I visited one last year on an invitation match and was very puzzled by the
strictness applied by the owners. Bait restrictions abound at these venues
and it often leaves me wondering where it will end. One thing is for certain
though, none of them read the same books because they all have their own
theories on what to allow and what to ban. I find the bans all a bit
clinical, especially when it is stated that you can only use a certain volume
of bait in total. I also feel that these bans are trying to make us all fish
like robots and will eventually render the art of watercraft worthless. If
bans are to be exercised I think that they should be policed, how many times
have you fished one of these waters and had your hooks checked? And how often
have you heard a rumour after a match that the winner must have been breaking
this or that rule?

On a charity match I helped organise last year I
disqualified four anglers for using barbed hooks on a water that made it
clear that barbless hooks only were permitted. The sad thing was that one
of the anglers caught fished at national championship level and was fishing
against juniors and seniors alike. Having an unfair advantage is not about
skill and the true spirit of sportsmanship and I would publicly ban anyone
breaking any reasonable rule. But what has all this to do with groundbait!
Well it would seem that most of these bans are aimed at bait because some
naive fishery owner thinks that someone may eventually discover the ultimate
secret bait and win every match and cause attendances to drop to the point of
bankruptcy. It'll never happen! Fish ain't stupid. They become educated and
do change their food preferences throughout the season. What's more, fish do
prefer a varied diet, so when a fishery becomes a bit sick, because 3 pints
of fat saturated meat per angler has been thrown in twice a weekend, we
shouldn't be surprised.

One genuine concern all fishery owners should have is the use of TROUT
PELLETS. The fact remains that they are not suitable for coarse fish and cause
toxins to build up in the fishery that damages the Aqua culture and also
causes digestive disorders in many species, this is a TIME BOMB waiting to go
off , and any self respecting fishery owner should take professional advise
immediately. Historically, groundbait in one form or other has been used for
hundreds of years. Sir Isaac Walton relates to it in his famous work when
discussing the taking of bream. Years ago anglers used sacks-full on the Fens
and other waterways. Trout pellets on the other hand, are a modern invention
for the cultivating and rapid growth of trout. Trout have a different
digestive system to carp and all trout farms have a massive throughput of
water to flush the toxins out of the pond. I hope that one day common sense
will prevail and anglers are treat with the respect that they deserve as
paying customers and that fisheries apply the rules that help anglers catch
fish fairly and skilfully.