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The use of Eels as Bait

Q. Can I take any eel for bait or to eat?
A. You may NOT take any ROD-CAUGHT eel from any waters, including tidal waters.

You may keep eel in a keepnet or keep-sack before returning them to the water. This is a national EA byelaw.

It may seem strange to many pike anglers that they are NOT allowed to take eel for use as bait when licensed eel trappers operate quite freely and openly in many areas with as many as 35 fyke nets.

Eel is an excellent bait for pike particularly in Fenland and many pike anglers buy direct from the licensed eel trappers. Many bait suppliers import eels from Holland and other countries where eels are more prolific. Thankfully eels are making a bit of a comeback with many EA areas installing easy access for them at sluices and pumping stations.

Remember, fellow anglers fish for eel and their use as bait must be within the law.

Sources of further information
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES):
The Angling Trust:
Fish Legal:
The National Anguilla Club (NAC):


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