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Hang on to your tackle

What’s the problem?

Anglers love to fish from the amazing coastline the UK has to offer. Whether it’s from the beach, or ledges and rocks, fishing from the sea is a great way to feel close to the environment and at one with nature.

Tangled edible crab (c) Iain Kennedy


Most anglers take their litter home, but underwater clean-ups and regular beach cleans all too often reveal that some anglers are leaving behind snagged lines, fishing weights and hooks. These can have a terrible impact on wildlife and underwater habitats.

Crabs and fish can get entangled in discarded fishing line and become tethered to the seabed. Protected species like the pink sea fan can get hooked up in line. Rocks, ledges and beaches are sometimes left littered with food wrappers and rubbish from some irresponsible anglers.

Entangled gull (c) John Archer-Thompson

What is MCS doing?

The MCS ‘Hang on to your tackle’ pilot project aims to encourage anglers to put their fishing litter in specially provided bins at angling hot spots around the coast and gives tips to minimise tackle loss, so that angling spots are kept litter free and safe for people and wildlife.

We’ve piloted the project in Pembrokeshire, and now we’re rolling it out in Swansea - read more here.

We are also working with Coleraine Borough Council who recently launched a similar initiative called 'LINEOUT' in Northern Ireland.

We’re also supporting the Angling Trusts Take 5 initiative and have worked with them to come up with the following advice aimed at novice recreational sea anglers.

Hang on to your tackle top tips:

  • Use a shock leader to avoid crack-offs when casting (10lb for every 1oz weight) or fish with heavier line straight through.

  • Use sufficient weight or a grip lead to avoid your tackle drifting and when winding in use a fast, steady retrieve.

  • A weak link or a ‘rotten bottom’ rig can help you retrieve line and hooks and a pulley rig will help keep your lead clear of snags.

  • If you get snagged try a steady pull for a few seconds with the rod pointing at the snag. This can bend and tear hooks through weed.

  • Try pulling from different angles if it is safe to do so. Don’t put yourself at risk trying to recover lost tackle; if possible retrieve it at low tide.

  • Unwanted line should be disposed of at home or in bins provided. Cut the line into short lengths to prevent it becoming a hazard to birds.

You can help

Here are some guidelines to help you set up angling litter bins at your local angling hot spots.

How to set up MCS angling litter bins (pdf)

Hazard risk assessment (pdf)

Additional bin instruction sheet (pdf)

Poster to use in your local area (editable pdf) to help spread the word

Tackle totals card (editable pdf) to use once bins are in place to help us monitor how well they are working

If you think this is something you can do in your area or you would like any further information about the project please contact us at or 01989 566017.

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