Don’t forget to renew your licence

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By now, anglers who bought a rod licence last year should have received a letter from the Environment Agency, reminding them to renew their rod licence for 2011. Full and concessionary rod licences expire on Thursday, March 31.

The prices have remained the same as last year, with a full coarse licence for the season costing just £27.

Senior concession (aged 65 or over) and disability concession is £18, while junior concession (aged 12 to 16) is £5 and children U12 fish for free. There is a short-term licence available for eight days, which costs £10 and a one-day licence for £3.75.

Licences are available from post offices and on-line at environment-agency.gov.uk or by phone on 0844 800 5386. You can even sign up for a direct debit if you wish.

I can’t complain about the prices, I remember having to buy separate licences for different parts of the country, not much fun if you are a travelling angler. It would be nice to be able to buy a licence in your tackle shop again. I’ve been chatting to tackle dealers, all have their own differing opinions about handling licences, but at least it would get anglers into tackle shops, not a bad thing in its own right.

Working as an angling coach, I see the work the EA delivers, so I have an idea where some of the money from rod licences goes.

Sales of rod licences have increased by 35 per cent, from 1.1 million in 2000/1 to a record high of 1.5 million in 2009/10 and generating a £25.4 million income. The EA says the significant reason for the increase was targeted marketing, the new look licence, TV adverts and the widespread distribution of angling guides. It could also be due to the £2,500 fine that may be imposed if you are caught fishing without a licence. More than 143,000 licences were checked last year and 3,496 anglers were prosecuted for fishing without a licence or for fishing byelaw offences.

For all the carp anglers out there, if you fish with three or four rods (four is the maximum allowed) then you will need to buy a second licence.