Chairman’s Newsletter 2014/15
Firstly may I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year? I apologise for the arrival of the newsletter with your Christmas cards but things have been very hectic for me over the last few months and I am just about catching up with things.
2014 will not be a year I will remember fondly. But at least I didn’t have a blank season like the year before. Happily I managed to catch two salmon just before the season ended! Both were returned safely to run the brooks to spawn.
As a Society however we have moved forward socially really well, holding a grayling day on the Cefnllysgwynne beat of the river Wye, a Fur and Feather day at Bigwell fishery, a second skills day rounded off with a fabulous B-B-Q and a really well-attended fly tying class held every other Thursday in the Bear Hotel. Details of all these and future events can be found on the website. www.crickhowellangling.co.uk
We also erected the club gazebo at the annual duck race on the Bullpit Meadow to support Crickhowell Rotary Club in their fundraising quest to provide emergency tents for disaster areas across the world. Club members held fly tying and fly casting instruction for visitors at the event.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my committee members for the work they have done to help us promote the Society in the Crickhowell community and for providing their skills free of charge for our members.
I would also like to thank Ricky Smith and Paul Slaney for their help and support at the Rotary day and fly tying classes.
The website continues to go from strength to strength mainly due to the input and enthusiasm of Stephen Cox our website manager and all the other contributors. There are some really good articles and photographs, plus the site is being used more and more as our primary form of publicising events and happenings. I hope it will continue to grow and grow.
Next year we hope to put a catch return form and membership application on the site. If you haven’t joined up to the site then please do so, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Salmon fishing was not as good as 2014. The final count was 17 salmon which was again well down on last season. Once again the low flows of this year have ensured fish cannot run the river successfully, I hoped that the water flows in May/June would not have been detrimental for the smolt run out to the estuary. They would have had to run the gauntlet of many predators so we can only hope as many as possible made it to the sea.
We had a 100% catch and return rate this season. As chairman this is something I am really proud of and each salmon fisherman that returned his fish should be very proud too. The river is probably “still at risk” as an SACC but I can happily report to the NRW that we are doing our bit to make things better.
The biggest fish of the year at 17 lb was taken off the Bridge Meadow beat by Jonathan Powell.
Congratulations to him, he wins the Edwin Price Memorial cup for 2014 which will be presented to him at the annual presentation night.
At our last committee meeting held on the 4th December we discussed methods of further protecting our dwindling salmon stocks. We had three ideas to put to you at the AGM for your approval or disapproval. They are:-
- 1.Fly fishing only for salmon until June 16th.
- 2.All lures especially “Flying Condoms” to be single barbless hooks.
- 3.No taking of salmon after 30th September.
I am looking forward to some good discussions about these proposals.
Trout fishing was again mixed but many reports of good bags of fish mostly returned after capture were made. Final numbers have not been made yet but there seems to be a downward trend with our trout catches too.
We have 207 members of the Society. At our last committee meeting held on the 4th December 100 members had still not made a return to the Catch Returns Officer Geraint Meadows! At least
68 of this number have internet access so to not even bother to send an e mail return is no excuse. You have a form in the handbook, Geraint’s phone number and e mail address and we even gave you an extra month in which to make a return and we are still 100 returns down. Next year we plan to put a form on the website for returns also.
Geraint has now got to send out reminders to the others which is both time consuming and expensive for the Society
Please refer to the Society rule which require you as a member of the Society to submit a catch return by 31st October or face expulsion. This is all we ask of you.
Next year we will give you until the end of November to submit a catch return. Failure to do this for 2 consecutive seasons and you will be out. No one will chase you for a return!!!!!! Re-joining the Society with committee approval will require you to pay the joining fee as well as your membership. A stamp on a form, a phone call or e mail will be cheaper I can assure you.
Fly Fishing Skills Day
Our second casting skills day was held on GGC. Organised by Geraint Meadows and Justin Connolly our qualified instructors managed to persuade several of their GAIA colleagues to attend and pass on their vast knowledge to the membership. My thanks to Mark Roberts, Lee Davies, Geraint Jones, John Symonds, Chris Price and Alun Rees some of the best casting instructors in the country.
Although all this talent was available free of charge to the society only 5 members turned up to support them. Fortunately the event had been so widely publicised that 20 plus guests turned up.
After a morning of instruction “the chef from the Bear” Raymond Hinds prepared a Jamaican Barbeque.
I must pass on my thanks to Geraint, Justin, Paige, Mark and all the instructors from GAIA for all the efforts they put in to arrange the day and make it such a memorable one.
A great day was had by all and we hope to arrange the same thing for next season.
We were given a presentation in February by Steve Barker and Clive Williams (Enforcement officers, Natural Resources Wales) in the actions that can be taken by a club bailiff. Unfortunately this does not amount to much but both Steve and Clive re affirmed their commitment to fisheries enforcement and have said in no uncertain terms that they need our help to report incidents in real time not days later. Due to their low numbers they are now relying on the angler more and more to provide information on incidents which occur on our waters.
If any of our membership would like to have this training and become bailiffs would you please let me know? We are quite short of bailiffs at present due to illness and old age creeping up on us all, so a few of our younger members to volunteer would be welcome. We have given up on the fleeces but I can promise you a club bailiff polo shirt instead.
If you have concerns about anyone fishing who you have reason to believe is not a member, or who is behaving oddly, please call the National Resources Wales incident line on 0800 60 70 80 so that they have a chance to deal with the situation. Please phone in as soon as you suspect anyone and take descriptions, car registration numbers etc. Anything which would aid the NRW officers.
It is also acceptable to call the Police if you believe someone is fishing without permission. Call the police on 101 and explain the situation.
Tell the Police that the Home Office code for this matter is 116/11. For more detailed information visit the Angling Trust website
This year has been a case of waiting for the Welsh Governments “Green Paper” to be published on access to the inland rivers of Wales. All I can do to update you on this issue is to print what I wrote last year
“As I and others see it this green paper is being brought out to encourage the canoe tourism industry and it won’t be long before the river will be taken over by fleets of Canadian canoes with children falling in, splashing each other and generally causing mayhem. As such we reserve the right to enjoy our sport that we pay for without this legislation.
We as a society have signed up as a supporter of Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru, which is a body set up to challenge the Welsh Governments Green paper which is due out soon. SACC are fronted by the Countryside Alliance, the Angling Trust/Fish Legal, Country Landowners Association, the Welsh Salmon and Trout Association and Angling Cymru.
The link for the website can be found here. http://www.accesscymru.org/ Please join as a supporter now.
Please sign up as supporters of SACC via the website as soon as possible. We will need as many people as possible to lobby their Assembly Members before it is too late.
The SACC website will also give you hints and tips on how to lobby your local AMs either by e mail, letter or by visiting AMs surgeries. Please take the time and effort to do this. It is a simple fact that if we do nothing we stand to lose everything that the original founder members of the Society fought so hard to bring to life.
On behalf of the society I have written to every AM and our local MP to gather their support, some of which was encouraging. I have met with our local AM too and hope that she will be on our side when the green paper is released in January 2014.”
As you can see nothing has changed. SACC and the Angling Trust have been very active on our behalf though. SACC have challenged Canoe Wales on their support of trespass by their members.
SACC still needs your support.
Fish Eating Birds
Again there are far too many FEBs on the river. A license to cull was applied for last season by the Usk Fisherman’s Association and I believe it was quite successful. Another license is going to be applied for this year. Any sightings of cormorants, goosanders and numbers of birds, if you would like to send them to me or directly to the UFA would be most helpful.
Dates for your diary.
The AGM to be held in the Bear hotel on Friday 30st January 2015 starting at 8pm.
As it stands all committee members are prepared to carry on in their positions for the next year. If there are any of you who wish to stand as an officer of the Society or for any position, you can make your representation, with proposer and seconder in writing to the Hon Secretary no later than Friday 16th January 2015.
If there are any items or issues you would like discuss at the AGM would you please also make them in writing to the Hon Secretary again no later than Friday 167h January 2015.
Presentation night will be held in the Bear Hotel on Wednesday 25th February 2015 starting at 8 pm.
This is our only social meeting and a free buffet will be provided by the Society. It is a good night and will be a great chance to meet the new members of the Society and have a night of good food, a few pints, fishing tales and banter.
Would you please endeavour to inform the Hon Secretary of your attendance at least a week before the event. His contact details are in your members hand book.
The AGM of The Usk Fisherman’s Association is to be held in the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny 13th February 2015 starting at 6pm.
Dates for any events we will be holding this year will be published on the website.
2015 subscriptions to be paid to Hon Treasurer by 28th February, rates are unchanged.
Full Member £ 125
Senior Member (Over 65 with 2 years full membership) £ 95
Special Junior £20
Subs may be paid in cash and by cheque to the treasurer at the address above or electronically by transfer to the society account.
Sort code: 30-90-02
If transferring electronically please use your membership number and surname as the reference to facilitate reconciliation with the membership list.
Online banking is now available to the society and renewals will be dealt with in real time rather than there being reliance on statement delivery
We have a large waiting list of prospective members so this year we will need subscriptions to be paid on time. Your help in this matter would be appreciated.
Sea Angling Section
The only confirmed dates at the moment for charter trips next year are as follows :-
(a) Cod fishing trip in the Bristol Channel out of Penarth with Andrew Alsop aboard ‘White Waters’ on Thursday, 22nd January, 2015. (Charter fee £380 plus bait costs).
(b) 10 hour flatties trip (plaice, turbot and brill) out ofWeymouth on the Shambles Bank and the mussel beds off Portland with Colin Penny aboard ‘Flamer IV’ on Wednesday, 15th April, 2015. (This is a re-arranged trip from this year and is an ‘individuals’ trip booked for CDAS members but Colin Penny still has 2 or 3 places if anyone is interested in joining the existing group of seven CDAS members. Cost £60 per angler paid direct
to Colin Penny and bait costs will be extra).
(c) Plaice trip on the Skerries Bank out of Salcombe with Chris Roberts aboard ‘Anglo Dawn’ on Friday, 1st May, 2015. (Charter fee £350 plus bait costs). (This is to target the spring run of plaice on the Skerries Bank).
(d) Wrecking / reef trip out of Salcombe with Chris Roberts aboard ‘Anglo Dawn’ onMonday, 8th June, 2015. (Charter fee £575). (Target species are cod, bass, pollack, ling, congers, etc).
(e) Wrecking / reef trip out of Salcombe with Chris Roberts aboard ‘Anglo Dawn’ onMonday, 6th July, 2015. (Charter fee £575). (Target species are cod, bass, pollack, ling, congers, etc).
(f) Plaice trip on the Skerries Bank out of Salcombe with Chris Roberts aboard ‘Anglo Dawn’ on Thursday, 10th September, 2015. (Charter fee £350 plus bait costs). (This trip is to target the big, late season plaice found on the Skerries Bank).
PLEASE NOTE: I cannot book any of the bass trips for next year with the skippers that we regularly use until early in the New Year. John Wallington (Devon Bass Pro Charters – Axmouth – maximum of 4 or 5 anglers on these trips) and Stuart Denman (‘Ebony Mae’ – Burry Port – next year I will run these trips with ten anglers aboard, bearing in mind the size of the boat and also as suggested by one or two members who have been on these trips in the past) do not open their booking diaries until late January / early February each year. Chris Roberts has also not confirmed the dates of his bass trips for next year either (Eddystone Reef and the wrecks and reefs off Salcombe and in Lyme Bay). I will sort things out as usual for the members and advise them in due course; ideally by email or when Dai Rees or Scott Gable send out the Minutes from the 2015 AGM and details about the Presentation Night and any other sundry matters affecting the Society at that time. All the other charter trips will run with eight anglers aboard, as
usual. Quite a few members have asked me to arrange some sharking trips with Andrew Alsop aboard ‘White Waters’ out of Milford Haven next summer/autumn but, bearing in mind the cost of these trips, these places will only be booked as ‘individuals’ and I will be speaking to Andrew about these trips when we are out cod fishing with him next week (Thursday, 18th December).
Sea Angling Co-ordinator – Crickhowell & District Angling Society, Please note Paul’s new number. 01873 850826
The biggest bass caught this season was a fine fish of 7.5lb and was caught by Martyn John. He wins the first Evan Churchill Memorial cup and will be presented with the cup at the presentation evening. Many congratulations from me Martyn.
Paul Bowen works really hard to provide sea angling opportunities for all our members and their guests. Several times he has been let down at very short notice by members who have committed to a trip, not paid a deposit and not turned up. This has resulted in the other anglers on the trip having to pick up additional costs. This is not acceptable.
I have told Paul that if this keeps on happening that he should refrain from booking any trips without a deposit or if this doesn’t work to stop booking charters altogether. This season will be very important because if these actions carry on then that will be the end of the sea angling section and that will be a great shame.
Bank Clearance/ Litter Picking
This year we will be starting bank clearance on Sunday mornings in January starting at 10 am on the 11th, 18th, 25th and February 1st. Details of what beat and start time will be on the website. No major work will be carried out so anyone can attend. Simply picking up the rubbish will help enormously.
Please make an effort to attend at least one of these clean up days. It is in the society rules that all members should attend at least one day per year.
Bridge Meadow will be having some access points built into the banks during the start of the season (conditions permitting)
Once again I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope you have a good season in 2015. I look forward to seeing you at the AGM, the presentation night or even on the riverbank in 2015.
Chairman, Crickhowell and District Angling Society.