Angling: New course of action’s needed on ‘archaic law’

Leeds star, Steve Raper, and head bailiff, Lee Garrad, show off Calverton's pristine skimmers released into the Knotford fishery at Poole-in-Wharfedale.

With six weeks to go before the end of another season, it seems, on the face of it a tad early to join in the controversial annual debate regarding changes to the coarse fish closed season regulations.

But winter catches from our local River Ouse are proving that the close-season dates, agreed over 120 years ago with no scientific evidence and on a split decision between London and Sheffield anglers, are a total nonsense and do not protect the majority of species during spawning.

Following match catches of perch exceeding 40lb, historically over the first few weeks of February and fish we all know are shoaling ready to spawn, this year have not read their calendars and are producing brilliant match-winning weights weeks earlier than usual and obviously with no ill effect.

Top winning weights of last weekend, and both from the same peg and shoal, were made by Harrogate’s Ian Bowman using pole-and-perch favourite chopped worm to top the Anglers World Saturday League with over 22lb, and Ricky Bonas bettered that weight just a day later with another predominantly stripey catch of 26lb that fell to a worm and caster feeder, fished close with lobworm tails.

And just yards downstream, Barnsley star Keith Hobson recorded a whopper 3lb female in his 6-04 third-place catch.

How does a close season that starts mid-March and finish in June protect these fish?

Last year’s June 16 opening day, for me, answered the question and, after catching a barbel that was releasing milt, I simply returned the fish and didn’t go back to that area for another two weeks.

It’s a ‘no brainer’ really as owners and managers of all the UK’s salmon fisheries work through up to 20 different open/close season dates, all designed to suite the spawning habits and times of a single species running fish. There are over a dozen different popular coarse fish in our rivers that all spawn at different times, but are expected to follow what I and many others believes to be ridiculous fixed dates.

Shouldn’t coarse fish be allowed the same privilege as salmon with angling clubs simply closing spawning grounds when needed?

Or are we thought not capable or trustworthy enough to make the same decisions as those that need a ‘ghillie’?

I understand that the Environment Agency work to some archaic laws and sometimes get the brunt of unfair criticism, but one EA department stands head and shoulders above others for applause and thanks for its professionalism and expertise.

The Agency’s Calverton fish-rearing facility at Nottingham again produced the goods last week, delivering a stunning batch of bream, roach and baby tench to Leeds & District’s Knotford fishery.

After years of poor recruitment, all the fish released were pristine two-year-olds and were set free to back up ageing original silverfish stocks that, unfortunately, were simply too old or tired to reproduce.

On leaving, Calverton Fish Farm’s technical officer, James Rabjohns, said if he were a fish he couldn’t think of any where nicer to live!


Anglers World Holidays Saturday Series, Round 2, Ouse at Linton and Bungalow Section: 1, Ricky Bonas, Mirfield 26-13; 2, Dennis White, Barnsley 7-10; 3, Keith Hobson, Barnsley 6-04; 4, Dave Pollitt, Mirfield 6-02; 5, Arthur Benstead, Pontefract 6-00.

Anglers World Holidays, Saturday Series, Round 3 Ouse at Hunters Lodge, Widdington and Linton: 1, Dean Grace, Glen 2-12; 2, John Smiles, Middlesbrough 2-11; 3, Dave Armitage, Cleckheaton/Stan Haigh, Anglers World 2-01.

Kippax Park, Lapwing: 1, Jonny Wake, 70-09; 2, John Gee 66-11; ,3 Jason Humpries 44-15; 4, Dave Newman 41-09.

Kippax Park, Saturday Winter League Lapwing: 1, Neil Rymer 54-07; 2, Tony Hewson 45-10; 3, Steve Raper 40-04.

Kippax Park , Saturday Winter League Lapwing: 1, Mark Dukes 83-02; 2, Steve Raper 52-12; 3, Neil Rymer 50-07; 4, Andy Rymer 40-09.

Northallerton AC, River Swale: 1, K Weighell 35-14; 2, T Morgan 28-04; 3, A Richards 12-08; 4, S Hardcastle 6-15.

Woodlands Silverfish Series: 1, D Smiddy 30-09; 2, M Calvert 21-10; 3, L McIntosh 20-14; 4, G Webb 20-05; 5, S Fearn 19-15.

Leeds Winter League, Ouse at Linton: 1, Ian Bowman 22-00; 2, Roy Knox 10-00; 3, Dave Miles 7-08; 4, Dave Pilgrim 6-00.

J T Rodgers, Round 9, Lindholme Strip Lake: 1, A Jackson 54-01; 2, A Brooks 31-08; 3, S Phelan 23-01.

J T Rodgers, Round 10, Brafferton F1 Lake: 1, A Smith 20-13; 2, D Watson 20-08; 3, S Phelan 17-15.

Match Diary


Kippax Park: Saturday Open, Lapwing or Osprey 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.

Anglers World Winter Series: River Ouse/Ure, contact Stan Haigh 07542700743 or Dave Miles 07867680479.


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.


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.


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


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.


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

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