Your fishing tackle is probably among your most prized and valued possessions. The last thing you want is for it to disappear into the hands of thieves. But, our recent big fishing survey told us that nearly a third of you have had tackle stolen.
So how do you prevent tackle theft? We’ve put together ten tips for you that’ll help you keep your gear safe and sound.
1. Do your research
Before you plan a fishing trip, research the area you are going to visit. It should be relatively easy to find out online if there has been a spate of fishing tackle thefts in the area. If this is the case, you can either decide to visit another location, or take additional precautions, like those mentioned below, to protect your equipment.
2. Don’t leave fishing tackle in your car
Although it might seem like a good idea to pack up your gear the night before your trip, leaving tackle in the car is an open invitation to would-be thieves. Don’t give them that temptation. Keep your kit safely stored away until you need it. Just a few months ago, thousands of pounds worth of tackle was stolen from cars in Cornwall.
3. Consider your storage options carefully
Don’t store your expensive fishing tackle in poorly secured sheds or garages. The Carp Forum talks about several incidents where which thieves broke into garden sheds to steal expensive angling equipment. If you must store your kit outside of the house, use sturdy locks and securely fasten windows. Where possible, keep your tackle in a spare bedroom or cupboard within the house itself. It’s much harder for thieves to access your home than garages or sheds.
4. Don’t advertise your angling abilities
Whimsical, fun or amusing car stickers proclaiming the joys of fishing might seem like a harmless idea. However, these are potential signposts for thieves. Don’t give them any indication of your hobby and what you might have in the car, and your kit is more likely to stay safe.
5. Personalise your kit
Many pieces of fishing equipment are mass produced items that thieves can easily sell on. The simplest solution is to engrave tackle with details like your name, telephone number or email address.
You can also purchase special marking solutions such as newSelectaDNA and Smart Water. Invisible to the naked eye, these solutions show up when held under a UV light. Amanda Caton of the British Security Industry Association says that newSelectaDNA is ‘easy to apply and virtually impossible to remove’. You can register marked tackle, so in the event of any theft, it’s identifiable if recovered. Adding a sticker or sign warning potential thieves of your precautions can also help to deter them.
6. Consider adding deterrents
Deterrents don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Something as simple as a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can be enough to put off the would-be thief (you don’t actually have to own a dog!). Phillip Villareal of the Consumerist says that you can suggest ‘you’ve got a trespasser-munching canine if you strategically place a dish that others can see‘.
Other deterrents can include motion-activated security lights, and alarms – you could even get a barking dog alarm! Again, even if you don’t have these items, you can fool potential burglars with a well placed sign or sticker advertising how seriously you take security.
7. Don’t boast
Tempted to let all your mates know how swanky your tackle is? It’s better to keep quiet about your expensive gear, especially in public. Loudly going into detail about that fine collection is as good as placing an advertisement for potentially light-fingered types.
8. Fish with vigilance
Never assume that your fishing tackle is safe. Keep your kit close by, where you can see it at all times. You should ensure you are watchful of the surrounding area, and report any suspicious activity to the police or fishery managers.
9. Fish in pairs
If you fish alone, you are more vulnerable to theft. By going to your favourite angling spot with a friend, or group, your valuables will be much safer. This is especially important if you take a short break. Take it in turns to keep an attentive eye on all the gear.
10. Don’t fuel the demand for fishing tackle theft
When purchasing fishing equipment, always buy from reputable sources. Free sales sites and social media are often used by fishing tackle thieves to cash in on their activities. After the theft of thousands of pounds of fishing equipment in Meldreth, the South Cambridgeshire Police commented of the use of these channels by thieves: ‘If you are buying anything from ebay or similar websites, make sure that it is a trusted source. If the price seems too good to be true, the item could well be stolen’. If we don’t buy from them, they won’t have the same incentive to steal. Anglers need to stand together on this!
It’s also important to get your equipment insured. Don’t assume that your car or home insurance will cover fishing tackle. There are specific policies aimed at anglers, so that if the worst does happen, you won’t be out of pocket.
Being hyper aware of the problem is the best defence. Most theft is carried out on an opportunistic basis: don’t give thieves the chance to cash in on your valuable kit!