A Bristol man has been ordered to pay £1,335 in fines and costs for flouting fishing bylaws.
Adam Power was caught illegally fishing for coarse fish on the River Avon at Keynsham on three separate occasions.
In April 2013 the Environment Agency received reports from members of the public that a man was fishing below a weir near the Brassmills Public House, Keynsham. At the time it was the closed season for coarse fishing.
The defendant told Agency bailiffs he was fishing for ‘eels, trout and sea trout’ but when he reeled in his rods they saw he was using coarse fishing baits. Power pointed to a plastic tub containing worms but there was no evidence he was actually using them and the bailiffs decided the worms were a ploy.
Power claimed he had caught a sea trout earlier that day. While he had a valid coarse fishing rod licence, it did not entitle him to fish for migratory species such as sea trout. Also, he should not have been fishing for eels during the closed season. At that time of year he should only have used a single rod to fish for brown trout with worms as bait.
When told he would be reported for illegal fishing, Power said if it went to court ‘he would deny it’ as it was the bailiff’s word against his.
The defendant was caught again on April 26 and May 4, 2013. On both occasions Agency bailiffs responded to reports from members of the public who had seen the defendant fishing on the River Avon at Keynsham.
On the second occasion Power whipped his rod up forcefully several times and reeled in quickly to dislodge the bait to prevent bailiffs from seeing that he’d been fishing illegally. At his feet was a container of blue cheese, a bait normally used for coarse fish.
When asked to surrender his rods, Power refused and looked as if he was about to become physically aggressive. By responding in this way he committed an additional offence of obstructing a bailiff.
‘It is important anglers refrain from fishing during the closed season as this is when fish breed and need to be left undisturbed. The defendant blatantly flouted the law and deliberately tried to conceal the fact he was fishing illegally,’ said Chris Povey for the Environment Agency.
Adam Power, of Oxenham Court, Whitehall, Bristol was fined a total of £1,200 by Bath magistrates after being found guilty in his absence of six offences under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 including fishing for coarse fish in a closed season and fishing with an illegal bait. He was also ordered to pay £120 costs and £15 victim surcharge.