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Safety whilst fishing

Anthony Pearson

Senior Member
Following on from Keith Speer's salutary tale (and the case of missing angler Steve stringer), it may be an idea to put our heads together to come up with a safety code for river anglers. I realise that be dependent on conditions, location etc. but if it helps to avoid a tragedy it will have served its purpose.

I'll start this off:

Always let someone know where you are going to be fishing (name of river, stretch, bank, swim/peg if possible).

This one is way down the peccking order but still worth mentioning: when pulling for a break, always put a slight bend in your rod to avoid the rig catapulting back into you.

I've got plenty of others but would prefer to hear other anglers' views/suggestions on this.
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Howard Cooke

Senior Member
Use a bankstick or landing net handle to test the bankside ground. An area that looks firm may actually be highly vulnerable to collapse under light pressure. I have often placed a bankstick in the ground only to have the earth around it crumble into the river. If that was a boot.....

Simon Lush

Senior Member
Be aware that on the outside of bends the river may not actually be in front of your feet but be underneath you due to undercutting.

Anthony Pearson

Senior Member
I know it's very early days on this thread, but the above suggestions link pefectly together to inform anyone trying to produce a video/YouTube clip.

Simon, I fell into a swim during the summer and the bank was undercut by at least three feet! I only discovered this when reaching out with my foot to find something on which to gain purchase when climbimg out. With my leg fully outstetched, I still couldn't find anything!

Dave Taylor

Senior Member
I guess most seasoned anglers have a general awareness of the obvious dangers and pitfalls of fishing rivers into dark and in adverse conditions, but most of us still take a few risks now and again.
I can list a few factors that have nearly ruined my day,.. not all life threatening, but best avoided.

Udercut banks,..not just where you are fishing from, but where you may be landing a fish or spotting.

Walking through thickets in the dark,..easy to get a twig in the eye. I knew a fella who lost the sight in his right eye like this,..nasty. Not such a problem in daylight as we are often wearing shades.

Be very aware of the risk of falling branches when fishing under trees, no matter what the weather is doing.

It is risky to fish under a high bank when cattle are likley to be directly above you. I've seen cows fall in the drink more times than I can remember,..you certainly don't want one falling from a great height onto you!

Don't wade in the dark,..left it late packing up one evening on the Dor. Stour and had to return to the car across the river in the dark. what seemed easy in daylight was really difficult and dissorienting,... stupid really.

Be aware of wasp nests in late summer.

Keep covered up to protect yourself from ticks when walking to or from a swim.

I guess we have all done it,..but try not to nod off,..saw a mate of mine get off his chair after having forty winks, and then took two steps forward into a very deep Avon swim on the severals,..woke him up though,.but could have been a tradgedy as he could'nt swim.

I hope any juniors or begginers looking in take some of these points on board, given the recent awful events.;)

Joe Fletcher

No Longer a Member
Dog spike and a rope if you have had to climb down the bank to get to your swim .

If it rains you may never get back up the bank again . You could also tie the rope round your waist ? If you do fall in , Then you have some to hold onto to get your self out again .

Dave Taylor

Senior Member
My old dad [a non swimmer] used to tie a rope round my waist and to a tree when he took me fishing as a very young lad,...when he related the facts to some of my fishing buddies many years later I was never able to live it down!:eek::D
Good advice though Joe..;)
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Graham Hunt

Senior Member
Can anyone recommend a water proof bag for my mobile? Having the ability to call for help must rate highly as a must.

Paul Cooper

Senior Member
Graham try a motorcycle shop. I got mine from the cycle show at nec £5 will try and send link.
If you are going to purchase a life jacket! I have a 275 newton Crew saver that only inflates when in water or manually (Hammer type) 275 newton is designed for persons wearing heavy clothing. It also has fixing rings for attaching a rope. Some inflate when wet ie rain. It can get expensive buying gas cylinders every time it rains.
Other option is to wear a floatation suit. They will keep you very warm and could save your life. Very poignant after today's tragic news.

Simon Lush

Senior Member
Graham, here are a couple, although Lomo out of stock at the moment:

Aqua Wallit - Waterproof case for all your valuables - Storage & Drybags Outdoor Gear Shop - Alpkit
Mobile Phone Dry Bags from Lomo UK

Lomo make pretty good dry bags.
Steve, its says in the bumf that they are not submersible and should not be used for swimming so chances are your phone would be wrecked if you fell in.

The Aquapack ones will do the job, much more expensive but its potentially your life at stake.


Steve Holt

Senior Member
One of the main safety issues regarding any water sport is learn to swim.
It's never too late, my late father in law started swimming in his late 50's.
Most sport centres run adult swimming courses & they can be fun,don't feel foolish..
I had a double figure barbel go belly up on a flooded river Swale a few years ago & got some stick for going in after her, but I didn't think about it at the time. B*ggered my mobile but saved the fish..what an idiot:eek:

Karl Heptonstall

Senior Member
We spend enough time thinking about where to place a bait in a swim or where you might land a fish. Recent events have got me looking at a peg and thinking how and where would I get out of the water. A two foot drop to the water could be impossible to get out of with heavy wet clothes on. Know your river, there could be shallow gravels in the next peg down were you could walk out! Above all LEARN TO SWIM! It's very easy to stay afloat, put your arms out to the sides and wave them back and foreword.

John Walker

Senior Member
being aware of possible dangers is the paramount of safe fishing ect.
1/ always keep your name and address inside the top flap of your bag,box or rucksack.
2/ stay away from pylons and low overhead electric cables,
3/ try to tell someone where you are going and estimated time of return,
4/ show extreme caution fishing if theres flooding,
5/keep away from undercut banks (these collapse very often) and be aware there may be hidden undercuts,
6/in heavy water dont wade in any circumstances,
7/the last thing is if possible wear a lifejacket ( the self inflating braces type).
there must be a few more pointers but stick to this and you will be fairly safe,
incidently carrying a dog spike and rope wont do you many favours in dodgy conditions it will only encourage you to get in precarious positions:eek::eek::eek:

Dave Taylor

Senior Member
Be aware of whats above you!

Some 25 years ago on the Dorset Stour's Throop fishery, I decided to stretch my legs and walk downstream to see how my mates were getting on.
To those who know the fishery, I had set up at the upstream end of the high banks above the spur roadbridge in the 'steps'.
As I walked along the high banks I spotted some barbel tucked under some streamer weed, and suggested to one of my mates that we take time out and have a go for them for half an hour.
We both sat on the top of the bank and just took it in turns to roll a bit of meat through the swim like a couple of schoolboys. The funny thing was that my rod sounded like there was a blow fly trapped inside, ..really buzzing so much that I took the two sections apart to investigate and found nothing. I remember holding the rod up and to my ear and saying to my mate 'cor listen to that!'

Well, we managed to catch a smallish barbel [Can't remember which of us got lucky], and returned to our respective swims, where on recasting and sitting down I found myself looking downstream to where we had just been fishing, and to my horror noticed that we had been sat directly underneath pylons which had been trying to arc to my kevlar 12 footer!:eek:
We had fished this water for years, but had ignored the pylons,.. they just seemed part of the scenery.:eek:

I remember fishing Holybush pits at Northcamp, near Aldershot, where the overhead electricty cables were very similar to telephone lines, ..well dodgey!

Wayne Glossop

Senior Member
I was very lucky to not end up in trouble when i had the 16lber i had both my feet in the water and holding on to a stump on the bank all down to a failing in my landing net. Scares me even thinking about it. But when in a moment like that your personal safety goes out of the window without thinking to be honest.