STARLETS and England captain Mark Downes had just the sort of Christmas visit he didn’t want, when thieves stole his fishing tackle from his van.

Hindsight is a great thing, but Mark will be wishing he hadn’t loaded his car up the night before in readiness for a match. He probably did that so as not to wake up his wife in the morning.

Mark has put the total value of his stolen gear at around £8000. He is insured through his house insurance but the incident will mean he won’t be fishing for a month or so.

“I think some thieves know who I am because this is the second time in five years I’ve been targeted on a road which has had only one other break in during that period. There is no way of replacing your gear quickly at this time of year so I’ll be out of competitive fishing for four weeks or so,” said Mark.

Touch wood, the only time I have had tackle stolen was when I was a kid fishing one of the lakes at Pype Hayes Park, and my lost gear probably totalled no more than £50. There was no sneaking up on me. A gang just came up, nicked what they wanted and sauntered off!
However, I know several anglers who have had all their gear stolen and they tell me it’s not so much the big items that bother you as long as you are insured. What really hurts is losing all your favourite rigs and floats that you have spent so many hours lovingly tying up and adjusting so they are just perfect.
It’s a reminder to all of us though to check that we have our tackle insured. If you are a club or match angler in particular, your tackle may well be worth considerably more than you think.
If you have an expensive pole you may have to have it named on the policy. On mine I can’t claim for any one item worth over £1000 unless it’s specified.

You should also check out various clauses about what is and isn’t covered away from your home. On mine fishing tackle would only be covered if it was stolen from my unattended car using ‘violence and force’. In other words, if I had left it unlocked I would not be covered.
You will also find that some policies have limits on claims for sports equipment, often two or three thousand pounds, so make it your New Year’s resolution to check out your policy.

Incidentally, tackle Mark lost included a unique Rive Box and two Garbolino poles, so if anyone offers you these down the boozer, drop me an email at and I’ll let him know.