This summer will be the summer of the ‘staycation’ with many of us having to cancel our foreign holidays and instead looking for alternative trips at home. One alternative that many anglers are likely to consider, especially when the barometer is high, is a night or two spent camping on the lake, river or sea shore with a fishing rod or two close at hand.

Enjoying the countryside

What better way to spend a few days than relaxing by the waterside while the wild world happens all around you; the swifts screeching high in the summer sky, the buzzing of bees beside you as they test each flower for pollen and nectar, a rustling in the undergrowth as something stirs and then, hopefully, a fish sliding into a landing net after a patient wait and a bite.

A young angler admires his catch before the release

This picture is a pleasant one, but all too often in the Irish countryside these days the rustling noise is the plastic bag caught in a bush that the last lot of ‘anglers’ left behind, the screeching is the crowd of ‘anglers’ up the riverbank with the stereo on full blast and the buzzing is the wasp checking out the empty beer cans and tins of sweetcorn that last week’s ‘anglers’ littered along the lake shore.

Please remember that whether you are spending two days or two hours in the countryside, whether you are fishing or just enjoying the outdoors, you must respect the land, landowners, wildlife and other anglers and members of the public; please follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

The 7 Principles are:

  1. Plan ahead and Prepare
  2. Be Considerate of Others
  3. Respect Farm Animals and Wildlife
  4. Travel and Camp on Durable Ground
  5. Leave What You Find
  6. Dispose of Waste Properly
  7. Minimise the Effects of Fire

Practising a Leave No trace ethic is very simple, make it hard for others to see or hear you and LEAVE NO TRACE of your visit. For more information please see https://www.leavenotraceireland.org/

From an angling perspective, please remember to take home all of your old hooks and your fishing line which can be recycled in the many fishing tackle shops who are participating in the National Line Recycling Scheme, thanks to https://www.offthescaleangling.ie/ for the info. The other most common sources of angling litter are bait packs (from fish baits, frozen baits, ground baits), tins (sweetcorn, soup etc), bottles or cans from refreshments and food litter (crisp packets, sandwich wraps etc). Bring them home and bin them.

Anglers should also consider sustainable fishing, like practising catch and release, to ensure that our fish stocks are healthy for the next generation.

Bring a bin bag and #LeaveNoTrace

We all like to spend time in the countryside; it is something we should treasure.  Final words to all those anglers who bring a bag when they go fishing to pick up other people’s rubbish – a sincere thank you, you people are a class act.

To those ‘anglers’ who leave a mess or behave in an anti-social manner – you should be ashamed of yourselves, next time #stayathome.