North West Hunt Saboteurs

Coarse Fishing

Official Season : 16 June - 14 March

Where to find details 

1. Read the angling press such as Angling Times and Anglers Mail. These are published weekly and carry a comprehensive list of matches and popular angling venues.

2. Also visit fishing tackle shops they may have posters or notice boards with lists of local club meets.

3. Some newspapers and radio stations have features on angling.

What happens at a match

The section of bankside to be fished is divided into 'pegs', at least 15 metres apart. Some waters have permanent pegs, others are marked out and numbered the night before or the morning of the match.

The anglers arrive 1 -2 hours before the match to draw peg numbers. They then go to their allocated peg to set up.

The match is started and ended by a signal, usually a whistle. The anglers then fish for 3 - 5 hours to catch the highest weight of fish which are retained in a keepnet. At the end of the match the fish are weighed then released. The winner is the one with the highest total weight of fish.

Tactics - before the match

1. Ring up the organiser and book a peg. You could ask for directions to the venue, or to sound moreCAA Logo convincing, ask about bait bans (e.g.. bloodworm, joker, wasp grub).

2. Removing or changing around the peg numbers on the morning or the night before the match will cause confusion and maybe confrontation amongst the anglers.

3. Wire up access gates to the water.

4. Talk to local anglers on the same water or in tackle shops to find out the best day, weather conditions and stretch of water to fish from so you will know when and where to concentrate your sabbing.

5. Erect match cancelled notices around the match area.

Tactics - during the match

1. Blow the whistle 10 - 15 minutes before the start of the match is due to begin. Some anglers may begin fishing early and be disqualified. Similarly blow before the match is due to end, this might make some anglers pack up early.

2. Row up and down the river in a canoe or boat to prevent the anglers from casting or make them reel in. Go near to the line/float and disturb the surface of the water with the paddle to scare away the fish.

3. Swim, wade or splash your feet in the water (wetsuits, waders and wellies are advisable depending on weather conditions) to stop anglers casting and to scare away the fish. If you can remove the line from the water, but be very careful not to break or damage any tackle.

4. Make noise in the water by submerging objects (e.g.. dustbin lids and a spanner are very good for this) and banging them together to scare away the fish. Make noise above the water with whistles, shouting, airhorns, hunting horns etc. This has the added bonus of annoying the angler and distracting them from their enjoyment of the 'sport'.

5. Talking to anglers may disturb their concentration. Get fact sheets from your local group to be able to argue against them.

6. Standing behind anglers may make casting more difficult and your shadow on the water will scare away the fish, especially if the water is clear and still.

7. Use poles (e.g.. long bamboo canes) to disturb the float/or line. Try to lift the float and/or line out of the water, but again be careful not to damage any equipment.

8. Throw twigs at the float or line so anglers do not know when to 'strike' (i.e. pull back with the rod) and the fish may take the bait but not get caught on the hook. Avoid throwing large objects as these could damage the fish. Also avoid throwing small heavy objects (e.g.. gravel) as the fish may confuse this for food and be attracted to the area.

9. Empty keepnets, ideally with two people in the water. Some keepnets have removable bottoms held on with clips. Others have only one way in and one way out - at the top. Ensure that the fish will exit the net downstream. Keep the net submerged at all times and do not touch the fish. Move the keepnet in such a way as to encourage the fish to swim out without touching the mesh. If in doubt, do not attempt it, as keepnets can do a great deal of damage to fish.

Pleasure angling

Pleasure anglers are easier to sab. They are more likely to pack up, as they are out for relaxation, peace and quiet. Use the tactics as above also:

1. Erect "No Fishing - Contaminated Water" signs or similar. Make them look as professional as possible.

Other possible tactics

1. Stretch a rope across the river then, with a person on either bank, move it along the surface to create a wake, so disturbing the float/line. Move the rope up and down to hit the water and scare away the fish.

2. Put a groundsheet with a string or rope on each corner onto the surface of the water with a person on each bank holding the ropes. The groundsheet is moved about to prevent the anglers casting where they want to. The sight of the sheet above the fish will also scare them away.

3. Water can be scooped up in a bucket and thrown at the float or line to disturb the water and scare away the fish.

Clean up any litter and discarded fishing tackle. If left this could injure or kill fish, birds and other animals. We are the conservationists not the anglers who will leave this mess behind them.

Also take a camera with you to get pictures of dead fish, poor handling of fish, tackle victims, discarded tackle in the river, poor emptying of keepnets and so on. If you do get any good photographs send them to your local group. As they could be used as good evidence to get a local ban or restriction.


1. Do not take dogs/pets to the bankside as they will be in danger from discarded tackle.

2. Do not pre-feed. Putting food into the water attracts fish, and any food not eaten would rot and pollute the water.

3. Do not throw tackle in the water. It is a danger to fish, birds and other animals. Maggots will also drown in the water.

4. Do not break fishing line for the same reasons.

5. Do not damage any of the anglers tackle or you might be arrested.

Do fish feel pain? - read the latest report in pdf format

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