British Sea Fishing on Share Radio: British Sea Fishing appeared on digital radio station Share Radio this week, discussing fish stocks, commercial fishing and the EU referendum. Click here to listen.
Cod Catch and Release Research: A Norwegian study has shown that cod recover quickly after being caught and released. Keno Ferter, a PhD student at Norway’s University of Bergen explained that the research began by catching eighty cod in traps, fitting them with a tag which tracked their movement and releasing them. Ferter and his colleagues began to fish for the cod with a rod and line every day for almost three weeks. The team caught around seven-hundred cod, nine of which were found to have been tagged. These cod unhooked and returned to the sea where it was found that the released cod had a 100% survival rate. The results of this research will be very interesting to anglers, especially with the increasing claims that recreational fishing has a significant impact on fish stocks. Read the full report here.
Anglers Protest: On 9th April anglers took to the streets to protest against restrictions which have been placed on bass fishing. Around 200 anglers met in Cornwall and marched through the streets to the constituency office of George Eustice MP, the fisheries minister. Anglers across the country are furious that they have been restricted to catching bass on a catch-and-release basis only, while the highly damaging gill net fishery has had its quota increased from 1000kg of bass per month to 1300kg. George Eustice was not in Cornwall to see the protest but has in the past defended the restrictions on anglers (and the increased quota for gill netters) as the “best possible compromise.” Read more on this story here.
Illegal Fishing: A new campaign was started in April to highlight the issue of the illegal buying and selling of fish. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), the British Hospitality Association and the Angling Trust are all involved in the Looks Fishy campaign which warns that illegally selling fish is not a victimless crime but a criminal offence which also has a big impact on fish stocks. It is though that a significant amount of fish are caught and sold to unscrupulous restaurants, hotels and fishmongers. However, a statement about the campaign on the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations website stated that following the campaign options to tackle the problem may include naming and shaming businesses which had been prosecuted for illegally buying fish, but also “putting bag limits on recreational catches of all affected species.” Such a move would undoubtedly produce a furious reaction from the recreational angling community, who are already angry at the restrictions which have been placed on the number of bass which can be caught in 2016. Read the statement on the NFFO website here.
Whale Vomit Find: A Lancashire couple were hoping to be £50,000 richer after finding a lump of whale vomit on their local beach. Gary and Angela Williams found the lump of ambergris while walking on Middleton Sands near Morcambe Bay in April. Waxy and bad smelling, ambergris is a waste product of sperm whales. It is, however, extremely valuable, as it is used as an ingredient in perfumes, with cosmetics manufacturers willing to pay tens of thousands of pounds per kilogram for genuine ambergris. Last year a lump of ambergris found on a welsh beach sold for over £11,000. However, in 2013 52-year-old Ken Wilman though he had found a £100,000 piece on ambergris, also on Morcambe beach, but tests revealed that it was not ambergris and was in fact completely worthless. Read more here.
National Fish Vote: The vote to find the UK’s national fish has moved a step closer, with the list now reduced to ten species. Several sea species are there including cod, mackerel and basking shark. Click here to view the full list and vote for a species. The results will be announced on Springwatch on BBC1 on the 15th June.
Around the UK
At this time of year the waters around the UK are warming up and summer species will be starting to arrive soon.
Mackerel, one of the main summer species, have been reported from a number of locations around the south of England with the South West and Essex and Kent coastlines being the first to report this species arriving in the middle of May. Once June arrives mackerel should begin to be caught around most of the rest of the British Isles, although many areas need a spell of settled, calm weather to bring the mackerel shoals inshore and within casting range of anglers. As usual fathers and daylights are an effective way of catching mackerel, but many anglers have more fun scaling down the tackle to a small spinning rod and using spinners to catch this species.
Pollock and wrasse are two other species which anglers target in the summer months, with the combination of warmer seas and calm weather providing the best condition for these species. Rocky marks often produce the largest specimens, with both species will take floatfished baits such as ragworm or mackerel strip presented on a size 1/0 or 2/0 hook – read our full article on floatfishing methods here. Many anglers are now successfully catching wrasse on soft jelly lures and jelly worms, while pollock will take a range of lures (jelly eels and spinners) and can also be caught on baits presented on the seabed.
Plaice migrate to UK waters in the springtime, and should be caught across sandy and muddy beaches around most of the UK at this time of year. Try worm or crab baits on two or three hook flapping rigs with size 1 hooks to catch this species, with many anglers finding that adding beads and sequins to the hooklengths increases catches of this species. Bass and rays may also be present around UK marks at this time of year as well and can be caught on bottom fished sandeel, peeler crab and mackerel strip baits. Anglers should remember that due to to Europe-wide legislation all bass caught must be returned to the sea alive – it is currently an offence to retain this species. However, from 1st July anglers will be able to retain a single bass per fishing session.
While LRF (Light Rock Fishing) can be carried out all year round may anglers find that it is more productive in the warmer summer months. This type of fishing continues to grow in popularity with sea scorpions, gobies and blennies all being caught with small hooks and soft lures. Read our full article on LRF by clicking here.
Sea Angling Shop currently have their Filled Component Box reduced in price to £8.99. This clip shut plastic box contains eleven different terminal tackle items including three patterns of fishing hooks, beads, clips and swivels. Click here to view and purchase this product.
The next British Sea Fishing Newsletter will be sent out at the end of July. Until then good luck with any fishing you have planned!