Monday, 29 November 2010

Set lines - how to spot the pike killers

It's too late for this double (left), found dead beneath the ice on a Lincolnshire drain on Sunday. Story here.

So far no-one's been prosecuted for laying set lines - despite the fact the practice is widespread in parts of the Fens and elsewhere, if reports from angling clubs and pike anglers are anything to go by.

But that doesn't mean we have to shrug the problem off. If enough people report it and present the Environment Agency with evidence, they might start taking it more seriously.

Some set lines are easy to spot. Some take pike and zander using lengths of strong mono or even twine pegged to the bank or the margins, with a large sea hook or treble baited with a dead fish on the other end.

If you find anything like this, phone the Environment Agency's emergency hotline straight away.

Store the number 0800 807060 on your mobile, in case you need it. Give them a precise location, and make it clear that the call is about illegal fishing in progress.

Ask for an incident reference and make a note of it. You may be told to leave the set line or lines in situ. We'll leave this to your conscience - if you pull and find a fish on the end, you might consider trying to land and release it.

If the line's empty, retrieving it could obviously save a fish which would otherwise take the bait - or a fish-eating bird, for set lines don't discriminate when it comes to what they kill.

Beware of people who appear on a water, seemingly casting out multiple baits before disappearing almost immediately afterwards. Wait until they have gone and then inspect the bank.

If you can't see any obvious signs, try pulling a large lead along the margins in case lines have been fastened out of sight.

If you find anything, remove it to prevent a fish or bird being killed. Call the EA straight away - it's unlikely they'll respond to every call, because they don't have the resources and their thinly-spread fisheries teams are likely to suffer further cut-backs as the Lib/Con Government's spending cuts bite into fisheries enforcement.

But if enough people call, they may start taking the problem more seriously.

+++Tell us straight away if you find set lines or their aftermath on one of your local waters. The pike angler who found dead pike near Boston, Lincs, last weekend has triggered an investigation into the incident. We'll let you know as soon as we hear more.

No comments:

Post a Comment