Hundreds checked in EA rod licence blitz across the Fens

Almost 500 anglers had their rod licences checked in a three-day blitz by fishery enforcement officers across the Fens.

Twenty of them were found to be fishing without a licence, meaning a trip to court and a fine for those convicted.

Eight Environment Agency bailiffs took part, along with a PCSO from Norfolk police and a special Sgt from Cambridgeshire.

This is precisely the sort of thing that 479 of the 499 checked over the weekend of July 27-29 want to see. I don't know anyone who pays for a rod licence who wouldn't like to see some more enforcement from time to time.

In fairness, after fishing the Fens and further afield for 14 seasons without having my licence checked, I was pulled over three times last winter.

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The only other illegal activity uncovered was a pair of crayfish traps found at Ten Mile Bank.

If you were thinking about going out and deploying set lines, fyke nets or any other nasties, you probably wouldn't do it the weekend that the EA had sent out a press release telling everyone it's going to have a crackdown.

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So I surmise these traps weren't set by anglers or those who operate on the fringes of the sport. Such traps can easily be bought online.

Crayfish – as in the American signal variety, as opposed to the declining native type – have become something of a delicacy.

With TV programmes like Hugh Fearley-Wotsisname going big on foraging, it's no surprise that people are trapping their own Reggies.

You are actually allowed to do this, provided you get written consent from the EA and use the right traps, to avoid the risk of harming otters or voles.

Back on the bank and things are looking up, with bream shoaled between Downham and Denver on the Relief Channel, and downstream of Modney Bridge on the Ouse.

Just about everywhere's carrying plenty of water and flowing at the moment. One good thing about the amount of rain we've had is it seems to have kept the azolla – dreaded foreign floating weed – at bay on most of the drains.

I wonder if that means a better start to pike fishing when autumn comes in a few weeks' time.

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