Anglers on the River Severn have highlighted the bizarre rules governing fishing on the big river by fishing a match in the close season – and it’s all completely legal.

Current bylaws stipulate that that as long as you say you are fishing for eels and using baits like prawns, shrimps and worms and a hook with a gape of no less than half an inch, the Environment Agency is powerless to stop you fishing from March 15th to June 15th, even if you are seen to be catching species like chub, barbel and roach. The match was fished by ten members of Bewdley’s Willow Creek Angling Club to gain publicity for what it describes as a ‘farcical situation’. EA spokesman Al Watson admitted that if they see anglers fishing, they check their tackle and bait is within the law and ask them what they are fishing for. If the tackle checks out and they say they are fishing for eels, they have to let them carry on fishing. “I wouldn’t be at all sorry to see the laws that allow anglers to bait fish for eels changed,” he told Angling Times. Close season laws are there to protect fish during their spawning season.