Members Article

Hotham Park Country Fair

The one thing that we needed was fine weather and we certainly got it. Both days proved to be very hot but a light breeze made it bearable. Although the event did not open until 11 in the morning we had to get there for about 7.30 to set the stand up. We were sharing a stand with Bognor Regis Amateur Angling Society, West Kent and Sussex Sea Fishing Club, Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority all of whom are sea based. Then we had Steve Batten who is a fly fishing coach and rod builder. Steve is also a club member and can often be found chasing barbel at Coultershaw.

It is interesting to note that one of our original clubs – Bognor Regis and District Freshwater Angling Club and Bognor Regis Amateur Angling Society were actually the same club up until the 1960’s when the sea and coarse fishing sections separated to form two new clubs. Having set the stand up it was just a case of waiting for people to come and hopefully show an interest.

Our stand at Hotham Park
Roger Poole (our Chairman) and Martin Cornish (Treasurer) manned our stand on the Sunday

Our position was interesting, although we were at the end and perhaps a little away from the main action we did have the ‘Showground’ opposite us and when this was not in use we were able to use it ourselves and we were able to put on show some of the different types of fishing tackle available having a full 16 metre pole set up and being able to show this being shipped backward and forward, we also had brief demonstrations of float and feeder rods.

The sea anglers demonstrated the various types of rod that they use depending upon whether they were pier, shore or boat fishing and Steve Batten demonstrated fly rods. We also held a casting competition, where a ball attached to a sea fishing lure rod had to be cast into one of three buckets. Two youngsters were selected from the audience to captain the teams, although the score was 2 – 0 both team captains received a prize of a rod and reel.

The two lucky juniors with their prizes

Casting went on through the afternoon and attracted quite a few youngsters (and the odd adult) to have a go! Steve McCavish spent a lot of time looking after the children and some of them were getting quite good towards the end of their session.

Steve McCavish instructing the fine art of casting

Over both days we ran a free prize draw with a prize of a day’s fishing as a guest of the club on a water of the winner’s choice and we look forward to taking our guest out in the next few weeks.

Bearing the brunt of manning the stand being there over both days were Martin Cornish and Les Heath with Steve Simmonds doing the Saturday and Roger Poole the Sunday. Overall we think it was worthwhile and we hope that we might pick up a couple of new members. We enjoyed working with the other anglers who were present and look forward to doing it again next year.

Thanks to Martin, Les, Roger and Steve for running the stand and particular thanks should go to Mark Gillen from West Kent and Sussex Sea Fishing Club who had the original idea of the local clubs getting together and has been the driving force behind getting the event off the ground.