Baits and lures

It was originally proposed that regulations prohibiting the use of certain fishing equipment that is liable to cause greater harm to the fish during catch and release be brought forward as part of the kill licence package of measures and respondents were invited to suggest what other equipment should be included.

Scottish Government has concluded from the responses to the consultation exercise that the whole issue of baits and lures requires further detailed consideration before we can take any decision on the implementation of national measures. Accordingly we are of the view that baits and lures regulations should not form part of the kill licence package of measures at this time.


1.    Do you agree that this is the right approach?

2.    How do you think evidence could be obtained to inform consideration of whether or to what extent measures are required?

3.    What would be the best way to engage anglers in thinking about this?

4.    Would you be willing to be contacted on this matter?

Why the contribution is important

Respondents to the consultation cited various reasons for saying no to the proposed regulations e.g. existing controls already adequate; no evidence or not enough; national ban on equipment inappropriate; control best progressed by measures at local level. Going forward it will be important to gain the necessary evidence to make informed decisions on what is required and stakeholders’ views will be an important part of that.

by LockhartL on July 22, 2015 at 04:56PM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 3 votes


  • Posted by devronmac July 23, 2015 at 14:20

    Most countries which value their stocks of sporting migratory fish and adopt a strict catch and release system also recommend the use of pinched or barbless hooks to aid easier release and to limit any fish mortality in the unhooking process. Would this not be a worwhile step to consider in Scotland?
  • Posted by marinescotland3 July 23, 2015 at 17:29

    That is certainly a view held by some who responded to the original consultation process but not by significant numbers. Is there sufficient support from other anglers and representative bodies for such an approach?
  • Posted by ms July 24, 2015 at 09:18

    I think barbless hooks is a the way to minimise damage to fish, I do not use trebles any more either, however I am finding increasingly beats are disallowing trebles as well as requesting pinched or barbless hooks. Pehaps single hooks should be considered ?
  • Posted by nigelwalters July 24, 2015 at 16:39

    I do not believe that either barbless hooks or the lure used (fly or spinning) makes any difference to the survival of the fish. Of much greater importance is the handling of the fish. This is particularly relevant in the photographing of fish. Any lure restrictions MUST be based on facts and not on opinions of those who can more easily publicise them.
  • Posted by Tayghillie July 24, 2015 at 19:05

    The previous comment is right on the button. It is not the lures that are the problem but the whole process of Catch and release. Despite all the literature out there on web sites etc anglers still can not grasp how to release fish properly. Anglers are not thinking about the fish and that is clearly the the case amongst some ghillies on well known beats on the big four rivers who should know better. Handling fish is not recommended and you continually see that on social media sites. Boat fishing brings an even bigger situation to grasp and clearly it is not being done properly in many situations. If we are serious about saving salmon we need to pay far more attention to this otherwise it is a waste of time. Experts know C & R is only scraping the surface to save the salmon but if it is done properly these precious fish will go on to breed which must help our dwindling stocks.
  • Posted by tweedfisher July 25, 2015 at 14:10

    I agree with not rushing through regulations regarding bait and lures. Although I do not use either myself, for many, it is the only viable option given the area they are fishing. Not all beats or rivers are prime fly water. For many anglers these are the only affordable options for salmon fishing. The government must ensure it does deprive some anglers of their sport because they can not afford to fish the best beats. Also some anglers are not able to fish any other way due to age or disability.
  • Posted by Cranston84 July 25, 2015 at 20:01

    Have to agree with the handling of fish. I keep seeing pics of salmon laying on gravel and rocky banks only to see captions like "released fit and healthy". I also think the barbless hook idea is one to consider. It is a must on trout waters where the livelihood of the owners is of concern, so why not for our most prised fish.
    I'd like to add that I believe there are dangers inherent in bait fishing. I see a lot of deep hooked fish killed because the angler was not holding the rod at the time the fish took the bait. I don't know if the answer is to ban bait or ban anglers from leaving their rod unattended, just sharing an opinion.
  • Posted by Ayrshirecast July 25, 2015 at 21:23

    I totally agree with the last four posters on handling.
    I favour multiple barbed trebles for a field of angling that I'm interested in. We frequently recapture fish caught previously and recently one turned uo after 5 years (verified by markings and no doubt it was the same fish). The greatest threat to survival after capture is handling. If anglers are prepared to take care and the time to ensure their catch is ready for release, then survival should rarely be compromised.
    There's a group of well know Scottish fishery scientists that have for years been capturing fish time and again and I'm sure they would be the first to stop using trebles if they had evidence that they caused mortality but as far as I'm aware they still use multiple trebles on baits.
    Handling not equipment is the main issue.
  • Posted by abhainn July 26, 2015 at 14:30

    Barbless doubles as a maximum. Trebles should be a thing of the past.
  • Posted by garavogue July 26, 2015 at 19:13

    I think certain rivers might favour certain angling techniques.For instance some rivers have slow canal type pools and are best suited to spinner. Angling methods should absolutely be decided by the people on the ground.

    Handling of the fish is probably the most important factor, and all anglers should be strongly encouraged by their River Boards (or future FMO's) to have a good pair of forceps or pliers.

    Education might play a part here in disseminating best techniques to handle fish.
  • Posted by Fishpond July 26, 2015 at 20:39

    I agree with the comments so far in terms of fish handling and also that hook type does not always determine extent of damage is caused to fish but clearly some baits with multiple trebles (eg rapalas) can make a mess of fish and thus many have adopted or complied with a single treble rule to minimise fish damage and this would seem a sensible approach - micro barbs in presence to barbs on hooks and singles doubles or trebles permitted but only one. If we are going to return fish then spinning gear probably means a fish can be landed quicker than with a fly rod thus I see no sense in banning spinning where catch and release is required, bait fishing is more likely to lead to damage in my experience and this requires more consideration.
  • Posted by hitchfly July 27, 2015 at 04:54

    As always the juvenile fish never receive mention. Trebles remove the need for handling of parr and smolt. You pinch the disengaged hook with thumb and firefinger, invert, give a slight shake, and plop !
  • Posted by RKDJ July 27, 2015 at 13:38

    I am firmly against control of baits unless there are very specific and well justified reasons (e.g. worm at certain times of year using). Fundamentally there are large rivers in Scotland where the use of the fly is impractical for disabled anglers or youngsters who need to be encouraged into the sport.
  • Posted by edenangler July 27, 2015 at 15:26

    Any attempt by the elitist few to impose a fly only rule for salmon fishing should be resisted by the vast majority of salmon anglers in Scotland. The use of treble hooks and indeed barbless hooks can be a matter of personal choice and should be left as such. Clubs and individual beats may make the use of certain types of hooks and baits part of their conditions, but that is up to them. I can see no good reason for government to legislate on this.
  • Posted by lgiebuchan July 28, 2015 at 12:05

    I agree with edenangler wholeheartedly. The vast majority of anglers cannot afford to fish the beautiful fly waters of the Dee and Spey - most will fish other waters where fly fishing is sometimes not an appropriate and successful method.
    To make fishing methods too restrictive will have the effect of reducing angling participation, the opposite of what is intended.
  • Posted by donwader July 28, 2015 at 16:17

    I believe that there is a combination of hook & fish handling. I now fish exclusively manufactured barbless hooks and find that the hook drops off the fish in the net allowing for a fast release without handling the fish at any point. I also believe that anglers play the fish far too long and then hold the fish-up by the tail to take photographs which often put far too much handling pressure on the fish.
    Barbless hooks are the way forward in my opinion.
  • Posted by Rowan July 28, 2015 at 16:22

    I also agree making fishing methods restrictive is counter productive. We must not forget that the angler is the goose that lays the golden egg is all of this, providing the income stream to finance everything. What have we done to encourage anglers to come to Scotland and fish, or for resident anglers to go out and spend money.

    There are less fish to catch

    There are much less fish to keep

    The methods allowed to catch them are more restrictive.

    Has this caused a decrease in rents or subscriptions, generally no.

    How has the above affected angler numbers, flatlining at best and seriously declining in many places.

    Add another layer of disincentive to this, rod licence , salmon tags, fly only, angler numbers will plummet. If you look at the average age of anglers in associations, or on Salmon beats its an ageing population, there is no incentive for youger folk to get involved mainly because of the above restrictive methods/dropping catches.
  • Posted by dibro July 28, 2015 at 17:03

       The beats that I fish have already got a number of rules in place which are strictly enforced. These may vary depending on height of water or time of year. In fact on my local association waters fishing can be suspended at very short notice if fish stocks are threatened by high temperatures and low water.

       The regulations vary from river to river and beat to beat and have in many cases been adjusted over the years. Today's rules are much stricter and more "fish friendly" than they were even 20 years ago. Surely this is more effective than a one size fits all approach.

       The playing of salmon to the point of exhaustion then delaying the return of the fish to the water is far more detrimental to the well being of a salmon than any type of lure or hook.
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