Changing times – Time to worry?

Changing times – Time to worry?

When I started sea fishing over forty years ago many of fish we caught were killed to be weighed in at competitions, eaten or buried in the garden. Looking back what anglers did was wrong but we knew no different it was different times and there was little perception that fish stocks were dwindling. There was perhaps still a belief that god provides and that there would always be plenty more fish in the sea.

These are fortunately more enlightened times and most sea anglers practice catch and release keeping just the occasional fish for the table. It is vital that those fish we return to the water have a good chance of survival and I see more and more guidance on how to handle fish. The basics are to treat all fish with respect. Handle as little as possible and support the fish when posing for photos. Consider using circle hooks or barbless when appropriate and consider replacing trebles with singles. When weighing fish always use a purpose made weigh sling or carrier bag for smaller species. Do not dangle fish on the scales.

Coarse anglers have been returning fish to the water for the best part of a century and are in many ways ahead of the game. Weigh slings, unhooking matts and antiseptic ointments are now part of carp anglers standard kit. Rigs used are carefully designed to reduce the risk of tethering any fish that are lost.

Salmon anglers who once retained virtually every fish they caught now have to return close to 100% of the fish they catch. Salmon runs are generally on an alarming downward spiral for a multitude of reasons and it is anglers who are at the forefront of campaigns to protect the future of the species.

Please follow the following guide to good practice when releasing fish:

  • Use barbless hooks. 
  • Use a fine knotless net.
  • Use strong tackle so fish can be played out and netted as quickly as possible.
  • Always net the fish: avoid handling fish and certainly do not pick them up by the tail to weigh or photograph. 
  • Keep the fish in the water all the time: If you want to know the weight, measure the fish in the water and calculate accordingly. If you want to take a photo, do it while the fish is in the water.

Whilst there are those who seek to criticise or even ban angling on morale grounds it is frequently the anglers who are desperately trying to protect fish stocks from over fishing and habitat destruction. Perhaps it is because anglers have a direct interaction with nature by participating that they have a deep passion and love for the environment and the creatures that dwell within. I know that I am perhaps skating on thin ice here but many anglers I know have very a deep love of the countryside and the waters edge. There are of course those who leave litter, mistreat fish and show no respect for the countryside. These are unfortunately a significant minority within society as a whole.

As an angler I feel that I have a close connection with the environment both marine and countryside. Sometimes I question my deep passion for angling but it is this quest for fish that has taken me to some beautiful locations and I have seen many wonders of nature that many only see from their arm chairs on HD screens.

I have witnessed an alarming decline in our countryside in the half a century I have fished and I often fear that I am amongst a generation that has seen the tale end of anglings golden age. And perhaps if we are to believe the climate change protestors earths golden age as well?

Bumper hauls at a Sunny Stafford Moor

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(Below) Mitch Andow and friend Charlie had 40 fish from swim 12  on lodge lake in a 48 hour session this weekend. All fish caught on DNA Baits pb and pink peril pop ups over scattered DNA boilies fishing tight to the margins towards swim 11 again caught in the more shallow water.

Nicholas Billett  fished up on Albert square swim 15 on lodge lake this weekend and had 16 fish  up to 24lb all caught on Krill pop ups Nick said was it was a bit slow at first then then didn’t stop!!

Carp a plenty at Stafford Moor

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(Below) Archie and  his dad Simon Tregido  had five carp four to the rod  young Archie all the  fish we’re caught on Mainline response tutti fruity boilies

  (Below) Wade Peanutt Holmes  had five  carp on swim 15 ( Albert square ) up on lodge lake all caught on Sticky Baits Manilla dumbbells.

(Bellow)Tony Welch and friend Shaun who had 27 fish out up to 26lb in 24 hours!

(Below)Nigel Bassett who had 11 fish out up to 26lb 4oz from swim 2 ‘sunset swim’ up on lodge lake. All fish were caught on Sticky Baits Manilla boilies, hemp & corn. Nige was fishing tight to the far margins.

(Below) Daryl Honey who fished up on swim 14 on lodge lake with Aaron Dale and had 3 fish out smashing his pb twice! with a 16lb 8oz then a 19lb 4oz to follow caught on Sticky Baits Manilla dumbbells.

Big cats and carp in Paradise

Congratulations to Richard Mason who caught a 58lb 5oz Catfish and also 4 Carp from Day Ticket Nirvana’s Specimen Cat Lake!

Richard shared –

“Caught in peg 3 next to the drain, using pallatrax jungle squabs and glugs and stonze free running rig
Took be round the drain and snagged me solid!! The original run was at 5.30 am but after over 2 hours of being snagged she was still on so had to go for a wade/swim to free the line –
Epic battle!!”


Well done to Josh Bartley, 27 from Plymouth who joined us for a session on the popular Day Ticket Venue Anglers Eldorado and caught a personal best 18lb 5oz Catfish and then caught another smashing that with a 36lb 5oz Cat both from the Bottom Cat and Carp Lake 2!

Josh shared –

“I arrived on the Carp/Cat Lake 2 at Anglers Eldorado early Friday morning, at about 9am, I caught a new pb cat of 18lb 5oz but unfortunately my camera decided to not work!

But fortunately later that day around 7pm I caught another new pb of 36lb 5oz, also followed up with one around 10lb early Saturday morning, they were all caught using simple hair rigs, fished with 2-3 21mm halibut pellets.
Thank you!”


(Above) Jacob Johnson with a 36lb Mirror Carp from Nirvana’s Day Ticket Lake – The Kracking Carp

Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise – Fish of the week


Ross Godridge 30, from St Stephen in Cornwall, who caught a beautiful personal best 26lb 7oz Common from the Specimen Carp Lake.

Ross’s story –

“I’ve been wanting to come to AP for many years, and my partner made it happen for my 30th birthday treat! I caught this beautiful 26lb 7oz Common Carp from the Specimen Carp Lake, beating my personal best, using a bit of pop up sweetcorn surrounded by hemp and sweetcorn it went roaring off into the reeds an put up a brilliant fight before landing it on the bank!

I’m truly over the moon with it! My stay at AP has been incredible to say the least, it would be such a personal achievement to me to win fish of the week I’ve put in so much effort, and certainly reaping the rewards with this one, thank you to everyone at AP. Will definitely be back again!”


Here he is with his winning Fish and being presented his prizes by Zyggy and Zenia with special thanks to PB PRODUCTS UK.


Anglers Paradise

Stafford Moor in fine Spring Form

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Stafford Moor continues to produce some stunning carp each week, so many I struggle to keep up with reports. Jo sent me these highlights from the past week.

(Below) Oil Dietrich who had 10 fish out up to 26lb 8oz  from the inlet swim on Beatties lake this weekend all caught on red alert by crafty baits.

(Below) A fine fish from Lodge Lake, Lee Rowe banked three fish out up to 27lb  from the dam wall  with son Kaiden, all fish were caught out in the open water on baitworks  and Mainline spicy crab boilies.

(Below) A really stunning common caught by Nathan England who fished on the summer hut swim on Beatties lake weighing 20lb 8oz.