Henry Gilbey
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Has anybody official ever checked up on you and what you have caught while you are out fishing?

When I was over in Kerry the other day, on two or three occasions we had a bloke from IFI (Inland Fisheries Ireland) walk out to where we were fishing with our clients. We were also checked up on back in July as well. Now it’s not as if these blokes demanded to see inside our rucksacks or whatever - and to be honest I don’t actually know how far the IFI powers stretch in these situations - but the simple fact that somebody from the (Ireland) state agency that’s responsible for “the protection, management and conservation of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources” was checking up on what we were up to from a sport fishing point of view is a good thing if you ask me………….

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When compared to what seems to (not) be going on here in the UK. I got yapping with the IFI guys on a couple of occasions and I said to them how impressive it was that they were out and about checking up on anglers - and I told the guys that I had never, ever been checked up on for anything over here in the UK. I know it’s now legal to take one legal size bass per day (why oh why don’t we at least have slot sizes?), but if you think about it, it kinda changes nothing - if as an angler you have wanted to catch and kill as many bass or indeed other fish, is there really any kind of shore based deterrent especially out there?

Please note that I am not having a go at the powers that be, rather I am a bit in the dark here as to who might actually be out there on our extensive coastline to keep an eye on anglers and whether they are fishing legally as such. You can of course head out there and kill as many rays for example as you want, but bass as a species have been subject to different rules and regulations for a while now - and what’s to stop so called “anglers” taking as many as they want, and of any size? Are there actually officials out there checking but I for whatever reason just happen never to have come across any of them here in the UK?

John tagging a bass over in Kerry

John tagging a bass over in Kerry

Having IFI people come out to check up on us over in Ireland naturally puts this into stark contrast for me. By no means am I saying that just because you’ve got IFI officials out and about around Ireland that nobody is doing anything illegal on the fishing or netting front, but contrast us getting at least checked up on and knowing that the powers that be are at least out there somewhere against me never, ever getting checked up on here in the UK and I’ve lived down here in the south west for twenty five years now.

I don’t personally want to kill bass, but I completely respect the fact that many anglers go fishing and want to come home with something to eat - which is of course where fishing comes from - but what was ever in place to prevent unscrupulous anglers killing as many bass as they want to when a law is in place but from my own experiences admittedly there has never been any fear or worry of being caught behaving illegally? Are my non-experiences unique to the south west or have you as a shore based anglers been checked up on here in the UK?