The watershed date in its modern history was 1878, when anglers in Sheffield – of whom there were many thousands – petitioned one of the city’s MPs, the manufacturer AJ Mundella, to persuade parliament to introduce a close season for coarse fish, which would protect their numbers.
The Mundella Act provided the foundations for the fishing calendar that endures today, with the three months from March 15 off limits.
The exact dates were the subject of a bitter dispute between the Sheffield contingent and their London counterparts – and for some time after the turn of the last century, a north-south divide opened up a loophole known as “Yorkshire’s stolen fortnight” which allowed Northern anglers to resume coarse fishing on June 1.
Today, an around 2.3m anglers regularly go coarse fishing.
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