Fishery Management Report

Hurston Lane Work Parties March-April


Last autumn a couple of the match anglers waded over to the island on the Match Pond armed with loppers to have a quick trim round. When they got to the island they were amazed to find that it was moving in the wind. Following discussions it was obvious that we needed to do much more than just trim round. So a plan was formulated to reduce the height of the trees on the island, this however was no two man job and we would also need some specialised equipment. The club had recently purchased a long arm chain saw and luckily we also had a member with a similar saw who offered to give us a hand.

Phase 1 – 19th March

Mick Greenway put out an appeal to the match men and together with other members we assembled at Hurston Lane Fishery on 19th March for what proved to be phase one of the task. We split into roughly three groups; One group with the two long arm chainsaws users together with helpers went over to the island to start cutting and preparing the cut wood for dragging back to the mainland. These guys were obviously all equipped with chest waders, the next group were equipped with ropes to drag the trees back to the banksides and the third group had a variety of saws and loppers to cut up the trees and to burn all the small stuff. We kept the larger pieces for back fill on the revetments and a couple of members had also offered to take some away as logs.

Those long arm chainsaws in action

I found myself in the third team and our first challenge was to actually get a fire going. Although it had been generally very dry, it is impossible to find any dry kindling when you want it. We struggled a couple of times starting with newspaper and whatever dry stuff we could find, it looked as if it might take but each time we just couldn’t quite get it to take hold. Steve Speller eventually stepped into the fray and soaked some newspaper and smaller pieces of wood in some of the fuel from the strimmers and with everyone standing well back a light was applied. Enough heat was generated and we soon heard the re-assuring crackle that told us that we were up and running. It was then just a case of keeping it fed and with plenty of timber coming across the lake there was no shortage of fuel.

The morning progressed well but we realised that we were cutting more than we were able to drag back and burn. The long arm chain saws really made the trimming very fast and much easier than when we have carried out similar exercises in previous years without them.

Eventually we had to stop as people had commitments (it was of course Mother’s day!) for the afternoon. We had a pond surrounded by cut down trees and quite a few trees still in the water. At this stage we took the decision that we would have to temporarily close the water. Prior to this I had gone back to the car park and fired up the BBQ so when the workers trooped back from the pond they could at least have a bacon or sausage roll, or actually bacon and sausage appeared to be popular.

Glen and Mick agreed to stay on and tidy up a bit and rope the area off, they also said that they would try to come up midweek and clear up a bit more but it was obvious that we would need another big effort and we agreed to reconvene on 1st April.

Phase 2 – 1st April

The mid week boys had done a good job in clearing back a lot of the timber that we had left on the paths to the degree that about half the pond had been opened up and we had of course had our latest stock introduction to the match pond 60 kilos of big skimmers / small bream.

It was three groups again but with slightly different tasks.

There was no cutting to be done on the island it was just a case of roping up the cut trees to be hauled across this was the chest wader team. Their second task was to do a water level clearance to remove brambles etc. from around the water line on the island.

The second team would drag back and cut up the trees. Not much call for a fire this time as the larger timber was fed in behind the revetments to provide back fill and the smaller stuff was stacked in the bottom corner for a mid week fire.

The trees were falling faster than we were able to move them

We will call the third team ‘The Engineers’.

For some time we have been keen to try to increase security in the entrance area. It was decided that we should raise the height of the gate and top it off with some barbed wire and we would raise the height of the fencing either side of the gate. So equipped with metal spars, nuts, bolts and barbed wire ‘The Engineers’ set about the gate, I think they surprised themselves with how quickly they managed to finish the gate. But they were also surprised by the amount of barbed wire they used as they had none left for the fence area.

So on to task 2 – Platform Building

Nelson has perfected a superb design for platforms which once you know how, are quite easy to construct and protect the banks where we have erosion. The platforms are also suitable for disabled anglers.

As I had a pair of chest waders I was drafted in to help with the platform building as it is useful to have a man in the water. Platform one went in very smoothly and there was time left to do another one. I was around for the first stages but then had to go off to perform cooking duties and I think that they found another willing volunteer for the water work.

The results of a couple of excellent mornings work

We now have a completely trimmed island with all the timber cut up and neatly stacked away, our revetments have been back filled, we have an improved gate and two new platforms on the Match Pond.

Well done to all those who took part; Dave K, Mick G, Mick M, Steve W, Steve H, Steve (Prodigy) S, Vince H, Keith H, Glenn R, Ray H and even Chairman Nigel and everyone else I haven’t mentioned.

Next stop will be work on the fence round the gate, further platforms and we are looking to extend and re-surface the car park. Keep an eye on the website and for notices at Arun Angling. All are welcome, whatever your skill level we will be able to find something for you to do