The Chairman welcomed 26 members of the club to the 2016 AGM held at The White Swan Arundel.
He said that we’ve continued to enjoy some good fishing throughout the year despite water levels being below average, but in general all venues have fished well He asked that members remember to fill in the venue log books and stressed that the information gained via the log books was vital in helping the committee make decisions with regard to fishery management, maintenance and stocking policy. He said that the strength of the club lies in the variety of waters we have which offer a wide variety – something for everyone.
The Chairman then looked to the future and said that angling and the club were going through hard times. It’s a sad fact but angling as a pastime is currently slowly declining in popularity, something both the Angling Trust and fishing clubs throughout the country are well aware of, today’s younger generation in particular have a wide choice of interests to pursue. It is vital that we continue to offer a wide variety of venues over a large catchment area at realistic prices to ensure that the club continues. The finances of the club are strictly controlled but we do invest whenever and wherever we can to maintain or improve the quality of our fisheries.
The Chairman mentioned that he is one of the founding members of The Arun & Rother Rivers Trust which has delivered quite a number of fishery improvements on the Rother, particularly on our stretches. The Club Secretary has recently joined as a trustee which will insure that anglers interests will be well looked after. We are also involved with Riverfly and there are plans to expand this into the upper Arun and hopefully we will have monitoring points throughout the whole of the Rother, any volunteers would be most welcome. He mentioned re-stocking the Rother, only the E.A. can authorise this there opinion is that with good environmental conditions the Rother will re-populate itself, the only exception would be in the event of a major pollution incident and that’s the last thing we want. We continue with the barbel scale project with the hope that this might persuade the EA to allow some further barbel stocking in the future.
Before the season opened in June we held an informal BBQ at Coultershaw, I’ve often thought as the AGM is a rather formal affair it would be a good idea to hold more of a social event where we could have something to eat, drink and just talk fishing, I’m hoping to do it again next year so we’ll tell you when and I hope as many as you can come along to just enjoy yourselves.
Finally I must thank our members for their support, our great team of bailiffs who meet regularly and do so much for the club along with those gallant few who turn out in all weather for our essential work parties, and of course my fellow committee members whose job it is to run the club in the best interests of all of us.
The Membership Secretary briefly went through the membership numbers for the last two 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 then showed the current situation. It is encouraging that we are seeing an increase in Junior members and important that we do everything to help them transition to full adult members, accordingly we have introduced an intermediate category of member which cover the age range 18 – 24 inclusive, these people receive a concessionary rate. The Membership thanked our outlets; Prime Angling in Worthing, SAS in Chichester and Tropikoi in Bognor and in particular Arun Angling who deal with all the postal applications. The Membership Secretary thanked Phil Tubb and The Secretary for their assistance with processing members.
The Treasurer showed the income & expenditure sheet and balance sheet for the season ended 31st March 2017 and these were formally adopted. The Treasurer proposed that the subscription should be raised by £4 for all categories of angling membership apart from juniors which would be raised by £2. 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 Secretary said that our waters were generally fishing well and in particular we have seen a resurgence in the bream fishing at Petworth Park and what appears to be a steady increase in silver fish in our rivers. Siltation and water levels seem to be the main problem on the river. Work is being done with local farmers to reduce siltation and there have been discussions with the EA with regard to levels but it appears that the levels we have at the moment are here to stay. The Secretary thanked Les Heath for continuing to maintain our website at a very high standard and finally the Secretary paid tribute to the barbel anglers who each year raise money for various charities via their barbel fish in.
The Match Secretary reported that the 2016 / 2017 season saw reasonable attendances 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 both the Arun and Rother. Hurston, Stemps & Cart and Petworth Park have all produced some good weights, however the canal has continued to produce lower than expected match weights. We had some good away day at Passies, Bernies and Sumners Ribbon lake. We continue with our team in the Three Counties League. 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 were represented by Mick Greenway who reported that the new water by water management system was working well and that there was good communication between the bailiffs and between the bailiffs and the committee. Many thanks to all those that helped out at our various work parties over the last year and we hope to see more of you next year.
Work party date will be in the handbook, on the website.
Our continued use of dyestuff at Hurston was hampered by lower water levels which meant that we did have some significant weed growth. Although lots of work has been done at Hurston by Keith and his dedicated band the water is high maintenance so if you are interested in helping out contact Keith and he can always find you a job for you. There will be a further introduction of skimmers and roach to Hurston in the next couple of weeks. Our new Hurston boat has proved to be very useful for weed clearing.
Dave, Alan and Nelson (we can’t keep him away) continue to keep Walberton at its high standard. There are plans to rebuild the island in Cart Pond next year and we will need quite a few volunteers to help out. We continue to upgrade the path with wood chipping which we source locally, we are looking for a source in the Hurston / Granary area so if anyone knows of any please contact any member of the fishery management team or committee.
Work continues at The Granary and some new swims have been opened up, we are starting to catch the perch which were introduced a couple of years ago and it is also noted that the average size of the rudd is increasing.
Our rivers team carried out further work on the bridge at Watersfield and continue to keep Coultershaw in good condition.
We have had some issues with kayakers and poachers on several of our waters, if you see anyone acting suspiciously please report it and the bailiffs / committee with escalate as appropriate.
We are aware of some funding opportunities from Sport England which we could bid for. We would need to put together a very comprehensive project plan for any bid that we make. Projects that tend to get the most attention are those that demonstrate that the outcome will increase participation in the sport and areas such as juniors, young adults and the disabled seem to be particular favourites. If anyone has any ideas please let us know.
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
Nelson Keet had resigned from the committee and Chris Exall co-opted. Chris’s appointment was ratified by a show of hands
Phil Tubb remains on the committee for a further year
Colin Bridger and Keith Hughes were re-elected to serve a further two year term
Items for discussion
There were three items for discussion
Phillip Ellis – Young Anglers. Phillip asked what measures the club were taking to attract young anglers. It was explained that we had advertised via various means; schools, scouts, social media etc Junior Taster Days but we have experienced little or no take up. As already mentioned there are many other things for youngsters to do and there is also a general wariness from parents in allowing their children out on their own. It was mentioned that Pulborough AS had had some success with Junior days however it is not known whether these have converted into memberships which is of course the ultimate goal.
Phillip Ellis – Riverfly. Phillip runs Riverfly on the Rother and Arun, there are a number of monitoring sites on the Rother but it is helped that there could be one or two more. There are plans to extend the scheme to the upper Arun in the next year or so. If anyone is interested in becoming a monitor they should in the first instance contact Phillip or the Club Secretary.
Dave Kinchett – Work parties on the Rother. Dave applauded the work that has been done at Coultershaw on the Rother but he felt that other areas could do with some attention as well and cited Shopham as an example. It was noted that our bailiff at Coultershaw is particularly active and was able to motivate anglers to take part in the work parties that were organised. It was pointed out that the venue log books serve as a valuable link between our anglers and the bailiff group / committee. If you see something on a venue that you feel requires attention write it in the book and we then have a record and can investigate / initiate work.
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 21.02
Prior to the AGM Vice Chairman, Ray Huskisson with help from the Match Secretary presented the trophies from the previous season.
Unfortunately a number of the trophy winners were not present at the meeting and therefore did not get their trophies. If you were one of the 2016/17 season trophy winners, please contact the Match Secretary to arrange collection of your trophy(ies).