By Steve Mann
I make radio controlled bait boats for people who want to use them as an aid to help them catch fish. Since opening my business I have to say that most anglers I have met are very nice people - they all have their own idea of what works best for them and their own personal choice in tackle, bait and fishing methods.
How come when it comes to bait boats it is like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. I have heard arguments from both sides and have to agree with most of them, however I can see no reason against a compromise. Why not have rules for bait boats, if you want to use a bait boat then you must stick to these simple rules:
1 the bait boat must not be able to carry more than 1Kg of wet bait (inc. rig) in any one trip.
2 the bait boats highest point must be 14 to 16" above the water.
3 the bait boat must not use bright lights that could distract other anglers close by.
4 the bait boat must use a 27 0r 40mhz AM radio system. 5 no solar or bank side charging allowed.
6 the boat must not exceed 21" in length.
There could even be dedicated swims for bait boat use. What's more, it should me noted in the venue rules to make anglers aware of any restriction. If there is no bait boat on the market that complies with these rules then one would have to be made.
If these rules were met then nearly all complaints against bait boats would be resolved.
Rule 1. This would stop over baiting, as the bait is limited to 1Kg of wet bait, which means carrying even less dry bait.
Rule 2. Being a minimum of 14" and a maximum of 16" to the highest point would stop the boats from going under overhanging branches etc.
Rule 3. No bright lights would stop other anglers getting dazzled.
Rule 4. The use of 27mhz and 40 mhz AM will limit the boats range to around 150m, so avoiding boats being used for distance baiting.
Rule 5. By restricting bank side charging, one will limit the boat's use.
Rule 6. By limiting the length of the boat, one would stop unsightly large boats being used.
When it comes to the argument of "It's not fishing", look at some of the fishing aids already used. After all, that's what everything is - a fishing aid. You have a spod (a bait carrier on a line), bite alarm (save you holding the fishing rod), bait (it seems that if cat pee attracted carp it would be used).
Then there are the disabled - is this sport going to be the first that hinders the disabled?
Steve Mann - 2003