The Chairman welcomed 34 members of the club to the 2016 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. In particular he asked the meeting to acknowledge the work of Nelson Keet over many years in particular at Stemps and Cart but also at our other fisheries; Nelson has worked tirelessly to keep our fisheries in tip top condition.
He then went on to speak about Hurston and the recent experiment with dye solution in the match pond. This seems to have kept the weed at bay and there are plans afoot to extend this treatment to the other ponds at Hurston. He thanked Keith Hughes and the regular band that turn out for Hurston work parties. There is also a restocking programme for Hurston and further stock should be introduced this winter.
The Granary also continues to increase in popularity with good catches of carp and rudd being recorded and the perch that were introduced last winter are putting in an appearance as well. He stressed that the club will continue to review and invest in our still waters to maintain the high standard of fishing that they currently exhibit.
Attracting junior anglers is essential for the clubs future and he mentioned that the few youngsters that take up angling seem to be obsessed with carp and we are not really a carp club. He felt that the improvement in our river fisheries could be the key to the future.
The Rother and Arun have improved markedly over the last few years, thanks in part to the massive investment that has been made in the river system by organisations such as ARRT and ARC. Over £300 thousand pounds has been spent on the Rother over the last four years with installation of riffles and fish refuges, the removal of or bypassing of manmade structures such as the weir at Hardham and Fittleworth Mill and silt trapping which is reducing the effects of intensive agriculture on land adjacent to the river.
We need to capitalise on this and try to make river fishing as attractive to the youngsters of today as it was to us in our youth. As a club the Chairman believes that in particular our river fisheries offer excellent value for money and if fish stocks continue to improve as they are improving at the moment then the Rother could be one of the best coarse rivers in the south east of England and we as a club have the lion’s share of it.
There has been some concern about the barbel stocks on the Rother and in conjunction with the EA the club are taking part in a survey of the barbel this will gauge the average age of the fish in the river and could contribute to the case for further stock to be introduced.
The Chairman then went on to mention the ‘Riverfly’ scheme which is beginning to provide valuable information but needs more volunteers, if anyone in the meeting is interested in participating they should contact him for further details. Finally next year is the clubs tenth anniversary and we are considering some sort of social event to celebrate so keep an eye on our website and facebook page for further details.
The Membership Secretary briefly went through the membership numbers for the last few seasons and noted that although we are seeing a slight reduction in numbers we are holding up well compared to other clubs in the area. He felt that it was important that the club targeted younger members and the committee had come up with a plan to hopefully encourage more members in this area.
The Treasurer would outline this in his presentation. The Membership Secretary thanked those that sell our memberships in their tackle shops.
Arun Angling in Angmering, 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 2016 and these were formally adopted. The Treasurer proposed that the subscription should be raised by £1 for all categories of angling membership apart from juniors which would remain unchanged. He also outlined the introduction of an Intermediate category of membership to include those between the ages of 18 and 24. This was hoped to encourage new membership in this vital age range.
There was one proposal from the floor that subscriptions should remain unchanged but this was defeated by majority vote and the Treasurer’s proposal for the new subscription levels was ratified. The subscription rates for the 2017 – 2018 season can be found HERE.
The Secretary thanked those that completed our surveys with regard to the waters fished and improvements requested. He also thanked those that had indicated that they were prepared to help out at work parties, we now have around 100 people on our database and no doubt they will be contacted in due course. We are now reaching around 75% of our membership via our e-mailers which is an increase on last year. These will also be posted on our notice boards at our fisheries for those that do not have internet access. Communications such as these, together with increasing our social media presence will hopefully bring more people to the club.
We also exhibited at the Hotham Park Country Fair which hopefully helps to raise the clubs profile locally. Finally our webmaster – Les Heath has been working on an update to our website to make it more user friendly for those that view the internet via tablets and mobile phones. All this social media requires regular updates in content and we rely upon you the members to let us know what you have caught via the log books situated on our fisheries please fill these in. Many thanks to all those that do help by letting us know what they catch.
The Match Secretary reported that we saw reasonable attendance at a wide range of venues both home and away. There are always places available for other members to join in with matches if they wished. Highlights of the season were good bags of silverfish from the Arun at Watersfield and good carp weights from Stemps pond although pegs 1 & 15 tended to predominate.
Petworth Park has been a bit patchy and the canal has generally produced lower than expected match weights. We had some memorable away days not always for the best of reasons. We managed to fish Passies on what was probably the worst day of the season and one regular match angler commented that it was the worst weather he had fished in for 20 years! The Match Secretary thanked Vince Herringshaw and Keith Hughes in particular for their help in organising the match programme over the season.
Bailiffs and Fishery Management
Both were represented by Mick Greenway who reported that management was now being carried out on a water by water basis with those responsible for each water reporting via the bailiffs forum. There are now over 20 bailiffs in the club and the communication channels that have been set up work well. Urgent matters can be escalated by the water bailiffs to the forum and if necessary to the committee.
Mick said that he wanted to speak about what had been done during the current season. Hurston has seen a lot of research and work into reducing weed growth and the use of a dye has been trialled in the match pond with success and it is proposed that we will extend this to the other ponds at Hurston. The first stage of this will be removal of as much weed as possible before the dye is added and February has been earmarked for this work and we would like as many hands as possible.
As mentioned earlier Nelson is stepping down at Stemps and Cart and Dave is taking over, however he suspects that Nelson will continue to maintain and interest. There has already been a considerable amount of work done to refurbish the platforms and clear out some of the more intrusive trees. Some more swims have been opened up at the Granary and a lot of debris has been removed from the water.
On our rivers we have concentrated on Watersfield and Coultershaw. At Watersfield we have improved the path under the railway bridge and plans are in place to improve the car park. At Coultershaw a lot of work was done to improve access to the water. As in previous seasons we still have a problem with poachers and all members should be vigilant and if they see anyone acting suspiciously please report immediately to a bailiff or committee member who can escalate it accordingly.
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
Bailiffs Representative: Mick Greenway
Match Secretary: Mick Greenway
Richard Burbage, Keith Hughes and Colin Bridger remain on the committee for a further year
Phil Tubb and Nelson Keet were re-elected to serve a further two year term
Items for discussion
There were two items for discussion
Dave Kinchett; Dave asked for clarification with regard to the number of people fishing the fenced off section at Coultershaw. The fishery rules state: ‘Only two anglers may fish the fenced off section in the top field at any one time.’ Dave had come across an occasion where two people were fishing in one swim and wanted to know whether the rule extended to this situation. It was explained that the rule was a request from the EA when the riffles were first installed at Coultershaw and were for the benefit of the fish stocks. The situation Dave found would constitute two anglers however if an angler had not investigate and assumed that there was only one angler in the swim the later angler would not be penalised as it would be reasonable to assume that only one person would be fishing in a swim.
Steve Warner; His sister has a boat that has been donated to the club, the club have still not picked it up and he was wondering when it could be collected. It was explained that the transport that we hoped to use had become unavailable and we were trying to sort out a transport option.
The President then took the floor and said that on his and the Vice President’s behalf he proposed a vote of thanks to the committee for all the work they do for the club.
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 20.55.