AnglingTrust The voice of Angling

The Hard Yards to Redfin Heaven

Fish need habitat - Mark with 2lb 3oz roachYou may not want to hear that I'm having my hardest season since the mid-1980s, or that I don't expect it to get much better.  But actually, it's not a surprise.  It's a predictable consequence of last year's severe winter.  No coincidence then that my last 'seriously hard season' in the mid-1980s followed our last 'big winter'.

Anglers seduced by commercially-managed stillwaters and the media to expect predictable returns from angling effort may find this all a bit depressing.  But, to those who have wetted lines come rain or shine for decades, particularly aficionados of river roach, dace and other unmanaged stocks, it is merely symptomatic of nature's cycles.

This is when watercraft, that most primeval of all angling skills, comes to the fore as we search wild rivers for scarce and elusive fish.  It is also a time to deploy or develop a palette of skills - stick, waggler, Avon, pole, quivertip, bomb, feeder and more - to respond to conditions.  Also for realism about expectations.  Putting in the 'hard yards' instil wisdom for greater rewards when fish stocks recover, but there are also special rewards right now from the satisfying glow one feels with every hard-earned roach.  My skinny 1lb 10oz fish last weekend, albeit with the frame of a two-pounder, was a welcome return from hours of stalking a low, clear Bristol Avon.

Mother Nature's is a tough lady, honed by millennia, to and recovers from periodic extremes.  But fisheries today suffer additional stresses beyond natural variability, ranging from pollution to over-abstraction, habitat degradation to siltation, the effects of introduced species, and more besides.  The campaigning and advocacy of the Angling Trust and the reactive and deterrent influence of Fish Legal have therefore never been more important.  This is why I have been a life member (and former trustee in ACA days) for a couple of decades, and why I recommend all anglers get behind it.

Good luck, but also enjoy, innovate and learn from the 'hard yards' between bites!

Dr Mark Everard

Thursday 28th October 2010

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