The Chairman welcomed 30 members of the club to the 2015 AGM held at The White Swan Arundel.
He started by thanking those that had given their time to attend our work parties and also the committee, officers and bailiffs. He mentioned KHV and the ongoing measures that we have had to take, these not only have a financial impact but also take up a fair amount of time. He said that a massive amount of work had gone on at Hurston, removing weed, cutting trees and vegetation back, laying paths etc. The club has decided to turn the middle pond into a mixed fishery rather than just carp, the carp will stay but a range of species will follow. The club have taken the hard decision to drop Bethwins, it’s somewhat out of our area, rarely fished and isn’t providing good value for money. However we are always on the look-out for new waters but they must be affordable and within a reasonable travelling distance. Another successful children’s fishing taster day was held on Cart pond, Richard Burbidge our qualified angling instructor showed them the necessary skills, they had a great time, everyone caught plenty of small fish and as one little boy said “It beats sitting in front of a computer.”
We have had further dialogue with the EA with regard to re-stocking the Rother and unfortunately have confirmation that they would only ever consider re-stocking in the event of a fish kill due to pollution or some other major incident. As a trustee on the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) and his role mainly revolves around angling projects and he was pleased to announce that we are at last close to securing funding to finally build a fish passage round Fittleworth Mill. Another ARRT initiative is the “Riverfly” project which has been introduced into the Rother. We are looking for angling volunteers to help out so if anyone is interested they should contact him. Also as club Press Officer he is keen to hear more about your catches, a photo, and some details can help in publicising the club via the local press and also on our excellent web-site and Facebook page. We pride ourselves on being a friendly club and long may that continue. We have some fantastic ponds, lakes and river fishing whether you enjoy match or leisure it doesn’t matter, what does matter is the desire to maintain our momentum to provide good fishing for you all to enjoy, I sincerely hope you will continue to support and promote this great club of ours.
The Membership Secretary could not be present at the meeting so the Secretary reported on his behalf and explained that last season we experienced a drop in membership from the previous but as a club we are holding up very well compared to others in the area. The current season is again running at a slightly lower membership than previous but we seem to have slowed the rate of decline. The Secretary thanked those that sell our memberships; Arun Angling, Prime Angling in Worthing, SAS in Chichester and Tropikoi in Bognor.
The Treasurer showed the income & expenditure sheet and balance sheet for the season ended 31st March 2015 and these were formally adopted. The Treasurer proposed that the subscription should be raised by £4 for all catogories of angling membership apart from Juniors which would remain unchanged. There was one proposal from the floor that subscriptions should remain unchanged but this was defeated by majority vote and the Treaurer’s proposal for the new subscription levels was ratified.
The Secretary thanked those that completed our surveys with regard to the waters fished and improvements requested. The results of the survey were published via our website back in July. However if people do not have access to the website copies of the results are available. Where possible we have initiated some of the improvements requested. We have continued with our e-letters as a form of communication, we are reaching somewhere around 65 – 70% of our membership via e-mail. The Secretary asked that members remember to fill in the log books at the end of their sessions. These provide valuable information to the club and form the basis of the regular fishery reports on the website. Finally he said that we have had a quiet year with regard to canoeists who seem to have gone away for now but could be back!
Bailiffs and Fishery management were represented by Mick Greenway who reported a busy year particularly at Hurston. He said that the bailiffs / committee were always open to suggestions as to how the fisheries could be improved and asked members to make use of the contact numbers in the handbook to put forward their ideas. Although we have around 20 bailiffs all of whom do an excellent job there is still room for keen and enthusiastic people to join the group, if you are interested please contact him. He paid particular tribute to Mike Kitchener and Keith Hughes plus their band of helpers for all the work they have done in the transformation of Hurston. Nelson Keet continues to keep the standards at Stemps & Cart high and we have started to get to grips with The Granary. As other have done he asked that members remember to fill in the log books to give us an idea of how well venues are fishing, you don’t need to give away any of your secrets! The club has had some poacher problems – if you see someone acting suspiciously please report it to a bailiff or the committee and it can be escalated.
The Match Secretary reported that we saw reasonable attendance at a wide range of venues and some memorable catches, the highlights were a 27lb bag of fish from Coultershaw in just three hours. Three 10lb plus weights of silver fish from Watersfield on the same day and some big weights on our travels to local commercial waters. The Match Secretary thanked Keith Hughes and Vince Herringshaw for their assistance.
As a tribute to his contribution to the club over many year Ray Newnham was elected as a vice President.
The following were elected to serve the club
Chairman: Roger Poole
Vice Chairman: Ray Huskisson
Treasurer: Martin Cornish
Secretary: Steve Simmonds
Membership Secretary: Tim Nudds
Fishery Manager: Mike Kitchener has stepped down from the position, there were no nominations so the position is vacant
Match Secretary: Mick Greenway
Martyn Cullern had stepped down from the Committee during the past year.
Phil Tubb and Nelson Keet remain on the committee for a further year
Richard Burbage and Keith Hughes were re-elected to serve a further two year term
Colin Bridger was elected to the committee
Items for discussion
There were four items for discussion
Jim Soden asked whether the additional parking at Coates had been resolved – An area adjacent to the track at the top of the field on the left had been identified and the tenant farmer had said he would clear this. We might need to arrange a work party to clear the area if the farmer has not done it.
Colin Bridger asked why braid was not allowed on our waters – It was pointed out that braid was allowed on the Arun already and the committee were considering its use on other waters for the coming season however there were concerns with regard to fish health particularly when braid was being used by less experienced anglers. A decision will be made and will appear it next year’s handbook.
Keith Hughes said that we still struggle to get people to attend work parties and if any members had some bright ideas could they please contact him.
John Sheppard made the meeting aware that the EA had released otters into the Rother in the 1960’s and wondered whether these were contributing to poor fish stocks. It was noted that only one otter has been sighted on the Rother in the last 14 years and probably other factors such as mink, cormorant, poor spawning areas and lack of fish passages were having a greater effect.
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 21.55.