Fishing tackle theft on the rise

Kit shortages and the end of Lockdown have created the ‘perfect storm’ for thieves, anglers are warned

Fishing tackle theft on the rise

by Angling Times |

THE COMBINATION of soaring second-hand tackle prices, the limited supply of fresh products and an end to Lockdown is causing a surge in tackle theft.

According to the Office of National Statistics, overall theft offences in the year to the end of September 2021 actually fell by 18 per cent, but since that date police crime data shows that some theft offences have already returned to pre-pandemic levels. Fishing equipment is proving particularly popular with thieves, who then seek to shift the stolen goods via online platforms.

With the supply of large tackle items such as rods, reels, poles and seatboxes still in short supply due to ongoing transit problems from the Far East, anglers are being warned to be extra vigilant, not only when securing their own gear, but also when purchasing used products online.


Well-known carp angler Adam Penning is just one of many anglers impacted by the problem. Recently, his tackle was stolen from his van in the Ipswich area.

“Tackle theft is absolutely rife right now, so please be extra careful,” warned Adam. “I’d advise everyone to protect their gear by getting it indelibly and invisibly marked.”

Adam also urged anglers to be cautious when purchasing used tackle from internet sites, because these have become the favoured marketplace for thieves looking to offload the stolen goods.

“When it comes to buying used tackle online, if you have any suspicions at all, then walk away,” he added. “Please don’t just hand over your money blind, because that’s what is feeding this monster.

“Everyone takes pictures of their gear in use, so ask the seller if they have anything like that before considering a purchase.”

Adam Penning got his stolen tackle back – others haven’t been so lucky. He urges us all to get our gear invisibly marked
Adam Penning got his stolen tackle back – others haven’t been so lucky. He urges us all to get our gear invisibly marked


Adam was lucky enough to get his gear back, thanks to a combination of community action and social media – something the Facebook group ‘Anglers Against Tackle Theft’ was created for.

Administrator Kristian Morris revealed how the group came about, and how the power of social media can play a leading role in not only helping to stem the tide of thefts, but also in recovering kit.

“Around five years ago one of my closest friends had all his tackle stolen from his van, along with all his tools. It broke his heart and jeopardised his livelihood,” he said.

“After seeing the devastation it caused, I decided to start a group to raise awareness of the growing problem of tackle theft. We currently have over 5,000 members, and while crime statistics show tackle theft is on the rise, we need to be extra vigilant and do the best we can to unite our resources.

“We share information about any tackle theft, including detailed lists of items that have been stolen. This includes the location of the victim, the time and date the theft took place, and any unusual details that may make the stolen tackle stand out if anyone else is offered it or sees it advertised.”

We need to be extra vigilant and do the best we can to unite our resources
We need to be extra vigilant and do the best we can to unite our resources



Among the prime targets for thieves are vehicles, especially those parked away from prying eyes – like in angling car parks! Try to avoid leaving gear in your car or van for any length of time, and if you do have to, keep a blanket in the car to cover it up – so the thieves have to risk breaking in to find out if it’s valuable or not.

Some people also suggest having some rubbish lying around in the car so it doesn’t look like anything worth stealing would be inside – a simple but smart trick.


Domestic tackle storage commonly incorporates a garden shed or garage. But anglers should consider keeping more expensive items like bite alarms, reels, poles or high-end rods in the house.

If outdoor storage is the only option, then high-quality locks and reinforced windows are a must. It’s also worth considering installing motion sensor lights or CCTV – both are great visual deterrents, even if you can’t afford the highest quality models on the market.

Invest in a home security system
Invest in a home security system ©Shutterstock


Giving your expensive kit a unique ‘ID’, which makes it 100 per cent traceable to you, is an effective and cheap way to ensure stolen tackle is returned to its rightful owner. This process also makes a conviction in the courts for the offender a near certainty.

One such product is SmartWater, which works by putting a near-invisible patch of fluid on your kit, only detectable by UV light.

For more info, visit:

Mark your gear so it’s traceable
Mark your gear so it’s traceable


We pay insurance for pretty much everything nowadays – our homes, cars and even our phones. But it’s surprising how few anglers cover what in reality is their most valuable asset – their fishing gear, which can run into many thousands.

Some home insurance policies cover fishing gear stored in sheds or cars (up to a certain value), while other companies offer separate cover just for tackle. In short, always be sure to read the policy in full so you know exactly what is covered and how much you can claim in the event of a theft.

Here are three firms that do dedicated tackle insurance policies:

The Insurance Emporium –

Anglers First Insurance –****__

Insure 4 Sport –

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