It is an innocuous piece of plastic, designed to imitate a small bit of wood – and yet it has wrought havoc in the world of angling.
Meet the “Magic Twig”, a device its supporters say will revolutionise carp fishing and, eventually, all forms of the sport.
Its critics, however, are sounding grave warnings about its implications for the integrity of angling, and threaten lifetime bans for those who use it.
Launched last week, the mechanism is described as a self-triggering hooking device. It senses when a fish is biting on the hook, then springs the line tight to secure the hook in the animal’s mouth, imitating the effect of the “strike”, where an angler rapidly lifts the rod.
The intention is to cut down on the many times when a fish will investigate a hook, even biting on it, but swim away because it has not got a proper purchase in the flesh, often without the angler even knowing.
In carp fishing, the baited line sits at the bottom of the water, rather than on the surface.
However, many fisheries have banned members from using it, with questions over the safety of their carp, some worth thousands of pounds.
Other critics have claimed it takes too much human skill out of the pastime.
Horcott Lakes, a carp fishery in the Cotswolds, said: “Anyone seen or caught using this contraption will be asked to leave with immediate effect.”
Craig Barwell, a plumber from Sutton Coldfield, came up with the concept, which has been developed by OMC, owned by Ali Hamidi, who presents The Grand Fishing Adventure on ITV.
Mr Hamidi told The Telegraph: “I developed this to counter the many frustrations I have had when fishing. This is going to make people catch more fish and enjoy their hobby.”
He said the device was so popular it would sell out this weekend, and predicted anglers in all forms of the sport would adopt it.
Some fisheries have come to his defence. Paul Ward, owner of one of the UK’s most prominent carp fishing venues, Grenville syndicate in Cambridgeshire, told Angling Times: “I have no issues with this product at all, a lot of fisheries seem to be banning it without seeing it.”