News article created on 26 October 2016

Signs of the times

I do wonder which angling club was the first to ever erect one of their club signs on the canal network.

Nickerhole Bridge Sign

Should anyone know the answer to that, or are aware of the locations of old angling club signs that might have heritage value, then please do get in touch and send us a photo. We might even publish the most interesting ones.

We recently came across this gem of sign on a bridge on the Manchester, Bury & Bolton Canal, sent to us by Eric Owen, a larger than life character who featured in one of our previous blogs.

Installation of permanent angling club signage

The Trust encourages customer angling clubs to install signage, especially at access points, informing both anglers and non-anglers of the details of the controlling club and where to obtain fishing permits. This is our standard signage template. With regard to actually physically obtaining their signs, our customer clubs currently have the option of contacting us to be emailed a form which can be completed manually and signs ordered direct from the Trusts’ appointed signage supplier:

  • Contract Signs
  • T 01209 313449.

The current price per sign is £10.30 + VAT per sign plus a small additional amount for fixings if required. Delivery is usually between £10 and £30, depending on quantity ordered. Payment can be made by card, cheque or BACCs. Clubs can also get their own signs made to the Trust approved standard signage template.

Soon to be available will be the option for angling clubs to create a sign from the standard template using our Brand Portal. A pdf can then be created and used to order from Contract Signs. Alternatively, using the Brand Portal, clubs can create a pdf file to download and take to a chosen supplier for signs to be made.

Obtaining permission at a local level

Before going ahead, ordering and subsequently installing signage on our waterways, permission must be obtained from the local waterway manager. Usually a member of their team, such as a local supervisor, will pick this up. We would definitely advise obtaining this permission prior to actually ordering signs as posts may or may not be needed and fixings will need to be specified when ordering. Here is a list of email addresses for each waterway. Please email the fisheries team if you are unsure of which waterway to contact.

Potential dangers to be aware of

At numerous locations, there are underground fibre optic cables and in some locations even high voltage cables buried under the towpath that need to be considered. Guano would definitely project itself in the general direction of the fan in the event of one of these cables getting severed, something definitely best avoided. Under no circumstances may holes be dug and posts installed without prior permission. Similarly, many of our bridges are actually listed structures, which may come as a surprise to those who have not considered it before. Our helpful heritage team will always need to be consulted and their agreement obtained before going ahead and fixing a sign on a bridge, even if an old existing angling club sign is being replaced by a new one.

Advice for angling clubs wanting to inform others of fishing matches

Using temporary signage to inform anglers as well as other waterway users of pending or in-progress fishing competitions and matches is well worth doing. Signage must be clear and accurate, so it cannot possibly be misinterpreted by other waterway users. Please download and use our recommended MS Word template, adding relevant wording in the boxes. If you have any problems downloading the template please contact us.

We have come across the occasional signs over the years implying that the canal was closed to all customers when that was not the case. This has unfortunately led to many concerns from boaters and walkers about access, wondering why the canal was closed and about alternative routes both for walking and navigation. On investigation, we found that the canal closed refers to anglers not being able to fish a particular length due to an upcoming fishing competition.

Share the space, drop your pace

On the subject of sharing, we’d recommend promoting our Share the space, drop your pace campaign when running fishing events. Towpaths can get busy, so letting walkers, joggers, cyclists and boaters know that a match or taster session for new anglers is going on and that they need to take it easy is a good idea. It’s also good to send the message that others are welcome too and our campaign does that. If you would like some leaflets or signs to help do this, again speak with your local waterway manager or the fisheries team. You can download a pdf leaflet about the Share the space, drop your pace and the better towpaths for everyone policy. 

Signing of overhead electrical powerlines

The local waterway managers are responsible for all signage of overhead electrical powerlines. Should a club come across a situation where signage goes missing, then please email your local waterway office immediately. At some locations, and subject to a full risk assessment, the 30 metre rule can be varied where it is deemed safe to do so. Occasionally telephone wires have also been signed as powerlines in error. Should you be aware of such a situation please email the national fisheries team and we will arrange an initial site visit.

Installing permanent peg numbers

The Trust recommend that clubs consider permanent pegging, at least on the more popular sections of their fishery, where matches will be held. Permanent peg numbers help define the actual fishing spot, therefore reducing the need to clear vegetation away for the environs of the fishing spot. They also help reduce the threat of littering from bits of paper and reduce the risk of nails being left inadvertently in situ. Uncollected nails have caused nasty accidents to pets in the past, causing clubs to have to call on their third party public liability insurance cover. This is our preferred design.

What we wish to avoid at all costs is the use of spray paint or anything else that detracts for the canal environment. If in doubt, ask your fisheries team contact for further advice.

About this blog

The fisheries & angling team

The team undertake a diverse range of work including looking after the Trust's £40 million worth of fish stocks, managing agreements with over 250 different angling clubs and helping more people, especially youngsters, take up angling on the canal. Follow this blog to keep updated with the thoughts and work of the team.

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