IT is getting to that time of the year when anglers have to renew their club membership and in quite a lot of cases, renew their rod licence as well.

Under new rules introduced last year, rod licences are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

This may result in a licence expiring some time after a club membership renewal which in the past has provided a reminder with regard to the rod licence renewal.

The Environment Agency has issued a timely warning to all anglers on the need to ensure that they renew their rod licence by giving details of recent court cases where anglers were fined a total of almost £8,000 mainly for not having a valid rod licence and refusing to provide their name and address.

The highest fine handed out was for £880 plus costs and a victim’s surcharge of £194.

Four anglers were fined £440 plus costs of £172 and another angler received a fine of £660 plus costs of £162 for fishing without a rod licence and leaving his assembled rod and baited line in the water unattended. The lowest fine dished out was £400 plus costs of £157. All the offences took place in central England and southern Lancashire.

Anglers expecting to be treated more leniently in our area will be disappointed to learn that this is not the case and fishing without a rod licence usually results in fines approaching those shown above. The maximum fine for fishing without a rod licence is £2,500.

I know of one case where an angler was asked for his rod licence whilst he was looking at the River Ribble from a road bridge with his rod in its bag and the rest of his tackle in his bag.

When he produced his rod licence it had expired by a few days but this resulted in several court appearances spread over months as he fought the case.

In the end he was not fined and received a conditional discharge but the case took all the pleasure out of fishing that season.

Rod licence costs for 2019 for the trout, coarse fish and use of two rods are £30 aged 17 to 64 and £20 for OAPs and disabled.

Junior anglers do not need a rod licence if they are under 13 years of age. Juniors aged 13 to 16 need to apply for a licence but they are issued free of charge.

Be wary if you apply online as there are companies that charge an extra £20 just to apply for a licence on your behalf.