‘Watch out, there’s a bailiff about!’
As we approach the end of the year and the nights draw in, it is a time when the fishing starts to slow down and we see fewer people on the bank, but during 2017 so far, I am pleased to say that our bailiffs have checked more anglers than ever across the region. In 2016, we checked 6320 anglers, including 308 non-members, from 4033 visits, but this year up to the start of November, we have already surpassed that, checking 7007 anglers, including 293 non-members, from 4238 visits.
Our bailiffs are all volunteers and it is to their credit that they have responded so well to the demands and the issues that the Association has faced this year. Our newly-appointed ‘Area Bailiffs’ , who act as co-ordinators for groups of bailiffs in each area, have worked well in getting their teams together to carry out regular checks in certain ‘hotspot’ areas and in particular where illegal night fishing has become a problem. Knowing that bailiffs are checking more often has improved the feeling of safety amongst anglers in some areas, reduced problems with litter and deterred poachers; all issues that we wanted to tackle this year.
We are not complacent though; policing around 250 miles of river, lakes and canals is no easy task when your staff are volunteers. Everyone knows that it’s not like managing a commercial fishery where you will see a bailiff or member of staff every day, but the element of surprise is there and you never know when you might get checked. So please remember to carry your card with you whenever you go fishing (NOT a photo on your phone) and … watch out, there might be a bailiff about!
Birmingham Anglers’ Association