Saturday, 27 April 2013

River Angling A Dyeing Art

Last Thursday I attended an AGM of one of my local clubs,the club in it's heyday had around 400 hundred members.We are now down to 260 and the club in questions finances are beginning to suffer.Their seems to be no new blood coming along to swell the ranks.

We have only 20 junior members,the large majority are OAP's.With very few that are classed as normal adult members.If things carry on the way they are I predicted the club would fold within the next five years.

I suggested to the assembled throng(a grand total of 30 had bothered to attend) that a no show for a work party should incur a ten pound fee on top of the regular joining fee.This was greeted with howls of derision."We are OAPs we can't afford and additional ten pound,on top of the annual thirty pound we pay".As my mate said to me,"sterling work Monts,that is a record even for you,to alienate a room full of people within five minutes".

We have five miles of stunning river to fish,but it seems our members are insistent on trying to get more lakes to fish as the river is "devoid of fish" or "it's not worth fishing any more".The upshot of the night is that no increase on club permits were to be introduced.They have agreed an affiliation with a larger club for the fourth coming season.

It got me thinking a little.Why are we so low in adult members?How do we attract new blood into the club?Are anglers now so wired in that they have to catch every time they go out,hence the need for small ponds,stuffed full of stunted fish?

Is river angling to become a dyeing art?The youngsters of today seem to want to go straight into Carp fishing.Multi rod set ups and the like,they do not seem to have the joy of starting out from the bottom as many of us did.Other clubs I belong to,are also suffering a fall in members.Some citing the current economic climate as a reason.I think the real reason is that our rivers are becoming harder,be it through Otters or Cormorants,low recruitment levels maybe or just a natural cycle.The last two winters  have been a chore.Perhaps if anglers can't get out on the river owing to floods,arctic conditions for a couple of months they may well think......Stuff it I only fish once a month I will not join,so I may as well fish a commercial,catch a few fish and go home happy.

I was 43 last Saturday,is my age group the last in a line of anglers who prefer what our rivers have to offer,as opposed to commercials.Enjoy the hard times with a sanguine shrug and embrace the odd golden day.I'm not sure what the answer is,but it seems unless you fish solely for Barbel our rivers may not have anglers to grace the banks in the coming years.I do hope I am wrong,as this club holds a special place in my heart.

It was huge.

Breaking News................Luis Suarez is to take a sabbatical from football and will appear at the Liverpool Palladium for the next ten weeks.

Thankfully one of my clubs lakes open again for business next week,so I will be able to cast a line.Though I'm bending my mates ear to forgo this option and head to Marsh Farm,either way the next time I update I'll have some proper fishing to drone on about.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Be lucky.

Monty D


  1. Its a massive subject and I don't think there are any easy answers mate. Newcomers don't seem to value the 'smaller' species or the pleasure that can be derived from chasing them. Maybe each newcomer should be given a copy of How To Fish by Chris Yates as inspiration.

    The selfish part of me thinks 'Good, more room for me' but I know that this is a short term view and we need to get more bums on the bank.

    1. Indeed a massive subject.I have always been in favor of very little publicity,for selfish reasons.Like you more room for me.

      On some stretches I may not see an angler from one season to the next.The club has poor access for most beats,well a couple of hundred yard walks at least.

      The majority of club members flock to three meadows,that allow short walks.I avoid this part of the river like the plague,folk fishing cheek by jowl is not for me.

      Time will out I guess.

  2. Monty,

    The suituation that you speak of is affecting clubs all over the country. Down here in Sunny Deb'n we have never had any real river fishing but the local club which has many lakes on offer finds itself competing with the muddy puddles just the same. I grew up the same as many of the old duffers catching tiddlers and had a life changing moment when a Tench of about 2lbs wringing wet tugged on the end one day. The rest of the journey took in fly and match fishing until I dicovered Barbel (a bloody long drive for me) and here I finally found a fish that was stupid enough to let me catch it as well as pulling back a bit.
    The question I ask myself is if I were a 12 year old today starting out in angling and I had had a trip to a commercial where I had caught 50lbs of crap and another day out where I had sat by a stream all day and caught a few small roach and possibly a chublet, which would I want to do again.
    Our local club has struck a balance and made some of the ponds heavily stocked crap holes and left th erest to contain specimen Tench which can be a bugger to catch. Guess which ones are busy all the time?



  3. I'm guessing it's simply easy come easy go. If you learn to fish on very easy waters, you don't value it, so very easy to give up when it gets tough. Throw in a touch of instant gratification and plenty of alternative ways of passing time (that weren't about 30 years ago) then it's clear there's no quick fix, even perhaps no fix. Fishing porn mags are part of the problem, but not the whole problem, but I can't see it'll change without angling first reaching a nadir. So keep carrying the torch, it's the best thing we all can do.

  4. Its a crying shame that rivers are been neglected but then again a bonus for some of others , one of my clubs have numerous stretches of river but one criteria for them is you must be able to park behind your swim which is great for ease of getting gear out but obviously you sometimes cant get away from folk . As for the instant anglers , they really are missing out , you see these teenagers with big carp and all the hype about how good they are but put most of them on a natural venue or river and they would be stuffed !!!!!