AS REGULAR readers of this column will know, I’ve written a number of times about the problems of illegal fishing on the Thames and its tributaries in our area – and despite increased vigilance from the Environment Agency, it has clearly not gone away.
This week, I’ve been called by another regular contact – fisherman Steve – who reports that despite the fact that the fishing season on the river officially ended last month, he has witnessed a number of people fishing in Staines.
He told me: “I was on a train which crossed the river via Staines railway bridge a week or so ago and I saw a guy fishing from the little garden opposite Tims boatyard.
“When I came back across the bridge two hours later, he was still there and he’d been joined by two others. It’s just outrageous the way some people are flouting the regulations.”
Now I’ve had a lot of input from a lot of people around the area and the consensus view is that the problem appears to lie with fishermen from eastern Europe who either don’t know about the regulations – or simply don’t care about them.
Whichever it is, I just hope the Environment Agency can find the resources to put a stop to this selfishness.
MANY thanks to B Griffiths from Sunbury who wrote to me to share his memories of a voyage down the Thames in a 12-foot wooden sailing dinghy during the 1950s.
Mr Griffiths writes: “My boat was a clinker built, gunter-rigged dinghy which I used to keep at Fulham yacht club close to where I lived then.
“The furthest I got down stream was a week trying to get to the Medway although we got no further than Gravesend before having to turn round.”
Mr Griffith sent me a copy of the log he kept on the voyage that highlighted one or two hairy moments. One entry, dated September 15, 1953, reads: “10am high and dry on the mud. Wind south-easterly fresh. Petrol stove burst into flames and set fire to wooden galley. Dumped stove over the side onto the mud…”
Another entry records the time when they boarded the Thames sailing barge Memory to have a look around.
I’m very grateful to Mr Griffith for sharing those memories of a time when such a voyage was much more of an adventure.