Angling: Environment Agency bows to pressure over close season consultation

A 40-year-old rod, a 20-year-old reel, a 10-year-old stickfloat and a stunning grayling all mastered by three-year-old Harry Poole.
A 40-year-old rod, a 20-year-old reel, a 10-year-old stickfloat and a stunning grayling all mastered by three-year-old Harry Poole.
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After years of thinking it would never happen, the Environment Agency have bowed to pressure and opened a consultation on the future of the controversial coarse fish closed season.

The topic will, and has in the past, caused some major fall-outs between good angling friends but, at last, the chance is there for everyone to take part officially in making their voices heard with the promise of government changes depending on the results.

The vote is simple and options comprise: retaining the current statutory closed season; retaining a closed season but starting on April 15 April and ending on June 30; or remove it altogether. With over 50 years on the riverbank, my opinion is that any rule which is over 100 years old is in need of a review.

The closed season on stillwaters and canals was removed decades ago and catch returns on these fisheries are at an all-time best with fish of all species shown to be thriving. The existing river dates make a mockery of protecting spawning fish with different species being gravid as early as February and as late as August missing out on the protection intended.

I honestly think anglers on the bank would provide the extra benefit of stress-free spawning to fish by keeping cormorant and otter predation at a minimum as well as the huge benefit of anglers’ baits for fish that need protein after the rigours of reproduction.

The old chestnut that the closed season is a time to let the riverbanks heal and rejuvenate is now well past its sell-by date with most rivers having well-used public rights of way or paths running alongside, and most fishy-looking eddies and sand-beds are either being used for throwing sticks for dogs or parking for tired canoeists.

The boats don’t stop either; why are anglers treated so differently?

To give credit, the Environment Agency, Angling Trust and fisheries management teams who made the studies are not claiming to be able to prove one way or another which way to go, and even admit to using foreign studies using wide and smallmouth bass for information on reproductive success in UK coarse fish.

We all have opinions and maybe don’t agree but you only have until the March 11 to make a difference so don’t miss the chance.

Match and pleasure catches have been unpredictable to say the least over the past week with a contest on the Ouse at Linton needing just a single perch of just over one pound to take top spot when just days earlier a bream catch of 16-07 was needed to win and two days later a super all-roach catch of 11-07 took the honours – all in what seemed to be identical conditions.

It would appear that just when we all think we know what it is all about, a single, angry perch puts us all in our place.

While the top matchmen were still trying to make head or tail of recent results, superstar-in-the-making, three-year-old Harry Poole, showed Leeds vice-president and grandad, Dave Ruston, the way on his local River Wharfe at Wetherby by netting a personal-best grayling on his very first trip.

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Results

Moor Monkton Pools, All Pools: 1, Andy Middleton 56-07; 2, Ashley Bull 51-07; 3, Tom Bainbridge 36-12; 4, Steve Power 32-05.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover: 1, Adrian Bolton 32-14; 2, Roy Worsnop 29-07; 3, Dave Wright 17-15; 4, Stan Jeffreys 16-12.

Moor Monkton Pools, All Pools: 1, Dave Wright 51-15; 2, Tom Bainbridge 40-13; 3, Geoff Rhodes 35-01; 4, Lee Smith 30-15.

Moor Monkton Pools, Wednesday Rover, All Pools: 1, Chris Watson 48-14; 2, Craig Burton 37-13; 3, Dave Wright 25-13; 4, Gary Miller 20-11.

Kippax Park, Tuesday Open, Lapwing: 1, Tony Hewson 99-10; 2, Phil Robinson 94-07; 3, Dave Wright 92-07; 4, Adrian Broomhead 56-13.

Kippax Park, Saturday Open, Lapwing: 1, John Gee 60-02; 2, Mark Rockingham 45-15; 3, Chris Musgrave 34-15; 4, Paul Silman 22-05.

Kippax Park, Tuesday Open, Lapwing: 1, Adrian Broomhead 78-01; 2, Barry Clarke 62-13; 3, Tony Hewson 36-14; 4, Dave Wright 32-10.

Kippax Park, Saturday Open, Lapwing: 1, Tony Hewson 45-07; 2, Bob Rymer 28-06; 3, Andy Middleton 26-07; 4, Dave Wright 22-10.

Bobco Yorkshire Winter League, Hunters/Linton: 1, J Cyrowski 16-07; 2, A Miller 11-14; 3, C Burton 10-10; 4, K Hobson 9-06; 5, T Peel 9-02; Final League Table; Mirfield 16pts; Tackle 2U 17pts; Anglers World 19pts.

Leeds Winter League, Linton on Ouse: 1, D White 11-07; 2, I Bowman 11-02; 3, M Hope 7-02; 4, A Miller 6-07; 5, I Daley 5-15.

Bradford No 1, Cowthorpe/Nidd: 1, M Clayton 15-12; 2, I Bradley 13-00; 3, S Foster 10-10; 4, J Leyland 9-12; 5, J Vickerman 7-14.

Leeds & District Midweek, Linton Bottom: 1, Dennis White, Barnsley 10-07; 2, Keith Hobson, Barnsley 8-13; 3, Dave Armitage, Cleckheaton 8-02.

Oaks at Sessay, Silver Fish only: 1, R Bennet 30-02; 2, A Barker 27-04; 3, C Hall 24-14; 4, J Woodlow/M Calvert 24-00.

Lindholme Beeches: 1, S Mazza 54-00; 2, R Bennet 36-02; 3, D Shires 34-14; 4, A Akal 24-12.

Angel Lakes, Open Lookout Sunday: 1, Ethan Bradley 23-13; 2, Martin Craig 21-08; 3, John Dryden 18-09.

Match Diary

Saturday

Kippax Park: Saturday Open, Lapwing or Osprey, contact 07967000746.

Poppleton Saturday Open: pools £15, draw cafe 10am, contact Roger 01904737279.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks: at Sessay, 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Moorfields Farm: 54 pegs, tickets £16, contact 07710817150.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Birkwood Farm: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01132 80609.

Viking: Hawk Pond, 30 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01405 860764.

Tollerton Ponds: open match all ages, (Kingfisher 20 pegs, Coot 18 pegs, Heron 32 pegs), contact 01347 838115.

Kippax Park: winter series, Osprey Lake only, contact Stan 0796700046.

Sunday

Leeds & Liverpool: Kirkstall, contact Roger Movley 01132 772215.

Listerhills: Leeds & Liverpool Canal, contact Eddie Harrison 07518721051.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Oaks: at Sessay, 50 pegs, tickets £17, contact 01845 501321.

Langwith Lakes: 60 pegs, tickets £16, contact 01904 431874.

Oak Tree Leisure: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01347 810686.

Poppleton: Sunday Open, 50 pegs, draw 11am Cafe, contact 07425 146677.

Monday

Woodlands: over-50s, 30 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01845 520110.

Langwith Lakes: over-60s, 30 pegs, tickets £10, contact 01904 431874.

Tollerton Ponds: over-50s, tickets £16, contact 01347 838115.

Tuesday

Kippax Park: over-50s, draw 10am, tickets £10, contact 07967000746.

Wednesday

Leeds & District: Moor Monkton Pools, draw 10am, contact 07967000746.

Birkwood Farm Fisheries: Emily’s or Oscar’s, draw 8.30am, contact 01924 892251.

Woodlands: 72 pegs, tickets £18, contact 01845 520110.

Fleets Dam: 50 pegs, tickets £15, contact 01226 292579.

Tollerton Ponds: open match, all ages, contact 01347 838115.

Thursday

Poppleton Lakes: Thursday, draw car park 5pm, pools £11, contact Roger 01904 737279.