Angling: Wintry blast will leave its mark on angling

Although recent temperatures have been fairly mild, when compared to the previous month, many of our lakes and ponds are still under a thick layer of ice, in some areas over a foot thick.

And when this eventually does go then I fear what we will find.

only a year ago, when the temperatures were nowhere near as bad, there were reports of massive fish deaths all over the country.

Understandably, fishery owners were reluctant to admit to their losses for fears that it would affect their businesses and to re-stock to their former levels would cost a fortune with stockie carp around 6 per pound.

Last year most fisheries survived for anglers were able to smash the ice, which was not too thick and so make their pegs fishable.

Worse

But this year the situation has been much worse for the ice has been so thick that it is virtually unbreakable. The only place that I have heard of where that method has been successful has been at the Lindholme complex, near Doncaster.

There, sledgehammer tactics were useless, so the owner had to resort to the use of a JCB to smash the ice. Even so, catches have still been very poor when compared to the normal catch rates for this time of year.

The problem with this technique is the risk of the shock waves damaging the fish, but surely if it can save lives then it is worth the risk.

Another method that I have heard of is where some owners have drilled a hole in the ice and then piped pure oxygen into the lake, again a very expensive ploy.

Just what devastation will be found when the ice does eventually go I

dread to think for once the dead fish have been cleared away can the

owner afford to re-stock?

Another point is that the demand for new fish will be enormous and I doubt if the fish farmers will be able to cope with the rush of orders.

The effects of this weather hits the whole angling industry. Tackle dealers are feeling the pinch with anglers not buying any gear and bait and I know that some shops have had to lay-off staff.

Indeed, one is holding sales to try to get a few customers through the doors.

This is the time that you should give your local dealer your full support so why not stock up now instead of waiting for that pre-season spending splurge that we have around April when stocks of bits and pieces, such as hooks, lines, ground bait and pellets, are usually replenished?

I really do feel for the businesses for they will be the first casualties. Think of the bait breeders who will not have sold a single m

aggot in over a month, how can they survive?

The same applies to the fishing tackle manufacturers and suppliers.

There is also a warning for club secretaries who have pre-booked waters for this year's contests for they usually pay a percentage of the fee as a deposit with the balance paid on the day.

But some pay the full amount up front. What a mistake that is for just imagine the scenario where a club turns up for their first contest only to find that the venue has been virtually wiped out and the owner has possibly gone out of business.

Be warned, it could happen to you!