Our recent newsletters and minutes of our last and previous meetings here.
Email to Members from Martin Cottis dated 12th February 2021
I hope this newsletter finds you as well as possible in the lockdown we are experiencing. Who would have thought this time last year, when we were first hearing about the issues in China and then ski slopes in Italy, that it would lead to the year we have had, and yet there is more to come! Hopefully, everything will sort itself out once vaccinations have taken place throughout age groups and the rest of the world. But, it certainly has put paid to a lot of planning! Normally at this time of the year I am preparing for my Cuba trips, and sorting out groups for Spain, car hire deals and getting hold of licences for the fishing. I would also be tying loads of flies for bonefish, and plenty for the barbel….no need this year! During the first lockdown last March and April, I tied a box of bonefish flies (for the planned trip this March!) and a box of barbel flies for the trip I was expecting to go on last November. So, they are all still in good condition - pristine in fact, in their respective boxes.
So, to the latest on the lakes!
Competitions this season:
Hopefully we will get clearance to fish two per boat, and organise our events on a similar line to last season. I know that Mark Stevens (Garafit Competition) is keen to make his event bigger and better than last year, and I am hopeful that Lee at Red Lion Carpets is going to support us again. However, I am worried about our other two sponsors. Orvis have been behind the club for forty years, but, as our main contact there, Richard Banbury retired last year, there seems to be nobody to take the event forward from the Orvis point of view. He has suggested to me that I should work with the store in Bath to get some assistance from them, but, as non-essential shops are not open, that has proved impossible so far. I will drop Richard a line and ask him for a lead into this possibility, as I am sure that he will be still in contact with the retail managers as that was primarily his responsibility.
Snowbee too are not “nailed on”, but I am working on that! I will keep you all posted.
I see no reason why the bank events should not be possible - certainly, if the bank fishes as well as last year, I would imagine more anglers wishing to take part.
Finally on the competitions, if any members of the club have any contacts that might wish to sponsor any of our events - even for small amounts, we are keen to talk with them. Small contributions can make a big difference to success.
General fishing news:
John Harris is planning on opening the lakes as usual. Tanks to open on 25th February, Chew 4th March and Blagdon 11th March. There is a chance that the “fish local” rule will still be in place. Boris is setting out a “roadmap” in a couple of weeks time. From what I have heard scientists saying, it looks like their advice is to keep things as they are until infection rates drop drastically! We will know soon enough. I believe anglers in Wales currently may only fish if their venue is within “walking distance”! I wonder how far anglers are prepared to walk for a day’s fishing?
I have been fishing my local stretch of the river Avon - even in the freezing weather this week it has been possible to catch the odd chub and bream, but I certainly cannot remember a day as cold as it was yesterday! The weather man said that wind chill was around minus eight celsius! I can believe that too. Actual temperature on car thermometer driving home said minus three!
I have asked Bristol Water management for a statement that I can put out to club members, so I will copy it below:
"Our position remains that we are committed to fishing on our waters today and for the future. We have a full stock of great fish for this season and next, just as in previous years.
We have stated that we are looking at new operating models for our fishery and we are now in a tender process with a small number of potential long term partners, all [of] whom bring significant fishing experience [that] they can use to benefit fishing on our lakes and waterways. Our aim is to agree a preferred option by April, however it will take some months after this to transition to any new arrangement."
So, it looks like we will know pretty soon how the future might pan out for us. Fingers crossed we get someone in who will be really forward thinking and make Chew and Blagdon and the Barrows the best fisheries that they can be. As soon as I hear any more on this I will let you know.
p.s. Just a few hours after I sent out my newsletter, I had a text from our club social secretary, Bernie Weaver, telling me that John Harris has had to put his opening dates back a little. So, outlined below are the new dates for fishing to commence, all, of course, subject to government guidelines. Here’s hoping that things carry on as they are and that infections, hospitalisations and especially death rates continue to drop.
New Season Opening Dates:
Wednesday 10th March - Season ticket holders special day - bank all waters
Thursday 11th March - All waters to open for bank fishing, Blagdon to open for boat fishing
Thursday 18th March - Chew to open for boats.
Minutes of the 49th A.G.M. of Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers' Association, Monday 11th March 2019
Apologies: John Horsey, Tony Torrington
Minutes of the previous A.G.M: These had been circulated in advance. They were approved. Proposed by Gary Haskins, seconded by Paul Roach.
Chairman's report: Attached
Treasurer's report: Andrew went through a statement of our accounts and described the items on the balance sheet. After questions, the accounts were proposed as a true record by Dave Reynolds, seconded by Dave Drake and passed by the floor.
Secretary's report: 2018 had been the hottest year on record. In July and August Martin cancelled all of his booking]s as the water was at times up to 24 degrees. During the Funky Fly Tying event, Martin checked the water temp in several places and the surface was always around 23 C. What was more of a surprise was that even at the bottom in deep parts of the lake, it was still 23 degrees. He surmised that this showed the circulation pumps do their job efficiently. Martin thanked all the members for supporting the club – especially in the hot weather. He said that the members really were a reliable bunch – he will go through the statistics of attendance when we get to the prize giving. Big thanks to sponsors, who no doubt give the club members the incentive to turn up to events. Martin then thanked Toby for being such a good friend of the association – he was in attendance. Thanks to Veals – Dave England actually came and fished the event sponsored by Veals. Richard Banbury was thanked. Simon Kidd had forgotten all about the event that Snowbee had sponsored, but he still managed to get prizes sorted and to us in time. Martin reported that the meetings of the steering group were continuing. He commented on the success of the World Fishing day, and how that lead to the Family Fishing days. He asked for help and support at these events (and gave dates for the events in 2019) and said that all club members had plenty of skills – even if you don't catch as many fish as the Monger or Bondy.... He thanked members for donating their fish, and reported that CECT had benefitted from £1000 from the work that John Wingrove and he had done in preparing the fish for sale. A couple of committee are standing down. Their work over the years was praised. Mark Withyman had been on committee for many years and provided much support to the club. Andy Stone had a few medical issues and felt that he needed a couple of years away, but might well return. Committee had already sounded out a couple of replacements. Finally, Martin had just returned from Australia. It was a revellation dealing with the fishing over there. In Tasmania thy actually had a minister responsible for the sport fishing! He had a title “Minister for Prime Industries”, and this incorporated such things as water quality and temperature, sport fishing and recreation in general. A little different to how our fishing is viewed politically!.
President's address: Dave thanked committee for their hard work and members for their support. He said the club was in a healthy position and in good hands.
Election of officers:
Chairman Richard Evershed prop. Toby Merigan, sec Lance Jeanes voted in
Treasurer Andrew Wiles prop. Mark Miles, sec Richard Evershed voted in
Secretary Martin Cottis prop. Tim Wellman, sec Jeff Mason voted in
Memb. Sec. Lesley Roach prop Martin Cottis, sec Andrew Wiles voted in
Auditor Lesley Gilbert prop. Andrew Wiles, sec Martin Cottis voted in
General committee: Tim Wellman, Tony Torrington, Tony Coxhead, Lee Williams, Gary Haskins voted in on block
Added to general committee: Mark Weaver prop. R.Evershed, sec M.Cottis voted in
Mark Miles prop. T. Wellman, sec D.Drake voted in
Bill Pugh prop. D.Drake, sec. S.Feddery voted in
Prize giving: Veals Spring Trophy Paul Bond
Orvis Classic Dave Reynolds
Funky Fly Tying Lee Williams, Mark Lynch, Alan Smith, Tim Edwards
Snowbee Tim Kamei, Paul Bond
Club Champion: Dave (Monger) Reynolds
Any other business: Paul Roach stood up and suggested that the secretary Martin Cottis ought to be awarded life membership for his work on behalf of the club. Martin pointed out that John Wellman had suggested that several years ago but he had refused then. Paul said there would be no option this time.
Meeting ended at 20.40, and sausage and chips were served to all.
RICHARD EVERSHED - CHAIRMAN'S REPORT
Welcome everybody to the 49th meeting of the BRFFA
My report is going to be one of thanks and a few reflections.
Firstly, thank you to everyone for attending tonight and to all of you have continued to be members of the club and supporting the club in all the ways you do. Turning up to competitions, coming to fly tying evenings, and volunteering for various activities when we need you – there does seem to be an endless supply of goodwill to support the club which is fantastic.
I would single out our secretary Martin and treasurer Andrew for their endless work in ensuring our club and club competitions are so successful. In particular, I should like it to be minuted just how appreciative the club is of the various forms of sponsorship it receives from Snowbee, Orvis and of course Funky Fly tying. Martin tells me this level of sponsorship is quite unusual for clubs such as ourselves so you know where you need to go for your fly fishing supplies!
I’d like to thank all the committee members who have helped in their various way, the two Tony’s Torrington and Coxhead, Lee Williams, Mark Withyman, Andy Stone, Gary Haskins, Tim Wellman, Lesley Roach and of course, Dave Drake our absentee President – for another consummate performance as our auctioneer! Special mention to Jane Wiles for helping with the auction and the food for the Snowbee competition.
What has been amazing for me in my first year as chairman is just what a well-oiled machine the club is. So could I offer a sincere round of applause to our committee, helpers and sponsors.
Now to some reflections.
Looking back it would seem that 2018 was a far less turbulent year than 2017 when we were trying to save the fishery and place it on a more stable long-term footing. Reading the minutes from last year was a sobering reminder of just how serious things got, however, what it showed was just what a club can do by harnessing the resources of the membership.
So we still have our fishing on these wonderful lakes. I want to think of the current situation is more than a stay of execution. But the bottom line is that we have to boost interest in fishing on the lakes. We can’t do this alone and to a degree we shouldn’t be expected to – BW runs the commercial fishery but it is our interest to work in partnership with them to ensure its long-term future.
A demonstrable development has been the creation of a steering group that meets at regular intervals, pretty much every month, to provide a vehicle for exchange of information between BW and the various vested interest angling groups. John Harris leads the discussion and reports back on aspects of fishery activities. My own feeling is that this has worked very well for the first year and we have a much clearer picture of the challenges he is facing in delivering top class trout fishing in the face of climate change and agricultural pollution.
We should remember before we start complaining about the fishing that all the major lowland reservoirs in the UK are facing the same challenges.
Our aim has to be to work with BW to popularise the fishing on the lakes so BW see it as an activity worthwhile investing in. I would encourage you all to be as positive as possible about our lakes. If you have complaints please, please, please don’t start abusing the lake management across social media – please use the committee as your conduit for complaints which we can feed back and discuss at the steering group meetings.
Another way in which we’ve been trying to build our relationship with BW and promote interest in fishing on the lakes has been through the Family Fishing Fun days. I think these have been fantastic events. We had 3 weekends last year one of which coincided with the Angling Trusts World Fishing day in June. One event was cancelled due to bad whether. But the other two were a great success.
We have dates for repeat events this year so put the weekends of the 8th June, 6th July, and 3rd August in your diaries.
At very least encourage your friends and families to come along, but what we always need are volunteers to help out. Again there were too many to thank you all for helping out last year but thanks to Les Toogood, Alan Shearn, Mark Weaver and the Sweetman family – I found these weekends to be very nice events – which added a special new dimension to my association with the lakes.
Without going into too many further details – what has developed from this is a tiered or staged approach to try and get the more interested attendees at these events fully involved via additional mentoring from us. This next stage is a priority for this year and we may need more volenteers for this – so don’t be shy in coming forward.
Changing tack – We did have another “battle” to fight – namely in relation to the proposed cycle track. This brought us unexpectedly into conflict with the bird watchers. The solution to the impact the cycle track was going to have on the bird life in the southern end of the lake was going to be to extend the bird reserve to pretty much the whole of Stratford bay. We supported John Harris in challenging this and the idea was dropped as was the idea of southern cycle path. But be warned this may rear its ugly head again someday.
Incidentally, I found out today that there is still a plan for a cycle path from the west side of the dam to Woodford lodge running parallel to the yacht club road, then cutting up behind the yacht club to Woodford. I still intend to raise further objection to this. All this said the impact on our fishing will be minimal even if it goes ahead – what saddens me is the unnecessary loss of yet more acreage of our precious countryside.
Finally, at the last steering group meeting John Harris raised the idea of our club perhaps taking on an interest in Litton. BW see Litton as a wasted resource that could be better used to develop local interest in fishing. We have had no meaningful discussions about this as a committee but we would be interested to collect any thoughts or ideas any of the you have in relation to Litton. Sounds potentially exciting to me.
Well, that’s all I’ve got to say other than to wish you all tight lines for the new season.
Here I hand over to Martin for his Secretary’s report.
Email from Martin Cottis dated 18th March 2019 Re: Update on 49th AGM held on 11th March 2019
I hear that fishing on the lakes has started really well and some quality fish are being caught. Just a shame that the weather is not being so kind to us. This week looks like being a change for the better. Fingers crossed that boats are able to get out all week and that the banks continue to fish well.
We had our A.G.M. last Monday and there were a fantastic amount of club members present. Amazing what the offer of a plate of sausage and chips does to you all! The meeting went pretty quickly and most aspects of it were well received by the floor.
We have had a couple of changes on committee with Mark Withyman agreeing that after over twenty years serving, it was time for a new face or two, and Andy Stone felt that he needed more time for medical reasons, so he too stepped down. This left space for two new members and in due course, Mark Miles and Mark Weaver were elected. Shortly after these two new members were voted on, Bill Pugh was put forward by Dave Drake, and he too was elected onto committee.
Mark Withyman deserves much credit for his time on committee. He has been a genuine asset to our club with much thought and a lot of serious contribution to committee meetings. I think I mentioned in the minutes of last year’s A.G.M. that it was Mark who had the foresight to book a “surgery” with Mr Rees-Mogg back when the lakes were looking vulnerable. This in turn lead to Bristol Water reconsidering their position. So, Mark deserves a huge amount of credit for his quick thinking on this issue.
Andy Stone has been a really reliable committee man since he came on board, making a fantastic effort with the raffle at so many club events. Thanks to him for all of his work.
Welcome to the new members on committee…they have pretty "big shoes to fill”.
Trophies were handed out at the meeting. Clubman of the year was Paul Bond, who had an unasailable four points from his three matches that scored. Dave Reynolds was not far behind in second place and Lee Williams was third. Full scores should be available on our website.
Best rainbow went to Ron Howard for his eight pound fish.
Engraved hip flasks were presented to all the competition winners as follows:
Veals Spring Trophy Paul Bond
Orvis Classic Dave Reynolds
Funky Fly Tying Hidden Teams Lee Williams, Mark Lynch, Alan Smith and Tim Edwards
Snowbee Hidden Pairs Paul Bond and Tim Kamei
Anyone who was not present at the meeting can collect their hip flask during the season.
Our club competition dates and all the Major Club events are advertised on our website. Please check the dates and get in touch with me soon if you wish to enter any of the competitions. We are hoping for some good support this year as ever. As usual our sponsors have promised great prizes.
The Major Clubs competition this year contain TWO events on Chew, so I will have no problem filling these ones, but, the other rounds are also on popular venues, with Farmoor, Grafham, Draycote and Bewl making up the six events. I would love to see some new members taking part in this friendly inter-club league. Drop me an email of you are interested in having a go….we really want to encourage new members to fish this competition. All details of dates can be found on our website.
Finally, we are working in conjunction with Bristol Water in running three weekends of Family Fishing days. These were a real success last year, hence our efforts to run them again this year. The dates for the Family weekends are as follows:
Saturday 8th June and Sunday 9th June
Saturday 6th July and Sunday 7th July
Saturday 3rd August and Sunday 4th August.
We will need as much help as possible on these weekends, so please think about putting something back into your sport.
Wishing you all a fantastic season,
Email from Martin Cottis dated 26th September 2019
Its been a busy few weeks on the lakes and this weekend sees Chew hosting the English National. Good luck to all of our club members taking part in this event - there are plenty of you. I hope that a good number of you qualify for the England teams next year.
Our rearranged Snowbee Hidden Pairs competition takes place on SATURDAY 12th October. We had to rearrange this date because there were so many other events that were taking our potential entrants. Sincere apologies to you rugby fans out there (I know there are plenty of you…including me!), as this new date clashes with the England v France match. Kick off for this game is 09.15 - I may see if I can wangle a television into Blagdon Lodge so that club members can at least watch the first half…… I attended a family wedding a few weeks ago and the bride’s father managed to watch most of the great performance by Ben Stokes to win the match for England….all on his smartphone! I asked him which app he used and he informed me that it was one that would not work on my Apple phone, he had a Samsung. Do any club members know of an app that will allow me to use my phone for live television?
If you have not yet emailed me regarding this event please do so soon. We have limited places as this is on Blagdon.
The final round of the Major Clubs is to be at Bewl Water on Saturday 5th October (yet another England rugby day (playing Argentina). I only need a team of four for this event. Anyone interested please let me know.
I am sure that most of you will have heard the shocking news by now about the sudden death of Tony Donnelly. The club has already held a meeting to discuss how we can best remember Tony and his family. At Woodford Lodge there is a book of Condolences should any of you wish to add you names. A collection box will be passed round at the National at the weekend.
Finally, the lakes are fishing really well so if you get the chance - after this weekend, to get out and support Bristol Water please do so!
Email from Martin Cottis dated 9th January 2020
Happy New Year.
Apologies for it being so long since I have sent out an email but I spent half of October and all of November fishing and exploring Spain. I mostly fished for barbel - all on dry fly! Yes, in Spain, all we use are floating patterns for a fish that in U.K is almost exclusively a bottom feeder! They are great sport, hence they are called freshwater bonefish by many Spanish anglers.
Anyway, I don’t have a laptop so I am unable to send bulk emails on my iPad (probably could but have yet to work out how).
I hope that you have all read the end of season report from John Harris about how good last season was for us trout fishers. Good news that “foot-fall” was up by 20% meaning that we are keeping the trout fishing more than viable on the lakes. Meetings still go on to ensure that as a club we are being listened to, and to keep us in the picture as to any possible changes that might happen. It all seems to be looking good presently. Trout rearing is all healthy, with plenty of fish in the cages growing on well so that when the February pike fishing ceases they will be a decent size for early season stocking. Staffing seems stable, with more actual fishermen employed than in the past. Fingers crossed for a good season 2020.
Monday 13th January is the start of our new year of fly tying. Meet at Stoke Inn at seven thirty for two hours of tying.
I have booked the Sailing Club hall for Monday 17th February. We should be able to get booking in from about six thirty. We hope to commence the auction at seven thirty. Please only items worth a minimum of £5. There are already plenty of items submitted by relatives of deceased anglers, so stick to the five pound minimum. The bar will be open.
Dates are booked but sponsors have yet to confirm that they are happy with them. I will publicise as soon as our sponsors have responded. Not too sure what will happen with “Funky” event as Toby sold his business and so far I have not heard from the new owners who live in Scotland. I should imagine that they are unlikely to want to be in attendance.
The dates for the six rounds of this inter-club competition have been arranged. I will collate them and get them out as soon as I can. This competition enables members who are not in any of the other club teams to participate in team competitions. It is a great way to get into competitions if you are new to it all and thinking about getting involved, this is the competition for you as there is no real pressure. The events have no prizes and really you are just fishing “for the name of the club”.
I have a date in the diary but have not been over to the Chew Valley since well before Christmas and so have yet to confirm that the skittle alley is available to us. I will sort this out on Monday at Fly tying and let you know the date in my next newsletter.
Tight lines 2020
Minutes of the 48th Annual General Meeting of the B.R.F.F.A. on Monday 12th March 2018
Apologies: Malcolm Price, Steve Taylor, John Gumbleton, Tony Coxhead
Minutes of the previous meeting: These were passed as a true record of the meeting.
Chairman's report: Dave thanked everyone for attending and for their time supporting the club at meetings and competitions. When it comes to time, Dave said that committee especially, gave heaps of it. It is a good committee that carries out lot of work. Tony has been sorting the website and spending lots of time on it. Andy and Lee spend plenty of time doing the raffle at club competitions. Lee also organises the door and does his share of “running” at auction. Behind the scenes Gary and Mark do lots – Mark organised the meeting with Mr Rees-Mogg. Martin is very committed and Andrew's role increases all of the time. One person not here deserves thanks – Jane who helped at auction and organised the food at Snowbee event. Dave said that he was always asking for help from club members, but he himself had not been able to fish much in the past couple of years and not done his share of the work and so he felt a bit of a hypocrite. In the past year he had managed only 5 trips. The lakes and so us as a club have won a reprieve so it is time for us all to get out there as often as possible. Get onto social media and give the place some positive publicity. The next few years are possibly our last opportunity! Lastly our sponsors, these are like any retail businesses and so having a hard time of things. If you get a chance please thank them for what they do.
Treasurer's report: Andrew produced the balance sheet for the year. A copy of which is held on file. After running through the club's financial situation, the accounts were proposed by Dave Reynolds and seconded by Richard Evershed. Passed by the floor.
Secretary's report: Martin reported that the club had come ever so close to losing our fishing on Chew. He explained the timeline – starting with the meeting last January where club members met with Steve Smith and several pike fishers. One of the group, Martyn Catermole had already been consulting with Steve Smith and was far more aware of the gravity of the situation than trout anglers were. Then there was a meeting with most of committee and Steve along with his boss, held outside Woodford Lodge in May. Next up was a more serious meeting at The Carpenter's Arms, to which the club invited Mark Lloyd of Angling Trust. Shorty after this meeting the whole affair came to a head when House of Commons Angling Club chairman approached B.W. C.E.O to quiz him on the proposed closure. Also about this time Mark Withyman instigated a meeting with Mr Rees-Mogg. Suddenly everything changed. Committee were left wondering if Steve Smith had ever reported back to his board. However, we should be left in no doubt that “the writing is on the wall” and we cannot ever take the fishing on Chew for granted. Support for the lakes must be more widespread. Since B.W. had declared more support, there was going to be a regular monthly meeting for a steering group. B.W. had put more staff into the fishery, more money, more fish were promised and there were all sorts of surveys getting under way. Martin asked for help and support of members for the Family Days being planned and for the World Fishing Day on 23rd June. And he asked members to publicise their good days out as much as they could. Lets see more positivity, less negativity. Martin said that he had personally had a terrible year and cancelled loads of bookings and trips, but had tried to stay positive. The rest of the country had experienced similarly hard fishing, but it seemed that other lakes didn't get the same amount of negative publicity that Chew seemed to receive. Martin mentioned the new laws regarding data protection coming into place and asked that club members let the club know if they change email addresses or move home. Finally he pointed out how John Wingrove and he had sold £700 worth of trout for the given charity – CECT.
President's address: Alan said that this really was his last year. And he had two things to say. Firstly, thanks for all that the club does for ordinary members. He remembered that when he joined, the club gave him a new lease of life – a new focus. He then thanked everyone who served on the committee over the past years. Martin's report, just given, was probably the most important one he had ever heard. Alan said that towards the end of last year he was depressed that it might be his last couple of years fishing the lakes as he knew them. The Angling Trust and others had, thanks to committee, turned things round.
Thanks to committee, Martin, the chairman and treasurer. Alan then wished his successor the enjoyment he had had.
Election of officers:
Chairman: Richard Evershed prop A. Wiles sec. M. Cottis voted in
Secretary: Martin Cottis prop A.Evans-Jones sec A. Stone voted in
Treasurer: Andrew Wiles prop J. Mason sec M.Cottis voted in
Mem secretary: Lesley Roach prop M. Cottis sec L. Jeanes voted in
President: Dave Drake Unanimously proposed and elected
General committee: Tim Wellman
Mark Withyman prop A.Wiles
Tony Torrington voted in “en block”
Tony Coxhead sec D.Drake
Presentation of awards: Clubman of the year. In total 77 anglers participated in competitions during the year. This is down on 2017. Of those that fished there were 27 who competed in three events and were thus eligible for clubman of the year. In the end it was a “no contest” as Dave Reynolds had a record score. Martin passed round sheets containing everyone's position in the competition.
Any other business: Andrew pointed out that Lesley Gilbert had audited the account.
Competition rules were discussed – should we go over to kill two and return ten. After discussion it was decided to stay with kill four return eight. Paul Bond asked if we could do the Celtic League format of returning all fish.
Andrew talked about the evening league and how he and club members would organise that for B.W.
Alan Shearn asked about stocking. Would it be better – or indeed possible to go with trickle-stocking? Committee agreed to ask Alan and John.
Meeting ended at 20.41
Email from Martin Cottis dated 26th March 2018 Re: Update on AGM
Dear Club Member,
The A.G.M. has been and gone….and we now have a new Chairman. Richard Evershed was elected chairman at the meeting, and as a resident of Chew Magna and extremely enthusiastic fisherman, looking forward to many years of fishing Chew Valley lake when he retires, I have a feeling that we will be well represented at future meetings with B.W. Not much else of note occurred at the meeting. Apologies regarding there being no show from Toby and his Funky gear. I did see Toby at a Fly fair in London last week but had little chance to chat with him. I have been informed that he was at a tying show in Scotland….
Many of you will have already spent some time on or in the water. I believe that reports say that the fishing is fairly hectic! The water is certainly pretty cold, but, there are masses of buzzers around and the fish will surely be packing on weight if they are feeding on these creatures. I hope to have a few hours this week, though forecasts suggest we are going to have a return of the colder weather again for Easter weekend.
Meetings are continuing with Bristol Water. We have our latest monthly event at Blagdon Lodge on Wednesday 28th March. John Harris has asked Andrew Wiles to minute these meetings and I know that Andrew will be posting a record of all that goes on at them, either on Facebook or on our club website, so, if you want to keep informed check one of those out.
I am still compiling a list off mentors for the beginners or returners to fly fishing on our lakes. I have around twenty members who have so far expressed an interest in helping out. I will not expect that you will be required to spend many sessions helping others (I am hoping that it will be no more than a couple of sessions in one year), and I will make sure that nobody helping beginners ends up out of pocket! So, if you have not already offered to help, please add to my list by replying to this email.
John Harris is hoping to organise at least three Family Fishing Days this season. The dates have not yet been set, but they will be either Saturdays or Sundays. It would be great to have plenty of BRFFA members helping out at these. I will keep you posted regarding the dates.
There is to be a “World Fishing day” on Saturday 23rd June. Events will be taking place throughout the world, and we hope to be part of this event. As a club we have not yet had a chance to discuss exactly what this day ought to look like, but in the next month or two we will formulate a plan and let club members know. If you have any ideas, please pass them on.
As ever we will be part of the Association of Major Clubs. As such we fish six competitions throughout the season. The venues are looking really favourable this year, with no round for us at Bewl (I always struggle to get a team to travel to Bewl) and Haningfield no longer used as venue for any rounds. The first event is to be at Draycote on Saturday 21st April. IT is an “Association” match, which means that all three leagues will be fishing on the same day. This leads to the teams being of only four club members. I will be away working in Europe for most of April and would love to have the team sorted for Draycote before I leave on 8th April. So, please think about taking part in this friendly competition and let me have your details as soon as possible.
In future we will not be allowed by law to hold any information about club members on file without their permission. As a club, all we currently keep on file is an address, email address and in a few cases a telephone number. However, we now need to have members confirm that they have no problem with us keeping this information. So, can I ask you all please, to email back to confirm that you are in favour of this. There will be a cut-off date beyond which we will have to delete our data base and start it again using only club members who have responded positively!
Finally for this mail, I will attach this year’s competition entry form. Let me have them back as soon as possible. Even if you are going to pay on the day I need to know rough numbers so that I can sort out our meals with the chef at the Sailing club.
Tight lines and loops to all,
Minutes of the 47th A.G.M. of the Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers' Association held on 6th March 2017
Apologies for absence:
Tony Coxhead, Malcolm Price, John Gumbleton, Gary Haskins
Minutes of the previous A.G.M:
These were passed as a true record of the meeting. Proposed by Tim Wellman, seconded by Lee Williams.
Dave thanked the floor for giving up time to attend, and especially Toby who had brought a fine spread of fly tying materials. Toby is to sponsor one of our events this coming season. Dave asked that members support our sponsors as much as possible, throughout the year. Veals Spring Trophy will be fished in May and Dave was pleased to announce that club members can receive 10% discount at the shop. Dave said that retail trade in fishing tackle was not easy in the current climate. Toby and Dan at Cadbury's had supported the club for many years but had moved on to Acorn Fishery as the fly fishing side of business had shrunk, but the coarse angling side was doing well.
Dave also wanted to thank his committee. Tim had been really busy with publicity, Tony Coxhead had done a great job with the website, which looks far more modern. Thanks to Andrew for his work on competition days and especially the auction, and to Martin for preparing in advance for the events. The club tries hard to accommodate all comers even if you do leave it late. Thanks especially also to Jane Wiles for her great efforts supporting Andrew at the auctions.
Lastly, Dave reported on a meeting with Steve Smith and John Harris. 18 months ago B.W. had big budget cuts and this had serious implications for the fishery. We had wind from pike fishers that they were planning to take over one of the fisheries. The rumour was unfounded, but B.W. through Steve Smith, used this as a way of seeing what influence the local clubs and groups could have on the whole set up. Dave said that he had always looked forward to a retirement where he would be able to visit Chew and Blagdon whenever he wanted....that might now not be the case.
Rod numbers are down. The committee will look to encourage other clubs to join us in our events and generally get more anglers involved. You, as members, must try to get family, friends and those that may have drifted away, back into the sport.
Andrew went through the set of accounts that he had prepared. These were discussed in detail and after the floor had raised some questions, they were proposed by Alan Evans-Jones and seconded by John Horsey, and passed by the meeting. (Copy of accounts may be found in records).
Martin repeated many of the “thanks” that he gave the previous year. To club members a big thanks for getting onto email addresses and letting both Lesley and him know. So much easier to send emails that letters – and hugely cheaper! Big thanks go to our sponsors. Veals – new that season so we are not yet sure of the impact, though great to hear club members may receive 10% discount. Orvis and Richard Banbury were as loyal as ever. Snowbee and Simon came “Up with the goods” again, but a bigger thanks to Toby for stepping in to sponsor the team event for the coming season. This is the event where smaller prizes in bundles of four are required, so it is perfect for us...unless you don't tie your own flies!
For competitions PLEASE try to give as much notice as possible about entries. WE are still happy to accept post dated cheques. Lets try to beat last years numbers in each event. You have heard how B.W. are finding things tough...lets get behind our club, and behind the fishery.
Major Clubs events are the ideal starting point for any of you thinking of starting out on competitions. There is no great pressure on any of the competitors as there are no prizes....it is all fished for the “glory” of the club. So, come and join us on one of the fixtures...Bewl, Chew, Farmoor, Grafham, Draycote or Grafham.
The Big fish trophies are not being used. Martin asked if we should just consider the largest fish caught in competitions. This seemed to reach the approval of the floor.
Finally, let me know if you change your email addresses.
Alan said that it was lovely to be at the A.G.M. He was anticipating a decent season ahead. He suggested that club members couldn't have a good time without the people on committee who do all the work.
Election of Officers:
Chairman Dave Drake prop. T. Wellman sec J. Horsey elected
Secretary Martin Cottis prop. A. Evans-Jones sec. A. Wiles elected
Treasurer Andrew Wiles prop. J. Mason sec. L.Williams elected
Committee (on block) prop. D.Drake sec. L.Jeanes elected
Auditor to be appointed by A.Wiles
Any other business:
Paul Golding asked if the juniors fished to the same rules, or whether they could fish any method?
Mark Withyman asked if there had been any progress with boat league. Andrew said that John had sorted it out and that he would be running it on behalf of the fishery – taking the money, organising food at the Stoke Inn, but otherwise it would be similar to last year.
Paul Golding asked about the man buying loads of gear at the auction to sell on ebay. How does the club feel about this? Is he a club member? Andrew said that he was indeed a member and that he was grateful for the fellow's purchases. He was valuable to the club.
Martin asked Toby to speak on behalf of his business. Toby said that he was happy to be so involved with the club and that members would be able to benefit from a 10% discount which could be used for online purchases. He told the audience about his Fly Fair to be held at U.W.E. in October. If any members wanted to assist they would be entitled to free entry. There were various jobs to be done – from helping set up to general “dogs-bodies” running around during the show.
Someone asked if we could remove the old website from the world-wide web? Final question was about booking fishing tickets online.
Meeting ended at 20.30. Sausage and chips were supplied and Toby set to work selling much of his gear.
Email from Martin Cottis dated 20th January 2018 Re: Fly tying Mondays and update on "steering group"
We will be meeting on Monday in the Skittle Alley at the “Stoke Inn” seven thirty for fly tying. All are welcome even if you have no intention of showing off your tying skills! This Monday we will be working on pheasant tails and the variants.
Recently the Steering group met at Blagdon Lodge to see how things are progressing following news that B.W. are indeed investing more money into our sport. Quite a lot of ground was covered in a relatively short time, and an email like this is not the place to write up the meeting. I am hoping that we can get the minutes of the meeting onto our website. However, I would like to make the following points:
Quite a bit of work has already been carried out to improve the jetty and surrounds at Blagdon lake. The work needed to be done. You will find that new Bio-security measure are to be put in place too - hence the large container at the top of the jetties. The work so far has cost around £10,000, so a good sign that B.W. are prepared to spend on our future.
Next up at Blagdon will be the necessary work on the lodge. One corner of our historic building is falling away and so remedial work has to be carried out. The lodge is actually a listed building and as a result the work to be done has to be carried out sensitively. At the same time there will be work carried out to improve the toilet areas. Alan tells me that he anticipates that this will cost in excess of £20,000.
We spent a fair time discussing the idea of mentoring for beginners and John Harris is interested in training some staff and possibly some anglers to a level where they can do some teaching as qualified instructors. At our next meeting (scheduled for 15th February) we propose discussing this at more length and seeing how we can progress. Any of you who have come forward to offer services as mentors please keep an eye on this matter. Anyone who has been thinking about it but not offered yet, we need all levels of ability, so don’t be put off if you are only recently involved in the sport. In many ways, the fresher you are to the sport the more advice you may be able to give as regards to avoiding “pitfalls” along the learning path.
I have reported to committee a couple of times, but maybe it is time I told general membership about some of the work Bristol Water is doing with local farmers. They have not advertised the fact that for several years now they have been working at quite a high level with local farmers to try to avoid run-off from land of nitrates and phosphates. I only found out about this when chatting last summer with Ben Keedwell who farms in Regill. Ben was asked to coordinate with local farmers and organise schemes that enable run-off to be trapped, slowed and prevented from entering the water courses. He also advises on levels of nitrates and phosphates that may be used safely. I was really surprised to hear how advanced B.W. were in their work out there. Fingers crossed that this work will be going on across the whole catchment area of the lakes. Ben is really passionate about the work he does on behalf of B.W. and feels that he is getting the message across well. Those of you who are new members will probably not know Ben, but, he was a very enthusiastic angler back through the nineties and “naughties”, but since taking over the family farm has struggled to get away to fish. HE claims he will be back once B.W. allow us that “last magical hour” when those who like to go hunting for the better fish get special opportunities!
Our current chairman - Dave Drake is to step down at our next A.G.M. So, we need a new chair. Committee discussed this last Monday and we have some ideas of “suspects” that we would like to approach. If any of you have a ”burning desire” to take on this role, please let me know.
Hope to see a few of you on Monday,
Email from Martin Cottis - 7th January 2018
We return to the Stoke Inn tomorrow night for fly tying Mondays. We will start with Diawl Bachs. Seven thirty until nine thirty.
Further to our last communication regarding developments at the lakes, I would like to let you know that Committee are continuing with regular meetings with Bristol Water and I intend to keep you all informed as to how things progress. The management have also set up a “Steering Group” to help them moving forward. They have involved season ticket anglers, clubs other than BRFFA, some pike anglers and local Angling Trust officer. This group meets this week for its first session and I will report on that one too.
I had some positive early response to my request regarding forming a group of experienced club anglers to act as mentors, but, after five people had stepped forward that was it! It would be good if a few more of you would be prepared to commit to a couple of sessions helping newcomers to the sport - it really would be only a couple of sessions each season as I wouldn’t want to encroach on your leisure time.
Looking forward to seeing a few of you tomorrow,
Email from Martin Cottis - 7th January 2018
I am making plans for my fishing for the coming season and would like to keep you informed as to what I am proposing. I think that most of my regular clients know what a poor year we had on Chew and Blagdon last season. Without doubt my worst in the forty years that I have fished there, never mind since I have been guiding. There were many reasons for the poor fishing but top of the list must be the warm water that we experienced from mid June onwards. Although we didn’t have a particularly hot August and September, the lakes really didn’t show signs of recovery until mid October….just as the season was coming to an end! I cancelled many trips when it was pointless going afloat, so apologies to those of you who suffered this treatment. But, I see little point in making you struggle, especially if you have a fair distance to travel.
I usually send out a PDF with pictures and memories from the season, but think this a little inappropriate this year with the failure of the fisheries. I will eventually put together a few images and memories of my foreign trips, a small bit more of below.
I have been involved with the management of Bristol Water regarding the future of Chew and Blagdon (and the Barrow Tanks). Plans were well advanced for the closing of Chew as a trout fishery as we know it! The man put into the position of working out the best way forward for the Leisure side of B.W. decided that from 2019 Chew would become a “Season Ticket” only water….for pike anglers. There were to be just ten boats on the lake and these would be available on only three days of the week. The office, as we know it would be shut, and no tackle shop be available. A small amount of trout would be stocked, but this would be mostly to keep the pike anglers happy. Bank trout tickets would be available and both John Horsey and myself would be allowed to take one of the boats for trout fishing, but, would we want this with so few trout going in (there was talk of a possible 10,000 stocking). This year B.W. tell us that they stocked 45,000 trout into Chew. Yet, only 14.5K were caught. A dismal return. Many of the fish recorded as “caught” were fish that were released in any case, as all return cards that records fish killed and fish returned, so if you and your partner took ten fish away, but returned another twenty, the staff enter “thirty” fish as being caught. This totally skews the data regarding the catch reports printed. My calculations suggest that about 8,000 (minimum) of the fish in the final “catch” for the season were actually returned to the lake. Hence, of the 45K stocked, only around 6,000 were taken away. I see little evidence of a big amount of fish remaining in the lake. I accept that plenty of these trout are eaten by pike, and by cormorants (recently we had circa 500 birds on the water), and some die naturally, but, I cannot remember a year where so few fish were taken on Chew.
So, back to the future! As a fishing club we mounted a challenge to B.W. and their plans and involved the Angling Trust, via Mark Lloyd. Mark went straight to the House of Commons and consulted with a prominent M.P. who is chair of the Commons fishing committee. He approached the C.E.O. of Bristol Water, as did our local M.P. Jacob Rees Mogg, who had been approached by two of our club’s committee men, who live in his constituency, at one of his “surgeries”. The C.E.O. completely reversed the move by head of leisure and has agreed to put “more money” into the fishing. Sadly, the first thing that the company have decided to do is employ more staff. Not sure that the staff there currently have enough “work” to keep them busy! There is also a plan to put more fish in the lakes, with Chew supposedly having an extra 20,000! Will that be of great help if the water gets as hot as last year, and for that matter the year before! I have a feeling that we are seeing the results of global warming - or the more extreme weather patterns that are surfacing in recent years. I am forever complaining about the strong winds that we receive day after day and the lack of rain of recent years. Chew has barely run over the spillway for the past three years, so that means that generally we have “stale” water in the lake. This surely must be an influence on the fish and invertebrates that live in the water.
Now onto a bit more “light” information. I decided that I would go to Spain throughout April this season. Without putting the dates out to you all, I have already filled the three and a half weeks that I am away. So, apologies to those of you who didn’t get in on time. Don’t worry, I will be returning in October, and WILL get dates out early.
I am contemplating a return to Croatia as the long weekend trip that I did this year was both enjoyable and successful. It was mostly grayling fishing, and all on rivers that were beautiful, fast flowing and reasonably easy to wade. I am contemplating a return trip to Montana, but not this year. I will also try to get at least two visits to Ireland. February is not far off, but, if I am in a position to do it, I am going to get a “last minute” trip to Tasmania and New Zealand (of course stopping off to spend a few days with Bobby Bell on the way).
If you fancy a short session to Croatia, or Ireland, or would like to join me in Spain in October, or possibly Montana 2019, let me know.
Meantime, tight loops and lines for 2019.
November 2017 Newsletter
Well, that is one season I am quite happy has gone! It was just about the worst that I can remember. I suppose we must cast our minds back to the decent fishing early season (those big black buzzer at the end of Herons certainly had the fish feeding, but, it didn’t last long!) From the arrival of the hot weather in mid June the fishing seemed to just die off. Sure, every time a stocking was made you could catch a few fish for four or five days, but then the fish “disappeared”. Blagdon became my “go-to” venue as Chew was all but impossible. Thankfully this venue started producing well to dries in late September, and so I had a reasonable end of the season, and I am pleased to say that my last two trips were on Chew and they found me fishing water of about two feet deep and covering moving fish….for the first time since May! I heard from a few friends that they caught well on dries in the final week and a half of the season. when I was away fishing for barbel in Spain.
Committee has been in talks with B.W. management for months regarding the future of the fisheries. This lead to many hours of committee meetings, and drawing up ideas for B.W. to help to make things “better”. We sent our ideas to Woodford and some small parties were “taken on board”. Whilst we haven’t had to sign confidentiality clauses, we have been asked not to pass on information until staff consultation had taken place. This happened around two weeks ago. At our last meeting with Steve Smith we asked that Mark Lloyd (of Angling Trust) be present. Steve went through his plans with committee and Mark, and to be perfectly honest it all looked grim for the future of fishing - especially on Chew. B.W. planned to have one more year of “normal” fishing and then run Chew as a “subscription only water”, with just ten boats on it and it only being open for only three days a week.
We all met again very soon after this meeting, whilst Mark Lloyd consulted with the House of Commons Fishing committee (who were horrified), and two local committee men met with Jacob Rees-Mogg. Mr Rees-Mogg then went to B.W. board and plans have been (maybe temporarily) shelved. It seems that the new CEO of B.W. didn’t like the adverse publicity that he would receive had the original lans been implemented.
So, it seems that next year B.W. will put a “bit” more money into the fishing and try to bring things up to a more acceptable level. I guess as a club, we had better make some serious effort to support the lakes even more than ever.
Currently we, as a committee, are working on an “Action Plan” which Mark Lloyd is going to take to a meeting with Steve Smith in December.
I will keep you informed as to how this next meeting goes. Hopefully, now that things are out in the open more, we can get some more “frank and open” discussions going.
Please feel free to contact any member of your committee with your thoughts and any ideas that you have for moving the trout fishing forward on either of the main lakes. We are not sure of the position of the Barrow Tanks at this time.
Fly Tying Evenings
We will start our winter programme next Monday (27th November) at the Stoke Inn at around seven thirty. The plan is to kick off with a Blob and booby tying session. So bring your colourful materials and your grub hooks along….or just your sunglasses!
We have decided to make our sessions every fortnight, but if well enough attended we are happy to make them weekly. The second session will be for tying buzzers and will be on Monday 11th December
August 2017 Newsletter
I thought that it was time I was in touch with you all.
After a slow June and July on the lakes - especially for those of us who love our surface fishing, the start of August has been all that I have been waiting for! Fish up, lovely grey skies, and even occasionally…..light winds! I guess it was helped by a big “boost” of stock fish in both lakes, but, I have to say that in tough conditions today my client and I had a some lovely silver fish! I hope that they are “grown on” fish that have been in the lake for a while as this will be good news for the next few weeks. I am sure that most of you observant anglers will have noticed the almost complete lack of insects in the lakes in recent weeks (possibly months)! In the past twenty years I have heard John Braithwaite constantly “banging on” about “No Floiy” in the lakes compared with olden days…..I guess he can remember the turn of the century…. but I have constantly been thinking of his old saying this season as there really has been no fly! Not sure if it is the warm water, the fact that the lakes have been so high for so long, the fact that we have had such rapid weed growth or some other factor. But it surely has been a main cause for the lack of surface action round the lakes.
The next few days we will be welcoming teams from around the country to fish a two-day competition. It will be interesting to see where these guys find fish, for sure as you like, they will find some fish in areas where we have failed to find them for months. I hope that they do, as the fish will be pretty decent specimens. Fish have been stocked throughout the season and for weeks they have failed to show. They must be out there somewhere…..
The BRFFA team won the last round of the AMFC league on Farmoor. This was the round which was postponed back in June due to high winds. I have yet to see the results sheet, but Andrew Wiles captained the side and reported back to me that three of our men had limits and two others had decent bags of fish.
The next round of this friendly inter-club competition is on Draycote. This particular lake has consistently fished well this season. I still have room for two more anglers to fish this. IT will be on Friday 8th September. If you fancy helping the club out on this venue please let me know as soon as possible as I am sure that I will not struggle to get two more anglers out.
Our next club event is on Blagdon. IT is the Snowbee Hidden Pairs and it is on Sunday 17th September. You may fish with a pal in this event as you will not be paired with the same person in the “hidden” draw. This is boat only and we are restricted to 25 boats. I have had to turn people away the last couple of years, and I have not even been able to get out to fish it myself as, not taking part in the competition I haven’t wanted to take a place in one of the boats, so PLEASE LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO FISH THIS ONE.
All the best to all local anglers fishing at the weekend….show the “pullers” how to fish for our fish!
July 2017 Newsletter
It has been a busy month one way and another. Competitions seem to be coming thick and fast, and the fishing is one minute on the rise and then on the decline….though the weather has really been the determining factor! It seems unlikely as I am writing this in shorts and t-shirt, dreading having to take two beginners out on the lakes this afternoon, that exactly one week ago - just last Monday, my two clients went home from Chew shivering. One of them, a fellow a fair bit younger than me, had SIX layers on and was still cold.
At the weekend our two club teams competed in the teams event run by John Horsey. The BRFFA Drifters beat the eight other teams. Sadly our Emergers team could only manage seventh place and so failed to qualify for next round. The lake had fished extremely well in practice leading up to the event, with many anglers telling me that they were catching up to thirty fish, but, I guess the pressure of several practice days, the heat and the relatively clear water with fish in small areas contrived to make the match day a tough one. There were a lot of decent fish caught though and overall average weight was 2lbs 13oz. Mark Miles managed to catch the largest fish on the match day….to compensate for his rather lightweight bag in the Orvis competition.
The Orvis competition was fished on Sunday 11th June and many thanks to all who turned out on an incredibly windy day. IN spite of the conditions there were plenty of fish caught and we managed an average of five fish per man. Top rod was Dave Reynolds…yet again! He certainly seems to have the measure of Chew at the moment. Dave had twelve fish for a really big weight - 35lbs 4oz (of course we only kill four fish and then release another twelve, giving those fish the average weight of fish caught, but then also applying a ‘time bonus” for each fifteen minutes of fishing time left once the twelfth fish is returned). Dave beat Mark Thomas by just two ounces! Richard Banbury of Orvis has already pledged to support our event again next season. Tony Torrington won the bank event - for his second win of the year!
Our AMFC event at Farmoor was postponed due to strong winds. This event has now been rescheduled for Saturday 29th July. Please let me know if you might like to participate in this.
AMFC event on this Saturday at Grafham - I still need two more anglers. Please see if you can free up in your diary for this one - the club covers the cost of the boat, so all you have to find is the money for a fishing ticket.
Your committee is arranging a meeting in the next week or so with B.W. recreation manager Steve Smith and his staff to discuss various issues arising from the Sailing Club meeting early in the year. If you have anything that you would like committee to discuss please let me know. I am sure that I will hear from several of you about weed growth….I have fished Chew for forty years and really cannot remember seeing so much weed so early in the season. Is this a result of yet another mild winter, or is it something to do with phosphate and nitrate levels in our lake? Hopefully Steve will have an answer for us.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dear Club members,
We have had our first event of the year and will soon be gearing up towards the Orvis event in June. Thanks to those who fished the Veals Spring Trophy event. Fishing was relatively tough but some quality fish were caught and dave Reynolds managed to catch 12 fish, showing what was possible on the day. Sorry to see a few blanks, but I’ll bet that most of those anglers had a few offers and so could have caught fish.
The AMFC match on Chew was last Saturday and the wind was a real problem, steadily increasing throughout the day, which, with the sun becoming more prominent proved to put the fish right off the feed. The result was that the rod average for this competition was only 1.65, with several banks. Top rod was Martin Barrett, who was fishing for the police team. There was one other rod with six, then our Graham Currie with five fish. Our hard working anglers struggled with conditions and we only managed to catch eight trout between the six. Top team had fourteen, second team had thirteen, then we were third, with the next two teams having seven and six fish respectively.
Our club were invited to put a team in a Police competition last Tuesday. Fishing was also relatively tough for that event. I am please to say that our boys fared a bit better in that event. We came second to the select police team, picked nationally! We also provided top rod in Paul Bond, who managed to catch eight trout. Mark Withyman had six trout, Paul Crook five, Alan Williams four, John Humphry two, Mark Weaver one, Peter Griffith one and Tony Baldwin one. At the subsequent meal, £350 was raised for a charity of our choice, so it was suggested that we donate the cheque to the Eye Cancer Trust that we support throughout the year with fish sales.
Please can I ask club members wishing to fish our club events to email me? Lately it seems that many of you are under the impression that Andrew Wiles is organising our events. Andrew is a great help as treasurer, and sure does a good job on the day, but I spend a lot of time in advance of our competitions putting everything together. It is most helpful to the club if you let me know by email (preferably) of phone if you wish to fish our events.
I have also undertaken to organise the AMFC matches on behalf of the club for about the last twenty years. At times it has been a thankless task, and I have often had to persuade good friends to take time off work in order to field a team for the club. I have also cancelled bookings with clients in order to fish. This year Andrew Wiles tells me that he has been getting names in from club members to fish various rounds of this competition, as I ensured at the A.G.M. of the organisation that we had a good series of venues. Unfortunately, I already have many anglers who have requested through me to fish at both Farmoor and Draycote, yet Andrew says he almost has a team for these events.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE will you let ME know if you are available for the events coming up in the AMFC. I will let you know in good time if you are selected. On venues like Grafham and Draycote many of those taking part go up for a couple of days so that they can have a practice day. This is a great help for the team, and has many times made a big difference to the results.
The rounds yet to be fish are as follows:
Farmoor Saturday 10th June (rescheduled now 29th July)
Grafham Saturday 24th June
Draycote Friday 8th September
Grafham (team of four) Saturday 7th October
I look forward to hearing from all of those who think they may be fishing or who may want to fish.
The annual auction is on Monday 20th February. We have managed to get the Sailing club a LITTLE earlier than usual, but as I said in our last email, please do not turn up ages before booking in starts. You may start booking in around six o’clock.
WE will be aiming to start the auction at seven this year. That is half an hour earlier than usual, and I am not sure that we will be ready for this start time, however, we will aim for this as we must be out by ten. Items MUST be of £5 value MINIMUM.
You may pay your membership on the night.
Entry is by a £2 raffle ticket. There will be several prizes in the raffle.
Sandwiches/rolls will be available, and of course the bar will be open.
The club has secured a link/deal with Malcolm Hunt, who runs Manningford Fisheries in Wiltshire. Attached to his lakes, he has rights to about 2.5 miles of the upper Avon. Malcolm is happy to let club members fish his stretch of river and give them a £5 discount. The club has decided that as this is such an “intimate” stretch of river, it is best to let club members sort out their own dates to go up to fish for grayling. Unfortunately, the fishery will only be open for grayling until the end of February, so you had better get there soon.
If you haven’t yet had a look at Tony Coxhead’s revamp of our website take a look soon. He has done a great job. If any club members have any news of interest, please let Tony know. Also, any pictures of decent fish, places you have fished or general “fishy” pictures, if you get them to him he may be able to upload them onto the gallery. The address is: www.brffa.com
Apologies to you all, but, I had a “typo” in the last email and gave the wrong date for the A.G.M. The correct date is Monday 6th March, seven thirty start. We have arranged sausages and chips for the end of proceedings. Funky Fly Tying will be present with a big range of products.
New Lodge restaurant:
I met the new people at Woodford Lodge on Thursday and I am very excited about their plans. They are really keen to make the building a “fisherman-friendly” place and they are going to encourage anglers in as many ways as possible. They will be doing breakfasts, lunches and they will be helping us with our post-competition meals. They are also hoping to run some sort of loyalty scheme for regular fishermen. I urge members to give them a chance and support them as much as possible.
Veals Fishing Tackle:
Veals in Bristol are offering club members a 10% discount on tackle bought, on production of a current membership card. This is good news for those anglers who are fortunate enough to be able to get into the centre of Bristol regularly.
I hope to see a few of you at either the auction or the A.G.M.
BRFFA CUSTOMER FOCUS MEETING JANUARY 2017
01/02/17 - Newsletter
Dear BRFFA Members,
Just a few reminders for you.
Firstly, the auction is on Monday 20th February. We will be opening the doors for booking in at SIX. Please do not turn up hours beforehand as happened last year. The Sailing Club members who had to open up and committee members who were to book in last year couldn’t get through as there were so many cars already queuing.
As usual there will be an entrance fee for which you will receive a ticket for a raffle. Please also remember that this year EVERYONE present will have to sign in with their NAME, ADDRESS and POSTCODE. This is to keep in line with the Sailing Club insurance policy.
As ever, please do not bring items of less than £5 in value, they WILL NOT be booked in. The club will take 15% of the value of each sale. Mark Withyman will bring along some rolls or sandwiches and the bar will be manned by Jim and Brian.
We must be out by ten o’clock, so please if you are just turning up for a social get together, stay in the back bar where there is plenty of room as this enables those bidding and Dave running the auction to hear each other.
Lesley Roach is still suffering following her badly broken ankle and will not be in attendance, however we will be able to take membership and issue new cards. So, if you want to pay on the night for 2017 membership it will be possible.
The Grayling fishing trips proposed have unfortunately been cancelled as the stretch that we were hoping to fish closed at the end of December. This was unclear to our man booking the stretch as, being a club member, he may still fish the stretch. It is only day tickets that stop being issued. I am still looking for an alternative venue so if any of you know somewhere at a reasonable cost please let me know.
Fly tying continues on Monday nights at the Stoke Inn. Seven thirty to nine thirty. Monday 6th February will be a booby-tying night.
Our AGM will be on Monday 6th March in the skittle alley at the Stoke Inn. Toby (Funky Fly Tying) is bringing a big selection of fly tying material, so if there are any essentials that you need you will have a chance to buy from Toby after the AGM.
I have already asked about large fish captured last season by club members, but have not heard anything back yet. Please, if you caught a big brown trout or rainbow trout last year, let me know as soon as possible.
Finally, Tony Coxhead has taken over our website. He has been working on it for a while and the new site went live last week. www.brffa.com It looks a bit smarter! Let us know what you think….
All the best for a great 2017 season,
Minutes of the 46th 2016 AGM
Minutes of the 46th Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers' Association A.G.M. held on Monday 7th March 2016
Apologies for absence:
Mark Stewart, Tony Coxhead, Tony Torrington, Alan Shearn, Mark Withyman
Minutes of the last meeting:
The minutes having been circulated in advance were proposed as a true record by Lee Williams and seconded by Mark ? (I didn't record which Mark). Passed by the floor.
Dave said that he had a broad summary for the year. Firstly he thanked all for giving up time and supporting the meeting. Thanks to Toby from Funky Fly Tying for his attendance - he hoped that we would in turn support him. Thanks for support throughout the year. Our events have been well attended – thanks for your generosity towards raffle and trout donations for charity. Dave said that Tim had done research this year on the strength of club and membership.
Our club is very healthy, with about two hundred members, which is far more than others through the country. We are also half the price of most. The committee work hard with sponsors and we generally get good value from them. We seem to get greater support than any other club does. Orvis and Snowbee are long-standing sponsors – we need to make sue that we go out of our way to thank them – say on social media. We have lost Paul Davidson as a sponsor - Troutwatch has gone, but Dave has persuaded Veals to step in and help on this one. Veals will be subsidising gift vouchers.
One of the things that Dave really wanted to convey to members was his meeting with John Harris (manager elect). The fishery has lost some old staff. It was made clear that the management are under pressure to perform. English Nature [Natural England] are at the end of everything that has to be handled at the lakes, and everyone has to answer to them. So, Dave said to “please respect B.W. - any criticisms need to be measured!”
One aspect that needs to be made clear. Parent companies need to look for return. But, they see the fishery as a FLY FISHERY and not merely a TROUT fishery. The management is keen to overlap more into pike and perch. If you catch a good pike or perch photograph it and share it. But, you must all remember that there is to be NO KILLING of pike or perch – even at Blagdon.
Dave concluded by thanking all committee especially Martin and Andrew.
Andrew presented the accounts and they were discussed by the meeting. A copy is available for reference.
At the end of Andrew's report, Mark suggested putting some of the profits from the year into ISAs. Andrew pointed out that we already hold bonds.
Martin reported that it had been a pleasant year. The mail issues are much easier to deal with now as he has less than 60 envelopes to sort these days. So many members being on email accounts really helps. And emails can go out far more regularly than letters
The competitions were great fun and the new system in place with Andrew collecting monies on the day means that Martin was able to spend time with sponsors and look after their fishing needs. Unfortunately this did put more onto the treasurer, but there was still loads to do in advance for the secretary. There was still an issue with people not booking in to fish in advance. Too many wait until the last minute to see if the fishing was good or the weather was going to be ok. Martin apologised for occasionally forgetting to put someone on the list, as far too often club members see him and say “put me down for the competition” at a time that he had no notebook or computer handy.
Membership is looking healthy – already it was at 134 whilst at this stage; usual years only about 100. Please back up Dave – there is a great spirit out there at the moment.
Catch and release in our events is here to stay. We have lost at least two regular members from events due to this, but most, no the vast majority approve of the new system. Many anglers still leave their fish behind for charity, and to be honest, some competitions we had vast amounts of fish left. The situation is obviously better now that there is only a kill of four. And thanks to the “fishmonger” John Wingrove and Martin giving up time we are able to process these fish and sell them for charity.
Finally, Martin reminded anglers about the Major Clubs competitions. These events are for all members and not just mad keen competition boys. The club supports this event and entry on the day only requires that you pay for a fishing ticket – we cover the boat. There is a list of venues on the entry forms. Let Martin know if any members want to try their hand at a team event.
As usual Alan said that he wished to use his address to thank the officers of the club for their hard work on members' behalves.
Election of officers:
Chairman Dave Drake prop. Martin Cottis sec. Gary Haskins voted in
Secretary Martin Cottis prop. Alan E-J sec. Mark Miles voted in
Treasurer Andrew Wiles prop. Andy Stones sec. Mark Miles voted in
Committee Andy Stones prop. Martin Cottis sec. Dave Drake voted in
Committee Tim Wellman , Gary Haskins, Mark Withyman, Tony Torrington, Tony Coxhead, Lee Williams. All Block voted in.
Presentation of Trophies:
Clubman of the year: With an outstanding score of only 19 points (3rd 15th and 1st) John Wingrove
No entries had been forwarded for big fish trophies.
Junior of the year Daisy
Any other business:
There being no further business and Toby ready to sell gear, and sausage and chips ready, meeting ended at 8.15.
Minutes of the 45th 2015 AGM
Minutes of the 45th A.G.M. of the Bristol Reservoirs Fly Fishers' Association
Apologies: Lance Jeanes, Jeff Mason, Malcolm Price, Tony Coxhead, Tony Ling, Martin Hale, Roger Trantor, Tony Torrington, Gary Haskins, Mark Withyman (will be late)
Minutes of the previous meeting: These were passes as a true record of the 44th A.G.M. Proposed by Alan Evans-Jones and seconded by Tim Wellman.
Chairman's report: Dave suggested that he had little to say. He thought that the previous season had run very smoothly, and if he had anything much to comment on it would be similar to the year before. He thanked everyone for attending the A.G.M. Then he thanked committee, especially Martin, whom he described as a “backbone” in helping to get the competitions run so smoothly, and even in stepping down from fishing if the events get oversubscribed. Then thanks to Andrew for the figures. Collecting money on competition days erodes into his own fishing time. Thanks to all of the members for their support of our events. The past year saw some of the events full, and anglers turned away. This, Dave suggested, could be avoided by booking in early. It is great for our sponsors to see all of the boats out – Orvis and Snowbee, Cadbury Angling and Dan Hurley have shown superb support. Dave reminded the members present that Dan offers club members discount at Cadbury Angling. Lastly to Paul Davidson of Troutwatch. Please help to give this company support by giving them exposure on Social Media. This applies to all of our sponsors. “Thanks” on the day is also very helpful! Paul has already committed to the coming season. Paul is moving warehouse and so had a load of flies that were not in correct boxes and so he has bought a polystyrene head and mounted all of the flies on this. He has donated it to us and we are to sell tickets at £1 a go and donate the head to whoever guesses closest to the amount on it. Outings this season – Dave personally organised the trip to the river Itchen. This unfortunately was double booked through no fault of Dave's, and so thankfully, we were not charged for the poor fishing day. Next year we are to aim to get on the Test at Wherwell. Mark Withyman has offered to cook for us. Please sign up early for this.
Treasurer's report: Andrew presented the financial report for the season. He took the members present through the figures and answered the few questions presented. His summary was that the we are in a very healthy position. One negative aspect was that membership was down a little. A copy of the report is kept on file. The accounts were proposed by Rik Anderson and seconded by John Piper, then passed by the floor.
Secretary's report: Liaising with Richard Banbury and Simon Kidd had as ever been a pleasant task that the secretary had to carry out. Both had pledged support for our events. On a sad note, Martin reported that Simon found that he had prostrate cancer – in an advanced state and had to have the operation at a London hospital as his surgeon was so worried about him. It was early days and so Martin would keep members posted as to Simon's health. Martin apologised to members about the lack of sponsorship for the Hidden Teams, but this was due to difficulty in committee members getting in touch with Paul during his move. He has promised support for this year. Thanks again to Dan at Cadbury Angling, along with Steve Yates of Wychwood, who helped to make the Pairs event so successful. Martin then reported on the death of long time club member and treasurer Chris Cavill. Martin had attended the funeral on behalf of the club as he had been a personal friend of Chris and his wife Juliette. Martin explained that Chris had been a governor and then Chairman of governors at one of the schools that he had taught at. Loyal club member John Toller had also passed away during the year.
The club now has ten juniors on its books and there were two young lady anglers who regularly fished our club events, along with Joan and occasionally Sarah this means we have good input form female anglers. That bodes well for the club as the night of the A.G.M. was the day after the International Women's' Day! Dave Drake and Martin had met with Tony Donnelly early in the year to put the club's views over to him. They hoped that a similar meeting would occur this season. Martin thanked Daisy's parents for their continued support of the club by presenting a tray of fruit for the raffles. Thanks to that in no small way we were able to donate £400 to CECT – our charity. Martin then spoke about fish donations after events. He asked members for their full support as all fish sales help the charity. There was a very difficult situation last season when Jeff Mason donated his trout only for John Humphry take them from the scales saying that Jeff had already “promised” them to him! After some events there seem to be several people helping themselves to the fish donated for charity as they obviously have a source for making personal gain from them. Finally, Martin reported that as club, members had helped and supported John Wingrove so much in the past couple of years he has suggested that he would like to donate a trophy to the club.
President's address: Alan kept his address brief. He repeated the thanks to all officers of the association. He said that he was honoured to president of such a group. The sponsorship was welcome. He concluded by wishing everyone a great season on the lakes.
Election of officers:
Chairman Dave Drake prop Jay Curry, sec Lee Williams voted in.
Treasurer Andrew Wiles prop Tim Wellman, sec John Piper voted in.
Secretary Martin Cottis prop Alan E-J, sec Will Lear voted in
Committee Tony Torrington, Tim Wellman, Gary Haskins, Rik Anderson, Mark Withyman, Lee Williams
prop Martin Cottis, sec Dave Drake voted in.
Memb. sec Lesley Roach prop Andrew Wiles, sec Martin Cottis voted in.
Auditor Mr Cuthbert prop Martin Cottis, sec Andrew Wiles voted in.
Presentation of prizes:
Best Rainbow Mark Miles 9lbs 6oz
Best brown Rik Anderson 7lbs 11oz
Top Junior Daisy
Clubman of the year Rik Anderson
Any Other Business: Dan asked about the evening league and Major Clubs. He wanted to know if Tony could organise a draw for the evening league as it seemed that quite often friends went out together. It was asked if we would be allowed in the Lodge once the renovations have been carried out for the new lease holders. Committee were to check on this but thought that we may have problems.
Meeting ended at 8.35