Two pike anglers have been ordered to pay fines and costs of more than £1,000 for ignoring a No Fishing sign and having their rods spread up to 50m apart.
Matthew Collins from Hertford was fined £400 for attempting to take fish and £500 for using rods and lines in such a way as to cause damage to fish, when he appeared before King's Lynn magistrates.
Thomas Coombes, also from Hertford, was fined a total of £250 at the same court hearing. Both men admitted the offences on the Cut Off Channel at Stoke Ferry, Norfolk, last December. Both were also ordered to pay £127 costs.
The area they were fishing was clearly signposted ‘no fishing’ in several places, including on the road which gives access to the area and on the river bank itself, the court was told.
Once popular with pike anglers, the Environment Agency now considers the stretch around Stoke Ferry Waterworks, where a sluice connects the Cut-Off to the River Wissey, as being too dangerous to fish.
Although both men produced valid rod licences, under Environment Agency byelaws they should not have been fishing in the area, and the way in which they were using their rods was also prohibited.
The EA said where multiple rods are used, the butt ends of the outside rods must not be more than 3m apart. In this case, the butt ends were up to 45m apart. The rule is in place to protect the welfare of fish, as rods placed too far apart cannot be checked fast enough to prevent fish being harmed by being hooked on them.
Environment Agency bailiff Mick Robinson said: "These people were fishing in an area where it is clearly sign-posted that no fishing is allowed.
"To add to this, they were using rods and lines in a way that could have left fish struggling on a hook for some time. I am very pleased with this result and hope it will make all anglers check that they are fishing in the right area and that they do so in a responsible manner."
On the same day at the King's Lynn court Ramunas Katkevicius, from London, was fined £175 and ordered to pay £75 costs for fishing without a rod licence in November 2009.