Can we just clarify one point:
IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO TAKE COARSE FISH FOR THE TABLE (or for bait).
It is illegal to fish without a rod licence whether you are from Poland, Pakistan or Birmingham.
It may be against SOME club rules but , as far as the EA rules are concerned, you are allowed to take a number of fish providing to stick to various size and bag limits.
If the club rules ban it then it is up to them to take action.
Most of my clubs allow fish to be taken.
Not so, I'm afraid.
Here's what I posted on a previous topic:
"In England and Wales it is illegal to take any fish from any stillwater not connected to a river without the express permission of the owner of the fishing rights. To do so is a criminal offence under the Theft Act. Indeed, even fishing such a stillwater without permission of the owner is considered theft as you'd be "stealing" his fishing rights.
River and canal fish are considered wild creatures and therefore don't belong to anyone. Thus they can't strictly speaking be stolen. Having said that you can still steal the owner's fishing rights and therefore be prosecuted under the Theft Act if you fish such waters without permission, whether you take any fish or not. However these laws don't apply to tidal rivers or the extremely few waters that are designated public fisheries. So on non-tidal rivers and canals, or on stillwaters connected to a river, it's still illegal to take any fish from any water without the express permission of the owner of the fishing rights, unless the venue is designated a public fishery.
Additionally, both the owner of the fishing rights and/or the Environment Agency may impose size or bag limits. As far as I'm aware there are no such national EA limits. However there are local limits, especially for game fish. In each case it is a criminal offence to break any of these regulations, and in the case of breaking the owner's rules it's again treated as theft.
One final point. Whether or not there's a sign saying the fishery is private is irrelevant. With the very rare exception all non-tidal waters in England and Wales are private.
For further details see the excellent book "Angler's Law in England and Wales" by R.I.Millichamp.""
Edited by Steve Burke, 28 September 2006 - 02:52 PM.