Which Angling Conservation Groups Would You Join?

Image source: Fishtec Blog Our waters are worth looking after.

Image source: Fishtec Blog
Our waters are worth looking after.

Fishing conservation goes beyond buying a rod license. Yet 56% of anglers don’t support any kind of conservation group, according to a recent Fishtec survey.

Anglers tend to care about the environment than most people, but there’s always more to do. To help you get involved, we’ve shortlisted some of the best UK fishing conservation groups and highlighted some of the great work they do.

If you’re not sure what else to add to your Christmas list, add membership to one of these groups. It’s the ideal way to give your support.

Wild Trout Trust

fish pass

Image source: wildtrout.org
The WTT team install a fish pass on the River Hamble

Did you know the British Brown trout is more genetically diverse than the whole human race put together? Check out the Wild Trout Trust website for all everything you ever wanted to know about one of our favourite fish.

Fancy getting your hands wet (and dirty) in the name of conservation? If so the Wild Trout Trust is for you. A grassroots organisation dedicated to looking after the nation’s wild trout, here you’ll also find a wealth of opportunities to get stuck in.

And there are plenty of resources for anyone who just wants to gen up on UK river ecosystems. The Wild Trout Trust isn’t an angling organisation – but as you’d expect, many of its members are avid anglers. Tempted to join this enthusiastic community of river guardians? We don’t blame you.

Salmon and Trout Conservation UK

salmon run

Image source: salmon-trout.org/
Salmon running the Hampshire Avon – numbers still need to rise

Would it surprise you to learn that less than a quarter of rivers in England and Wales meet the Government’s own “good ecological status”? It’s because of the degradation of river environments that salmon runs are down by as much as 80% over the past 20 years.

If you think it’s time to do something to reverse the damage to our rivers, Salmon and Trout Conservation UK offers a chance to learn more, and lend a helping hand. There’s a blog too, which offers fascinating insights into the work of the charity – if you thought black box recorders were only for the aviation industry, think again.

First formed in 1903, the S&TC UK campaigns for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. As a conservation minded angler, make sure you check out their section on how you can do your bit.

The Canal and River Trust

canal fishing

Image Source: canalrivertrust.org.uk
Canal fishing remains possible because of the CRT’s dedicated work

“We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.” As an angler you’re sure to appreciate the work of the Canal and River Trust.

They’re the charity that cares for 2000 miles of rivers and canals across the country.
And because they also look after the vast network of bridges, embankments, towpaths, aqueducts, docks and reservoirs, they’re always looking for people willing to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.

Of course you can always show your appreciation for the charity’s work by becoming a friend of the Trust. In return, you’ll receive discounts at Trust museums and attractions, a free magazine, book of “CoolCanals” walks and a pin badge and car sticker!

Shark Trust

Basking shark

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Basking shark are regular visitors to UK waters

Often demonised for their sharp toothed savagery, if you’ve ever wondered who is standing up for this vital apex predator, wonder no more. The Shark Trust has been helping to save the shark through science, education, influence and action since 1997.

If you’re a sea angler or just someone who loves to visit the coast, you can help the Shark Trust by joining in the ‘great eggcase hunt’. It’s a data gathering exercise to establish the distribution and abundance of egg cases from shark, ray and skates

The info will help scientists work out the best places to campaign for protected nurseries. So what are you waiting for? Check out the Shark Trust’s projects page for more details and get hunting.

Bass Anglers’ Sportfishing Society


Image source: ukbass.com
An 11 – six bass, released without being landed

UK Bass is all about anglers looking out for the interests of the fish they love to catch. Members adhere to a rigorous code of conduct, sticking to the society’s 48cm size limit for fish caught for the table and recommending a maximum take of two fish per day and only ten a year.

Even if you’re not thinking of joining, it’s worth thinking about adopting the same policy. Bass stocks really are under pressure so it’s up to all anglers to do their bit. If you’d like to get involved, UK Bass supports the SOS Save Our Sea bass campaign.

Members get a quarterly magazine, but anyone visiting the site has access to a wealth of information about bass. This is a must for sea anglers.

Marine Conservation Society

mcsuk beach clean

Image source: Lauren Davis, mcsuk.org
MCSUK members on the Great British Beach Clean

“Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and vital fish stocks.”

Agree? You’ll be interested in the work of the Marine Conservation Society. Check out their beach clean map to find an event near you, or if wildlife spotting is your thing, there’s a ‘report your sightings’ page that tells you what to spot and where to record it.

And if you want to make sure the fish you eat is sustainable, make sure you check out the Fish Online section for the lowdown on the fish on the end of your fork.

Angling Trust

gravel riffle angling trust

Image source: anglingtrust.net
Angling Trust members creating a gravel riffle to aid spawning habitat

The national governing body for all angling, the Angling Trust fights against pollution, over-fishing, over-abstraction, poaching and many other other threats to angling.

And the Trust battles to keep fisheries open too. If you’ve noticed new signs on the harbour wall or town pier, by the banks of a town centre river or canal – banning fishing, it’s good to know someone is standing up for anglers’ rights.

Competitive angler? Check out the competition news page for results and write ups from comps across the country.

Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

parr tagging

Image source: gwct.org
Tagging parr in Frome

Good land management and healthy rivers go hand in hand, which is why the work of the Game and Wildlife Trust matters to us as anglers.

Affiliated to the Atlantic Salmon Trust, GWCT believe passionately that those who enjoy shooting and fishing have a valuable part to play in conserving the countryside for future generations.

The Trust employs over 100 scientists and staff and currently run over 60 research projects often in collaboration with universities. All that work costs money, much of which comes from members’ subscriptions. If you’d like to join you’re sure to be warmly received and the Trust is always on the lookout for volunteers.

Blue Ventures

octopus fisherman

Image source: copyright Garth Cripps/ Blue Ventures
Not the average river catch…

The octopus fishermen of Madagascar owe the resurgence of their vital, life sustaining fishery to a small charity dedicated to helping coastal communities in the tropics manage their marine resources with conservation in mind.

When charity workers persuaded one village to temporarily close a section of reef for fishing, octopus stocks bounced right back. Now the practise has gone viral with communities up and down the coast copying the strategy to great effect.

With marine conservation a hot topic here in the UK, the work of this group is very relevant to those of us who fish in cooler climes too. Big change can indeed grow from small changes. As the guys at Blue Ventures say: “taking less from our ocean can give us much much more.

The Rivers Trust

 river angling

Image source: riverstrust.org
River angling – what better way to spend a day?

With river trusts popping up all over the country, the Rivers Trust is an umbrella body which offers the opportunity for affiliates to share information and resources. As an Angler, you’ll be interested in the work of the organisation because of its role in developing ideas, best practices and policy guidance.

You’ll find a host of resources here including this excellent animated guide to the water cycle – great for educating your kids. And there’s a newsletter you can sign up to receive – great for keeping up to date with the Trust’s work around the country.

The Rivers Trust has a reputation as a body of doers who like to get their feet wet, and no wonder because anglers are among the core members of many rivers trusts around Britain. If you’d like to know more, make sure you checkout the projects page to see all the projects with which the Trust is currently involved.

The Grayling Society

grayling fishing

Image source: graylingsociety.net
Idyllic grayling fishing

Here’s a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one of our most beautiful wild game fish. The Grayling Society has been working since 1977 to keep like minded anglers informed about grayling conservation and fishing.

Becoming a member is a great way to forge links with fellow grayling enthusiasts both here and around the world.

And if you’d like to learn more about catching the ‘lady of the stream’, there’s an informative angling page, complete with video on how to catch the beautiful grayling.

The Riverfly Partnership


Image source: riverflies.org
The mayfly – a common sight on our rivers

They’re often called the “canary of the river”, and with good cause too. River flies and invertebrates are at the heart of the river ecosystem. A vital link in the aquatic food chain, with no flies, there would be no fly fishing.

So thank goodness there’s an organisation committed to looking after the interests of this often neglected aspect of river conservation.

How would you like to contribute to keeping our waterways teeming with healthy insect life? The Riverfly Partnership provides one-day workshops to fishing clubs and other groups to help you monitor and report on the biological quality of your local rivers.

Countryside Alliance


Image source: Countryside Alliance
A fishing lesson from the Countryside Alliance

If you live in a rural area or even if you don’t you’ll be surprised just how much work the group does campaigning for better policing, planning, affordable housing, fuel and digital communications for the countryside.

Far from being a one issue organisation, the Countryside Alliance is all about traditional values, thriving rural communities, and economies and sustainable countryside management. With over 100,000 members the Alliance represents the interests of a broad swathe of countryside lovers.

And as an angler, you’ll appreciate the work of the Alliance’s Foundation, which gives young people the chance to try their hand at fishing through its Fishing for Schools programme. The Countryside Alliance is a great organisation well worth a look.

Wye Salmon Association

learning to fish

Image source: Wye Salmon Association
Learning to fish on the Wye

Until the early 1990s, the annual rod catch of salmon in the Wye would regularly hit the 7000 mark. By 2010, that figure had plummeted to just 450 fish. but now the Wye Salmon Association is fighting back.

There’s not much they can do about global warming or sea survival, but they can influence what happens in the Wye valley. The Association campaigns tirelessly to return the river to its former glory.

The website’s news page makes for interesting reading – a true snapshot of the myriad issues that river conservationists face. From hatchery and stocking debates to poaching, it’s a real eye opener and relevant to anglers everywhere.

National Anguilla Club

chris mason eel

Image source: National Aguilla Club
NAC member Chris Mason with a fine catch!

And now for something completely different! How about trying your hand at eel angling? The National Anguilla Club was formed in 1962 and is one of the Nation’s oldest single specimen associations.

Back in the 60s there were 95% more eels than there are now, and while the Anguilla Club has always been interested in the study of this extraordinary and intriguing creature, these days the club is very much a conservation group.

But that doesn’t mean they no longer fish for our slippery friends, just that they always practise catch and release. A fantastic resource for anyone interested in the life of one of the most enigmatic inhabitants of our rivers and streams.

The Barbel Society


Image source: Barbel Society
Avon barbel double and rod of choice

Angers are often conservationists too, and the fishermen of the Barbel Society surely number among the most passionate advocates of sustainable fisheries. The founding members of the organisation realised way back in the early 1990s that widening participation in the sport had to go hand in hand with effective management strategies to limit the pressure on the aquatic environment and fish stocks.

This website reflects the wide ranging interests of barbel anglers. You can read back issues of Barbel Fisher magazine, catch up with Society news through the e-newsletter and hone your barbelling knowledge and skills

There’s even an informative barbel handling video so you can make sure your prize catch returns to the water unharmed to grow even bigger. A great resource.

Dangerous Fishing Videos

calm fishing day

A day’s fishing starts calmly enough…

Fishing can be a dangerous and terrifying sport. It might not seem that way when you’re sat by the bank of a gentle river, sipping coffee from your heated flask. But while you’re quietly waiting for a nibble, spare a thought for anglers across the globe who regularly battle the elements and some truly terrifying denizens of the water.

We’ve trawled the Internet and found six videos which show just how dangerous fishing can be. Next time you’re out by (or in) the water, remember what some anglers have to go through in pursuit of their hobby.

It’s angry, it’s got teeth, and it’s flying right at you

Some might argue that the best place for a furious, razor-toothed barracuda is on the other end of a very long line. The 40lb fish Kevin Faver has hooked has other ideas, however.

Introducing the magical disappearing tuna

Leandro probably started packing a harpoon into his kayak after videoing this particular sea fishing trip. There’s a bite on his line and he’s seconds from pulling it aboard. He’s not the only one eyeing the prize, however, and anything can happen in a few seconds. Stay with this one; at 5:20 there’s another incident that surprises Leandro!

When the ocean tries to catch you

Rock fishing is officially one of Australia’s most dangerous sports. That’s impressive, considering the number of risky things you can do Down Under. This video perfectly illustrates just how extreme conditions can be. Would you risk it for a big catch?

Swimming for your life

If you had a carp on your line and it pulled you into the water, you’d be a little red-faced. If it was a great white shark, you’d be swimming for your life. Kayaker Ben Chancey isn’t deterred by his brush with this furious killer, however. Watch as he hops back into his kayak like nothing’s happened.


How strong is your stomach? You need to be pretty hardcore if you’re going to watch this video. Tim Wells is about to gut a piranha which he thinks is long-dead. Start from the beginning if you want to see a close-up of piranha teeth, or skip to 3.30 and listen out for the crunch to see exactly what those gnashers can do.

Remember: this clip is not for the fainthearted.

Spanish mackerel obliterated by shark

You have to hand it to these anglers – they don’t let anything faze them. They continue fishing despite multiple sharks circling their boat. The sharks aren’t going to let an easy meal get away, either.

Cover the kids’ ears if they’re close by while you watch this one…

Got a fisherman’s tale to tell?

Angling isn’t always the relaxing sport it’s made out to be. We’ve seen crazy weather and a lot of close encounters with big hungry fish. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the places a hook can get stuck.

Have you had a close call while out fishing? Head over to the Fishtec Facebook page and share your story with us.

Best British sea fishing blogs

Sea FishingHow do you fancy some autumn angling reading?

The nights are drawing in, so we’ve scoured the Internet to bring you some solace when dark stormy evenings stop you from getting to the shore.

Here’s our selection of the best British sea fishing blogs:

British Sea Fishing

british sea fishing

Here’s a great resource for sea anglers everywhere. British Sea Fishing is a one-stop information shop for everything connected with your favourite hobby.

Ever struggled to identify an unusual catch? There’s a comprehensive fish identification guide here that covers everything from round fish to sharks, eels and more.

Are you new to sea fishing, or looking to improve your technique? Check out the information section where you’ll find among other useful gems, a guide to avoiding snags. Top tip: Choose a stiff rod for pulling tackle through weed, and go for a reel that enables quick retrieval.

Fishing and Foraging Wales

fishing and foraging wales

Pro fishing guide and foraging expert, Matt offers you a taste of how, “ancestors may have felt in days past where the seasons and hunting and gathering were so important.” If the pics of all those people catching are anything to go by, we’d say our forebears must have been pretty pleased.

This month, Matt’s blog reflects on the long summer season and looks forward to November which, he says, holds so much promise of that elusive prize, a big bass. If you’d like to join him for some fishing and foraging, places are booking up fast!

Matt’s a true steward of the coast and countryside, even educating his MP about the potential for a sustainable wildness industry in Wales. Want to find out how you could do the same in your area? Check out his blog post.

Light Rock Fishing

LRF blog

Join the light rock fishing revolution, Adam says, and find fun fishing. He certainly has. An advocate of fishing for “what’s under your nose” means even the most unpromising of locations offers fun times when he’s got a spare hour or so.

To put his money where his mouth is, he entered the British Street Fishing champs – eight urban marks – and guess what? He won. If that’s not a good reason to check out his blog for ideas and tips, we don’t know what is.

From horse mackerel off Weymouth to to a sport of LRF in Skiathos, Adam offers an irreverent take on life coupled with obvious angling know-how. You’ll love it.

Dean Pilgrim

dean pilgrim

Mad keen sea angler and blogger, Dean says: “Check out my blog for catch reports, kit reviews and my general fishing related antics.”

We did and we liked what we saw. Dean loves his lure fishing and if you do too, you’ll love his insights on the art of snagging a whole range of species this way.

Speaking of which, Dean’s latest foray to the shores of his beloved South Cornwall coast saw him bag a “wrasse on steroids”. Want to know what fish he’s talking about? Better check out his blog then!


fishing blog

Here is a blog that does exactly what it says on the tin: “Sea fishing tips to make you a better angler.” What’s the best anti crab rig? What’s the best way to use a soft plastic lure? What are the best baits for fishing the North sea?

You’ll find the answers to all these questions and more, including an interesting piece on fishing insurance. Add it up and you might be surprised just how much your fishing equipment is worth, and of course there’s always the chance of accident or injury. Find out how to make sure you’ve got the risks covered.

But what really makes the aptly named, fishing-blog stand out is the quality of the jokes… “What does a fish say when it swims into a wall? Dam.”

Fishing Tales

fishing tails blog

What do Poldark and pollack have in common? A summer trip to Cape Cornwall saw blog author, pro fishing guide and angling fanatic, Sean McSeveney bag a few nice pollack just a stone’s throw from where the new series was filmed.

And now you have the chance to benefit from Sean’s 40 plus years angling experience. He’s teamed up with none other than River Cottage, to offer a fabulous Shoreline sea fishing and cookery course.

With Sean as your guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about fishing from the beach, and afterwards, you’ll take your catch to the kitchen to clean and cook it to perfection.

British Disabled Fishing Association

bdaa sea fishing

Are you disabled and would just love to get into angling? BDAA offers training and practical help for you and your friends, relations and carers to get you fishing.

Anyone affected by disability will know just how great it is when fisheries work to make their facilities accessible to all. By providing expert help and guidance, BDAA also plays a leading role in helping to integrate disabled angling into fisheries across the UK and beyond.

Why not add your voice to the growing campaign to make angling more accessible? Becoming a friend of BDAA is a great way to show your support for the great work this charity does to champion disabled anglers, and their friends, families and carers.

Through the gaps

through the gaps blog

For a true taste of seafaring life, you can’t go wrong with this salty blog! Newlyn fishermen make their livings sailing their sturdy fishing boats, “through the gaps”, out into the sea to bring you the best seafood the Cornish coast has to offer.

Fancy owning your own piece of maritime heritage? The Falmouth working boat, Endeavour is up for sale. But if you’re from out of port, you’ll have to wait to see if anyone local wants her first!

No matter how far from the sea you live, you’ll love this blog. Keep your eye on the weather in the Western Approaches, watch all the action via the webcams in the Port of Newlyn, and track the whereabouts of the Newlyn boats live as they catch your tea!

Anglers Afloat

Anglers afloat in kayak

Here’s everything you could possibly want to know about kayak angling, all in one place. Product reviews, the low down on the latest angling tech, tournament news and more.

Interested in customising your boat and rig? Check out the “projects section”, for inspiration and ideas. Need to know how to make simple repairs, fit a sail kit, or install a flush rod holder? This is the section for you.

Anglers Afloat is also UK’s largest forums for kayak anglers. With over 4000 members, it’s a fantastic place to interact with fellow enthusiasts. Highly recommended.

Lure and Light Game

lure and light game

What do you do if your local beach yields nothing but weever after weever? Carefully remove it from the hook and keep on fishing! Lee was glad he did, bagging a flounder, and on metal too. Did the flatty mistake his lure for crab?

If you’re into LRF (light rock fishing) with lures, this is the blog for you. Lee’s angling exploits around the North Wales coast are full of inspiration and ideas.

Do make sure you check out some of Lee’s videos too, it’s a new medium for him, but you’ll certainly enjoy the footage – anyone for some chilled out mackereling?

Luke Fox

luke fox blog

Sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back and enjoying reading about somebody else’s fishing exploits. So why not let Luke entertain you with some fishy tales from his adventures around the Cornish coast?

Are you into lure fishing? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Luke describes himself as a lure fisherman exclusively and his myriad photos of catches large and small will soon have you reaching for your fishing rod and tackle

Speaking of which, do make sure you check out Luke’s “tools of my trade” page to see what he’s using to such good effect!


lurethatfish blog

Lure and bass fisherman Keir Sims says his September sucked! But it wasn’t the fish that were to blame. First the boat engine stopped dead, then the car engine blew up. But surely it wasn’t as bad as all that? If the pics are anything to go by, Keir and his mates didn’t do too badly!

In fact, they were definitely reeling in some decent bass last month, so make sure you check Keir’s blog to see what he’s using. Hint: white DoLive shad is one of the options that seems to be doing the trick.

Need a little inspiration to get you out of the house and down to the beach? Keir’s gallery features some very tasty shots featuring a range of specimens in stunning locations.


Tidelines Blog

Wow! All we can say is, what a cod! No wonder Martin looks overjoyed. Scroll down through this excellent blog, and you’ll soon come across another of the author’s fine catches – this time a four pound perch.

It was Martin’s uncle who first kindled his nephew’s passion for angling, when he brought a trout home from the River Cessnock. Martin was seven at the time, and in the decades since he has lost none of his enthusiasm for the sport.

Which is great news for the rest of us, because Martin writes a great sea fishing blog. Do check out his recent video, “Good times on the Ebro”. Here’s Martin’s intro: “Losing good fish is never easy, when this happens on the last day and the fishing’s already rock hard, well… those damn Zander!” Sounds intriguing.

UK Bass

uk bass blog

Check in to UK Bass Blog to catch up with the latest campaigns to save the sea bass from overfishing and find out what you can do to help. You’ll find a link to the Save our Sea Bass Campaign page as well as the latest bass conservation news.

Of course, protecting sea bass doesn’t mean not catching them. Data collected from several thousand BASS members reveals that when it comes to landing a whopper, not all days are the same.

The tidal cycle it turns out, strongly influences catch rates. So when should you go after bass? Springs from April to the end of October.

Whitby Sea Anglers

Whitby sea anglers

North Sea Stocks – improving. Bluefin tuna spotted off the South West coast. These headlines alone should tell you that Whitby Sea Anglers have their fingers firmly on the UK’s sea fishing pulse.

Read all about a shark attack off Whitby. Luckily there was no “Jaws” style drama; a Porbeagle tore chunks out of an unlucky cod. The boat skipper takes up the story:

“The porbeagle must have been 8ft long and around 400lb in weight, and a very big fish. It was a pleasure to see such an awesome predator in action.” If you want a blow by blow account of the action check out the blog. You won’t regret it, it’s full of news, tips and insights from the Whitby sea anglers’ watery world.

Best of the worst catch competition pictures

angler with boot

Image source: Minerva Studio/ Shutterstock
Fishing that fails

You’ve been sending in some fantastic entries to the Classic Catch competition, and we’ve given you loads of hints and tips for taking the best picture of your prize catch.

Even though some of the pictures entered aren’t quite what we’d call pro-quality, they’ve given us at Fishtec a laugh, so we wanted to share our favourites with you.

Which do you like best? Make your vote, and the picture with the most votes will win a small prize (think of it as an angler’s wooden spoon…).

Look at these four delights, then choose your favourite at the bottom of the page.

Dan Dice's Bewl Water blue trout

Ian Swindlehurst with his catch!

Dan Dice's Bewl Water blue trout

Richard James’ 10 1/2 pound sturgeon at Kingsnordley Farm Quatt, Shropshire

Dan Dice's Bewl Water blue trout

Dan Dice’s Bewl Water blue trout

Dan Dice's Bewl Water blue trout

Rob Bending’s wild river Tawe brownie / Klink & dink in low water.

Make your choice…

Which is your favourite picture?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Angling for disaster

fisherman in small boat with shark

Image source: Andrea Crisante/ Shutterstock
You’re going to need a bigger boat…

Cast your line, sit back in that comfortable chair and breathe in the taste of tranquility as you settle in for another rewarding day of fishing.

Ahh … the sun’s shining, the birds are singing and it’s about as idyllic as it gets.

What could possibly go wrong?

Sealed with a kiss (asbonline)

You won’t believe it! You’ve just caught the biggest fish of your life and are posing proudly for the photograph to show your friends — and then this happens.

We may be top of the food chain, but take your eye of the prize for one minute and there are plenty of smart movers waiting to strike. Outfished!

Bacon butty cast off (Buddy Stump)

Be sure to clean the grease off your hands after eating that bacon butty. There’s a technique to casting, and this isn’t it. Doh!

You may well have been fishing for years, but it’s always useful to freshen up on your casting technique. Michelangelo at Fly Fishing Discounters tells us:

“Fly casting is an art form. Your fly rod is the brush, The fly reel holds the line like an artist’s palette holds his paints. And the fly line is his paint.”

In your face (BlacktipH )

Experienced fisherman, Joshua Jorgensen of BlacktipH Fishing, gets a nasty surprise when trying to land a monster fish out at sea. Top marks to him for staying cool and not turning this video into a raging fishing reel. That’s a nasty injury too.

Goliath strike (Gimbb14)

Good luck can turn rotten in seconds. You’re stoked after landing a 4ft-long shark and it looks like a satisfying day’s fishing. But then the Goliath Grouper turns up and dead shark hits the fan.

After such bad luck there’s only one way to soothe your disappointment and that’s going back out to fish for Goliath Groupers. The question is: Are you up to the job of catching a fish that can weigh as much as 800 pounds? Jamie Hibbert at Fishing Blog says:

“As a result of how heavy the Goliath Grouper can get when it fully matures, it is important to consider getting a strong fishing rod.”

Sharpshooter fisherman targets drone (Life Generation)

How would you react if a noisy drone was disturbing your fish? You’ll be amazed at what this maverick angler does. A bad day’s fishing becomes a bad day’s droning. The noise of that mechanical fly was scaring away the fish, so this one’s a victory for the anglers.

Slipping with sharks (Fish Pelagic)

Whoops! This really isn’t the thing to do when handling a shark, though to be fair, this fisherman doesn’t seem to bothered. Super confident with sharks or just stupid — we’re not sure.

The Shark Trust’s, Shark Handling Guide states,

“If possible, release the shark from the side of the boat, only inboard a fish when absolutely necessary.”

There are many ways to spoil a day by the water – we’ve seen just a few here. What has ruined your angling trips? Tell us what happened on our Facebook page.

Alan Yates Sea fishing Diary October 2015


The cod season has arrived and an increasing number of anglers are out after them, with catches from all around the UK being much improved on recent years. In some regions it’s possible to catch four fish over 3lb in a session and a few are making 6lb. Reports from various regions include the river Tyne being packed with small codling so the future seasons are also bright there. Inside the Humber estuary codling are showing at Immingham. In the East Anglia codling of 3lb plus are a regular feature of competitions and that shows they are around because the matches are not always organised for the best fishing, more towards social hours and the pub times.

Ian Dancey of Waterlooville, Portsmouth with two cod from Ferry Bridge, Chesil beach

Ian Dancey of Waterlooville, Portsmouth with two cod from Ferry Bridge, Chesil beach

In Kent Dungeness has already produced four codling in one session. Reports of cod from Brighton and Shoreham beaches show the English Channel has prospects, whilst the hot spot on some days is Dorset’s, Chesil beach. The Bristol Channel looks good with Blue Anchor, Dunster beach and Brean/Brean Down the top high water venues. The Fylde coast cod season looks good with codling showing already with fish averaging 1lb to 2lb. Best reports are coming from the northern end of the coast from the west facing beaches like Cleveleys, Dronsfield Road and Beach Road, Fleetwood.

Chesil beach - a great spot for catching cod!

Chesil beach – a great spot for catching cod!

All you need to do is get the sea fishing tackle out and head for the beach or pier, although a good overhaul of you fishing gear might be worth it before you venture out! Especially check you main  lines because they will almost certainly require changing. Look at rod rings for wear and hair line cracks and reels for salt corrosion. Terminal rigs that have been returned from last year’s fishing should be binned and it’s not a bad idea to tie up a few new ones, especially because every season advances in tackle accessories are made and you may miss out on something special.

Check out the TF Gear web site: www.totalfishinggear.co.uk or www.fishtec.co.uk for a comprehensive selection of sea fishing equipment.

Bait wise, little beats yellowtail or black lugworm and squid as a front line codling bait, although a few fresh peeler crabs can be deadly on many venues, especially the rough ground and estuaries.

Ben Arnold of Brighton with an 11lb cod from Dover Admiralty pier - it won him the three day pier festival and is the first of the bigger shore cod from Kent

Ben Arnold of Brighton with an 11lb cod from Dover Admiralty pier – it won him the three day pier festival and is the first of the bigger shore cod from Kent


The way you handle your catch has become a far more important issue nowadays with political correctness demanding more attention to fish welfare. Dumping the fish in a fish box as they are caught is still practiced, but some anglers want to kill the fish that they catch, others simply release everything alive.

Personally I eat a lot of the fish I catch and so I do kill what I want to take home, but release those that are unwanted, or I feel need returning. There are of course rules and regulations governing legal minimum size limits and not all fish are legally big enough to retain, but those that are big enough are not always candidates for catch and release simply because many a hook hold is fatal to a fish, especially the small species and those species that always swallow the hook. So it’s an open ended situation and I sometimes take home fish I would otherwise have released. There are of course also catch limits nowadays, the new bass three fish a day is the first of many I think we have to come. Some species are barred from capture, eels, tope, shad to name a few.

Removing hooks is a major problem for a majority of sea anglers and lots of sea fish are killed by anglers who want to return a fish, but simply lack the technique and skill to remove a hook without harming the fish. Some hooks cannot be removed without damage, but the majority can if you know what you are doing. Using a sea fishing disgorger helps although many cannot work the likes of the Gemini effectively. It does take practise; get another angler to show you how.

If you are totally intent on fishing catch and release then use small hooks – these do less damage and are easier to remove. Size 8s or event 10s are not as practically efficient as larger sizes, but far more fish friendly if you can call a hook that. Such freshwater hook sizes being an example for their ease of removal with a simple freshwater stick (Stomfo) disgorger. Another good idea for C&R is to use crushed or micro barbs on hooks which make them easier to remove, barbless is less popular, but again it’s more fish friendly for those fishing catch and release.

Another major issue with fish welfare is handling the fish, grabbing a pouting, whiting, mackerel, etc around the middle, fighting the hook free and then releasing the fish does a lot of damage to the fishes protective, scales and slime coating. I am not in agreement with the theory that ALL mackerel handled die because of this. As a regular coarse angler I handle lots of freshwater fish and because they are caught and released regularly it is well known that they survive handling, although a wet hand, cloth or unhooked in the net, plus gentle handling is more commonly practised in freshwater angling.

At sea a problem is that different species are more delicate, some swallow hooks and some are reasonably tough. Bass for instance rarely swallow the hook and have a tough bony mouth and scaled body making them more resistant to unhooking and handling. Mullet on the other hand shed scales easily and need to be handled with great care. Dogfish are very resilient to unhooking and handling, whilst codling and the rest of the cod family and the other soft fined species are very easily damaged by a hook or handling and a very low percentage of those hooked survive. Dropping fish from a high venue is also a problem although this can be solved by the use of a bucket to net or even hooking the fish on the grip lead wire.

Flatfish are also prone to damage when the hook is removed because of the trap door nature of their mouth, many swim away strongly look like they will survive, but die later. The reality is that with the best will in the world some fish will not survive and it is my personal policy, provided a damaged fish is sizable, that I retain it for the table.

If you have to kill a fish or want to prevent it gasping its life away in the fish box then a sharp blow to the head is still the best method. Most boat skipper use the aptly names “priest” whilst from the shore small fish can be dispatched with the fish measure or knife handle

At the end of the day, fish welfare is and always has been a matter of personal conscience and although anglers may differ greatly in opinion it is totally their own personal decision and no one else’s!!!

Tight lines, Alan Yates


Guess The Fish Weight!

Here at Fishtec we like to stretch your estimation skills from time to time. We’ve gathered a collection of eleven beautiful catches for you to cast your eyes over.
Throw your weights around, and see how well you score in our quick quiz. Are you the master of measurement, or do you need a bit more time at the waterside?

Dan Jones with a big pike

big fat pike
Image Source: carpcoarseandswansea

How heavy is this pike?

Bass caught on a Weedless Weightless Texas rig

freshly caught bass
Image source: http://braidrunner.com

This bass is a fine catch - but what did the scales say?

Plump female mirror with a proud set of barbules!

female mirror
Image source: fishing-for-memories.blogspot.co.uk

This mirror came in at less than the original estimate - what was the actual weight?

This feisty little Rainbow graced the net after some acrobatics and a very spirited fight.

rainbow trout in net
Image source: finallyfishing.blogspot.co.uk

A feisty little rainbow - but what was the weight?

River Dane chub

Image source: flyandclassiccoarse

Just how chubby do you think this chub is?

A good looking wrasse...

Image source: schogskyandhutch.blogspot.co.uk

How heavy was this wrasse before it went back to the kelp forest for its dinner?

23 inches of wild Trent Trout on a dry fly, it don't get much better...

wild trent trout
Image source: glenpointon.blogspot.co.uk

How much does this wild trent trout weigh?

Wrasse on the rocks

angler with wrasse
Image source: scillylureaddicts.blogspot.co.uk

This wrasse was 58 cm - but how much did it weigh?

Aussie salmon, happy angler!

Image source: lurefish-ireland.com

How much did this aussie salmon weigh when it was landed?

How heavy is this beauty?

rainbow trout
Image source:chrismccully.co.uk

This beautiful rainbow was caught in East Yorkshire - but how much does it weigh?

Not ancient, but not a young bream either

Image source: idlersquest.blogspot.co.uk

An elder bream - what's the weight?

How to win the Classic Catch competition

Have you sent in your picture for the Fishtec Classic Catch competition yet? If you’re still biding your time, we’ve got some hints for you!

We did share some slightly more technical tips a while ago, but here are some ideas based on submissions readers have made.

We’ve noticed that some entries are better than others, so let’s look at what works and what doesn’t for entrants after our monthly grand prize (it’s £150 worth of Fishtec tackle, so it’s not to be sniffed at…). No-one expects Magnum quality pictures, but there are some tried and tested techniques.

1 – Have a great catch to display

August’s winner Ryan Jones sent in a fantastic vote-hooking picture. His fish is beautiful, and the picture is framed well. Ryan’s obviously delighted with the catch (and he’s claimed his prize of a TF Gear soundwave alarm set already!)

Ryan Jones river wye pike

PB 26lb River Wye pike. First time out on the river last year.

2 – Good lighting is vital

John Lewis also has a fine catch. His picture is well-lit, and the fish, like Ryan’s, is in full view – you can clearly see the size of the catch, and again, John’s face is a picture of happy angling:

John Lewis Smooth hound

A 9lb smooth-hound caught on a pulley rig loaded up with squid as bait, Morfa Beach, S. Wales.

3 – Use the scenery around you

Fiona Guest’s picture is not only of a beautiful catch, held by a delighted angler, it’s also set in some stunning scenery. Classic catch pictures are all about the fish, but framing it with some lush countryside is never going to hurt:

Fiona salmon The River Tay

Fiona’s first salmon on The River Tay. 10lb caught on Vision 110.

4 – Show us the whole fish

Lee Ashton’s 15lb rainbow is a beauty for sure – but the picture loses a little in composition. The tail’s chopped off, and we can’t revel in the full glory of the catch. Give us just a little bit more, Lee!

15lb rainbow

Lee Ashcroft 15lbs rainbow, CDs black daddy

5 – Show us the whole angler!

Richard James is proud of his catch – and rightly so. If only we could see all of the fisherman as well as the fish. Watch out for chopped off heads, and make sure you’re not scalped in your photo!

richard james 10 and a half pound sturgeon at Kingsnordley Farm Quatt, Bridgnorth Shropshire

richard james 10 and a half pound sturgeon at Kingsnordley Farm Quatt, Bridgnorth Shropshire

6 – Having a good angle is helpful

This picture from Stan Tear shows him happily displaying a catch from his local fishery – but we can’t really see the fish very clearly. Display your fish side-on to the camera, and we’ll be able to appreciate your efforts much more easily.

Stan Tear - I caught this at my local fishery, literally 50 yards from my house. It's not a whopper but fishing for me is about relaxing and not all about monster fish.

Stan Tear – I caught this at my local fishery, 50 yards from my house. Not a whopper but fishing for me is about relaxing, not all about monster fish.

7 – A fresh catch always makes a better picture!

Ian Swindlehurst may have had a fine waterside duel with this fish, but by the time it makes it to the kitchen door, your haul isn’t going to be looking its best. Freshly caught live fish will always make for a better picture – and if you snap it as soon as it’s caught, you’ll capture the excitement of fishing as it’s happening.

This is my Uncle Ian Swindlehurst with his catch!

This is my Uncle Ian Swindlehurst with his catch!

You should now have all the knowledge you need to take the ideal catch photo. Remember to think about your composition, lighting and how you display your catch – but if you have any other tips to share, just let us know.

Submit your catch here: http://blog.fishtec.co.uk/fishtec-competitions/classic-catch-competition

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Dairy – September 2015

At the time of writing this I am also working on the prospects/hot spots pages for the next issue of Sea Angler Magazine with an eye on the coming cod season and I have got to say it looks good!

Alan Yates with a codling.

Alan Yates with a codling.

Well for many of us the cod are already here and although I haven’t actually hooked a codling yet, this week maybe, I have seen a few landed. Most striking is that they are not really as big as I thought they would be and this raises a few interesting issues. Back in the day it was said that the cod doubled their weight each season and I must admit to thinking that this September would see the last year’s crop of 2lbers return as fives! But no, depending upon where you fish, they all but that and in fact in the South East some as small as 3lbs. Other reports do put them at 5lbs, but of course you have to factor in the freelance sea angler’s reputation for exaggeration because most do add on a bit. I have always based my reports and news in the match result weights because they are truthful and in the case of codling size a match fish is 3lb and a freelance fish is 6lb.

Anyway, in some regions the fish are thin, as are the enormous shoals of whiting and I believe all this is down to the number of fish and the available food. Add in the dogfish hoards and the sea is being swept clean of food and those fish are struggling to put on weight. On the plus side of course is that with winter coming and the lower sea temperatures and gales the dogfish will soon move into deeper water in many regions and the codling and whiting will be inshore after the gales to feast and its then they pack on the weight – November and December.

Dogfish and whiting - eating the cod out of house and home.

Dogfish and whiting – eating the cod out of house and home.

In the meantime it’s a fact that the bigger codling will come from the rough ground and the richest sea areas in terms of food. Current reports put Chesil Beach and East Anglian venues as best for the plumper, fitter fish and the cod drought in South Wales may be over, whilst further north into the North Sea the codling are usually fatter anyway, I wonder if that down to fewer dogfish?

On my own patch, Kent the codling are expected to range from 3lb to 5lb and at that size the great thing is that they pull the string – no mistaking a codling bite and they pull and are far more difficult to land up a wall etc without a net. Of course the added bonus is that the off fish with beat 6lb even 7lb and now we are starting to talk cod!

And what about catching one or hooking one, how difficult is that going to be?

Well the answer does depend on the angler and lots reading this will have ambitions way above their ability – I don’t mean to be rude, but a majority of sea anglers, especially novices, live in a dream world when it comes to catching cod.

The first problem is finding a venue – A productive and worthwhile venue and lots can’t be bothered to make any effort in this direction and simple fish their nearest mark, usually close to the car park. Ignore the stories, look for facts! After that the choice of tide and weather are paramount and then there is the question of day or night? This makes up around 40% of the solution to catching cod – Remember you can’t catch em if they aren’t there! The spring tides are the best without doubt and coloured water is better in daylight than clear. At night clear water can be productive but make an effort to find and fish the venues best tide time. On some marks it’s the flood on some the ebb, but mostly around high tide. Long marathon sessions can be fun and tiring, but with knowledge you can spend the same hour on the venue as the cod!

Catching cod consistently from the shore is not about throwing cash at the subject, it’s about using a few brain cells and getting out there and making an EFFORT!

I would say tackle is just 20% of the subject and a quality rod and reel costing around the £200 is all that’s needed. Check out the TF Gear sea fishing tackle range because we’ve worked on a range of functional, tough tackle that can cope with the winter season. Look for a good reel in particular because that will help you to a smoother, longer cast – most beach casters in the 4oz to 8oz range are adequate and you only get a designer label for that extra cash – spend it on a top of the range reel instead.. Avoid cheap tackle, especially if you are a beginner because you will need all the help you can get. A couple of sessions with a casting instructor is next, 20%. He will put your right on tackle balance etc and may even add a few casting yards and they are vital in winter!

The remaining percentages needed to catch cod include the small things like bait – Black/yellowtail lugworm, quality frozen squid and fresh peeler crab if you can get them are the only essentials, other baits you can forget. After that terminal rigs, hooks, leads and the comforts like a shelter, rod rest, good clothing are all not to be neglected because an efficient, warm dry angler is a contented angler and he will be more likely to be successful.

Things to avoid – rumours, myths and tackle shop talk – it’s usually too late to capitalise on a venue rumour, but what you can do is note the tide and weather on the venue and when it repeats, fish there then!

Be honest with your ability – if you are short on casting range looks for a pier or deep water beach where you can reach the fish and if you are really down on casting skills then only fish at night because the inshore sea is more likely to be stacked with fish closer in under the cover of darkness.

My final piece of advice is to buddy up, find a mate who knows how to catch cod or join a group club that have knowledge and ability and copy them – That’s how we learn life – copy others because it’s all been done before and nothing says that it’s not YOUR turn!!!

Cruise liner terminal venue at Dover

Cruise liner terminal venue at Dover.

Before I go, some good news for sea anglers is the opening of a new venue soon at Dover in Kent – Because the Prince of Wales pier is closing for a new Marina the Port Authority are opening an inside section of the Admiralty pier near the Cruise terminal.

Tight lines, Alan Yates.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary – August/September

I enjoyed a hectic weekend at Amble in Northumberland organising the Sea Angler Magazine Penn National final. Forty qualifiers from all over Britain and Ireland competed in what is essentially sea angling’s major ranking tournament. The full results will be in the next magazine issue, although I can tell you that southern anglers, especially the England and Wales Internationals, did exceptionally well with Cardiff Matchmen Chris Read the overall winner.

Penn final 2015 Warkworth

Penn final 2015 Warkworth

Back from the Penn final, my next trip was to fish Folkestone pier which has been closed for repairs for over a year- Work is complete and its opening for the Folkestone Sea Angling Association competitions only at present. The problem being that an open free for all will inevitably produce problems, especially with the mackerel fishing hoards who are considered lacking in any angling etiquette by all.

A sunny day with a light breeze produced a few fish for those at the end of the pier with local angler, Herbie Tyler winning with 9lb 14oz; he included the limit of three dogfish plus twenty pouting. Runner up was John Wells of Hythe fishing on peg two and john landed the biggest fish of the competition, a 3lb 13oz smoothhound taken on crab. I managed a steady third with a few pout and dogfish

John Wells with a smoothhound from a refurbished Folkestone pier

. John Wells with a smoothhound from a refurbished Folkestone pier

Talking to Folkestone SAA Secretary and Treasurer, Robert Harwood Brown about the future of Folkestone pier. He said it is only open for FSAA club competitions at present. However, a meeting with the port authorities is imminent and this will decide, things like access, times and the rules and regulations effecting angling on the pier.

Extensive repairs have taken place with new gates and handrail, a new tarmac surface and safety furniture. Work is ongoing and the pier will be closed for work on the wall in October (Let’s hope not too long because it’s the peak of the cod season)

A number of local anglers have expressed concern that the pier is taking on a drinking culture and that angling will be pushed to the side, especially because the major work has been carried out on the non angling areas, but I can assure all that the officers of the Folkestone SAA have no intention of allowing that to happen.

Staying with piers the next casualty is another Kent pier, the Prince of Wales pier at Dover which will close for a major port development and may not return going on Dover Harbour Boards record of public access. The Prince of Wales pier is the only pier in the South that allows disabled anglers car access to fish the sea wall.

Dover’s Admiralty pier has reopened but there trolleys are barred because of the narrow walkway and so the less able angler has restricted access. Meanwhile Dover breakwater remains closed and it looks like that is it for the venue with the Dover Harbour Board having no intention of ever allowing anglers back!!!!!

Autumns coming, time to take your shelter.

Autumns coming, time to take your beach shelter.

With a change in the weather looming shore fishing is set for a major change to Autumn and winter mode and a return of crowded and snaggy venues. Losing terminal tackle is one of the shore sea angling’s major problem areas and nothing is worse than finding your gear in a snag just when the fish are starting to bite. A major cause around the UK shore, especially in the popular sea angling piers and beaches is that anglers uses heavy (60lb +) leaders to help them cast long with thin mainline (15lb). Obviously once the lead or terminal tackle is snagged the main line will always break, usually at the leader knot leaving leader, rig and lead to increase the snag. This over four decades or more has created lots of huge snags around many parts of the coast and because mono degrades very slowly these snags stay in place. On some venues regular dredging clears them, whilst on the most volatile storm beaches the weather breaks them up or buries them, but they remain a big problem.

No matter what tackle you chose to use for fishing over snags of any kind and that includes rocks and weed as well as line snag, the first essential is choosing where to fish to avoid the snag and that vital speedy tackle retrieve.

Watch an experienced rock angler and he will make the fishing look easy, but this is because he will first select his fishing spot based on his experience of the venue’s snags. Have you even looked at low water to see what you are fishing over? A few yards along the venue can make a difference to hitting the worse snags or missing them completely, plus you location in terms of closeness to the water’s edge creates a different line angle to the any snag and a high position will give you a steeper angle of retrieve which often does the trick. Add to that that there will be a difference between fishing the flood and ebb tide and either can increase or decrease a snag’s ferocity.

A failure to grip the rod and reel firmly so that the reel can be cranked at maximum speed is a major failing on many, especially novices. Too many believe that all they have to do is clip on some gimmicky snag-avoiding accessory and all the problems will be solved. But far more effective is to pick the rod up and slowly wind the rod down to point at the lead and then with that one lifting movement lift and reel as fast as you can, keeping the rod tip as high as possible. Fixed spools which have faster initial retrieve speed than the empty spooled multiplier, are gaining popularity on snaggy venues.

If your sea fishing tackle is snagged then there are several things you can do to try to escape. First change the angle of the line to the snag, walk down or uptide and try a gradual pull, or get higher up so that the angle to the snag is more acute, this often works. If that fails then try letting the line slack or pulling sharply on the rod tip. Take care with the latter because if you get over violent with the rod tip you may break it

When you are so badly snagged that there is no alternative, but to pull for a break by pointing the rod at the snag and make sure the spool of the reel is not being pressured by wrapping the line around the rod butt. Straining the spool of the reel can result in the spindle bending and the spool jamming. Walk backwards slowly tensioning the line to its limit gradually. This can sometime move a stop knot on the rig causing it to slip and jump free. Finally, fishing amongst snags is about losing tackle, it’s an inevitability of this type of sea angling that you will lose a rig sooner than later. So always have plenty of rigs and a spare reel available and if you are consistently snagged “MOVE” it’s amazing how many anglers ignore this way to avoid snags!