Monday, 21 June 2010 18:22

Newcomers guide to angling and wildlife


Golden Rules: by Crazy Crab

What could be better than spending a few hours fishing in the countryside - not much to be honest! But please remember to take care of the environment that you are in and respect the birds and animals who live there. The following is excellent advice on how to minimise the risk of injury to these creatures.

01.Never drop litter or discard tackle - remember too that discarded nylon is particularly hazardous to wildlife. Discarded or damaged line should be taken home and burnt of cut into short lengths before disposal.

02.Remove immediately rigs caught up in bankside vegetation, branches or underwater snags where it is safe to do so.

03.Report lost terminal tackle to club bailiffs or fishery owners for removal, if you cannot recover it yourself.

04.Choose your swim with care to reduce the risk of snagging bankside trees, vegetation and obstructions in the water.

05.Take extra care where people feed water fowl: the birds may have learned to associate people with food at that site and their expectations will increase the risk of entanglements.

06.Never leave rods unattended while fishing: not only is it poor angling practice as it may result in a hooked fish becoming snagged but it also increase the risk of birds becoming entangled in the line or taking the bait. If you need to leave your swim, all lines should be retrieved, baits removed and the hooks secured to the rod.

07.Never leave rods on the bank still baited as birds or animals could pick up these food items.

08.Use a hook length of lower breaking strain than the reel line where possible. Never use reel line straight through to the hook without a weaker link. This will mean the minimum amount of line will be lost in the event of snagging. Ledger links should be of a lower breaking strain to minimise loss of line.

09.Remember that whatever type of rig you use, weakness will occur at the knots where line is joined, where it is joined to swivels etc and where shot is pinched onto the line.

10.Check your reel line regularly for flaws cause by wear and damage. Remove and carefully dispose of any damaged line and replace your reel line regularly

11.Use barbless or reduced barb hooks where possible. Hooked or entangled birds are more likely to be able to free themselves from the hook and in the event of a rescue being needed, removal of the hook form the bird will be that much easier.

12.Lead weights are illegal in most sizes and non-toxic weights are widely available. Lead weights of no.8 of less may be used.

13.Beware of birds swimming into your line or picking up surface baits.

14.Take great care when fishing surface baits such as bread as they attract waterfowl. If floating baits attract undue attention from birds, try a different method.

15.If the worst happens! Never attempt to restrain an injured swan (or other large bird or animal) by holding onto the line. This can cause sever injury and heightened trauma. For swans and geese, cut the line and report the incident immediately to the fishery owners or local bailiffs. Smaller birds may be freed at the time of the incident or kept in a small box or other dark space if treatment is required.

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