stocking programmes ranking highly on the authority’s priority list.

In a double delight, the EA’s account also revealed that it had planned for a profit of £22.2million in 2017/18, but sales of rod licences were so good that more than £23million was generated – with all money being put back into fishing and the environment.

Kevin Austin, who is the Deputy Director for Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “Income from fishing licence sales is used to fund our work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries. 

“Fishing rod licence income is vital for so much of the work we do including fisheries enforcement, fish rescues, restocking, improving habitats for fish and facilities for anglers as well as working with partners to encourage people to give fishing a go.

“To ensure we could provide the investment needed to deliver the services for angling we increased the price of the licences for the first time in 7 years. 

“The cost of a standard coarse and trout fish licence rose by £3 from £27 to £30 and a full salmon fishing licence from £72 to £82. 

“This wasn’t a decision we took lightly and it comes with a guarantee that we won’t raise prices again until at least 2020.

“The additional money generated in 2017 to 2018 was invested in fisheries improvements and you can read about examples of these projects in our report.”

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