Sorry Carp angler, I dont agree that fish seem healthier at spawning time now?they always look pretty "banged" up to me?cuts all over the place. Maybe the extra bait helps at some of the high profile Carp waters where enough goes in, but I think it makes no difference at all on your average river or stream. However I do agree with you that the 16th as a date is a pointless exercise. Not sure of the exact dates but I believe Pike spawn first and a blanket ban would need to start in Feb and end somewhere in September to catch all of them?.also people seem to forget that fish can spawn more than once a year. Its not perfect but I think Grahams idea of the "floating" closure left to the discretion of the fishery owner is the best bet. As for the argument that we need to give the countryside a break ?..absolutely no point at all as far as I am concerned, the only way that works is to ban everyone from the place not just the anglers?.can?t do that on most river venues you still get the walkers, bird watchers etc etc and don?t tell me they all "respect" the countryside any better than us either!
This topic gets bounced around every angling forum on the net, and there are always arguments put forward for both sides - there never will be total agreement, in just the same way as there never will be the situation where all anglers fish for the same species of fish. A few points I have picked up on whilst following the thread are:-
Graham - you said that `If anglers stop fishing, the fish will have less to eat` - maybe so, but I think the effect of this (if there was an effect - the fish would just revert to eating naturals) would only really be seen on over-stocked still-waters. You and I both fish the Dove, albeit different areas, but we both know how rich in fish-food that river is.
Sally said `the closed season should be kept so that we don't disturb the fish the whole year round` - again referring to the Dove, on the stretch I fish it is common practice for the locals to walk dogs, picnic, etc. on the banks. Try telling them that they cannot take their leisure-pleasure as and when they like, just so that a few fish can gat some rest.
Those are just two instances, one against the close (maybe not quite correct, Graham, but I fell that you will know what I am getting at), and one for the close. Both quite correct in one way, maybe, but also equally incorrect.
You see the dilemma ???
And then take into account the mixed fisheries, like the Dee, Severn, Vyrnwy etc. - try stopping the salmon/sea-trout anglers fishing, just because of a few coarse fish, which a lot of those guys possibly look on as vermin anyway!
There is no end to the argument, is there??
And by the way, I too am firmly in favour of a rest-period for the fish, in order to allow them to get over the rigours of spawning. The greatest difference between rivers and stillwaters, I feel, is that the rivers are not normally stocked - river fish are truly wild. And as such, stocks are not as easily replenished as they can be in a stillwater.
So - keep a `rest-period`, but let it match the needs of the fish, not some antidiluvean by-law.
The closed season serves two purposes; to protect spawn bound and spawning fish and to "rest" the sometimes heavily pressured fishing environment.
I am yet to catch a spawn bound fish in March, but have done so in June, and occassionally in early July. I therefore feel that moving the closed season from March to April or even May and extending the Glorious 16th to July would provide more protection for the fish. This period also covers the peak growing time for the wildlife and vegetation.
The current closed season may have covered the spawning time in the past but with changes in our climate this is no longer the case.
I doubt wether a floating closed season would be practical (although I agree it would be ideal), but a move of the dates to capture the true spawing times of our river species would project a very strong image to the public.
Most of the main observations have been made, and I think D Taylors point re public perception is the best one. However, the key point is that no one can prove any theory, and until we do surely it is best to keep the close season. To say "well, I dont think it causes any harm" is wrong. As for the point re giving the countryside a break. Well the comment earlier on that bird watchers and walkers dont stop during close season and that they do not respect the countryside more than us, well I think that is a bit arrogant. They dont leave litter, line and hooks which, I am sad to say some, of our more cerebrally challenged colleagues do. Plus, I probably see on average 2 non-anglers per day on the rivers I fish. If we are not 100% sure then keep it, and have a proper project to fully evaluate.
I agree with Stuart Bullard and D Taylor. Public perception is a vital ingredient to this debate. In realistic terms, personally I can't see it making much difference to rivers - as I've found in my recent return to angling, the banks are bare! Gone are the days on rivers when I would have to say, "Er, mind if I slot in here mate?" or the same said to me as an angler sits on my lap. Selfishly I am delighted at this state of affairs - but it bodes ill my friends.
This argument could go on forever!! But I agree with Big rick There seems to be no harm to the fish at all with no close season on still waters, So there is no reason to suppose that lifting it on rivers will couse the fish any harm. Spawning fish dont feed!!!
Dear Mark you are wrong in your assumtion about spawning fish not feeding, the reality is that fish full of spawn can and do feed. For evidence look no further than the tench that are deliberatly targeted during the early part of the season.Spawn bound tench appear regularly in the angling press as trophy shots.
Of equal importance is the public perception of us as anglers, we have often claimed that we are the guardians of the waterways and by and large the public do generally accept this....for the moment. Abandoning the close season will go a long way to changing the publics attitude towards us. The antis would love to see us abandon the close season so they can present us as a bunch of uncaring slobs.Having said I have seen many swims on the Severn this season that have been left in an appaling state by anglers with large ammounts of litter strewn about them they may have a point!
Also the argument that the other waterside users e.g. walkers birdwatchers and boaters do not have a close season is entirely specious. These people do not set out deliberatly to hunt fish....We do!
The spawnbound fish argument is most spurious, fish start osmosis and begin to re-hydrate their eggs about 4 or 5 months before they physically shed them. A fish that carries spawn will feed, where as a fish that is in the act of spawning will not. This is the point that confuses most people.
I accept what you are saying re spawnbound fish however look at the issue from a non anglers point of view. A spawnbound fish looks pregnant to the uninitiated and it is easy to present anglers who appear to be deliberatly targetting them as being callous and cruel.
Angling will continue to be acceptable in the eyes of the urban public for as long as we appear to be causing no great harm and can be seen to be protecting our quarry and the environmet.
Those who wish to see angling banned have a far greater appreciation of the value of public relations and publicity than anglers appear to have.
Sad to say that image is to some extent more important than the truth.....
I haven't seen this attitude adopted with stillwater fish. The lifting of the closed season on enclosed waters only made the angling press and did not cause an avalanche of protests from the antis or did it show us as anything bad to the general public. I think that we are probably giving the anti's more credit and brains than they have..
Whatever you do never underestimate the enemy!!! The anti's are being increasingly supported by powerful groups like PETA who have vast funds and an unbelievable degree of bigotry.
They are highly skilled in public relations and with the advent of modern communications technology they can and are able to broadcast their ideas to a gullible public.
Rember it was Rupert Murdoch who has shown that you will never go broke underestimating the intellegence of the English!!
More seriously it is a fact that image is more important than truth when presenting a case with a view to influencing public attitudes.
We have to accept that we will never change the minds of the antis just as they will not change ours however the broad mass of public opinion is volatile and can be swayed. So it remains as important as ever to put forward a positive caring attitude towards our quarry.
The stillwater issue happened at a time when the internet was in its infancy certainly in this country and other means of mass communication was not quite as freely available as it is today if only on cost grounds.
Speaking from a purely personal perspective I would restore the close season on stillwaters as well.
my point was that fish which are spawning do not feed. Not fish that are full of eggs!!! "IN THE OLD DAYS" when we had a close season on still waters I spent many a sunny June or "July" morning watching the fish spawn.A handful of mixers tossed in with them would be completly ignored (when did you last want a sandwich in the middle of a bit of the other).Fish will always be caught with spawn in them unless you ban fishing for nine months of the year.
This message is from Alan Roe who is currently having problems posting to the Forum:
The primary point I am making is that to the GENERAL PUBLIC a heavily spawn laden fish looks pregnant and for anglers to be apparently targeting fish in that state could be construed as cruel particularly when this is presented to them in the over emotive terms much beloved of the antis.
Fine detail surrounding the precise periods of when fish don't eat due to procreational activity gets lost in this type of argument. As I have said before image is often of greater import than the truth in these presentations.
In order to maintain acceptability in the eyes of the public we have to be seen as caring towards our quarry and the environment in which they live.
The lifting of the close season would be a public relations disaster for angling. We would be presented as a bunch of selfish uncaring slobs who are happy to override the needs of the fish and the environment for our own greed.
Anglers are quite capable of scoring enough own goals in this respect with the litter they leave at the waters edge and though everyone will say "I don't do that" a walk down the banks of the river Severn will provide plenty of evidence of those that do.
Our river systems are currently suffering under all sorts of pressures of which abstraction and pollution are but two. As anglers we should be seen to be taking a high profile stance against these evils not adding to the problems of the fish by removing the only statutory rest period they get for no good reason other than our own self- centred greed.
Anglers also need to be aware that the pressure for abolishing the close season is driven by those who stand to gain most from it notably some sections of the angling press and perhaps we should be questioning the motives of those behind the campaign I would suggest that self interest is the primary one.
On the lighter side a snack halfway through a bout of nookie might be a good way of prolonging the pleasure!!
My comments to this link are relevent to the article by Barrie Rickards, Personally after much self questioning i can add nothing to the issue simply because i have gone from bieng opposed to doing away the close season to being a "dont know", i would like to comment however on how the debate has gone.
Barrie states that in his opinion the decision is made and that we will lose the river close season, i think that may well be the case if so does it reflect the wishs of the majority of anglers?
I think i am right in saying that one of the bones of contention have been that anglers such as Des have an unfair advantage in as much as they have a ready made platform in a prominent angling publication from which to voice their personal opinions on a situation that proved to be very volatile.
Later developments seemed to back this point when opposing points of view were not printed, so perhaps whilst i agree their is no excuse for lies and presumptions their is a need to understand the frustrations of anglers who want to put their points of view.
Barrie, i am sorry but i read the angler who says that abolishing the river close season would attract an undesirable element and Tony Miles statement to the effect it would attract unethical specimen hunters as basically the same thing, so i don't understand that comparison?
I don't pretend to have any answers to the debate but i will say that i don't think either side is ahead on points to the fence sitters, but i think it may be better for our sport if all parties are given time and space to air their views and then perhaps for desisions that effect us all a "voting" slip could be added to licences,at least then we can only blame our selves if things go wrong!!!!!!!
I don't agree with what Tony Miles' said, - that not having a closed season will encourage the bad element in our sport to foul-hook fish while they are at their most vulnerable, ie, when shoaled up for spawning.
Like night fishing bans, all a closed season would do is keep the decent, law-abiding anglers away from the water and therefore leave it wide open for the unscrupulous to do whatever they want.
Anyone bent enough to want to foul-hook fish isn't going to be kept away from the water by a closed season are they?
To sum up: If there was no closed season the decent anglers would be present in far greater numbers to police the water and make it much more difficult for the foul-hookers and fish thieves to operate.
But I agree with Paul in that the majority of anglers have had little or no opportunity to voice their opinions, but that's where this open Forum comes in. So anyone who wants to have a say about this issue, and any other, can do so here.
Another way of possibly preventing those who target spawn bound fish from persuing them is to stop the angling press publishing the photographs of these "heroes"holding their trophies and preventing them from entering competitions such as the Drennan cup...
(Light blue touch paper ..stand well back!!!!)