Thursday, 20 January 2011

Phase out the Felt - ERT Takes the Lead

I note with interest that in the States, Trout Unlimited has issued a challenge to the fishing industry to stop using felt on the soles of wading boots. Felt is a major contributor to the spread of all manner of freshwater invasive species which could include ‘aquatic hitchers’ such crayfish plague and gyrodactylus salaris. Companies like Orvis, Simms and Patagonia have responded with new ‘felt free’ technologies. One would hope that the UK tackle industry (including retailers) will also be rising to this challenge to protect and conserve the very resources that sustain their businesses and our precious angling heritage.

So my plea to the UK tackle industry is please...Phase out the Felt!

Anglers can also ‘play their part’ by taking the ‘Clean Angler Pledge’

INSPECT - carefully examine all of your equipment at the end of your trip to see if there are any visible signs of unwanted material attached. This includes any type of plant or mud. Remove anything visible.
CLEAN - use water to wash your equipment clean. High pressure water works great to remove anything that may be attached to your equipment. It's ok to clean with water from the river or lake where you have been fishing or boating from because you will leave behind invasive species that you may have picked up. However, never clean your equipment at your put-in spot since you can easily be cleaning off hitchhikers that have been with you since your last trip. If you cannot clean before you leave a site, then make sure to clean at home where there is no chance that an invader can reach the water.
DRY - a thorough drying of your equipment will kill any live invaders you may have picked up. Make sure that every bit of hidden moisture is gone.
The above is of particular importance if your are fisherman that moves between fisheries both here in the UK and abroad.
As anglers (and that includes the tackle industry) we must all take these simple actions to stop the spread of destructive invasive species.

I realise I have written about this subject before and I make no apologies for raising again! This is simply because it is such an important issue that could affect the quality of all of our fishing.

At ERT we have now banned the use of felt soled waders in our work. Although this may cost us money in the short term - we feel it is a small yet worthwhile investment to help protect our special river.
Now pass me the matches!