It seems apparent .

whitty

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Fish on the fens have never been easy in winter,especially non predatory ones,you can't sling a lump of bread under some overhanging tree and catch chub,in general swims look alike for miles,so a different kind of watercraft is needed bream,tench and roach are the targets and feeding and what baits you use are paramount,blanks have to be accepted as a real possibility,but when it pays off,wow,a mate of mine lives in the fens,he catches 100lbs plus of bream,with tench over 6lbs every winter,sounds worth a punt to me...
 

S-Kippy

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I'm firmly with what seems to be the consensus view.The rise of the commercial and of carp fishing generally has significantly reduced the number of people prepared to brave the elements of [say] the fens.....and the average age of those that do I suspect is now quite high. The older I get,the more difficult it gets to raise the enthusiasm to go because its just so much more physicallydemanding now.

I do like winter fishing but I really do have to pick my days and venues carefully now. I just cant cope with "all weathers"any more.
 
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Philip

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I recon its just a consequence of the way everything is going. People want things handed on a plate and look for convenience not hardship.

I doubts its down to chance that as commercials have become more popular so natural waters see a drop in anglers.

Good news for all of us as it leave loads of lovely natural banks empty for us to do our own thing.
 

nottskev

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I wouldn't disagree that in some ways it's good that the drift/flight to commercials means that rivers are left emptier for us to do our own thing, and I enjoy doing it! Finding a peg is certainly no problem.

But at the same time, it's clear that round here the cormorants, goosanders, otters and mink are also doing their own thing! Alongside other threats to water quality and fish stocks.


I tend to think that if more of us looked to rivers for our sport, there would be more angler influence at least attempting to counteract the factors that are degrading them. It can't help, that so many look to the "privatised" world of commercial pools for their sport and are indifferent to what happens in their local rivers.

Someone will, I'm sure, be along to tell me it's inevitable, each to their own etc - but that's no reason to like it!
 

S-Kippy

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I recon its just a consequence of the way everything is going. People want things handed on a plate and look for convenience not hardship.

I doubts its down to chance that as commercials have become more popular so natural waters see a drop in anglers.

Good news for all of us as it leave loads of lovely natural banks empty for us to do our own thing.
I think its a little unfair to suggest its all about convenience and or laziness....if thats what you meant. I just cant physically yomp miles along deserted banks any more however much I might want to.

They are not my favourite waters by a long shot but I will say this in defence of commercials. If it keeps "Old Boys" like me fishing a bit longer then I'm all for them. There will come a time when a short totter from the car park to the nearest swim may be the only option and if its that or hang up my rods then I'll take the convenience of a commercial anyday.

I used to look down my nose at people who did that until I got older and began to appreciate why,
 

flightliner

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Where the Witham and other fenland venues started to go into decline was back in the sixties when Dr Beaching cut the line from Lincoln to Boston. Tho car ownership was on the rise many anglers were pushed towards using the coach companies who capitalised on the situation by raising fares, ok untill the oil crisis in '73 which definately affected numbers travelling into the fens.
1500 peg matches (The Works sports) dropped in numbers dramatically with the rising costs of travel and by the eighties much of the Witham was little used, most likely the same elsewhere.
Still plenty of angler activity but a shadow of what it was in the fifties , sixties and seventies, which at the end of many farmers were well into the use of nitrates which tho taking time to become established in the fields beside the rivers and drains gradually had the effect of producinf a river that looked like a main road covered in grass! (Check out the witham on google earth).
I still fished it but mainly in the winter for pike but in recant years only the side drains.
During all this time the Trent was a big backup venue as it was nearer but by 1990 matchmen deserted that too as silverfish were so hard to find for most as it went so peggy.
Guys like Billy Makin stepped up to the plate and opened commercials-- the rest is history!
 

Philip

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I think its a little unfair to suggest its all about convenience and or laziness....if thats what you meant. I just cant physically yomp miles along deserted banks any more however much I might want to.
Perhaps I explained it wrong Skip.

I am not knocking commercials or anyone who wants to fish them. I have done so myself although for things like Perch...I have even fished Old bury Hill a few times, which I think you know well, although before they added Miltons and all the others.

Plus as you say they do fill a niche for lots of anglers for example perhaps elderly anglers who cannot physically fish other waters anymore.

What I am saying is that people as a whole want convenience & results. Its the world we live in...fast food, fast lives, everything instant. So it does not surprise me that commericials are popular.

However I dont see the number of anglers growing so this means if more now fish the cleaner, easier access and, yes, more full of fish commercials then it stands to reason that there will be less anglers on the more natural or harder to access waters.

So it wasnt a dig at commericials, if it was a dig at anything it was society in general today.
 

S-Kippy

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Philip

I thought as much which is why i was careful to add " if that's what you meant". I have to agree with your thoughts. In angling terms the shift is quite apparent though to be fair commercials didn't exist when many of us served our apprenticeships. As a kid I wish they had because it was damned hard back in the day stumbling around trying to work out what the hell it was i was supposed to be doing.

The "generalist" all rounder ( like me I guess) is an aging group and it's not being replaced. Those kids that do take up the sport tend to be almost exclusively carpers so I'm not in the least surprised that the rivers and more remote places are pretty well deserted. Even on a filthy cold day like today I would have had to be on the banks of the Thames before dawn just to get a spot when I was a boy. I bet there's nobody there at all today and hasn't been all week.

It makes me smile when I have blokes round to do a bit of work. They see my gear and ask if I fish....i naturally ask them if they do and they nearly all say " Yes....well I carp fish" and sound more than a bit sheepish when they do. Says it all really.....good anglers no doubt but only at their chosen specialised subject
 
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peterjg

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Slightly off-subject but relevant: I sometimes walk a very long way to some swims, using paths and crossing very uneven fields, I have found that a single wheeled barrow is so much easier than a traditional fishing trolley. It has enabled me to explore more distant areas.
 

S-Kippy

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Slightly off-subject but relevant: I sometimes walk a very long way to some swims, using paths and crossing very uneven fields, I have found that a single wheeled barrow is so much easier than a traditional fishing trolley. It has enabled me to explore more distant areas.
I agree. I bought a barrow a couple of months or so ago and it is so much easier than a trolley. Not tried it on difficult ground yet mind.
 

Derek Gibson

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Surely I can't be alone in recognising that age ''or infirmity'' dictates the absence of anglers on some of our watercourses. Especially those with difficult floodbanks, exemplified by many such waters in the Fenlands. Many anglers of a certain age who in their formative years enjoyed and revelled in such places, today they view them with trepidation. And not surprisingly will choose to frequent commercial waters. Many of the above posts testify to this, the question ''is'', given the option would a commercial fishery be their first choice, I think not.

I have to say having no experience of commercials my opinion may be biased, as I have always held a preference for moving water and still do. Even though my approach has to be undertaken with great care nowadays.
 

laguna

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Boston being the northern limit of the fens (I think) what about the drains further up within easy reach of say 1.5 hours travel of Leeds?

Too late to organise this year, but next year I'm looking to catch a zander. Its on my bucket list so any info of where to target them northerly on day ticket/free stretches would be very welcome.

Thanks in advance.
 

nottskev

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With a couple of limiting conditions, and getting older too, of course, I can relate to what you're saying. But I'm not giving up rivers in favour of commercials. There's an in-between option, and I search out stretches of river where you can park on or near the bank, the access is not too challenging and the pegs are either stepped and platformed or naturally manageable. A flat walk of a couple of hundred yards can be tackled, on a good day, with a specially small lightweight box, minimal gear and a trolley.

It can all be a bit of a pain, involving a lot of thought about where to go when, a fair bit of driving and exploring, and buying several club cards where each has only one suitable stretch. Alongside this I have a small set of accessible “natural” or traditional lakes I can go to. If all else fails, there is the canal.

I'm quite sure my catches would be bigger and the whole experience more convenient if I could enjoy the commercial experience more, or liked the ones in the area more than I do. I'm often frustrated by having to calculate and adjust what can be managed on a given day. But try as I might, (and I've fished a fair few) I've been unable to warm to the bare landscapes, the claustrophobic scale, the minimal space allotted, the “steroidal” techniques, the lack of bankside etiquette, the prominence of car parks, cafes, toilet blocks, chalets......

I suppose I should be careful – I may have to get to like them sometime. But for now, I'd rather put in the effort to find places I enjoy, even though the horizon has got a bit nearer.
 

mikench

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All my waters are on club cards bar one which is also a day ticket! I am sure I would catch more at a commercial but they do not appeal notwithstanding. That may change however as I deteriorate!:) I enjoy the tranquility and natural surroundings of most of them even if the fishing can be hard and do not feel comfortable cheek by jowl with dozens of others!

I tried a few commercials when I started out but haven't been back since!;)
 

sam vimes

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There's no doubt that age and/or infirmity plays some part in the rise of the commercial. I can't really blame anyone, regardless of age or infirmity, going down the path of least resistance, if that's what they want. I occasionally visit commies now. I've little doubt the frequency of those visits will increase as I get older.

However, I don't believe that the lack of numbers, on venues requiring a decent walk, can be blamed entirely on issues of age and infirmity. It certainly doesn't explain the lack of teens and adults less than 40ish.

I know that, as a kid, my only hope of fishing was by joining the local club. It was a real treat to go to a day ticket water that was likely to cost £1-5. I simply would not have been able to fish a fraction as much as I did if I'd had to rely on day ticket waters to fish. Now it seems that no one, including kids, bats an eyelid at paying £5-10+ for a day ticket or £20-25+ for a 24 hour session.

I know plenty of day ticket venue regulars that balk at the costs involved in joining syndicates. The reality is that going less than once a week to a commie can easily surpass the expense of many syndicates. The difference in a club or a syndicate is that you have to pay up front. I wonder whether it's the way that many people live that sees them preferring to pay more in dribs and drabs than less in single lumps up front. It also means that not going doesn't matter in the least, you've lost nothing by staying at home.
 

robcourt82

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Lots of opinions here and most are correct to one degree or another. 2 things that spring to my mind, firstly human nature. Why go to the hardship of natural waters when you can go to a commercial, get your bait breakfast and fishing all at the same time and most likely catch a load of fish. There will always be those that want to step outside the box but most people just don't. 20 years ago you HAD to as there wasn't any other option, now you have so much choice its a no brainer for most. Secondly there aren't so many humble pleasure anglers like there used to be. Nowadays everyone wants a label that has a modern image attached to it. They want to be a specialist or a carp angler or whatever but being a pleasure angler just doesn't seem cool anymore. I would say that is probably apparent for most people under 40. (Not all though of course)
 

john step

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robcourt82;1444770 2 things that spring to my mind said:
Yes Rob, that brings to mind a conversation whilst on this years trip to the Swale. This has got to be one of the most attractive barbel waters going and I have a few days camping up there to visit it.

Whilst there my curiosity drove me to visit a commie on route back to camp. I mentioned where I was fishing to an angler there and he in quite forthright Yorkshire manner informed me I was barking. I could be sitting on a comfortable bank with plenty of easy fish in front of me instead.
He was not much more than half my age I guess.
 

john step

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Boston being the northern limit of the fens (I think) what about the drains further up within easy reach of say 1.5 hours travel of Leeds?

Too late to organise this year, but next year I'm looking to catch a zander. Its on my bucket list so any info of where to target them northerly on day ticket/free stretches would be very welcome.

Thanks in advance.
Laguna, PM on way.
 

steve2

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The other thing now is that it appears that the majority of anglers are now carp fishers. Be that commercial match type fisheries, day ticket carp lakes or club waters. Anyone joining the clubs now just wants to how big are the carp. The match league I fished is now based around commercial carp waters we did try winter silver fish matches but no one was interested.
So unless there are big easy to catch carp in these out of the way places no one will fish them.
 
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