Litter and angling

Perhaps the most serious problem to be found on heavily fished stretches of water is litter left behind by thoughtless anglers. It looks unsightly and can kill riverside wildlife. So serious has this problem become in recent years that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has carried out a survey which reveals that every year anglers leave behind many kilometres of discarded nylon line, of-o ten with baited hooks attached. It is a slow, agonising death for the robin y or songlhrush which gobbles up the I- maggot left on a discarded hook ;. length. Even lengths of nylon left in e the grass can (angle round the legs of y water birds, trapping them until they d starve to death, which may take y several days. The sad truth is that these bird deaths and injuries are totally unnecessary since it takes no effort at all to put the offending lengths of nylon into your tackle hag for safe disposal at home. Every angler gets tangles from time to time hut, however frustrated or angry you are, never leave nylon fishing line on the riverbank.

Empty tins of swectcorn or luncheon meat whose contents have been used as bait are nearly as dangerous as discarded lengths of nylon. The jagged edges of the tins can sever the legs of farm animals and badly gash the arm of an unsuspecting angler reaching into the grass. I once saw an oystercatcher flying round with an empty tin ofsweetcorn firmly wedged on its leg.

One angler I know was fishing one day when he heard a commotion in the margins a little way upstream. When he walked along to investigate he found that a small chub had its head firmly wedged in an empty tin of corn which some thoughtless angler had thrown into the river. The list of dangerous items of litter is endless, yet the solution is so simple. Do not leave litter of any description on the banking after a day fishing. Even sweet wrappers are unsightly. It is up to the younger generation of anglers to show their elders how to respect the countryside.