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Encouraging young anglers or indeed any angler to fish the rivers and canals must be a good thing. So with the new Canal and River Trust all singing from the same hymn sheet we can sigh a sense of relief as one body represents all who enjoy this network of water.

Looking at the new website http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/, there are plenty of videos and lovely images including Brian Blessed opening lock gates in mid laughter only in the manner Mr Blessed knows, from first impressions its looks ok if not a little cheesy. The fishing section shows you a list of commercial still waters in your area…. hang on Canal and Rivers Trust, surely the whole point is to promote, canals and rivers? Already the message is getting a little cloudy.

It seems the website is another example of .org.uk, gloss with very little content. For example this is what it states about fishing the canals and rivers of Britain, ‘Fishing rights to many stretches of our canal network belong to local fisheries or angling clubs. You can find their contact details using our ‘find a fishery’ search.’ Fine if a little vague but when I did finally find my local stretch of canal it states ‘click on the website for more details,’ well it is actually an email address but close, oh and an email address that doesn’t work!

We now get onto the Wanderers scheme where with just one season ticket you can fish selected stretches of canal throughout the UK for the cost of £20 per year.  This sounds like a good idea, so I contacted the Canal and rivers trust and a reply from John came, with the good news that the Lea Navigation was to be included into this Wanderers scheme from April 1st. My details where passed onto another person who would tell me where I could obtain the Wanderers permit. A day later an email arrived from another John using a private email address (not the trust) saying that the Wanderers scheme was not to include the Lea Navigation. I replied asking who would know who does run the Lower Lea stretch and the reply was ‘As far as I know it is a club called Rural A.C., unfortunately I do not have contact details.’ A search for ‘rural AC’ came up with nothing.

So without this post sounding like an episode of BBC Watchdog, please sort your act out Canals and River Trust. I shall be fishing the Lea Navigation without a permit this season, my money is waiting, I’ve tried to support your cause and now after numerous emails and web searching I have given up. It’s a real disappointment that this is how our sport is run, when it could easily be done so well especially with many anglers looking for quieter waters to fish.

Here’s a song for the two Johns at the Canal & Rivers Trust…