How much fishing tackle do you really need?

dog with heavy fishing barrow

Image source: Fishtec Coarse facebook page
The dog’s not going to be pulling this one…

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself: “how much fishing tackle do I really need to take?”

Judging by the barrow-loads of tackle some anglers cart to the riverbank or lakeside, you’d think the answer was, “you can never have enough”. But fishing is supposed to be about relaxation, so why keep burden yourself with excess baggage?

Less gear means less stress. So to help you declutter, here are some great tips from minimalist anglers to help you lighten the load.

Rods and reels

Unless you’re planning to fish a three or four rod water, two fishing rods and two reels are plenty. Remember, the more rods you take, the more gear you’ll need. More gear equals more hassle.

Take blogger The London Angler — when it comes to cutting to the bare essentials, he’s a true believer. As far as he’s concerned, all you need is:

“landing net, weighing scales, unhooking mat, rod rests, chair (I am not sitting on the muddy bank!), ground baits, hookbaits and a tackle box full of rigs, hooks, weights and other items such as boilie drills, stoppers… the list goes on”

His message is clear: Why take more if you can do fine with less?


car full of fishing tackle

Image source: Bath Angling
To the riverside – are you really taking everything?

Excess kit is dead weight. Work out how many leads you can realistically expect to use in a single session. Take what you need in a small tackle box and leave the rest in the boot of the car.

Remember, less tackle doesn’t necessarily place a limit on the number of species you can catch. According to Josh Mann who writes the, Minimalist Approach, you can simply adapt a small range of tackle to a wide range of uses:

“When I know I’ll only be fishing with live bait. The only thing [my tackle box] has in it are size 1 hooks and 1/8 ounce split shot sinkers, which are really all I need in a wide variety of situations”

While he admits it wouldn’t be the ideal tackle box for every situation, his attitude is to take a little less stuff, and make it work.

Tackle box

small fishing tackle box

Image source:Fashionstock/ Shutterstock
Neat, tidy, and light

In fact, why not dispense with a tackle box altogether by making like a fly fisherman and wearing a fishing vest? With its many handy pockets it makes an ideal, wearable, tackle box.

And for those who really like to travel light, simply clip all your essential fishing tackle to a fishing lanyard, and slip it around your neck. It’s the ultimate hands-free fishing experience.


colourful fishing bait

Image source Bukhta Yuril/ Shutterstock
Bait is beautiful – but you don’t need your whole stock

Boilies, glugs, pellets, and pastes — how much bait do you really need? Not much if you’re Ian Gemson. Writing in The Fishing Magic blog, he certainly thinks less is more:

“…maybe a kilo bag of boilies, a few pop ups, and some plastic baits would work well, offering me another huge weight saving of nearly 20kg.”.

Save on kilos and on cost by baiting wisely. Try looking for tell tale signs pointing to an area a previous angler has already baited. And try not to over-bait – more is not necessarily better!


We’d never suggest you skimp on comfort, but do check the weight of your couch. Looking for a new chair? Go for a lightweight option like the Indulgence Nomad Ultra-Lite, which weighs just 4kg. Overnighting? JRC Stealth X-Lite Bedchair is the lightest around.

Food and drink

Remember, you’re going fishing, not crossing Death Valley, so only take the fluids you’ll actually need.

Fancy a brew but don’t fancy carrying the kitchen sink with you? Here’s another top tip from blogger, Ian Gemson:

You don’t always need the extra weight of a stove bag and its contents, you can take hot water in a thermos flask to make hot drinks.”

Lastly, there’s your little rucksack of creature comforts — things every angler takes along on fishing trips, like a few cans of loosening-up juice. But we wouldn’t want you to skimp on that one!

11 Goriest Fishing Injuries

The calm and tranquil settings, the peace and quiet, the feeling of being at one with nature … ahhh, fishing is a beautiful hobby. Finding your spot, casting your fly line and hearing a horrific cry of pain as you hook somebody’s eyeball. Ouch.

Eyeball-hooking does happen, along with all manner of other nasty injuries, from being bitten by aggressive fish to nasty infected toe stubs – fishing can be a brutal hobby. Just look at this gore-fest for proof.

fish hook in eye

Image source: Anglerwise
That hook’s an eye sore!

fish hook in eyelid

Image source: Outdoor Life
Eye piercings have never been fashionable, pal.

fishing injury - another hooked eye

Image source:Eye Eye Sir (tumblr)
Eye piercings have never been fashionable, pal.

fish hook in finger

Image source:Flickr
Just put a plaster on it.

another hooked finger

Image source:Flickr
Just a nip, but tricky to remove.

fish hook in top lip

Image source:Fishcrack
An inch lower and this guy’s lips would have been sealed.

hook a foot

Image source:Sportsfish
Fishing in flip-flops isn’t advised.

a nasty split toe from a fishing injury

Image source:Fly fishing newbie
Nasty fishing-related toe stub.

infected ankle from barnacle injury

Image source:Louisiana Sportsman
After scraping his ankle on barnacles, this man contracted the Vibrio Vulnificus infection – very nasty indeed and sometimes fatal.

fishing spear through buttock

Image source:Deeperblue
Hmm… no caption could do this image justice.

fishing spear through shoulder

Image source:Speardiver
Spearfishing with friends has its drawbacks.

Save the sea: Recycled fishing gear

It is estimated that there are between 100 and 150m tonnes of plastic already floating around in our oceans.

That amount of plastic is harming the marine environment, not to mention the fishing and tourism industries. But can anything be done? These companies are certainly having a go!

From making sculptures out of flip-flops to building skateboards out of old fishing gear, these companies are full of quirky solutions for recycling the plastic in our seas.

If the oceans die, we die

Paradise lost

Image source: relax_gap /
Paradise lost

And so Parley was born: ‘a collaboration space where creators, thinkers and leaders from art, film, music, fashion, technology and science partner up with major brands and environmentalists to raise awareness and to collaborate on projects that can end the destruction of the magic blue universe beneath us: Our Oceans.’

Adidas trainers made from sea waste

Recycled trainers

Image source: Adidas News
Recycled trainers

Footwear giant Adidas has already collaborated with Parley to produce a concept pair of trainers that are made entirely out of ocean waste and discarded fishing nets found in the sea. For a closer look at these trainers visit the Living Geography blog. Living Geography blogger Alan Parkinson told us: “I hope these trainers actually get beyond the concept stage and are manufactured, so that the message about ocean plastics spreads wider.”

Want a pair? You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled later this year!

Fishing net skateboards

Fishing net skateboards

Image source: Bureo Skateboards
Each skateboard is made from 30 square feet of recycled fishing net

Bureo Skateboards was founded by three men who each have a shared love for the environment and skating. The skateboard decks they produce each require 30 square feet of fishing net. Fishing nets are recovered from the oceans via the Net Positiva initiative, which Bureo created to combat ‘the detrimental impacts of discarded fishing nets’.

We spoke to Greg Swienton, who explained why they settled on skateboards: “We quickly found out that fishing nets make up an estimated 10% of the plastic found in our ocean, we wanted to do something about that. We needed to develop a high-value product that was scalable, something that we could deliver to the masses, so we landed on skateboards – something fun and different.”

For more information and a video about Bureo skateboards and the men behind the project visit UK Complex.

Method for the plastic madness

Method bottles

Image source: Method Press Room
Upcycled plastic bottles made from ‘ocean trash’

Method is a company that finds uses for old plastic bottles. The company recycles and upcycles plastic bottles found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a filthy area in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas.

All of Method’s plastic bottles, which they provide for other eco-friendly companies, are made from 100% recycled plastic. Method’s upcycling projects include the creation of the Junk Raft, which sailed from California to Hawaii and was made from 15,000 plastic bottles and an old Cessna fuselage.

Adam Lowry, the co-founder of Method, is an active campaigner and says, ‘We’re removing the excuse for companies to say they can’t use recycled plastic because it’s not high-quality enough or too expensive. That’s B.S. – we’re doing it with ocean trash.’

Ocean Sole flip-flops

Ocean sole flip flops

Image source: Ocean Sole
Flip-flops transformed into colourful ornaments & jewellery

Flip-flops are cheap and simple. They may be easy come, easy go (when the strap across the middle breaks), but the problem is that thousands of them end up floating in the oceans.

Step forwards Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that collects the flip-flops from the ocean to create colourful animal ornaments and jewellery, which raise awareness about the amount and type of garbage found in our oceans. Ocean Sole’s next challenge is to upcycle the flip-flops to create new footwear.

We spoke to Joe Mwakiremba from Ocean Sole, who told us: “As a marine conservation organization, we collect flip flops and create masterpieces. Recycling these lost soles helps to keep our oceans plastic-free and reduce the threat to marine life.”

The Sustainablog discusses Ocean Sole flip-flops and provides some alarming stats: ‘Plastic items are nearly indestructible, they can drift for years, and for thousands of miles’.

Sea denim

Pharrell Williams

Image source: DFP Photographic /
‘Hats off’ to Pharrell for his new recycled clothing range

Inspired by the Parley initiative, Pharrell Williams and G-Star Raw have released a denim clothing range made from found ocean plastic. Pharrell Williams already owns a clothing company called Bionic Yarn, which uses recycled plastic to produce clothes, so he is setting an example to other incredibly wealthy celebrities.

Pharrell was recently interviewed about the new clothing range by Ocean Views. He explained: ‘We [Bionic Yarn and G-Star Raw] are trying to infiltrate the entire spectrum of fashion, high-end and low. It’s a part of sustainability and the cause is to never throw anything [plastics and trash] into the ocean again’. Check out the interview in full on the National Geographic website.

10 Reasons To Marry An Angler

Fishing is an angler’s first love, that’s why we do it. But let’s be honest, it ain’t half special to get home after a good catch and have somebody waiting for you.

You’re tired, unshaven and smell of fish — not exactly a dreamboat, aye — but hey, let’s not forget all those bonuses you bring to a marriage.

In case your wife has forgotten, here are 10 reasons why she married an angler.

1. Getting back to nature

Man and woman sat on jetty by water

Image source: GOLFX
Nothing beats quality time in nature.

An angler loves the great outdoors and has an appreciation and understanding of the ebbs and flows of nature, due to spending hours upon hours nestled up in a beautiful fishing spot, such as Shapwick Nature Reserve, like Paul Murphy.

An angler is sensitive to the sights and sounds around him and reads the language of nature to help him catch fish. “The reality, however,” according to a piece in The Guardian newspaper, “is that fishing is about the closest you can get to physically experiencing poetry. It is a pursuit based on contemplation and solitude that involves an appreciation of the elements; it is a game of chance, hope, escapism; a step into the murky waters of the unknown.”

2. Fresh, locally sourced food on the table

Grilled Mackerel

Image source: Marcus Bawdon
Who could resist fresh mackerel?

Bringing home fresh fish, some wild herbs and a bit of samphire is a real treat for the angler’s family. It’s a satisfyingly ancient tradition, it’s healthy and it saves money too.

Once back home, the fun starts with preparing and cooking the catch. Fish on Friday is an excellent blog and explores a fresh approach to preparing seafood; or check out this tasty bass and veg recipe on Vic Fisher’s Sea Angling Journal.

3. Interesting holidays away (although he may go missing)

The Canadian Rockies, the great American lakes, Greenland! You’ve sure been to some stunning places, as an angler husband loves to get off the beaten track, although he did go missing for long periods when you were away…

4. You’ll get your space

It’s lovely to do things with your partner and family, but sometimes husband and wife just need their own individual space. Psychologist Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D writes in Psychology Today:

“By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.”

5. Keeping the children busy

Father and son fishing against sunset backdrop

Image source: MANSILIYA YURY
Bonding for them, peace and quiet for you.

Danny’s angling blog talks about the lack of children fishing the canals these days, and anglers have a duty to teach their offspring how to fish. The lure of smartphones and games consoles is strong, but children should resist and explore the simple pleasures of the great outdoors, like fishing with father.

Screenless, serene and life-affirming when the stars light up the night sky — but the pressure is then on the angler to deliver and make a good catch in front of his children. Especially if you’re going to get them interested.

Simply saying something like, “‘Girls, Dad caught a few before you turned up,’ doesn’t cut it. They need to see the proof,” as discovered by Henry Gilbey in his hilarious account of feeling the pressure from his expectant children.

6. You’ll learn all about fishing

And there is so much to learn about fishing too! From the merits of different types of fishing tackle to learning how to fish by the moon! Do you remember what people told you about fishing before you started?

“Should you be fortunate enough to catch anything, your landing net and keep net will smell (especially if you leave them in the sun). Your clothes will soon become a rag to wipe your hands on, so they’ll smell. Finally, and most incontrovertibly, you will smell. No matter how rigorously you try to scrub up, you just will.” Charming words indeed from this feature in The Telegraph.

7. And that 4.30am isn’t early

The early bird catches the worm and the early angler catches the tides and the fish, so 4.30am starts are the norm. The This is Angling blog recounts in fine detail the early morning meet to go fishing for Smoothhounds. His top tip? A hearty breakfast!

8. You’ll be shown some of the best sunsets and sunrises in the world


Image source: Songchai W
Worth the early wake-up call.

When dawn breaks, the angler’s waiting. He’s seen hundreds of beautiful sunsets and knows the best places to be when the day begins. Perfect spots for rekindling your love affair.

Check out the Through The Gaps blog for some stunning images of boats coming into the harbour as the sun rises over Mount’s Bay.

9. You like fishing too

Quite unusual really, but an obvious reason to marry an angler is if you’re both into fishing. If you’re not married already, you could even enjoy a themed wedding. Check out our fishing themed wedding gallery for inspiration!

10. Your friends will be jealous

…and make remarks about the size of his tackle or rod. All very childish, but you just give them that knowing smile. Or, rattle of one of these excellent fishing jokes instead!

Is fishing with drones cheating?

Technology designed to help you catch fish is advancing rapidly. The humble fisherman can now employ a military-developed drone to greatly improve his chances of landing a catch.

No fishing rod required, just a remote control and an evil streak, (mwahaha)! Using robots and machines to catch fish might seem a little extreme. But isn’t landing a catch by any means necessary the whole point?

Whichever side of the pond you’re fishing from, here are five of the coolest fishing gadgets. We’ll let you decide which can be classed as fishing aids and which are bordering on fish warfare.

1. The rise of the drones

The machines are coming and drones are leading the way. No longer exclusive to the military, drones can now be bought by the consumer. Underground drone racing, drone-assisted home videos and drone-aided game hunting and fishing are all new sports.

A recent Daily Mail article described a new fishing drone that flies out your line and bait to prime fishing spots. There’s also a “fish-finder module” to help you locate your catch.

Fishing with drones is sure to catch on. But is it going against the rules?  One thing’s for sure, it does look fun (although not for the fish).

2. Fish everywhere with fun-sized fishing rods

Fishing gear can be cumbersome and hard to carry around. And often it’s just not convenient — it’s not like you can just pull out your full-sized fishing rod and start fishing if an opportunity suddenly arises. But you can with a pen-sized rod and mini reel. Using this gadget isn’t cheating, but rather maximizing your fishing opportunities.

Image source: Hunter Gather Cook Now that is impressive!

Image source: Hunter Gather Cook Now that is impressive!

Check out how one man got on by visiting the Hunter Gather Cook blog, where he writes:

“For any trip into the wilderness, when you don’t want to be lumbered with lots of fishing gear but still want to have a dabble, this is the perfect tool to snaffle a few breakfast-sized brown trout from a moorland stream.”

3. The all-seeing fishing rod

Fish underwater

Image source: Rocksweeper
Imagine being able to see this!

This has been out for about four years and it’s a tricky one to include in the ‘cheating or not cheating’ debate. It’s a fishing rod (great), but it has an underwater camera attached to the line and an LCD screen fixed to the handle — so basically you can see what’s happening underwater. Thus you can keep casting until you find the best spot. It’s certainly easier than diving in yourself.

Mike Shouts sees it as a great way to get “kids interested in fishing” or “to eliminate the mystery of whether there are or aren’t any fishes in the area before proceeding with a more professional rod.”

4. Wake me when when I’ve got a bite!

Fishing with friends? Taking a snooze? Fishing with more than one rod? You need a bite alarm! Simply rig it up to your rod and it will beep when you’ve got a fish tugging on the line. According to Black Country Carpers, the bite alarm has come quite a long way since the 60s:

“One of the first bite alarms was made from a piece of silver foil hanging from the line on front of the reel. This evolved into a bell operated from movement of the line to give an audible signal that a fish was hooked. The bell is still used today by sea anglers, but not so much in the carp scene!”

Check out the post to see some truly vintage bite alarms! For something a bit more, er, modern, our Mag Runner Ignite Bite Alarm does a nice job; you can watch the video below to learn more.

5. Smartphone sonar

We live in the age of useful apps. No surprise, then, that there are quite a few handy fishing apps out there. One of the most impressive is ReelSonar, an app that works alongside the sonar fish-finding device, iBobber.

The iBobber floats on the surface and sends information — about where the fish are, what the temperature of the water is and what the contours of the waterbed are — straight to your smartphone via the app. Watch the video below to see it in action at a fish take!

So is using technology cheating?

Matthew Eastham of the North Country Angler blog summarises the situation quite nicely: “We fish in a manner which brings us pleasure – surely that is the ultimate aim regardless of how ‘proper’ our chosen method might be.”

Hear, hear!

What do you think? Have your say on Facebook and Twitter!

How do fish fish?

Underneath the tranquillity of that shimmering sea it’s a fish-eat-fish world, and only the biggest, baddest and smartest survive.

Evolution has done a sterling job of creating some truly impressive fishing machines down there in the big blue; in fact the baited fishing hook is a lifeline compared to the brutality and betrayal used in fish-on-fish warfare.

Here are our seven favourite methods. Be warned though, they’re not pretty.

Speed kills

Image source: Jeff Feverson
“Open wide…now say ahhh”

Bass fishing remains one of the most popular types of fishing amongst anglers, and knowing how this fish catches its prey should give you the inside track on catching it next time.

Bass use an ambush and chase method that relies on their tremendous speed, a kind of hit and run tactic. Bass expert Hal Schramm explains on the Outdoor Life blog: “In bursts, they can exceed 3 body lengths per second. This means that in 1 second a 20-inch bass could travel 60 inches or about 5 feet.”

Along with that impressive speed, they can create a vacuum with their mouth to suck prey in – see above!

Weapons of mass destruction

Some fish don’t play fair, and employ some special heavy duty fishing equipment to capture their prey. One of the most impressive is the electric eel (which incidentally isn’t actually an eel but a knifefish).

Electric eels are able to discharge around 600 volts into the open water around them, taking out prey and any lurking predators. The Slate blog explores what happens if humans take a hit from an eel’s taser.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s now been discovered that electric eels can use their electric organs to remotely control their prey. “This makes the fish easier to capture either by immobilizing it or making it jump to show where it’s hiding.” Visit the BBC website for more information and a video.


Image source: Mirek Kijewski
You wouldn’t want this guy in your family fish tank

Subterfuge or befriending prey is a shocking tactic employed by certain fish, but it is equally impressive as a means of hunting. This cute Dottyback fish wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney animation, but it would give children nightmares if they knew the truth.

The Dottyback fish can change its colour to blend in with schools of damselfish and over the course of just a few weeks, they trust it as one of their own. It’s explained in greater detail by the i09 blog: “During those weeks, the Dottyback gets closer and closer to the school of damselfish… and then young damselfish start disappearing.” And what if they get caught? Well, they find a new school of damselfish and start over!


Making allies to combine individual strengths is a tried and tested formula in the human and animal kingdoms. It’s no different underwater. The speedy grouper fish may be quick, but it would normally lose its prey if it manages to escape down a hole. This is no longer a problem when it has a vicious ally in the guise of a moray eel, perfect for squeezing into those holes. Tag team.

Researchers discovered that when prey escaped the grouper, the grouper would move over the place the prey was hiding and use sign language to communicate to the moray eel where it needed to go. Game over.

Live Science says, “The results of the study suggest these fish may be smarter than previously thought. The findings may also show that this type of sign language doesn’t require a large brain, but rather arises out of necessity when it can help an animal survive in its environment.”



Image source: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Here fishy, fishy!

Is that a light? No, it’s a trap with teeth. Down in the darker depths of the ocean there’s a fish that lures its prey by shining a light just above its mouth with a ‘fishing pole’. The aptly named Anglerfish is a gruesome creature and is rarely seen in the wild. It also has an interesting stomach as explained here in the SFGATE Blog.


Sheer aggression and ferocity does the trick for many fish, like the pack-hunting piranha or the terrifying Goliath tigerfish. The Goliath tigerfish is a carnivorous freshwater dweller, which can weigh in at more than 57kg, and measure over 6 feet long.

It’s swift, voracious and owns massive serrated teeth that protrude from its mouth when closed. It’s a killer and will chase down most things in the water including smaller crocodiles, hippos and even humans.


Image source: Kristina Vackova
Now that’s a face only a mother could love

Camouflage can get serious below the surface, and the Stonefish is the perfect example. Touted as the most venomous fish in the world, it hides on the ocean floor, armed with its highly venomous spines. This thing will kill you if you step on it and don’t seek medical attention. What a looker, too!

It doesn’t rely on the venom to capture its prey, however (that’s only used to defend itself against predators). It opts instead for the element of surprise coupled with speed, just like the Bass. The Padi blog lists some of the other brilliant camouflaged killers down below.

Fish & chips apocalypse

With sea temperatures rising, traditional sea-caught fish could be off the menu in as little as 50 years, meaning fish and chips will probably be a luxury item for future generations.

Fish could be so scarce that you wouldn’t even get a bite if you took your own sea fishing tackle and went fishing yourself – and who’s to say that will be legal in the future!

Fish and chips 2.0

Fish and chips sign

Image source: Sarah Jane Taylor
Fish & chips – but not as we know it…

So a future without fish and chips could be a reality – and we’re seeing the early signs of that already with the decline in some species of fish like cod due to overfishing. This has resulted in the rise of fishy alternatives in some UK chip shops with hake, pollock and barramundi (and chips) just a few of the examples.

But with the current global population of 7.3 billion growing by an average of 74 million people a year, it is predicted to peak at around 10.5 billion by 2050. That’s around 50% more people, which is bad news for fish and your fish and chip suppers. So hold that thought and examine our suggestions for the brave new world of fish and chips.

Squid and chips

Squid and Chips

Image source: lsantilli
Popular – but has it got broad appeal?

Calamari with a little salt and pepper is very popular as a starter in restaurants around the world, but is it big enough to sit on the newspaper throne with the chips?

Well it’s certainly tough enough with its ‘chew harder’ texture but it’s very different to traditional fish and chips and it is a popular appetizer for a reason – it’s not very filling (unless super-sized). It could be pricey too for what you get — at least five squid a portion.

Overall, we think it lacks the near universal appeal of traditional fish and chips. Sorry squid!

Sardines and chips


Image source: stockcreations
You’d need a few to count as dinner!

Whilst some of the larger fish are endangered the smaller ones like sardines are getting on okay. In Portugal, one of the biggest exporters of sardines in the world, they are already very popular as a main dish.

Sardines can also be much bigger than the type we are used to seeing in tins and 3-4 good-sized sardines with chips would be a substantial meal, although they might not be the best fish for battering.

Salad and chips

Overweight man salad plate

Image source: Ollyy
A sad, dystopian future.

Oh – the thought of it! There will be uproar for sure as carrot-sticks, bean sprouts and pickled onions just aren’t unhealthy enough to give you the greasy satisfaction only cod in batter can.

Sure, the chips could be greasier and cooked in lard and there’s the nostalgic hit from the onion’s vinegar, but carrot sticks (not even battered) just aren’t up to it – unless that is, the future is exceptionally healthy. Sounds boring.

The future

Robot fishing on a river

Image source: iurii
What is the future of our nationals favourite supper?

The UK’s fish and chips industry has a turnover of £1.2billion and there are 10,500 chip shops nationwide, so with money and profit as the driving force there will probably be an excellent alternative (created).

The jury is out on food science, because for the most part it’s controversial due to it’s caginess about revealing ingredients, but it’s highly likely that there will be a scientific solution to the fish and chips problem. Whether it’s grown, produced or beamed down from space we cannot predict but it’s probable that it will taste just like cod in batter. It’s entirely up to you if you eat it though.

No-go fishing zones: The big debate

No-go fishing zones – how do you feel about them?

A long term study has found an 80% difference in the biomass of coral trout between areas where fishing is allowed and no-go zones.

So is there a case no-go fishing zones in the UK? Or does the angler have a right to take his fishing tackle and go and fish freely?

Australian evidence

Great barrier reef

Image source: Tanya Puntti
The study took place across the Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Institute of Marine Science carried out long-term studies across the Great Barrier Reef and the results are impressive. Supported by substantial underwater data collected between 1983-2012 from around 40% of the reef’s marine park, fish numbers in protected zones have expanded to levels not seen since the Europeans first landed in Australia.

The biomass of coral trout more than doubled in protected areas and in areas where fishing was banned there was an 80% difference in coral trout biomass. Biomass is measured in both the number of fish and their size and the coral trout were found to be much larger in no-go zones, which allows them to spawn more offspring.

Current situation in the UK

Port Isaac

Image source: Ian Woolcock
Currently no-go zone free.

So how about no-go fishing zones in the UK? Well, currently there are none. There are Marine Protected Areas, where limits and restrictions may apply. According to the government: “There are now just under a quarter of English inshore waters within marine protected areas.”

However ‘limits’ and ‘restrictions’ seem a bit grey, compared to No-go zones, which make their point perfectly clear. No-go zones could potentially be easier to manage, so in theory would protect fish stocks from European trawlers. Though this would also impact the UK’s fishing industry.

A fisherman’s right

Man fishing on the beach

Image source: A7880S
An historic right?

There is also the historic right of an angler being able to fish unregulated in the sea. Surely a hungry man can fish for his dinner in the big blue sea like he has done for thousands of years, right?

Well, not everybody sees it this way and there have been attempts to sabotage and disrupt competitions and upset anglers. PETA – the international animal rights organisation — have used provocative and hard-hitting advertising campaigns to sway public opinion against angling. Not only do they favour no-go fishing zones, but want fishing outlawed altogether.

Angling isn’t the problem

Fishing equipment

Image source: Sandra Cunningham
Individual anglers shouldn’t be blamed.

We’d argue that PETA is wrong targeting sea anglers as in economic terms sea angling is very good for the economy and doesn’t harm fish stocks. It is commercial fishing that is the problem.

The book and documentary, The End of the Line, explains that anglers spend billions of pounds on fishing equipment, bait and travel-related costs, but only take a small fraction of the number of fish that commercial fishing fleets do.

But due to being under the spotlight and pressure from PETA it’s essential that sea anglers follow a code of good practice such as observing minimum size limits and not fishing endangered species. Of course, there will always be a small minority that spoil it for the many, but when done responsibly sea angling has minimum impact on the marine environment.

No-go vs Go-go

Great barrier reef close up

Image source: Dobermaraner
It works in Australia, but would it work here?

There’s an argument that it would make no sense to enforce no-fishing zones for sea anglers due to the practice not being the real problem. But due to the success of the Great Barrier Reef, could it be beneficial to introduce tighter regulations to protect vulnerable areas from commercial fishing fleets from home and abroad?

About 30% of the Great Barrier Reef is now protected from any kind of fishing and this has proven necessary to safeguard the future of the reef and drastically increase fish stocks. Over fishing has destroyed other reefs around the world, so it is essential protected zones are managed.

This is the age we live in and never before has humanity had to consider the reality that resources — energy, food, water — can and will dry up and disappear. The challenge is leaving something in our oceans for the generation, so the planning must surely begin now.

Are you in favour for no go fishing zones or against?

Fishing for votes: Election special

Not sure who to vote for at the next election? Tired of hearing about the economy and all the immigration? Same here.

But before you decide to forget about it all and go fishing with that new fly fishing reel you’ve been planning to buy, listen up. Fishing could actually be the clincher when it comes to where you place your vote.

In the world of 2015 fishing policies, sustainability is the hot topic. It’s common knowledge that fish stocks are shrinking whilst the demand for fish is increasing, so it’s essential that vulnerable areas are protected. The flip side is that there is a fishing industry and livelihoods to safeguard too. But which side of the argument do these parties fall on?

Conservative – An eye on sustainability, but the economy key

Conservative Party Logo

Image source: Conservative Party
Economy most important.

The Conservative Party state they pushed for radical reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, thus reversing the insane practice implemented by Brussels of throwing back perfectly edible fish into the sea.

There is now a legally binding agreement in place, which promotes fishing at sustainable levels. Supported by setting up the UK’s first Marine Protected Zones, protecting 9000 square kilometres. 10% of UK seas are protected and a quarter of all inshore waters.

There isn’t much information on the party’s website about their future plans regarding fishing policies, so we can only speculate.

What we do definitely know is that the Conservative’s priority is expanding the economy, right? Handicapping fishermen too much with no-go fishing zones would damage the economy, so we’re guessing the blues won’t play the green card too hard and expand that 10% too much.

Liberal Democrats – Rebuild fish stocks whilst decentralizing control to local fishing communities

Liberal Democrats Logo

Image source: Lib Dems
Rebuild fish stocks

“Secured a huge majority in the European Parliament in favour of ambitious reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy to end wasteful discards, made it a legal obligation to rebuild fish stocks, and decentralised to local communities day-to-day management of fisheries.”

With the above statement, The Liberal Democrats believe they (not the Conservatives) were the driving force behind the changes to the Common Fisheries Policy and they helped to create a greener, more energy efficient EU. Was it Liberal or Conservatives — who knows? But both parties are claiming the accolades.

We checked the Lib Dem’s manifesto and whilst their track record might be good, they don’t have a lot to say about future fishing policies.

Green Party – Protect the fish at all costs

Green Party Logo

Image source: Green Party
Keen to protect fish.

The Green Party’s stance on fishing is simple: all marine activities will have to function sustainably within environmental limits. It’s a sustainable long-term vision weighted in favour of sustaining the environment rather than the fishing industry.

This principle would reverse the current presumption in favour of fishing so fishing rights and catch limits would be altered to protect fish stocks.

There is a a wealth of information regarding fishing policies and the party is very transparent about its stance.

UKIP – More fishing for UK boats and little on sustainability

UKIP  Logo

Image source: UKIP
All for territorial waters.

Not afraid to shake things up for better or worse UKIP will leave the Common Fisheries Policy completely and reinstate British territorial waters. UKIP has proposed UK-controlled fishing zones to replace involvement in the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

Therefore foreign trawlers would have to apply and purchase fishing permits to fish British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels. In a recent interview, Nigel Farage said, “As a result of membership of the Common Fisheries Policy, we are now allowed to catch less than 20% of the fish that swim in British waters. The other 80% we have given away to the rest of Europe.”

Nigel Farage was also a member of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, but he turned up to just one out of 42 meetings, so a close inspection of UKIP’s dismal voting record in the European Parliament on fish and Nigel Farage’s appalling attendance on the Fisheries Committee makes a mockery of UKIP’s claim to be standing up for fishermen.

SNP – Is it too late to be Scottish?

SNP Logo

Image source: SNP
A big priority!

And now over the border in Scotland.

Former first Minister, Alex Salmond, stated that fishing will be a national priority in an independent Scotland and they will negotiate Scottish priorities in EU without compromise to safeguard the £550 million it contributes to the Scot’s thriving (£14 billion) food and drink industry.

Now where’s that kilt…

Labour – Murky waters

Labour Party Logo

Image source: Labour
A bit vague…

The Labour Party’s 2015 manifesto is big, bold and bright and very clear on all the big issues.

We’ve downloaded it, but they don’t have a lot to say beyond: “We want to create a world-leading Food, Farm and Fisheries sector that creates better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy.” Sounds promising, but we’d love to know more.

Moon landing: How to catch more fish

Full moon above sea

Get in tune with the moon.

With super moons, solar eclipses and all kinds of astrological events happening in the news lately, we’ve jumped on the moon bandwagon to explore how fishing by using the phases of the moon can help land you a bigger catch.

But is there any sense to it? We did a bit of digging and discovered, to our delight, there is a sound theory behind fishing by the moon! So have a read of our quick guide then grab your favourite fishing rod, a moon phase calendar and the determination to get out of bed when the rest of the UK is fast asleep. Just think of that potential catch…

Here’s the low down on how to make the most of the moon.

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