Lee Swords Fishing

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February Blog

Recently I was given the bad news that the barbel legend that was Fred Crouch had passed away, it seems that there are fewer and fewer of the true legends left and very soon there will be none. As a young man I remember watching armistice day parades and looking at the long line of old men filing passed the cenotaph, hundreds of old men many of whom wearing the long red coats of the Chelsea Pensioners, men that had fought in the first world war followed by the thousands that had fought in the second world war, now forty years there are none left from the first and scant few from the second.

They have for the most part passed into history, they are gone.

Now, I am not trying to pass angling or anglers off as war heroes or even heroic and meritorious of medals and awards but there was a class of angler around the late 40′s, 50′s and 60′s that bridged the gap between “ages” and they fished at a time of true exploration, adventure and genuine hardship.

Times when real frontiers were being blazed and advancements in techniques and tackle  were being hard won by men that went out and did the spade work for what we specimen anglers of today take for granted.

For example we consider PVA to be a relatively new and novel concept, it is not! I have a book from the 1950′s by Fred Buller  showing PVA bags of maggots being stapled to the rig and older still I have a book from the 40′s showing how brown paper bags filled with mash and maggots and weighted with stones was used to deposit a tight bed of bait.

The men that forged modern angling were true giants and we of the 80′s, 90′s and new millennium are simply standing on the shoulders of their hard won achievements, Fred Crouch was one of those giants and angling has lost something special.

Rest in peace Fred.

Progress on the Bowden Houstead petition!!

Well it seems to be incing its way towards the 200 signature mark at a steady pace, there was a time when I wasn’t sure if it would make 50 as it seems we Brits have a very low tolerance for doing anything that is actually “out on a limb”, we like to sit quiet and leave the planning and stuff to those we judge to be our masters and better…

And that is where we Brits drop the bollock, we need to get out a bit more and start shouting the odds about things we don’t like with such volume that insidious little politicos that couldn’t plan a piss-up in a brewery cannot at a later date state that ” The public is by and large behind the idea” when the truth of the matter is actually quite different.

The truth is the majority of people in Britain don’t give a flying fuck anymore because they know whatever they do they are going to get shafted so they say nothing and absorb themselves in the world of Celebrity Big Brother, Jeremy Kyle and cheap lager deals from the local supermarket but there is a small percentage of Brits that are incandescent with rage at how our political leaders are managing the country…I am one of those.

It is too easy to think what the hell, it doesn’t matter one iota what I say.

But our opinions do matter, all we have to do is be loud…and the message we should give out is clear and simple

” Do what we want or we will get our fat lazy arse out of bed and we will make the effort to pick up a pen at the next election and mark a cross by the side of a name that will break the status quo”





Good news on fish predation

We’ve been campaigning for more than three years for a change to the current bureaucratic and ineffective licensing regime that governs the control of cormorants and goosanders and have now concluded negotiations with the Government on the implementation of new measures, announced last year, to improve the protection of vulnerable fish stocks from predation by cormorants and goosanders.

We are very grateful to everybody who supported us with donations and by sending postcards to their MP. The success we’ve achieved would not have been possible without this support.

The new measures will include:

• The funding of three Fisheries Management Advisors (FMAs), to be employed by the Angling Trust from April 2014, to help angling clubs and fishery owners reduce predation, to coordinate applications for licences across catchments and to gather better evidence about the number of birds in each catchment. (Details of these posts and how to apply are available on the Angling Trust website atwww.anglingtrust.net/jobs)

• A commitment by the government to review the existing national limit on the number of cormorants that can be shot each year in light of evidence gathered by the FMAs from each catchment in 2014 and 2015;

• A simplification of the licence application form to make it easier for fishery managers to apply to control cormorants and goosanders;

• A removal of monthly limits within an annual licence;

• Extension of the control season to May at times of low flow when salmon and sea trout smolt migrations are particularly vulnerable;

• Agreement to increase the national limit for cormorant controls to the emergency level of 3,000 (from 2,000 last year) in 2014/5 if the need can be demonstrated.

If you are not already an Angling Trust member, or know somebody who might join because of this breakthrough in protecting the UK’s fish stocks please encourage them to join on our website byforwarding them this email. Membership is available for just £2.50 a month.


One Response to “February Blog”

  1. Lee, I am incandescent with rage most of the time, but recently I have let things regarding the protection of our environment lapse. But reading your Feb blog has inspired me into action once again. Thanks .Alan..

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