freeline-24 - Page 53



Made In England
Single hookbait caught this 23 for Jim.
totally ignored, and you can imagine
that similar petitions were signed all
along the proposed route, and were
treated with equal disdain. As we
know, Savay Lake is due to suffer the
most, with the rail link due to span
the length of the lake, so it is probably
quite poignant that we had already
decided to add to the Chronicles
series of books with the legendary
Savay. It was never meant to be an
epitaph, but a celebration of one of
the most famous lakes in the land, and
hopefully that will still remain the
case when it is published next year. I
can see many years of dispute, legal
wrangling and appeals ahead of us
with regard to HS2 and, hopefully,
Savay and the whole valley will enjoy
at least another decade of construction-free angling. The sad thing is
that, even with that amount of people
impassioned enough to put their
names down, the effect was like
sticking a cocktail stick into an elephant’s hide – totally ignored.
At the same time as this has been
going on, another more wide-ranging
threat to our angling has been gain-
ing more and more media coverage,
and that is the spread of otters across
the land. As someone who loves
everything about nature, in all its
guises, I cannot admit to loathing
these creatures, because I don’t. They
are a beautiful animal, and one of the
larger mammals to inhabit this land; I
can still remember reading ‘Tarka the
Otter’ as a boy, and weeping at the
sad conclusion. A lot of vehement
diatribe has been spouted across the
internet and angling media about
what a vicious killer they are; an
alpha predator that can kill 30lb, 40lb,
50lb carp, seemingly at will. But let’s
just get one thing straight – it’s not
the otters’ fault; it’s what they do, it’s
their job. They need to eat to survive,
like any animal. In order to eat, they
need to kill their dinner, like any
mammal. Their dinner is usually fish,
therefore they kill fish to eat them. It’s
not their fault. Do you blame owls for
eating voles and mice; foxes for eating chickens and rabbits; lions for
eating zebra and wildebeest? No, the
fault is ours – human beings. More
directly it is the fault of the human
beings at the E.A. and English Nature
who have taken it upon themselves to
reintroduce an alpha predator back to
the wild without, seemingly, the
faintest clue as to what they are
doing, and how they are impacting
upon the ecosystem.
There has been lots of talk of otter
culls, trapping, shooting etc, but all
that will do will seriously jeopardise
angling even more, because the general public will have no idea what
we’re talking about. Think about it,
the only thing that the vast majority
of the population know about fish is
that it comes with chips, usually battered. When was the last time anyone
had otter steak for dinner?
One of the most sensible ideas
being put about is a boycott of the
fishing licence, but how many anglers
would need to veto buying their
annual licence before the E.A. took
notice – 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? The
problem there is that, for every carp
angler who is up in arms about the
fact that Big Gerty just got its face
chewed off, there are probably a hundred other anglers who have no idea
FREE LINE 53

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