19 May 2014
19/05/14 - The sun was beaming today and with highs of 26 degrees it was a great weekend to be on the bank soaking up the rays. My father and I decided to fish Barden Lake in Tonbridge in the pursuit of some giant tench but the session unearthed a new topic of discussion, one not discussed on this blog before.
We are all familiar with the current situation affecting our sport, our passion and our wildlife in the form of poaching. There are many other dangers associated with declining fish stocks and damage to habitats including otters, cormorants, pollution and dredging but poaching is also a big problem here in the UK as I experienced first hand on this lovely Sunday afternoon.
I was enjoying the sun when I noticed a small group of people on the far side of the lake that seemed to have caught a fish. I reached for my binoculars and tried to identify what had been landed when I had a feeling that the fisherman had no intention of putting the fish back. I sat down again and said to my father if that fish isn't put back in 30 seconds I'm going around. Thirty seconds passed and I shot round the lake to discover a dead pike lying on the ground with blood poring from its head. I instantly shouted my anger at the fisherman and was in utter disbelief that he could have done such a terrible thing. The angler replied "sorry" in an unmistakable Eastern European accent but the two youngsters with him were English and should have know better. After speaking to the bailiff who threw them of the lake I made my way back to my swim.
I have read numerous stories regarding poaching but have never experienced it first hand until this incident. I would like to take this chance to encourage all anglers to be vigilant when on a water and report any suspicious activity to the bailiff.