Protecting your fishing

Wherever you fish, whether in the country or on the shore, always remember you are a guest and that, as such, you are expected to conform to a code of behaviour designed to protect your fishing and the fish.

Never leave litter. Not only is it unsightly, it can maim, and even kill, livestock and wild life. Especially never discard loose nylon line. Take it home and burn it. Failure to do this can cause birds, large and small, a slow and pitiful death. For the same reason, do not discard hooks, especially baited hooks. Never leave gates open. They were put there not only to permit you access, but also to prevent livestock straying. Never climb a fence when there is a stile available. Fences and hedges are to protect livestock, so keep to accepted paths when approaching your fishing. Take special care not to damage crops or uproot wild flowers. Do not leave your mark on the environment.

Whenever you go fishing, make sure you are in possession, if required, of the appropriate rod licence and the relevant permission, that is, the appropriate ticket or membership card. If none of these seem to apply, find the owner or controller and ask for permission. You will be surprised how often the right approach produces the desired result. Always guard against fire risk. Fire lighting is commonly prohibited at many fisheries.

Keep dogs under proper control and remember that at many fisheries their presence is most definitely prohibited. If other anglers are already fishing your chosen water, never take up a position which could interfere with their fishing and never, if you can avoid it, cast into another man’s pitch. Drive carefully on country roads and observe any special parking regulations which are often there to allow freer movement of agricultural equipment.

Always handle very carefully any fish you intend to return alive to the water. It is always best to wet your hands before handling fish to ensure the fish’s protective coating of slime is not damaged.

Never overcrowd fish in nets and always return them gently to the water. Whenever you see fish in distress, usually because of pollution, report it to the nearest authority. In England and Wales, this will be the Water Authority and their telephone number is on the back of your licence. Never kill undersized fish. Where size limits exist, observe them. They are designed to preserve and improve your fishing, in the sea and in freshwater.

Remember that most anglers do not like transistor radios and that many associations specifically prohibit the use of transistors on their fisheries.