Fishing used to be simple - turn up, use whatever method you want, any bait and simply enjoy yourself. How times have changed!
Visit any fishery now and the list of rules and regulations can be as long as your arm. You can’t use this, that or the other, you can’t do X, Y and Z and in matchfishing that’s especially true.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, any organised sport needs rules to prevent any skulduggery and to ensure a level playing field, but have we now got to a point where it’s all too much?
Do we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we really need so many rules and bans, or will match angling become like the lawless Wild West without them?
Rules are rules! - Andy Kinder – Maver ace and ex-Barnsley Blacks star
"At the end of the day, if you fish commercials then you’re fishing on someone’s property and I’m of the opinion that whatever they say, you do. Rules are rules, we have them in life in general and we stick to them. Fishing is no different.
"If you don’t like the rules, don’t go to that fishery or match, it’s as simple as that. Don’t moan, don’t gripe, vote with your feet. Of course there are rules that you look at and think ‘why on earth have they said that?’ but there’s no grey area – you follow them or else. It’s the angler’s responsibility to follow them.
"I guess the biggest gripe is keepnet limits and how they vary so much and how the punishment is equally different. It’d be much easier for the angler and fishery owners or match organisers across the UK to all work on a basis of 50lb a net. It won’t happen, but it would save a lot of aggro."
Ditch shallow fishing limits - Jamie Hughes – Triple Fish O’Mania champion
"For the most part, I understand and agree with rules, because they’re there to protect the fish and the fishery, but there are some that I wish could be changed slightly or binned off. Net limits are one – rather than trying to guess the weight in one, why not simply say put three nets in and split the fish between them?
"At most venues, that’ll mean around 60lb in each net if you’ve had a good day. That’s got to be better than making a mistake, going over by 4lb in a net and being disqualified. It takes all of the enjoyment out of the day and makes you not want to go back to that fishery again. Shallow fishing rules shouldn’t exist.
"What difference is there to catching 6ins deep or 2ins deep? I will say that limits on what you can do does make you think a bit more about your fishing and do different things. Take the Glebe Fishery – there’s a minimum hooklength of 20ins there, so you can’t rely on the Method with a short link.
"Pole length limits also make you pick a rod up. I do my homework and make sure I know every rule at the fishery I visit, so there’s no chance of me breaking any."
Fish come first - Grant Albutt – Moorlands Farm fishery owner and former UK Champion
"I see this issue from both sides of the fence. As a fishery owner, you need to have rules in matches to ensure fairness and transparency. If everyone knows the score before the start, there’s no excuse. However, as a match angler, it does annoy me how things change from one fishery to the next.
"Since I took over Moorlands, I’ve revamped the rules and changed things and took the time to explain why I made those decisions. I don’t have rules to ruin people’s days, they’re there for the health of the fish and the fishery.
"Fishery-only pellets annoy lots of people, but I don’t hide the fact that they’re a source of income. You can’t survive on day tickets alone."
Most aren’t needed - Nigel Harrhy – Barston Lakes boss
"If you have rules, you have to enforce them otherwise there’s no point, so I’d ask how many fisheries actually do this properly? We often read on social media about someone breaking a rule well after the event, and often it happens accidentally, not deliberately.
"From the point of view of an angler, they’re something that prevents you from having an enjoyable match while from a fishery owner’s perspective, 90 per cent of them aren’t needed. At Barston Lakes we don’t allow barbed hooks and have a simple keepnet rule of carp in one net, silverfish in the other. If you’re catching well, common sense comes into play in that you put another net into the water.
"By having few rules, there aren’t any to break so it’s an easier life for the angler and for me! Let’s be frank, fish are a commodity and are there to be caught by anglers. I want to protect them, but not wrap them in cotton wool, so if you want to fish an inch deep or use boilies, that’s fine. I’ve travelled all around the UK fishing matches and some of the rules make you want to cry, they’re so ridiculous!"