We are all surrounded by information signs in every aspect of our life – when we travel, when we shop, when we park our cars or visit the museum. Signs are one of the key ways that society delivers information. Sometimes they are advertising, sometimes they tell us what we can do and where we can go and sometimes they tell us what we can’t do and where we can’t go. National Government, local councils and private companies spend £millions on signs for a reason…they work. However the situation often looks rather different when we go fishing. So many times I walked alongside river or canal bank without any idea who water belongs to and if fishing is possible. This lack of info leads anglers to one of two choices – try their luck and fish with the stress that you might approached by a bailiff and find out that there are “no tickets on the bank” or decide not to fish and go home. Neither option is good for the controlling club. They either have their water fished illegally and miss out on income, or else they lose a potential member or day ticket purchaser.
The scenario would be different if there were good club notice boards in evidence. The club would benefit from the angler buying a day ticket or membership and will have a reduced number of incidents where people fish illegally without tickets or in the closed season. The situation it’s even more difficult when it comes to migrant anglers coming from totally different backgrounds. Very often in their eyes the only thing they need is a fishing licence as it is in many European countries. Looking at the Environment Agency enforcement statistics there are actually not many Eastern European anglers fishing without licence as they know they need to have it. This changes when I talk to individual clubs as they often complain that many people are caught fishing without club permit. The most common excuse is the lack of knowledge or understanding. Of course in a perfect world, all anglers would visit a local tackle shop, go online or find out who the water belongs to in another way before they tried fishing, but in the real world this very often isn’t going to happen. This is where Angling Trust Building Bridges project comes to help. We have developed couple of signs translated into the most common languages and made them available on our website here:
The only thing clubs have to do is print, laminate and display them in as many visible places as possible. Or better still ask a professional sign maker to produce weather resistant signs using the artwork. It won’t cost you a lot of money but I guarantee it will save you a lot of frustration. To make things easier we can even help tailor signs that are specific to your needs so if you have particular wording that is necessary for your club, we can help. There is even more assistance available if you need it – there are many law abiding, conscientious migrant anglers who are willing to help combat these issues and contribute to the local angling clubs and they might help you to display signs if you are struggling with manpower or even volunteer to become bailiffs. If you would like to know if there any Migrant anglers in your area who are willing to help or if you have specific translation you need for club signs then please get in touch using the form below and let me know.
There is also legal aspect of having signs around your fishery. During court proceedings (if your club decide to start civil legal action against someone who fished without permission) the judge will ask for the evidence of informational material being easily available for public. If you have signs all over you fishery you are in good position to win the case, If not, the situation can look very different. Next close season is coming up very soon so why don’t you take this opportunity and use our signage as a deterrent to unwanted behaviours on your waters.
Rado Papiewski – AT Building Bridges Officer