Lid - come down the Basingstoke canal or a few of the lakes around here with some light float tackle, a pint of maggots and some pellet and I guarantee you enough crayfish to keep you in bait for the whole of next season.
Yeah, but I am sure it's illegal to catch signal crayfish (I assume that's what they are) from British waters without a license. By default it must therefore be illegal to use them as bait in the water they are from, seeing as you aren't meant catch them in the first place. You most certainly are not allowed to move them between waters.
If you inadvertently catch these beasties, I think it's also illegal to return them as they are a non native species. Good eh???
That was the quandary the Basingstoke Canal Association had. It was illegal to trap them, but also illegal to put them back if you catch them while fishing! Mad or what? Where's the sense? In the end, you would see anglers with a bucket of water next to them, so that any crayfish they caught, they'd put them in the bucket and take them home and cook them. The Basingstoke canal website had virtually accepted the problem and even put up a recipe for eating crayfish on their site!! What would be the difference between taking them for food and taking them for bait? As for the bait issue, I would have thought the same would apply as regards the use of freshwater fish as deadbaits - up to the discretion of the fishery owner.
The canal really was badly infested in the spots where they had taken hold. I remember one evening putting down a bed of pellets with a catapult and 10 minutes later, seeing the water moving at my feet and counting 20 crayfish feeding on the pellets I had spilled from the pouch.
I saw recently though that they have obtained permission to catch and remove them. So they are going to start trapping them soon. The canal shuts for fishing from 15th March -15 June, so hopefully they will clear the canal before the season starts.
Oh well , it was worth a try!! Just checked in my dictionary and crawfish are the same as crayfish. Shucks; I'll just have to make do with plastics and scent! Now surely crayfish scent is not illegal?? You never know someone could argue that it is finely ground up dead crayfish.