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Hello folks,

Time to come clean here, I've dipped in and out of the site for a couple of years now but only signed up and started posting recently. You may have noticed that apart from Macky1 and a few others, hardly any of the successful Holderness regulars post catch reports on the site. There is one very real reason for this and that is netsmen. These are not genuine responsible commercial boys who pay their wack and obey the regulations but opportunists looking to supplement their income.

We've had a fair old ding dong for a number of years with some of these people, seen some off but there are new ones arriving all the time and the situation is getting worse. There has been netting going on between Hornsea and Skipsea for years and bait pumpers have been picking immature dead fish off the beach after they've cleared their nets on a regular basis. I found a thornie of about a pound dead there on Sunday last myself. There is currently loads of fine (about the diameter of 6lb line) clear monofilament mesh, of approx 4cm square washing up all over the show. Some of the lads have written to Sea Angler about this but they won't publish. It's a shame that those who earn a living from anglers are so gutless when it comes to such issues but it is not uncommon. They want a quiet life, some of their advertised charter skippers are gill netters when they choose and so on.

Now the beauty of this Forum is being able to get hold of current info regarding where's fishing but you are also telling the netsmen if you do. I don't give precise locations on my posts and neither does Macky. I can see by the responses that this is frustrating some of the lads up North who want to have a crack down here but unless we know who you are, when we'll p.m. you, we are understandably cautious. I also think you should be careful about posting catch pictures on site as well for the same reason, if you do, just use the sea as a background. I know it means you have to muck about with exposure but I think it's worth it. I'll give you an example, a guy recently put a photo of a skate on the site, the cliff top fence meant that most locals could, at a glance, place the mark within 10 yards of where the photo was taken. I'm not having a go at the lad in question, just making a point. The best skate beaches are well known but the fish move around.

Now there are people using this site who are not anglers just opportunist netsmen and they are using us to tell them where to go. There are also a number of private boat owners on site, who claim to be anglers, who openly admit to supplementing their income with nets. The latter are the 'enemy within' IMHO and I am being polite now. I had thought Mike might just kick them off the site but it wouldn't stop them looking it over so it is better that we know who they are?

To this end I've been posting on the Gill Nets Thread and been as provocative, offensive and abusive as the site will let me get away with, to see how many we can flush out of the woodwork. It has been quite hilarious to see the responses, at times, and I've literally had tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks. I 've earned two penalty points in the process, I don't know what this means, do I get a badge when I get ten? Most of the responses have just been low level abuse (I'm an expert in high level abuse) and it's clear that a lot of these guys are just plain thick, but not all of them. One guy couldn't see the distinction between a sustainable pot fishery and indiscriminate use of gill nets; I kid you not. I've avoided being emotive about the method and it's by-catch problem as that is a value judgement but it's clear they're all very down on Greenpeace. I'm not a member but I can't see their point on that topic. Now I've only had one intelligent response to my posts from a genuine Cornish fisherman, who makes a sound case for Gill Nets over trawling. Unfortunately, this completely misses the point of our concerns about irresponsible users in areas that have never seen a trawler, here of course, I'm referring to the inter-tidal zone and nearshore.

The good news for us Northerners, is it appears to be predominantly a south coast problem (greedy southerners - rings a bell?) with a bit of Wales chucked in too for good measure (we knew about these). Now via work I am in contact with the fisheries enforcement of the Bass Protection Zones (Nurseries - implemented by the then MAFF). As we know who these people are and where they are, it won't be hard to keep an eye on what they get up to now. I can assure you that opportunist Gill Netters are a continual pain in the arse around the protection zones. I have three m8's who share a boat out of Bradwell and for years certain commercials have listened in, and generally spied on, both the recreational and charter boats to find fish. Some think nothing of coming over and setting nets while you are fishing on the Essex bass marks. There is a view among certain commercial boys that as they fish for a living they have a prior claim over the fish than anglers. This of course is rot and there is no basis for it under law, so if they get in your way just tell them to f. off and don't be intimidated as they are nothing, trust me on that.

Where do we go from here then? First do not post direct catch locations at the time of capture. If you want to let people know where you are fishing, give it a week, and the fish will more than likely have moved on. Be very careful who you trust to p.m. info to, unless someone you trust vouches for them err on the side of caution. I've mentioned photos and don't be fooled into believing that anyone who posts an SACN membership number is conservation minded, they could be the biggest bass bandit in the country for all you know. If you don't know how the SACN works, its open membership for free to anyone who wants to apply. There is no vetting you don't need to be proposed or approved just apply on-line and your in. Now from my little adventure on the Gill Net Thread, I'm pretty much convinced that people who's interests are purely commercial have joined the SACN either to put a spanner in the works, fraudulently obtain info on fish whereabouts, or both, so be careful. There are moves afoot to make the SACN a subscription based organisation with an elected committee which should help. If it's anything like the ACA and the Freshwater lads a tenner will be too rich for most of this low life.

Now for any of you lads who are new to this game, don't be taken in by much of what you read on site from people who claim to speak as experienced commercial fishermen, as we know for a fact that a lot of this is just drivel! There is one bloke who I shall call 'Tiny Turbot' who waffles on endlessly about how much of a commercial salty old sea dog he is who hasn't got a clue. The fact that the only catch he's got to brag about is a tiny turbot form a south-coast boat means he either ain't done much fishing or can't fish, probably both. In a lot of cases it's nothing more complicated than - ooh the sea looks nice, I'll buy a boat then, let's try angling, oh that's quite hard isn't, let's try a net then, wow this is easy I wonder if I could sell some? I kid you not! Some of the posters will just try to shout you down as a 'no nothing' because they assume you've no involvement in commercial fisheries. The assumptions they make are hilarious, at one stage I was labelled 'a copper' and all kinds of prejudices came flying out. I shouldn't imagine this amused the many genuine police who use the site?

Now while 'Michael Ryan' of Cornwall clearly knows his own patch, I don't share his confidence that the fishiery will hold up what with all the publicity it gets. People in restaurants are actually asking whether it is Cornish fish they are eating on account of certain TV chefs and newspaper columnists. I have no issues with genuine commercial fisherman, I'm from Hull and I'd be driven out of town if I did! It is actually them that have most to lose from the rise of the bit part netsmen, as the stocks aren't managed properly and they all end up getting tarred with the same brush. You will have people tell you stocks are healthy (rubbish!), blame Russian factory ships, Spanish, French, Portuguese trawlers, Eastern European long liners, Chinese gill netters, climate change, the EC, the CFP, bad year classes, pollution and on and on and on. It all adds up to the same thing, chronic overfishing and it's been going on for years. It's always worth knowing a bit about the history of your sport but it can be a bit depressing. Contact CEFAS and they ought to be able to give you reasonable catch vs. effort returns for the post war years. It shows one thing blatantly obviously for our own inshore waters and that is that since about 1970 there has been a steady rise in fishing effort while catches have declined or remained static. That equals one simple conclusion too many fishermen chasing too few fish. Here's a couple of quick examples from angling, when did you last here of a 100lb catch of cod to one rod from the shore? Used to happen every year at places like Dungie, Pakefield and the Rhu Narrows on the Clyde. The Clyde is a scandal, it was the best cod fishery in the country in terms of both size and numbers and was all but fished out in five years. The mainstay of our summer sport here on Holderness were skate and you could get half a dozen in the 8-10lb class in daylight when it was good, on very basic gear. If you get one 8lb+ skate a season now you are doing well. Most of the blokes I grew up fishing with in the 70's have long since packed up, they remember the codding as it was and don't think it's worth the effort anymore when you can catch 100lb of pastie carp and be home in time for tea.

Now it's not all doom and gloom, but we have got to sort out these chancers. Cod are an extremely fecund species that would rapidly re-populate the North Sea if left alone. Some of you will remember that the southern North Sea was absolutely stuffed solid with small cod in the 95/96 season and the so-called experts at Sea Dangler were telling us all that the good times were back and the future was assured for the next five to ten years. Except that next season they barely showed, a few in the 3-6lb class to the uptiders but pretty much nothing from the shore. It didn't surprise me at all, I'd seen it happen before following the bumper 80/81 codling winter. It doesn't take a genius to work out where these fish vanish to once they become sizeable does it? Same with the Skate, but much slower growing, they'd all but vanished up here in the '80's. Everything looked rosy in the early 90's, plenty of small ones, clearly a viable population but they just don't reach the sizes in numbers that they used to because the commercial boys take 'em too young.

As I've mentioned I'm a Hull lad, some of these southern experts forget that half of what they now take for granted on fishing boats was invented and developed up here. I come from fishing stock, have lived, breathed, worked and socialised with fishermen all my life. I'm educated to MSc level in Fisheries Science but have practical experience too, have worked on and off in fisheries management and scientific research. When it comes to the English North Sea I do know what I'm talking about, despite what our Gill Netting friends would have you believe. So takes sides, be open about where you stand on the issue and if it's good shore fishing you want then tell the part-time gill netters nowt other than where they can stick their nets. If you think this is OTT my Bristol m8's won't even let 'catch and keep' shore anglers on to locations, because they've seen too many good marks fished out by rod and line methods alone. You only need to keep a couple of good 'uns, if you like to eat fish and they're are plenty in Tescos!

Hope this hasn't sent you to sleep?

Cheers, P.T.
 

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I also agree,Did the decline start when we joined the common market1970s. I still think we should have a 14 mile fishing limit-Look at Iceland !!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
At the time of the 'cod war' we campaigned for a 50 mile limit and I've still got the car sticker to prove it. It obviously didn't get us anywhere with the politicians though. Despite the bitterness it caused at the time, most of the retired Hull trawlermen will now admit a sneaky admiration for the Icelanders for actually fighting for something worth keeping. The EC certainly hasn't helped our cause but frankly we've conceded far too much without even fighting for it and I'm afraid that it is the commercial boys who bleat on about the EC who must take most responsibility for that.

Glad to see people on this Forum agree with where I'm coming from, it's a breath of fresh air after that poxy Gill Net Thread on the Angling and Conservation Forum. But do go on there if you like a good laugh as some of the posts are worthy of Derek and Clive!

Cheers, P.T.
 

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if you want a net there are some on fle/ bay 50m and 100m
 

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:clap3: that was a very good thread , well put together , and created with a great deal of knowledge and experience ,
well done p.t. , you've opened my eyes mate
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
cuberd
 

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Some good information there Prof even if your Bristol friends are a little naive (to say the least). Beware those who insist you catch and return, its the anglers choice and anyone who thinks keeping fish will damage fish stocks is completely misinformed and anyone denying anglers access to marks because they keep a fish or 2 are going to come unstuck at some point.

When you see pictures like these you will understand that anglers like us who spend all day out on the beaches to catch a single codling (and some days nothing) are never going to impact on our fish stocks.



see also page 5 of this document.

This catch was actually made off Whitby and is a regular occurrence.

Click Here For Article

Prof I think your right on the issue of commercial fishermen joining these forums to stir trouble. Some quite influential people in the angling world have even gone so far as to say these people are on the payroll of a major commercial fisherman's organisation - I'm not sure if that's true or not but it would certainly make sense.

Prof - Your probably aware of this Group and will know Nigel quite well, but there is some interesting stuff on the Yalasa website about intertidal netting. See:

http://www.yalasa.co.uk/letter-nesfc-intertidal-bass-netting.php

Cheers - Glenn
 

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I've been away a couple of days and noticed this post was closed. I've had a read through it and decided to re-open it.

This is a local post regarding Holderness and the NE so lets keep it as such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the supportive posts, if we stick together we'll see the 'takers' off eventually.

Croc, it's Steve at Veals who you'll need to convince that he is being 'naive' and he is a very knowledgeable and experienced angler. I'm certainly persuaded that the combined efforts of shore anglers and uptiders on certain Upper Bristol Channel marks have made a considerable dent in the quality of Thornback fishing. It's difficult to blame this on commercial pressure as this part of the Channel is unfishable with standard methods. Also, I do believe that the average size of Sole on some of these marks has been driven down by catches too. A reduction in average size is, as I'm sure you're aware, often the first sign that a fishery is being placed under unsustainable pressure. But I agree that there is nothing wrong with keeping a few fish for your own needs.

Cheers, T
 

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Applause to you prof tench for a good read on what is proving to be a very emotive subject. I do not profess to be very knowledgable when it comes to commercial fishing practices but even the recent BBC series showed to darker side of catch limits and having to dump fish that had been landed but not prcessed because the catch limit had been reached for that species. That's not in my opinion the fault of the trawlermen, it is the fault of politicians. Yes I know that is a greatly simplyfied view and I would have to do much more reading before I would venture to comment further but the main stay of this whole affair is the impact of overfishing, be it by commercial or toe rag illegal gill netters. This impacts on the world ecology but closer to home it impacts on a sport that I enjoy.
A brief example of this impact is the size of fish now being caught by rod and line compared to the "when we were lads" era, Was it that as lads we were all smaller so the fish looked bigger ? I doubt it ! The seas are over fished for certain species, period.
To be honest, this whole ecological/political agenda is not something I even want to think about when I am packing my gear into the car to enjoy a days fishing and I bet a lot of other readers feel the same way. This is however, a topic that all anglers should be aware of and care about.
Thanks for a good read,
Pete.
 

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Hi Prof,

Sorry I forgot that we speak of species other than cod here, you are right there is some concern about localised stocks of such fish as Rays and flounders etc in some areas.

I do get quite concerned when people start talking about this subject as what often happens is we start to generalise and assume that taking any fish at all is a bad thing. At a time when there is growing numbers calling for restrictions on anglers catches, where they can fish and where they can collect their bait and people asking how much anglers should pay to fish from the shore we have to ensure this generalisation doesn't take place.

I think in our River here at Whitby the stocks of Flounder aren't as good as they once were and some people are suggesting that local fishing clubs are to blame - so much so that those clubs have now returned to catch, measure and return on the summer species, but with these fish migrating away from the shoreline in winter it could also possibly be the case that commercial fishermen have dented the population as I am led to understand such fish have value as pot bait. I was once told the the Humber was specifically trawled for this reason - would you know if there was any truth in that prof ?

In this area we are a little obsessed with our cod fishing as you will know and this is why intertidal netting doesn't concern me greatly with respect to this species as they visit the intertidal zones mostly when the seas are rough and it would be impossible and pointless to place a net there - The real problems for this fishery being largely out of site and out of mind - The trawlers both English and French. I would urge people here to continue to share their cod fishing experiences and sharing info on marks etc. It would be a shame if the topic entitled "Runswick Meet" became "A get together at location X on an undisclosed day in history".

Cheers - Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Point taken Glenn, although I still think it will take a lot of persuassion to get Holderness anglers posting timely catch reports on line.

Thanks BigPete, and don't let anyone put you off expressing a few re. fishing just because you aren't a commercial skipper or an ecologist. Your views on this topic are as valid anyone else's and as mentioned on the original Thread there are certainly people on-line passing themselves off as something they are not on websites all over the internet.

The original thinking behind the 'quota' system was that once you'd reached your limit for a species, you'd tie up your boat, put your feet up and enjoy all the money you'd made. Not go back to the same mark, with the same gear and fish for another species!

Before any commercial skipper pleads poverty here, who saw the BBC documentary on the Peterhead trawlers in North Scotland? I found it interesting that a teenage 'Deckie Learner' on his first trip made over a grand in cash for 10 days of not very much work. I'd love to know where a teenager, with no experience, can make that kind of money, outside of drug dealing, in their first ten days at work? I think I might be interested in applying myself.

Funny enough, the kid decided the industry wasn't for him after one trip and they are now recruiting Poles instead of locals. The youth of today?!

P.T.
 

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As a hull lad also and a holderness regular for the last 20 odd years, I too can see the problem of posting accurate catch reports. When I first started using this forum and Mackys site I was initially dismayed at what I percieved to be some anglers selfishness and reluctance to share information, however after seeing some of the netters activities on the holderness first hand :uhuh: I can see now why poeple do not post exact locations. I and other forum users are willing to PM other anglers information, especially on a give and take basis.
 

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Seems you have a problem in your area Rob. Someone posted something the other day about a similar problem on the beaches around Filey. Is it Mostly Bass that is being targeted or do cod visit your intertidal zone in the calm conditions a net could be shot. Is there anything can be done to stop this problem - Is it illegal to shoot nets in your intertidal zone ? I know it as around Whitby but I think this is due to local byelaws as the river is a Salmon River.
 

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I agree with most of what you say.Why are you so anti southern?Do you think all people who live in the south are the same and we all earn 50k a year?If you do then I got some news for you boy! No matter where you live in the country we all get screwed over equally.
 

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Hi crocodile, yes the cod do run very close to the shore here and are at risk from the gill nets. The biggest problem though is the skate and bass population which seem to suffer the most. We do have quite a few licensed nets along our coast but we have quite a few that are not. There does seem to be a bit of confusion over what it is legal to do and not do regarding shooting nets from the beach or from small unpowered craft, particularly with regard to whether they sell their catch or not. Either way it is a big problem so I agree with prof tench about not posting exact locations on open forums.
 

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If i see any nets within 2 miles of my marks then i shall be cutting them, if the person responsible doesn't like that then tough, every other sea angler should do the same and stick together to get rid of these rats!
 
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