Safety first at water’s edge

Now the school holidays are upon us, most fisheries will see an influx of younger anglers on the bank, all of them eager to catch a fish or two and most of them totally unaware of the dangers of fishing.

Having got sunburnt recently, a prompt reminder to mention that now’s the time to be aware of the effects the sun can have!

While you’re on the bank, you also get reflected rays off the waters surface, effectively doubling the exposure.

A hat, sunglasses and a high factor sunblock are essential.

‘Slip slop slap’ – slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat – makes good sense.

Remember, you can always put the brolly up if it gets too bright.

All fisheries try to provide safe pegs for anglers, but the amount of times I’ve seen youngsters clambering through bankside vegetation, leaning out over lily pads or balancing on tip-toes just to drop a bait close to a fish, is unbelievable.

Everyone should be aware that banks could be undercut or eroded and possibly give way under your feet – depositing you in the wet stuff! It’s easily forgotten as you stalk a big carp in the margins, trying to second-guess its intended route.

Or as generally happens to me, put your foot down a rabbit hole and twist an ankle whilst trying to identify those dark shadows that enticingly turn into fish with the flick of a fin.

Watch where you’re going when patrolling the waters edge – I’m talking from experience here!

We all carry basic tools for angling, scissors, knives, baiting needles and drills, but perhaps most dangerous are the hooks we use.

Barbless are a must as far as any angling coach is concerned.

They are easier to get out of a fish, your jumper or a finger – why use barbed? Extra care is needed when using trebles – they’ve got a mind of their own when it comes to catching fingers, nets and weeds. Talking of weeds, if you happen to get snagged up – and we all do at some time or other, take extreme care when pulling for a break.

Pole elastic or even ordinary monofilament will stretch and fire leads/tackle or even a float back towards you at alarming speeds, which can cause serious injury.

Always drop a towel over the line/elastic and turn away from the direction of pull.

The last thing you want is a wire-stemmed pole float through your hand or a two-ounce ledger hitting you like a bullet.