Our recent newsletters and minutes of our last and previous meetings here.
Minutes of the 50th Annual General Meeting of the BRFFA 2nd March 2020
Apologies: Tony Torrington, Malcolm Price, Jay Curry, Mark Miles
Minutes of the previous AGM: These had been circulated and were approved as a true record. Proposed by Tim Wellman, seconded by Dave Reynolds, and passed by the floor.
Welcome everybody to the 50th meeting of the BRFFA
I thought was appropriate to begin my report this year with a few words in the memory of Tony Donnelly.
It was with great sadness that 2019 saw the passing of Tony Donnolly who died very suddenly in September leaving his partner Natalie and young daughter Sophie. Tony was only in his early 30s and it is always a tragedy when a young person with such vitality and a whole life ahead of them dies prematurely.
I am sure we all remember Tony with great fondness. He joined BW in 2012 working initially with Bob Hanford in managing the fishery but then taking over from Bob in 2014.
I wasn’t a member of BRFFA at that time so my memories of Tony purely as a customer but it was clear even to me that Tony brought a new energy to BWF and was brimming over with new ideas on how to popularise the fishing on the lakes.
It was especially notable that he was a devote fly fisherman and was a member of BRFFA and regular participant in the club’s comps and fished for the Emergers.
Tony left BWF in 2016 moving on to pastures new. He was a an extremely popular character in the fly angling community. I’m sure I speak for us all in extending our heartfelt sympathies to Tony’s family.
In memory of Tony the club and BWF are in discussions over a establishing a memorial competition in his name. This will likely be run in the early Autumn - 5/6th September and will be very different to the usual format of our comps to reflect the creative approach Tony brought to our sport.”
I think it would appropriate to have a few moments of reflection before moving to the main business of the meeting.
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 like to offer my sincerest thanks to the “engine room” of the club - our secretary Martin and treasurer Andrew for their endless work in ensuring our club and club competitions are so successful. I’d like to thank all the committee members who have helped in their various ways, the two Tonys Torrington and Coxhead, Lee Williams, Tim Wellman, Bill Pugh, Gary Haskins, Mark Miles, Lesley Roach and of course, Dave Drake our absentee President – for another consummate performance as our auctioneer!
Could encourage you all at this point to show you appreciation by offering a sincere round of applause to our committee!
Now to some reflections.
At this point I would like to offer a few words of apology – you may have noticed that I wasn’t around as much as usual last season. This wasn’t for lack of wanting to be. However, on the 1st June 2019 I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing racket ball. It was a hell of shock and as anyone in the room who has suffered this injury will know it’s not really conducive to fishing. Some of you will have seen me hobbling around at the Family Fun days in my bionic boot - but the comps were out of the question. Sadly, I suffered quite serious complications in September and ended up in the BRI for a week – I’m pretty much recovered now but latter half of 2019 is a period I would like to forget. The consequences were that there were quite a few things on my things-to-do-list for the club that didn’t get done.
There only three matters that I’m going to mention in the remainder of speech.
The first is the club’s continued commitment to boosting fishing on the lakes.
There are indications that the initiatives begun in 2018, notably the family Fishing Days have begun to have a measurable effect. I believe footfall from fly fishing was up 25%. One of the critical features of this activity is our developing relationship with BW.
A manifestation of this is an idea that Steve Smith has initiated namely that of the club signing up to a “Social Contract”. We are not alone in this initiative - all the other leisure interest groups involved with the lake are in similar discussions with Steve. His motivation is to formalise our developing relationship with BW and set an agenda for this relationship going forward.
Social Contracts not legally binding but they do carry some weight as an ethical agreement. As a committee we’re taking this matter very seriously and invited Steve Smith to our last meeting to present the SC idea and take questions. Following on from this are now working on Steve’s draft document, which will present to you in due course. One thing I would ask is that if any of you know of members or have contacts who could offer us legal advice in this matter could I please ask you to contact Martin.
There are a lot of words in Social Contract but the most interesting part of it are the lists of responsibilities on both sides, for example, BWF to look after the quality and economics of the fishery, and the club to help promote fly fishing in its widest sense.
Another aspect of the Social Contract is our role in encouraging biosecurity and encouraging catch and release and the responsible handling of fish including the use of barbless hooks. I would add to this the whole question of the mega catches that are reported at this stage in the season when the new stockies are at their most gullible. I would urge restraint in both how many fish you catch in a day the way these mega catches are reported on social media.
Cycle track – sorry the “Chew Valley Lake Recreational Trail” – yes - cycle track by any other name. We lost the battle of the proposed cycle track although only the north west section between the dam and Woodford was granted planning permission. We avoided objecting to the plans as a club as we wanted to avoid coming into conflict with BW. However, I raised two objections one as a resident and another from my professional perspective as an environmental scientist. I believe Andrew also raised an objection.
It’s not entirely clear to me what’s happening now – I believe there is no funding in place to build it but applications are pending. I think we have to accept that the Cycle Path will happen someday soon.
Finally, I reported a while ago that we were beginning to undertake academic research on the lake. This is happening. A PhD student called Chris Webb started at the University of Bristol last September – Chris is a water chemist – his project will run over 4 years and is partially funded by BW with Matt Pitts BWs Catchment Strategy Manager one of his supervisors. Chris will be looking at the pollution of Chew Valley Lake from the source of the River Chew to below the dam – this will mainly be the impact of farming and will hopefully inform BW of how they better advise the farmers on best practice to avoid water pollution in the catchment. Chris is in the planning stages of his research at the moment but will be beginning his analyses any day – we’ll be deploying some pretty fancy kit - for example sensors which allow continuous measurements. I’ll keep you posted of developments.
Well, that’s all I’ve got to say other than to wish you all extremely tight lines for the new season.
Here I hand over to Martin for his Secretary’s report.
Treasurer’s report: Andrew reported on the finances of the club and presented a sheet of our accounts. The accounts were discussed. They were proposed as a true record of our finances by Paul Bond, and seconded by Ron Howard. Passed by the floor.
Secretary’s report: Martin reported that personally he had found that 2019 had been a tough year as the fish had not “been up” as much as previous years.. Clients had caught well, but as often as not on buzzers or washing line tactics, which was not really what many of them wanted to do. He hoped that this year would be better for surface action.
The club competitions had been a decent success, so thanks to all of you who had supported them. He reported that his job in running the events was so easy because of the help offered and it was a real pleasure in dealing with club members.
The family fishing days were great. Those who had helped out, although they had to put a huge amount of time into it and work really hard had also really enjoyed the days. Could more members consider helping at the next days that the fishery put on….please. Special thanks were offered to new friend of the club – Robin Parker, and special thanks were given to Paul Sweatman’s wife (Moyra?)and Paul himself.
Sponsorship had been difficult to develop in the past year. We were still happy to enjoy the support of Orvis and of Snowbee, but the Veals sponsorship had been taken on by Lee Williams (aka Red Lion Carpets) for the coming year. Funky Fly Tying was no longer run by Toby and so they would not be a sponsor any longer, the company now being run in Scotland.
The club were planning a big event for the Tony Donnelly memorial, and so Martin asked for plenty of support from the club. The club were proposing the event to be on both lakes, over two days and potentially for teams of four. Martin asked if anyone was prepared to offer sponsorship for this. He then thanked Graham and Andrew for sorting this out.
Finally, Martin thanked club members for passing up their trout after competitions for our charity. Martin had only had a little help from John Wingrove the previous year, but he had still managed to collect around £700 for the charity. He had decided to change over to Lynsey Game’s Lymphoma Charity (she lived two houses up from the lake entrance, but had passed away 2 years ago). Martin pointed out that CECT had been supported for many years and it was time to look “closer to home”. Nigel Game was hoping to raise £20,000, and our support would be more than welcome.
Prizes for the year:
Best Brown trout Pete Bessell (4lbs 2oz)
Best rainbow Adam Dresher (5lbs 4oz)
Veals Cup Dave Reynolds
Orvis Classic Mark Stevens
Funky Fly Hidden teams Mark Stewart, Nik Long, Alan Smith Bill Pugh
Snowbee Dave Reynolds, Pete Bessell
Matchman of the year Dave Reynolds
Election of officers:
Chairman R Evershed prop L Williams, sec T Wellman voted in
Treasurer A Wiles prop T Wellman sec P Bond voted in
Secretary M Cottis prop M Stevens sec A Wiles voted in
Memb sec L Roach prop A Wiles sec M Cottis voted in
Ordinary committee members: To be voted “en block”
M Weaver prop M Stevens sec R Evershed voted in
Auditor L Gilbert prop M Cottis sec D Reynolds voted in
Any other business:
We discussed the new midweek competition that Bill Pugh was going to run.
Tim Wellman spoke of his membership scheme.
Paul Bond brought up the issue of barbless hooks on competitions. He said that by 2023 all matches would be fished using barbless hooks – not debarbed hooks. Should we as a club opt to do this from this year? Tim Wellman suggested that B.W. make the decisions, though the National was going to be barbless from now on. Dave Reynolds said that making barbless compulsory might put ordinary members off fishing our club events. Andrew Wiles suggested that we have discussions with B.W. and Angling Trust.
Paul Bond raised the issue of club competitions and holding them when regulars would not be available – one of the club events had to be moved due to a clash of dates, and this was clashing with a competition that several of the top matchmen were involved in. Martin agreed that he would check the 31st May.
Ron Howard asked what was happening at Litton.
Dave Reynolds asked if Martin could find out the names of club champions from 2010 to 2015.
Someone brought up (apologies but I didn’t record who this was) that there was to be a show at Portishead in late June.
Finally, Martin thanked Jane and Andrew for their work at the auction and for the food at Snowbee event. And he pointed out that Jonathan at the Smokehouse had allowed the few decent fish that were smoked to be done for free as they went to charity.
Meeting ended at 20:42
Agenda for the 51st Annual General Meeting of the BRFFA - 23rd January 2023
Apologies for absence
Minutes of the previous AGM
Election of officers
Any other business
BRFFA December 2023 Newsletter
I hope that all members were able to enjoy a merry Christmas, and on behalf of committee I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. May it be full of good fishing trips, with plenty of sport on the lakes.
There is not a lot to report at this time of the year. Not surprisingly the lakes are filling well with the amount of rain that we are experiencing. The down side of all this rain is that it has meant that every time I am about gearing up for a chub fishing trip, the river bursts its banks again. I have never had a winter with fewer trips to the Avon for chub.
I eventually met with Luke at the lodge in early December and had a good catch up on what is going on around the lakes. Firstly, there will be no change in how the place is run. South West Lakes Trust are not yet in a position to take over running the fishery, so staffing will continue as was, and stocking will be back to the levels we are used to, and not, hopefully, down as low as it was last year. That still all depends upon the weather – it was really the hot spell that caused so many issues at the fish farm, which in turn lead to a decrease in the number of fish available for stocking. Alan is confident that he enough to stock at normal levels.
A new post has been made in the staffing of the fisheries. There will now be a ranger in charge of the hatchery – I guess, that basically means that the person appointed will be looking to “shadow” Alan and learn all about how our hatchery and fish farm work. I am sure that most of you are also aware that we now have a “senior ranger” post. This was filled by Alistair.
You may have noticed my typo on the last newsletter – the AGM is of course on MONDAY 30 January and not December as I wrote! We will start proceedings at 7.30, so please endeavour to be at the venue in time to get seated. Bernie has arranged for this event to be held at Redhill Village club. The bar will be available. We would still like to support the Sailing Club and use their facilities, but the fee they are asking for its use is too high for us to justify.
There is still a chance for any of you to put yourself forward to take a position on committee. There are at least three places available this year. If you have a little spare time and have a feeling that you can contribute to the club, please get a friend to propose you – or better still, let one of us on committee know and we will propose and second you. You only need two people behind you to be eligible to stand. One of the positions “going” is that of secretary. After over twenty-two years I have decided that I need more time of my own. So, if you know which way up you should hold a pen, and can do some basic typing, please let me know. I will certainly help in easing you into the position….
Fly tying recommences on Monday 9th January at the Stoke Inn at seven thirty. We will be tying pheasant tails and variants…. Then we meet again on 23rd January.
Happy New Year to all,
BRFFA November 2022 Newsletter
Since my return from Spain, I have tried to have a catch up with Luke at the lodge, but he has been on holiday. I believe he is in office today, and I am hoping to get to see him in the next few days for a chat. I will let you know how things are progressing then.
Fly tying continues tonight (Monday 28th November) and we will have another session on Monday 12th December. Tonight we are tying bonefish flies, but there will be some members tying trout flies. Then, on 19th December we have the curry night. The club invites members of staff from the fisheries team as a thanks for their work during the year. Club members are also more than welcome to attend, BUT please let either Bernie or me know at least by the previous week – so by 12th December, if you are going to attend.
A reminder that the AGM is to take place on Monday 30th December. We are hoping that it will be in the skittle alley, but that is to be confirmed pending skittles matches.
The annual auction will take place at Redhill Village Hall on Monday 20th February. Full details closer to the date.
On Thursday this week (1st December), Kirsty (Environment team at the fishery) is organising a bank clearance session on Moreton side of Herons Green Bay. Club members are welcome to attend, but must let Kirsty know in advance. She will provide necessary tools such as lopers etc. but please can you bring your own gardening gloves. Hot water and tea/coffee will be available.
You will need to disinfect your footwear due to avian flu, which is apparently present at the lake. The session will only be for two hours – from 10 until 12. Please dress appropriately and bear in mind that it might be pretty muddy.
Might see a few of you at fly tying,
BRFFA News February 2022
Dear Association Members,
Apologies for the lateness of the newsletter, but I have had some busy times. I set off for Cuba on Monday for a trip of around a month, and with seven clients during that time who have never tried the fishing out there before, I have had to put together plenty of outfits, tie loads of flies and prepare the guys for what to expect. But, I must say after the rubbish couple of Covid years it is pretty exciting to be able to do such a trip.
These are now well overdue. Please make an effort to pay up as soon as possible. Lesley will take your payment, or you can pay through the website. Lesley can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write to her with your payment at 1 Blake Road, Wells, BA5 2JB. Bank transfers are also acceptable: the sort code is 09-01-52 and the account number is 49298805. It is still just a “tenner” for ordinary membership and a “fiver” for concessions.
I caught up with Zac Coley – John Harris’ boss a few weeks back. He gave me an update on the takeover. Absolutely nothing is happening at the moment as regards the proposed South West Lakes Trust takeover because the overall move for Pennon to take control of Bristol Water has not yet been approved. Apparently, the whole process has to be checked by CMA (Competition and Markets Authority – formerly the Monopolies Commission) and this is a two-part process. Firstly, there is a CMA consultancy based check on the deal. This was mostly completed before Christmas, and certainly by 12th January. Zac thinks a conclusion was reached, but the second stage of the process involves the bid being put to “pubic consultation”. This will be going ahead between sometime in March and a finish date in May. Quite how the public are consulted remains to be seen – maybe I should ask whether key stakeholders such as our club should be approached?
Zac went on to say that the process of SWLT taking over the fishing could only be negotiated after the Pennon deal was sorted. That is all quite logical, but it begs the question – “Why was the fishery takeover put out there when the CEO must have known that a B.W. buyout was happening?” Surely that is putting the cart before the horse? Logically, the B.W. buyout should have happened and then whoever took charge would be in a position think about whether there was a need for the fishing side of things to be “sold off”! But, not being involved with “big business”, what do I know?
At a recent committee meeting, Adam Drescher was appointed Club Captain for this year. There was a lot of discussion regarding the club team, and how they represent us. Some on committee feel that there is scope for far more of our members to “get involved” and try to push for a place in our team. There is plenty of opportunity for this, especially through the inter-club competition that is organised by “The Association of Major Clubs”. The six-match competition is supported by our club and is open for anglers who are paid up members to fish. The dates of the events are on the website, but I will set out the rounds below. Please think about getting involved in these events – the club pays for the boat for you, all you have to do is pay for the fishing ticket on the day.
Round one Bewl Water Sunday 24th April Team of four
Round two Grafham Water Wednesday 11th May Team of six
Round three Farmoor Saturday 18th June Team of six
Round four Draycote Wednesday 13th July Team of six
Round five Pitsford Saturday 3rd September Team of six
Round six Chew Valley Saturday 1st October Team of four
The next meeting will be held on Monday night (21st) in the Stoke Inn. Jeff was going to tie some bonefish flies, but as the guys who are going to Cuba with me are heading to Heathrow on Monday afternoon, I will persuade him to go for something else. Check out the facebook page as Bernie will post what the theme will be.
With Andrew Wiles retiring from the position and fishing in general, we had thought that Toby was going to take on this role. However, as time went on, I felt that I had put undue pressure on him and so, we started to rethink who might be able to do the job. Then, out of the blue, we found our “saviour”! Bill Pugh stepped forward and offered to run our finances. So, pending favourable response (committee were 100% behind Bill) he will be handed the papers and accounts by Andrew pretty soon. We will hope to “formalise” this position by holding an A.G.M. in the summer months. I will keep you posted.
So, it seems that by “stealth” B.W. have pushed through a much more elaborate cycle track than had been “agreed” when various bodies had been consulted. I have not had a chance to look at it yet, but by all accounts it is a veritable motorway. Isn’t it good to know that stakeholders’ opinions are so valued???
Davy McPhail fly-tying:
Big thanks to Tim Wellman for organising this event – I should have thanked him earlier…. I believe that the event went really well and that it was attended well, both in person and online. I think that Tim is planning a follow-up. I will keep you informed. Any ideas for some evenings in a similar vein please let the club know.
On my return from Cuba I may have just enough time for a newsletter, but then head to Spain for my usual (until Covid intervened) Barbel fishing trips. So, unless I can find someone with a finger on the pulse, you may have to wait a little longer. So, this is a bit of a plea to anyone who feels that they could write a short monthly newsletter. I am beginning to feel that it is time someone else stood in as secretary – I’ve done over twenty years of it….
So, just a fortnight until the fishing opens on Chew...it hardly seems possible that it is open so early. But, I guess financial aspects drive that as much as anything. With the current storm rattling the windows, thoughts are a long way from setting out on the lake on a boat! I won’t be heading out with much enthusiasm until May!
BRFFA News July 2021
I have decided that I ought to send out our news on an attachment, so here goes. Alan Smith can never read emails as his computer breaks up my newsletters into one letter per line, so the mails he receives are rather long….so, I hope you enjoy this one Alan!
The fishing on the lakes has picked up again following the stocking in the week on both Blagdon and Chew. Still plenty of large fish are being brought to the net, and the fighting quality of all fish – recent or long-term remains amazing.
No more direct news from SWLT, but the current fishery staff have been telling us that the fish farm has now fish for stocking for the next two years and a bit more. There is also the news that SWLT are insisting on having the hatchery, so that must also be good news for us.
The Red Lion Carpets event passed off well, and was pretty well attended. Forty ended up fishing, which considering several club members were away at an event on Rutland, was good. The winning “Hidden” team comprised The “Alans” – Williams, Clark, Shearn and Adam Drescher.
Gerry Rowe had a six an a half pound brownie off the bank and Dave Gregory weighed in a 7-12 rainbow from the boats. 146 trout were caught, with a the vast majority returned. On the day it was suggested by several of our senior club members that we should fish total catch and release, so we trialled this. Unfortunately the early comers were already tied up to buoys or the fish cages and so it was impossible to get the message to them…. It was well received so we will carry on with this approach, but in future, anglers will need to record the time of their FOURTH fish, and if they catch a limit, their twelfth fish. Of course, anyone is still entitled to take away a couple of fish should they wish to have some for the table.
For bank anglers it has also been decided by those who fish the events that it will be kill just first two fish, then photograph each fish after that. Tony will pass all information on to bank anglers for next event.
Mark Stevens (“Fat Mark”) has come up with the proposed sponsorship for his Garafit event, we just need to find a slot on the calendar. I will let you know as soon as we have arranged this. It also looks like Mark has sorted out some food after the event – but I will confirm this too when I know for certain.
Bill Pugh’s midweek event will take place on Chew this Wednesday (14th July). Please let Bill (07917-142474) or me know so that we can book the boats required. Cost for the day is £40 and Bill arranges a £5 optional pool.
We are going to run a dedicated bank competition on Blagdon to end the season. It will be on Sunday 31st October. We hope to follow this event with and end-of-season barbecue.
AMFC event Rutland next Saturday I believe I have a team, but I tidied my desk last week and now cannot find the names of the club members who told me they were hoping to be fishing this. Can you please email me back to confirm your participation.
Bob Hillier – he of 47 years of service at B.W. has handed in his notice and will be leaving on Friday 30th July. Lee Senington has also decided to hang up his office shoes and head for the hills of Wrington. He finishes the same day. We would like to invite club members to come to a farewell barbecue on that afternoon at Blagdon Lodge after three o’clock. Please be prepared to chip in a couple of quid for whatever we decide to cook or provide for drinks.
It looks like we have twisted the arm of Toby to take on the role of treasurer for the association. You will all know Toby for his enthusiasm and fine manner when in the Lodge or conducting his ranger activities. He will be a fine addition to the committee. Obviously, he needs to be formerly proposed and seconded and then voted in, but the committee has the opportunity to co-opt members onto it in exceptional circumstances such as these.
On Monday night committee decided that we will hold our AGM as soon after the season ends as possible.
Fly Tying in the winter:
We really hope to be able to carry out our fly tying sessions at the Stoke Inn this winter. Tim Wellman has secured the services via Zoom, of Davy McPhail for a session of instruction, questions and answers and problem solving on Monday 6th December. Hopefully we can manage this at the Stoke Inn, but should we encounter more Covid related problems, we should be able to do this session from our homes via Zoom links.
Wishing you many happy hook-ups,
BRFFA extra news for July
I missed a couple of items off the July news so as I have cancelled my fellow on the lake today, I thought that I would get something out to you all.
Bob Hillier and Lee Senington barbecue:
This is to take place on 30th July at Blagdon Lodge. In order to make sure we have enough burgers, sausages and rolls to go round, will you please give me advance notice if you wish to attend. I am going to arrange to fish the lake for the morning and early afternoon, and then come in for around three o’clock to fire up the barbie! You are welcome to attend, and I am sure any small gifts/cards etc. will be appreciated. I wrongly stated that Bob had given 47 years of service – I was wrong….it is in fact 57 years! That is some innings. Just a shame that he is leaving before the changeover.
Bristol Water have agreed to cover the cost of the food, so if the club buy cider, lager and beer – along with some soft drinks, we will ask members to “cough-up” for these. The price of beers etc in supermarkets at the moment means we will just ask for you to contribute a pound per alcoholic drink, and much less for soft drinks.
I may see if I can get some sort of deal from John Harris for a morning half day boat for that Friday.
Looking forward to seeing a few of you there.
AMFC on Rutland, Saturday 24th July:
I had one of the team cry off on Thursday, so I am now looking for a replacement. Please check if you can free up to fish the mighty Rutland. As ever, the club pays for the boat, so all you need to pay for is the fishing ticket. Please get back to me soonest.
Boat Buddy System:
I took out a reasonably local guy three weeks ago for a full day on the lake. He would love to fish much more than he does, but, he knows no other anglers to call and book up a day. He was delightful company and fished well. He asked if there was any chance that I could ask club members if any were willing to take someone out and help each other learn the ropes on Chew and Blagdon.
So, how about it? Apparently, Bob Handford used to organise this sort of thing. So, all I need from you club members who may not get to fish as often as possible because you have no regular boat partner, is to send me your name and, contact details (obviously I have email addresses or you would not be getting this) and I will get you in touch with each other. Please tell me if you are confident on the engine, or if you would prefer to let someone else take charge of that.
BRFFA News January 2022
Happy New Year to all members. I hope that you had a decent Christmas and are busy refilling the fly boxes in preparation for the new season. I have set out some news below; I am so sorry that most of it is not especially good news.
Committee has felt that it had to postpone our AGM – planned for 24th January, due to the Omicron infection rates around Bristol. It was felt that encouraging thirty or more people to cram into the skittle alley at the Stoke Inn, would be irresponsible. It has been suggested that we try to hold the event in warmer times – maybe during July when it may be possible for the event to go ahead outside should there still be a rampant virus around.
We also discussed the auction due to be held early in February. Again we have made the decision that we should cancel the event. I should point out to club members that our fly tying night on Monday 3rd January lead to at least seven of those present contracting Covid-19. Thankfully, all of the symptoms being experienced have been generally mild – sore throats and runny nose seemingly the main ones. The nature of an auction as it is with so much “mingling” as anglers look round the gear spread around the hall is a pretty good environment for the virus to be spread, and so the decision was simple.
Dates for the new season have been posted on Bristol Water’s website. Dates for our club events are on the BRFFA website. I still need to discuss the event (Garafit) sponsored by Mark Stevens and find a space in the calendar. I will let members know the date as soon as we have worked it out.
After discussion with Jeff Mason, we have decided to cancel fly tying evenings in the Stoke Inn until further notice.
I was hoping to give an update on affairs as regards the takeover, but Zac has not reported back to me. I called him a couple of times and left messages!
News from the lake:
John Harris and Luke have been working hard to sort out the booking system. They seem to be getting close to a better arrangement. They are also “on the case” for sorting a catch return form out. It seemed that last year that was failing anglers terribly. There has been a lot of work going on at the hatchery and the fish farm, but, as with so many professions staffing has been a problem due to Covid absences. Maintenance of the boats has been progressing.
John asked me to pass his thanks on to all those who helped with the bank clearance. B.W. is looking at undertaking more cooperative work between themselves and the user groups such as us, the bird watchers and those interested in environmental issues.
Email to members dated 18th June 2021
I hope that you have managed a few trout recently in spite of the hot weather. It certainly brought about a change in the fishing. The quality of trout coming out remains extremely high, and their fighting ability is amazing. Friday last - 11th June was the first day that I have seen fish up and feeding on top for more than the odd hour or so; hopefully a sign of what we are going to see in the next few days of cloudy weather.
Events have come and gone and attendances at them has been pleasing. The Evening League is up and running - next event should be Tuesday week - 22nd June. Bill’s friendly midweek competition has now had two legs with fourteen fishing the first and thirteen the second, so thanks to all of you who have supported the club and Bill’s efforts. First round of the AMFC has taken place on Grafham and our team did pretty well having not been allowed to practice due to windy weather.
So, to our next competition - the Red Lion Carpets Hidden Teams. This is to be fished on Sunday 27th June. I have a few places left, so, if you have yet to tell me of your intention to fish, please let me know as soon as possible. I turned away several anglers at the Orvis Classic such was the demand.
We are hoping to hold a committee meeting next week so if you have anything you wish to have raised, please let any committee member know.
It looks like we will not be able to do any mentoring sessions for a while as BW are not allowing three to a boat. There has been a good take-up on the Beginners’ classes this year and quite a few of these hopefuls have already bought gear. They now need a bit of “pointing in the right direction”. If you see someone who looks like they are struggling a bit, please do offer them some friendly help/advice. I am sure that most of us can remember how difficult our first couple of years was at this sport! I think this year would be more difficult than ever for beginners as the fish have been less widespread than usual in our lakes. Sure, once you get on them, the fishing has been wonderful, but if you are not “in the loop” and so don’t really know where to head, there is a slim chance of catching many fish.
I took a gentleman out fishing recently and he asked why we don’t as a club, organise a boat-buddy system! I thought about this and it really does make sense. There are plenty of you out the who would fish a bit more if you had someone to share the day with, possibly learn from, or possibly pass on some top tips. So, I am going to put this to committee next week and ask how we go about it. Any ideas accepted. I know some younger newcomers have made contact with club members through social media, but the gentleman I was with doesn’t use any of that, so needs an email contact or a phone number.
I guess that by now you all know the news about the Bristol Water takeover? If not, then I can tell you that Pennon Group are buying out all of B.W. shares, so, basically taking the company over lock stock and barrel. Pennon already own Bournemouth Water and South West Water, so the deal has to be checked out by the Competition and Mergers Committee. It begs the question “why was the fishing put out to tender at all?” Surely a deal like this doesn’t happen overnight!
Richard Evershed and I met with the CEO of South West Lakes Trust and one of the Non-executive directors on Tuesday. I will attach the notes from the meeting at the end of this email.
I hope to see you at the lakes in the next few weeks.
Tight lines and catch plenty.
Notes from Meeting with South West Lakes Trust
Present: Stuart McCullough (Non Executive Director), James Platts (CEO of SWLT), Richard Evershed, Martin Cottis, Rod Matthews (managing the changeover for B.W.)
We started with introductions and setting an agenda for the meeting, which was basically for Stuart and James to set out their objectives in taking over B.W. Fisheries, and for BRFFA to ask questions about the plans.
Stuart hails from the motor industry, but is a lifelong angler and sailor (ocean rather than small lakes like ours). He has been with SWL for four years and works about 2 to 4 days a month. His speciality is looking at people and markets and how trends change.
James was appointed CEO at SWLT in February 2020 – one month before Covid hit! He has been with SWLT since its inception, in various capacities, and was previously with SWW. He has worked on the ground at Roadford and in many different areas within the charity having a long history of managing different stakeholder needs. He told us that the charity is about increasing accessibility, though maybe not always linked to increased numbers, but hopefully diversity. He has previously tapped into funding from E.A. for platforms for fishers, match funding etc. He suggested that he deals with a good group of trustees and finds they align to water company objectives. He said every site has a balance between ecology, finances and activities. He talked a bit about Siblyback reservoir and issues there. The financial performance is much improved over the last three years, stocking levels increased and angler numbers and season ticket sales are increasing well ahead of the targets set. One of the issues regarding trout fisheries is that of stocking, but with B.W. - it has its own stocking capability.
Any plans that Stuart and James talked about are subject to a couple of provisos. Firstly, negotiations between SWLT and B.W. are still in fairly early stages and by no means are details “nailed on” yet. Secondly, with the recent news regarding the complete share buyout of Bristol Water by the Pennon Group, this has to be approved by the Competition and Mergers Authority, and this will take several months.
So, to the discussion. James stated that Chew and Blagdon are “very special” venues and they will respect this. The trust wishes to get involved in discussions with stakeholders to be able to ask them about how they think the lakes are stocked and managed. They will set up a consultancy group. The trust is aware that game fishing is a loss making activity, but that other activities can offset that. At SWL, they offset the loss from fishing by reinvesting monies from other areas such as car parking. This way activities and structures can all benefit from the profitable areas. After a comment from Richard about the importance that the club had invested in “community” and trying to popularise angling, I added that the whole environment was crucial going forward (I mentioned my love of bird watching). James said that SWLT have only a few SSSIs , favourably managed and therefore he thought that it was wonderful seeing all that our two lakes had to offer.
There followed general discussion which moved backwards and forwards. It was pointed out by Rod that there were fish in the hatchery to look after anglers’ needs for this year and for 2022.
To sum up:
The whole legal structure had been worked on for two and a half months. It is a complicated process as two boards have to get together. Then, two weeks ago came the announcement about Pennon taking over, which changes the environment and may change the timescale. But James said he was hopeful going forward. He restated that “economic, environmental and social” aspects of the deal were his priority.
He hoped that more conversations with stakeholders will take place from September onwards.
Martin Cottis 16th June 2021
Email to Members from Martin Cottis dated 4th May 2021
Good Morning All,
I hope that you enjoyed the lovely Bank Holiday weather….. I guess not too much fishing was managed. The shame is that the lakes have been great. On Chew there seems to be a really good spread of fish, and they are feeding really well, mostly on buzzers but also on daphnia. Hopefully this wind will settle and we can get some warmer weather that will encourage the fish to feed higher in the water.
Our Spring Competition was a resounding success with all twenty boats sold out. The forty anglers who fished caught a total of 224 trout, most of which were returned. Winner Alan Clarke was the first of three anglers to take his limit. He fished at Stratford and he and partner Andy Stone virtually had the area to themselves. Tim Wellman and John Braithwaite had identical weights but in competitions the places are separated by various means and John was declared second place angler.
Those of you who stayed for prize-giving will have noticed our old friend Paul Crook have a “funny turn”. I am pleased to tell you that when an ambulance turned up, he was checked over and blood pressure and heart were fine. But he had to go to hospital for further checks. He was allowed out at eleven that night and was declared pretty healthy other than low sodium levels.
We have a busy month ahead and so, I want to get news sorted for you. We are hoping to start running the midweek events thought up by Bill Pugh, more about this below. The Orvis Classic is happening and we have the first round of the Major Clubs too. I also hope to be able to get something going with the Evening League. But, all of these events require that we know who and how many of you may wish to participate. I will set out the details of all below.
Bill Pugh’s Midweek League:
The first of these friendly competitions is scheduled for Wednesday 12th May. We will fish ten until five.
At the Spring competition last Sunday a few of the anglers who wish to participate in this event discussed it and decided that it ought to be fished to International sized flies, but not full international rules. So, you may set up two (or more) rods. It is supposed to be a friendly competition and we will therefore allow you to fish with a pal unless you fancy fishing with someone you don’t normally fish with to gain a bit of experience or possibly learn something from one of the “crack” anglers. I am hoping that some of our competition boys that participate will be helpful to those of you who are “up and coming”!
We will charge £40 for the boat and Bill is going to run an optional pool of five pounds. We will fish catch and release, though obviously if any of you want to take some fish that will be permissible.
I need to book these boats in advance and pay for them, so, it is IMPERATIVE that I know who is going to be fishing. Please let me know if you wish to take part - no later than next Saturday - 8th March. Thanks.
Orvis Floating Line Classic:
I have spoken with Alex from Orvis Bath and they are still happy to support our event, though not to the level that Richard Banbury used to help us with. Alex has told me that he is most keen to get something into EVERYONE’S hands, and so he is preparing a “Goody-bag” for all competitors. He told me he would have a spool of nylon for all and some flies, Orvis branded stickers and catalogue. As regards prizes, he is only going to run with first place for boat and bank. He will issue vouchers.
The event will be fished as always in our weekend events, ten until six. It will be FULL floating lines only - so no midge-tips, sink tips or poly-leaders to get you depth. There will be a two fish kill then release ten fish with time bonus after tenth fish killed. Partner for the day to be drawn - I will try to get the draw out early again. There are still not many boats on Chew, and so, as I have plenty of names already on my list for this event, unless I hear from you soon, I may not have space for you to fish. I am going to see if John Harris can get some more boats on the water, but I don’t hold too much hope.
Major Clubs event on Grafham Water Saturday 22nd May:
I still need one more (possibly two) for this event. If you fancy a trip to Grafham (the club pays your boat fee - you just have to buy the fishing ticket) then I am sure it will be a great time for buzzer fishing. I was hoping to get to this event myself but my son’s wedding plans have intervened.
Please let me know if you would like to represent the club in this competition.
Our plan is to run with a reduced number of events. Six in total. Spaced out through the season. If it goes well we could add a couple at the back end of the season. But, as with the Bill Pugh event, we must have some idea of commitment. So, if you really want to have a go at these competitions, please let me know soon. I am going to meet with John Harris to discuss this some time this week. If I don’t hear from many of you then we won’t run with this event. Last time of asking I had just eight tell me of their interest.
All has gone quiet on this front. I guess there is negotiations going on in the background. I pressed the man in charge of negotiations for some sort of club involvement and he has promised he will consult with us at an appropriate time.
Enjoy your fishing,
Email to Members from Martin Cottis dated 24th May 2021
Another storm and four more days on the lake cancelled. Is there an end to this weather? I guess we will shortly head into a heat wave and that will change the lake right round. The shame is that we are missing days when the fishing has been so good.
The Orvis Classic was well supported and sadly I had to turn away a few late entrants. The reason being that there are still only 25 boats on the lake, apparently due to the fact that H&S at B.W. have condemned the workshop that repair work on the boats is carried out, and so that has slowed all the yearly maintenance. I will attach the full result sheets below. On checking I found one small error, where I gave Mark Stevens one pound less than he should have had. It meant that he moved up all of one place….but it was to overtake Dave Reynolds! Mark had practiced with Dave the day before..
I am hopeful that by the time we get to our Red Lion Carpets event on Sunday 27th June, we will be allowed a few more boats.
I am taking entries for this next competition, so please email me back if you wish to fish it.
The first Bill Pugh midweek event went well with the middle of the lake producing a staggering amount of fish to the fourteen anglers who fished it. John Horsey won the event and his boat partner Ron Howard was second. Paul Golding came third. The next event in this series is on 16th June, and I am hoping we can hold it at Blagdon. I will book seven boats again, please let me know as soon as possible if you wish to take part in this. It will be just £40 and no online booking required - other than letting me know. Optional fiver pools.
The first of the three AMFC events went ahead on Saturday last. Our team did pretty well considering that they were not allowed to practice the day before due to strong winds. Dave Reynolds lead the way with an early limit, then came Paul Sweatman, who also had a limit. There was good support from Ade Moyse fishing his first AMFC event and catching a creditable nine fish, and Paul Roach with a decent bag of eight trout. The Bristol team came third in their division. The next round is on Rutland on Saturday 24th July. I am hoping to keep a few days clear to go and have a mini-break up there. Let me know if you fancy that round.
Mark Stevens has confirmed his fantastic “Garafit” sponsorship of a club event, so it does look like we are going to be having an extra competition this year. Date is to be negotiated, I will inform you of it soon.
With numbers dropping for our bank events, though we were ever so pleased to get up to nine anglers fishing the Orvis, we have thought that we may run a bank event at Chew on a different day to when running boat events. Please let me know if you’d be interested in this. Mark Weaver is still planning a competition on the Tanks.
Finally, BW board are meeting SWLT board very soon to gt some things in place. I have again asked that the club might attend a meeting with joint board members. This has been agreed, but finding a date is proving difficult. I will as always try to keep you updated with any news on this front.
Enjoy your fishing,
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