Resources Section - club info and important news
WIMBORNE AND DISTRICT ANGLING CLUB
MAINTENANCE, STOCKING AND NEWS
Learning about Fishery Management
By Club Chairman Mike Hirsh
The 14th April for some was the first warm Spring day of 2018. However, for Committee Members Nick Churchill, Sean Harris, Nick Lawrie Steve Neale, Paul Nicholls, and I it was the first day of a two day course held at the Environment Agency (EA) offices at Romsey. I understand it to be the first course of its kind and was paid for out of rod licence fees and it was, as far as we were all concerned excellent value for money.
The aim of the course was to provide attendees with knowledge to enable a framework to better understand fishery management, with a focus on coarse still water fisheries. With this knowledge it should then be possible to write more meaningful fishery management plans and also to interact with EA with a good understanding of waters managed by the Club, in the event that their assistance is needed. The advice was largely provided by Iain Turner who is one of two full time lecturers at the Institute of Fishery Management (IFM) and Shaun Plenty who is a consultant working in fishery management. However there were EA officers in the room for much of the time, primarily Cormac Callaghan and Rob Pearson. Jake Davoile came from the Angling Trust to speak about predators and their management; the Club knows Jake because we are already working with him on our cormorant licence. There were good opportunities to speak with the EA officers and the main speakers over the two days as well as the other attendees.
The course covered:
• The demands of fish in terms of their biology, physiology, and general environment.
• Water quality including nutrient management and siltation, aeration options and a practical exercise using colourmetric kits and meters to analyse water samples.
• Invasive species – both fish and plants.
• Predators and their management including the use of fish refuges
• Causes of fish mortality, including the main diseases, for example KHV, Argulus etc and the cycles of the main parasites such as flukes and gill worms. Issues related to bio-security including dips and medicating damaged fish and also buyer beware in relation to fish purchases.
• How to age fish, including reading fish scales under a microscope, including a practical exercise and the service offered by the EA in this respect in relation to lake management.
• Habitat improvement including bankside planting and fishery problems in design.
• Case studies primarily concerned with the concept of understanding what is below the surface and issues related to better understanding the fish stocks.
There was also the opportunity to harvest hard copies of a number of EA publications [such as skin conditions in rainbow trout and Argulus management].
At a short, informal de-brief after the end of the second day it was unanimously considered by WDAC attendees that it had been a very informative couple of days and had been worthwhile.
The Club Committee has formed a sub-committee to review the stocking policy for its waters and a number of the issues arising from the course will be considered. Understanding water better will, for example, alert the Club to potential difficulties about de-oxygenation that may cause the larger fish to go off feed.
Whilst the course was primarily about coarse still waters, there are some obvious implications for the management of the trout waters too. For example, there is linkage between bankside planting, the creation of artificial floating islands and submerged cage-like structures. If well designed, fish refuges will not only protect fish from cormorants, herons and otters but will also provide habitat for zooplankton to breed and help balance out flushes of algal blooms, particularly when barley straw is used as one of the components. In turn this will assist dissolve oxygen levels. For example, at Edmonsham the existing platforms in the lower lake need some work and the top lake would benefit from safe areas for the crucians. These matters were only recently discussed in Committee but now there is a body of Committee members with a much better insight into the practicalities of what to plant on the islands and, indeed, how to make both artificial islands and refuges.
There were several examples provided of waters, where the fishing had been in decline and where the pressure had been on the managers to stock more fish. In practice it had been found that large numbers of quality fish were in the waters but not feeding for much of the time. The problem was the large number of stunted silver fish present that were upsetting the water’s natural balance and robbing the big fish of oxygen. It was only by properly netting out the fisheries concerned that the problem was highlighted.
There were also problems with Club fisheries where over time the waters all became similar in terms of profile and fish species. Netting out fish on related ponds in complexes gives the ability to create the opportunities to provide for different species and make maximum use of the water column. To aid the analysis of the age structure of fish in waters the EA offer a free fish aging service. The class undertook a practical exercise aging fish and the Club can apply for a free kit so scales may be sent to the EA laboratory. We may well take up this service which is clearly an excellent idea particularly if there appear to be old stunted fish in a water.
The Club does not have the current facility to measure angling pressure on any of our coarse fisheries. However at Kingsbridge, for example, it would be valuable to know, having assessed the weight of fish in the lake, what the catch rate is. From this the frequency of fish being taken could be analysed. If anyone has a bright idea about fish returns being made simple please let me know!
On the second afternoon the course considered fish hygiene and welfare. The Club will be posting advice on the Club’s website about the handling of fish and treating hook holds. However, it was made plain that wetting hands and trying to avoid stressing fish generally by unhooking with care and quickly are still core good practice.
By Club Secretary Stuart Hitchman
Each member of Wimborne and District Angling Club is both an ambassador for the sport of Angling and for the Club itself. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to maintain the beauty of the surroundings from which we fish.
Litter is our enemy and can cause no end of harm to the reputation of fishing and fisherman. Moreover, it can represent a real danger to wildlife and children. Further, it can represent a reason for our landlords to terminate our agreements as in almost every instance leaving litter is a breach of the terms. We have a collective responsibility to keep all our venues litter free and the solution is really simple - pick up litter and take it home no matter what it is.
We all need to take a few moments at the end of our session to ensure the swim we have been fishing is litter free, but we must all go a step further and pick up the litter we notice on the walk back to the car too.
It’s very easy to complain about the problem, but in this instance it’s even easier to correct – pick it up, whether it’s yours or not, and take it home.
Practicing good fish care - Part 1: Landing and returning carp
By Club Media Officer James Nash
This month sees the launch of our new fish care section of the website - aimed at providing less experienced anglers with the knowledge they need to safely handle our fish.
Every species deserves the same respect when caught but this becomes especially important with larger species - the bigger they are the harder they fall.
We're kicking off this section with landing and returning carp. There's a few tips and tricks to ensure that these prized assets are returned to the water in the same condition they were in before they were caught.
If there are any suggestions on how we can improve this please contact us on email@example.com - if it can be improved it certainly will be
The Where you Fish Questionnaire
and what you can do for the Club
By Club Chairman Mike Hirsh
Entrance to the AGM was, as promised by membership number. With this in mind the opportunity was taken to ask the attendees to complete a simple questionnaire first, about their angling discipline – coarse, game or both. Then against a list of the Club’s waters, ask how many had been fished on how many days. As you will appreciate the Committee works for the benefit of its Members and it is important to be able to make future investment judgements that best reflect the preferences of those fishing.
Indeed, the questionnaire then asks members what improvements/maintenance/stocking you would like to see the Club carry out in the forthcoming year.
Lastly t asks what skill/help you might give to Club working parties. After all improvements and maintenance are inevitably carried out by Club volunteers. The questionnaire is therefore also going on the website and I would ask all Members to make a return please.
The rivers close season
By Club Chairman Mike Hirsh
At the Club’s AGM on the 27 March 2018 at the British Legion Corfe Mullen the last item on the Agenda related to the existing close season on rivers, which as we all know for coarse fish is from 14th March to 16th June. The Committee sought to obtain the views of those present about the continuance of this measure, which is one of the longest running pieces of wildlife protection legislation, dating from the middle of the nineteenth century.
The reason for the interest in relation to this matter is the current review by the Environment Agency following on from a working party of different interests looking at the evidence for its retention. It appears likely that the public will be asked about their attitude to this issue in due course and to be able to respond with the backing of the Members, the Committee considered this was an ideal opportunity to take a straw poll by a show of hands. Of course it is simply an indication and is not binding, not least because slightly less than 10 % of the membership was present, with dedicated river fishermen in a minority.
The show of hands of those Members present was evenly split between retaining the existing close season and having a close season but in modified form to better reflect the spawning times of coarse fish. Abolition of the close season was supported by a small minority.
I found the vote slightly surprising given that we are now all used to the absence of a close season on enclosed waters. I thought part of the reason was that there was a significant ‘Crabtree’ factor operating on the evening with the concept being part of a tradition, which certainly I have been accepting for over sixty years. I like the idea of giving waters a rest, but of course it was immediately pointed out to me that these months are often those where canoeists and rowers are at their most intrusive and splashiest. We also know that when fish have sex on their mind they will normally ignore all other temptations.
I reckon a close season for me is a good idea. It is the opportunity to do other things. When there was a complete closed season including lakes and ponds the game section used to provide anglers with an escape valve by providing the opportunity to trout fish from the beginning of April. Of course these days trout on enclosed waters is a twelve month opportunity too.
Maybe the answer is that all EA licences should only allow an angler to fish for ten months a year and when completing the application the angler concerned has to stipulate which two months he/she will not fish that way we could give ourselves an enforced break and reduced pressure on waters generally!
However, the Club’s official response to any consultation will be retention of a close season but modified to better reflect fish spawning times.
Orchard - A new fishery for 2018
By Club Secretary Stuart Hitchman
WDAC has recently secured five day tickets for the popular Orchard Fishery close to New Milton. The complex consists of five well stocked coarse lakes - Match Lake, Jakes Pool, Main Lake, Tench Lake and Akins Pool. The complex further benefits from a well-stocked on-site tackle shop, Café and toilets.
Night fishing does not form part of the concession, but is available for purchase from the tackle shop, currently £17 per 24hr.
Members are required to sign in on a first come first served basis at the tackle shop and must produce their Club membership book for identification purposes. The tackle shop opens at 07:00 and caters for all coarse disciplines and supplies fresh bait including maggots.
The lakes contain multiple species and boast match weights in excess of 200lb and Carp to 25lb.
Specific fishery rules are as follows:
• Fishing 7am until dusk.
• Barbless hooks only.
• No braid.
• No keepnets.
• No boilies, beans, nuts or catmeat.
• No groundbait – loosefeed only.
• Fishery pellet only – available from tackle shop.
• No fixed rigs – free running feeder and leads only.
Further information is available at www.orchardlakes.co.uk
Orchard promises to be a fantastic addition to the Club’s portfolio. Please share you captures with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Club 2018 Photography competition - Judged by Chris Yates and Hugh Miles
By Club Media Officer, James Nash
2018 sees the launch of our new annual photography competition.
The contest will be over the forthcoming 12 months and will be open to both juniors and seniors in separate pools. The winner of each category will be awarded an annual membership.
Entry starts now - a dedicated page on the website is coming soon where you'll be able to check out the current entrants and find out more about the rules.
Entries can be of wildlife, scenery or fish captures from any of our waters.
Looking after our waters, fish and wildlife
By Club Media Officer, James Nash
We'd like to draw your attention to the importance of the effect your angling can have on our waters if discarded or lost tackle is left behind.
Every single one of us has mis-cast or cracked-off at some point - it's an inevitable consequence of a moments lapse in concentration or an error in judgement. What's important is that we deal with the mis-hap correctly. If you are unable to retrieve your broken cast then please ensure you make the Club aware of the situation straight away. We can then arrange for the line and terminal tackle to be collected and disposed of. By failing to report this you are putting the local wildlife at risk - wild animals die each year by being caught up and snared in rubbish and litter.
As a fishing Club we are responsible for ensuring we do not contribute to this. PLEASE ensure you notify us of any such instances at the soonest opportunity.
Next month we'll be starting a series of articles on fish care. Some of you will be very familiar with these , others perhaps not so. It's important that we all know the correct fish handling procedures and it's a handy reminder either way!
Club AGM 2018
Tuesday 27th March 2018
The 2018 WDAC AGM will be held at the Royal British Legion (RBL) in Corfe Mullen Tuesday 27 March and will commence at 19:30. You will note that the format has changed slightly from last year. Come along and find out more about the fantastic projects scheduled for 2018. WDAC is a members Club and your input is essential and will ensure the Committee remains focussed on the interest of its membership.
Admission is restricted to WDAC members and you will be asked to produce your membership book to gain entry.
Looking forward to seeing you all there.
7.30PM Tuesday 27th March
76A Blandford Rd, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne BH21 3HQ
Club AGM 2018
By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman
The Club’s AGM is nearly upon us. At 19.30 on the evening of the 27 March 2018 at the British Legion Corfe Mullen there is the opportunity for all Club members to come together to participate in some key decisions, to hear what has been happening to the Club in the last year, and to understand what the Committee want to do in 2018. It is of course also the opportunity to challenge the Committee and its officers.
Learning from the experience of last year, this year admission will be by membership book only and you will be requested to sign in. So do not forget to bring your membership book. There is no intention to provide the opportunity for speakers external to the Club this year either.
I hope the ‘dry’ bits will be shorter than last year, when I explained a series of major changes to the constitution. There is a recommendation for the constitution to be amended this year too, but it is shorter.
There has been custom and practice in relation to free annual membership and bestowing life memberships but this, in my opinion and supported by the Committee, needs to be placed into the constitutional framework in such a way as to make matters transparent. Apart from the Club Committee and its bailiffs, free annual membership is given mostly to riparian owners and tackle shop owners. There are then a very few personnel who give consistently to the Club in terms of time and effort and who do not ask for payment of any sort but appreciate the gift of an annual membership. It is always a response for work done not any sort of inducement for the future. Honorary life memberships have, from time to time, been given for outstanding service to the Club by a member, usually in the role of an officer of the executive, and has normally only been given upon retirement from that service. It is in the gift of the Annual General Meeting.
Of course at the AGM there will be the need to elect and/or re-elect the officers and other members of the Committee. The Club still has a vacancy for Club Treasurer, which of course would be ideal for a fisherman with some accountancy experience. Brian Heap, the Club President, continues to do a great job covering this role but it would be beneficial for a Member to be trained up to take on the post in due course. Brian believes in the first instance we should therefore attract an Assistant Treasurer. This is an excellent idea, so if you would initially consider the post of ‘Assistant’ with a view to taking the post on, in due course, please contact either myself or Brian.
I am not going to steal the show, by reviewing 2017 now. Thinking back over the last twelve months, as many of you will appreciate, there has been an awful lot going on. I have enjoyed the Chairman’s role most of the time, although as with any job some bits are better than others. I take no pleasure, for example, in being involved in disciplinary matters related to Club members, but there have been moments of delight too. Watching families fishing together on one of the Club’s days at Little Canford was terrific and those looking after them did the Club proud.
The Club has more Members than a year ago, and the Committee and its officers are delighted that work in all its various areas continues to be well received by most. My concern, however, continues to be that quite a lot of the time the Club lives with a fair degree of uncertainty about what the membership wants. It is my intention that there will be a short survey for Members to complete at the AGM and is also likely to be emailed out too. I would like to know where you fish, your favourite types of fishing and what you would like the Club to do to make a day’s fishing a better experience.
Do come to the Legion on the 27th.
At the February Committee Meeting
By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman
As ever at a Committee there were some items of import but little excitement, like reporting back on a meeting Stuart Hitchman, Brian Heap and I had with our solicitors. However, below is a summary of some of the interesting items.
At the last Committee, Hugh Miles, who has been working closely with existing members on a number of matters, was made a Committee Member. Hugh needs no introduction to those many anglers who know Passion for Angling. It is a great opportunity for the Club to be able to use his skills and knowledge [and watch him fish for roach on the River Stour].
The Club does stock fish regularly and in 2017 increased the numbers of carp and silver fish in its waters significantly. There are also records of the recent stocking that has taken place. However, managing a coarse fishery is a complex business so the Club has set up a sub-committee of existing Committee members to review each water and related matters. At the February Meeting the sub-committee’s first report was received, which centred on predation and also our skills.
In relation to predation there is a need for mitigation so, for example, fish have refuges that are safe from cormorants’ beaks. The Committee are also well advanced in seeking an area based licence to control cormorants. The Environment Agency are offering the Club free places on a two day fishery workshop course over the first weekend in March and seven Committee Members, including myself, have agreed to go. This course is funded out of rod licence fees and I thought it was good to know that the money is being used in this way.
The Committee has agreed the purchase of five Aspen long-handled weed rakes and the same number of long reach scythes to help manage weed and vegetation at a number of the Club’s waters. Stuart Hitchman, who came forward with this proposal, had used an Aspen weed rake at Longham Reservoir, in preparation for the open day last year, and sees these implements as potentially of great use on our deeper waters.
The report by our Web- designer James Nash was good news. James identified that it was almost six months since the launch of the new web site and he went on to highlight the that the newsletter now had a total of 480 subscribers. At launch the figure was 320. Further, the Facebook membership had grown from 490 followers to 1160. Page views on the web-site were currently running at 7000 – 8500 a month. If this were to grow by 10-15% it would equate to 100,000 a year and could be potentially an attractive advertising platform which could produce an income stream.
Sean Harris, your Welfare Officer, identified the intention to run the following initiatives:
a. Free Schools coaching (Beaucroft, Winchelsea, Montecute) – Fri 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jun. Venue to be confirmed.
b. Get back into Angling – Mon 11 Jun, 17:00 – 21:00 Venue to be confirmed.
c. Let’s go Family Fishing – Sat 18 Aug, 10:00 – 16:00 Venue to be confirmed.
d. Junior members Saturday Club – 4, 11, 18 Aug and 1 Sep 09:00 – 12:00. The format will be based around the Angling Trust cast award scheme.
We are also in dialogue with Julia House Hospice to provide angling therapy to some of their residents and we are meeting with them during March to progress this initiative.
This, as you will appreciate, is an ambitious programme, and if you are able to lend a hand give Sean a ring (his number is in your Membership Book). We particularly need volunteers to help support the adult related events.
Our first Club river match since 2011
By Hugh Miles, Club committee member
What a cracking stretch of river for a match
This was my second choice of swim but Stu D drew it - lucky ...
At last, a river match for us all to enjoy, the first on WDAC waters since 2011 and what a truly great day it proved to be.
Ten anglers shared in a splendid social occasion and all ten anglers taking part actually caught lots, 55lbs 5ozs of mainly roach to be precise … and all thanks to that club stalwart and river roach champion, Mike Cullen.
He motivated the club and us running water anglers, dealt with all the permissions, pegged the stretch at Bailey’s and sorted the draw.
I knew which of four pegs I’d have liked but needless to say, with my luck at the draw-bag in the past, I didn’t get any of them. I’d never fished a pegged match before but I’d drawn peg 7 in the middle of no-where. It didn’t matter because someone had promoted me on the clubs’ website as a ‘roach fishing legend’ so I was always going to blank – wasn’t I!
However, the river Gods had been very kind, for conditions were as good as we’ll ever get for a match. The water was fining down after a flood, the colour and flow excellent, the weather warm and overcast, the light wind upstream and across. We could control our floats in the middle of the river perfectly, so we had no excuses for blanking, even me.
In spite of being in the ‘wrong’ swim I felt quite confident and after the whistle a ball of ground-bait [with secret additions!] had been lobbed out mid-river. Then first cast with bread punch on the hook, the float buried and a 12oz roach soon slid over the net. Wow, I could hardly believe it, I hadn’t blanked after all and when the float kept on diving under every cast for the next twenty minutes, I thought I was going to bag up big time.
I noticed friend and club president Brian on the next swim below giving me jealous glances because he was the one blanking. Then I hooked an even better fish, a one plus roach for sure … but it turned out to be a sea trout, the first I had ever caught from the Stour in thirty-seven years. It went well over a pound but sadly it didn’t count in the match so was reluctantly returned. It would have tasted delicious poached in butter and white wine!
After that my match started to unravel. I was hooking lots of roach but they were getting smaller as well as falling off. I changed the hook of course, then agonised about whether to add another ball of liquidized … ‘you can’t take it out comes to mind.’ My swim had died and worse still, Brian had started to catch, only small ones at first but then his landing net started to wave about.
Drastic measures were required. I threw another ball of bait, put the rod down to rest the swim and went walk-about. This surprised a few friends because I wasn’t taking the match seriously enough, even though I was eager to treat the day as a social.
I feel there’s more than enough competition in the world without having to compete when indulging in my roach fishing passion and I was surprised how intensely everyone was taking it. No one took their eyes off their floats, all concentrating keenly they were. I was impressed. Frankly, I’d rather help friends catch more fish, even put them in my favourite swims and when it comes to contests, I’ve never been competitive … so long as I win!
Entering into the spirit of the occasion, I tried to distract my competitors by chatting and winding them up when they missed bites. I even took pics of Brian and Stu D because they were in the two best swims and the camera might put a curse on them!
Much to my surprise, everyone seemed to be using maggots when it looked like a bread day – but what do I know. I even went back to my swim and tried maggots for a while but apart from one or two small roach, my heart wasn’t in it.
Balling in again, I started to concentrate and at two o’clock the bites started coming. I caught plenty, some requiring a landing-net and though several were being bumped or falling off, I was on a roll and thoroughly enjoying myself.
However, below me I could see Brian was catching two to every one of mine and they were bigger. I was being battered by a better angler … but may the best man win.
Brian was indeed the best man and he did win, bagging a splendid net of roach weighing 13lbs 4ozs. Stu D came second with 8lb 12ozs and Stu H our indefatigable Hon. Sec. did particularly well from end peg 1, for he seldom river fishes but landed a level 7lbs and the largest roach of the match, a beautiful pound plusser.
I scraped together 6lb 2ozs and thoroughly enjoyed the struggle and the camaraderie, for watching a float bury in mid river and landing roach after roach is, in my book, as good as it gets. Even better, everyone was catching and that was very good news.
It was clear from the catches that cormorant predation is suppressing the average size of the roach but the fishing is getting better every year, their size is increasing and with cormorant controls now in place and successfully carried out by our Chairman Mike Hirsh and Stu Davison, the future is bright, the future is silver!
Everyone really enjoyed the match and with all of us catching lots of roach, we’re hoping that Mike Cullen is up for organising more river matches in the future. Happy days are here again.
There are some beautiful roach in the stretch.
Bagging roach on a previous day - this is the swim that Brian drew - curses!
Stu D bagging - I didn't manage to put him off
Brian in THE swim - you can just see my spot by the track in the 'wrong' place and Martin in the Roach Bay upstream
Stu H with another good bag of cracking roach
Stu D came second with a hard earned catch
Winner and club president Brian with his splendid bag of roach - nice one!
Winner Brian Heap and organiser Mike Cullen
A happy gathering of successful anglers
The Club are successfully managing the predation issues
Trickets and Parsons session diary, 'Chub'
By Stuart Davison, Club River Officer
Two hours before sunset in early January 2018, I set foot on Trickets and Parsons below Julian’s bridge. A club-run stretch of the middle Dorset Stour, which I’d not fished since October. I love that first look at a familiar beat after an absence in the winter. How have the winter floods affected it? Have new fish moved in? I’m always asking myself these questions.
I made my way along the beat and it soon became apparent that the Environment Agency levels site was not showing a true reading and I knew the reason why. The main sluices further downriver had been closed slightly impacting the level upstream. It was still fishable. I went about the routine of baiting a few likely looking spots with some lumps of freshly made cheese paste and set up the 1.5lb rod with a 4oz tip down to a 1oz running lead finished off with a wide gape size 6.
After resting the first spot for twenty minutes I dropped the baited rig into the crease formed behind a tree where the flow was less fierce. The tip moved in rhythm with the current, as the lead just held bottom. Forty minutes passed when the tip sprang into life. I struck into thin air, I wasn’t 100% sure it was a bite! After another biteless twenty minutes before I made my way to my next swim. A few more pieces of paste were dropped into the head of the swim followed by my rig. I sat the rod on the rest and waited. It hadn’t been in the water more than five minutes before there were signs of interest on the tip; I lifted the rod out of the rest and waited for a more positive pull. It didn’t happen! I noticed the line in the water start to move toward the bank as the lead was shifted and with that, I swept the rod back and connected. It was a stalemate for a few seconds as the fish tried to get under the bank below me. With steady pressure, I kept it from the near bank snags and soon I was drawing the first fish of 2018 over the net. With the light fading, I quickly weighed the fish before taking a couple of pictures for the album before heading home.
Lovely Picture received fro member Carl Tuck of his daughter Sophie. A nice dark common caught from Creekmoor.
Club Game Meeting 2018
Tuesday 27th January 2018
Please ensure you have our annual Game meeting booked in the diary. The Game meeting will be held at the Royal British Legion in Corfe Mullen:
CLUB Annual Game Meeting
7.30PM Tuesday 27th February
76A Blandford Rd, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne BH21 3HQ
Cormorants 'v' Roach
By world-renowned film-maker and Club committee member Hugh Miles.
Those of us who are old enough to have a free bus pass will remember the good old days when our local River Stour was full of big roach, with two pounders a realistic possibility every day and all wildlife flourishing. Then in the 1980’s the invasion of non-native cormorants from Europe increased dramatically, the annual total reaching upwards of 23,000 birds every winter. Each cormorant eats about 1lb of fish every day and with roach being one of their favourite meals, our river fisheries were rapidly decimated.
As a result, some of the passionate roach anglers on our committee recently tackled the problem full on and applied to Natural England to control the birds by scaring or shooting. We were granted a licence to remove three birds and our Chairman scored three bull’s-eyes.
The removal of just three birds may seem pathetic but as each cormorant eats at least 100lbs of fish every winter, three dead birds means that at least 300lbs of our roach have been saved to fight another day … and some of the survivors will probably grow on to become the dreamed of two pounders.
The fishing is already improving. Better still, the club is putting the facts together to enable an Area Based Management Licence to be applied for and that means we will be able to control cormorants on all the club’s waters and remove more of them, a win win situation all round.
Bags of big roach would often include two pounders
the famous 'Roach Bay' on Wimborne's River Stour
cormorants are big birds with big appetites
But YOU MUST HELP because we won’t be allowed to control more cormorants if you don’t log your sightings on the clubs website. It only takes a couple of minutes and we need EVERYONE TO DO IT, wherever you see a cormorant, anywhere around our club waters.
Armed with the records of sightings, we have the evidence to prove that we have a problem. No one likes killing wildlife but we have a choice, non-native birds or our native wildlife that belongs here. Fewer cormorants means more fish will survive for our herons, grebes, egrets, otters and kingfishers to eat and every member to catch and enjoy ... and it's important to remember that fish are wildlife too and an essential part of a flourishing ecosystem.
Bravo to all those who are helping to achieve a healthy balance of wildlife on our waters. Happy days are here again.
the clubs regular match results over ten years charts a decline to zero roach - nothing caught = no matches
roach are a favourite prey - these are some survivors from an attack
BANG! - job done ... meaning some more of our native wildlife will survive, including our fish
big roach are targeted first - this one weighed 1lb12ozs
Getting ready for 2018
By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman
I have been on line during January looking at sales in fishing tackle retailers buying a few odd bits of tackle. New lines for fixed spool reels, and a bait box I can hang off a belt, so I can go roving about with a bit of tackle and not worry about whether I can get easily to the bait of choice – I thought it would be useful for dog biscuits for carp, or some maggots to loose feed grayling before March comes and river fishing stops.
Soon the weather will be warmer and the fish will change their habits. On the River it is difficult to see that spring is on the way, but I have been watching two kingfishers lately that clearly have a territory and are a couple. Last week at Winterborne Zelston the water weed is suddenly looking greener and longer and the herbage and grasses at the edge of the water have started into growth, protected from frosts by the warmer water at night.
Fishing for me is a relaxation, I use it to switch off from the stresses and strains of life by becoming absorbed and focused on the puzzle of catching fish. Watching the life by the water adds to the overall experience too. So why set a fish catching target?
This year I would like to catch some decent River fish but really that translates into: this year I would like to spend some time fishing! However, more importantly, I have promised to take my granddaughter, now six, fishing and if she manages to catch then that will do for me.
I would like every member of the Club to get one other person fishing. Get a friend, who used to fish, back fishing; taking a relation out on an adventure; or assisting somebody who is now, for one reason or another, unable to fish without a lift. The Club had a good year in 2017 with increased membership and good sales of day tickets. In 2018 it will be great if the uptake can be continued.
By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman
It is an aquarium of a lake. The water is so clear that standing on one of the platforms on a calm day you can see the bottom over half the lake. At this time of year it is as near a perfect small lake as one could find. Indeed our trout stockists down the years have always said that its water is one of the best in southern England.
It is also important because it is a freehold owned by the Club. It was purchased in 1978 by some far-sighted Club Members and so this June the Club will celebrate forty years of its ownership. The lake is a marvellous winter trout fishery and if you want to learn to cast a fly it is ideal. Many years ago I used to make a complete fool of myself casting badly at this water. Of course I still go there and cast now and again, but these days my line normally goes where I want it to (although I can still readily make a fool of myself!)
If you want to learn to cast a fly rod and would like some help, please email the Club. If we can get a small novice group together then we can organise a coaching day. Do not forget a fly rod is one of the best bits of kit for catching coarse fish too. My best rudd was caught on an emerger fly pattern.
Zelston as was said to me last week is truly a jewel to be treasured by the Club.
Kinsbridge Lakes, Packhorse session diary, 'Eels'
By Simon Dunbar
During the summer of 2016 I had my first few overnight sessions on Packhorse Lake at the club's Kingsbridge complex. The target species during these overnight fishing trips were not the resident carp which I had caught on many a day session at the lakes, but a rather more slippery species, known as Anguilla anguilla or Eels .
I had always wanted to catch an eel over 4 lbs and having heard that a couple of good sized eels had been caught at Packhorse , I decided to set out to try and catch one. Thinking night time would be my best bet and armed with some small deadbaits and plenty of lobworms as bait, I spent several nights on the lake with the hope of banking an eel or two.
Well I soon found out that catching an eel by design was not an easy thing to do ,in fact I did not catch a single eel on my trips. Never one to quit , I decided I would have another go in 2017 and to be honest I had found Kingsbridge a lovely place to be at night . Although the odd noisy nightjar had disturbed my sleep with its calls , the lakes are a peaceful place to fish and the deer I had seen at first light when the mist rose from the lake were a real sight to behold.
Late in May 2017 I made my first trip to Kingsbridge of the year , not a night time eel session , but a daylight trip with my Dad (fishing a guest ticket) with the plan to catch a few carp. We arrived early on an overcast day , finding only a couple of other anglers on Packhorse. We were soon set up in adjacent swims , my rods baited with pellets and sweetcorn , Dad using luncheon meat and bread , I was sure the carp would be soon be feeding on our baits. Much to my surprise the morning passed without a single bite for either of us, the lake unusually quiet. After plenty of tea and chat the afternoon arrived accompanied by some heavy rain that had us sheltering under Dad's brolly , I had left mine at home!
As the rain eased Dad produced a bag of prawns, suggesting we try them , but as he reeled in to swap baits, I decided to stick it out with the pellets and corn I had been using. I had never caught much on prawns and rarely used them as a bait. Minutes later a bite alarm screamed into life and Dad was into a fish on his prawns . To my surprise I was soon netting an eel of over 2lbs for him. " I've been trying to catch an eel from here and you get one by accident ! " I remarked as I returned the fish to the water. "At least I know they are actually here in the lake now" , I said and watched my Dad recast some more of his prawns out into the lake.
Around ten minutes later ,another screaming alarm and Dad was again playing a fish that had picked up his prawns . " This is heavier " he said , as the rod bent strongly and the fish took line. I stood ready with the landing net at the edge of the lake and watching the way his line was moving in the water I knew that this was going to be another eel and a good one ! I was soon netting the biggest, longest eel I had seen . We weighed it and it was 4 lbs 8 oz , this was the sort of eel I had been dreaming of catching the previous summer ! After some photo's the impressive eel was returned to the water , " Give me some prawns Dad " I said and began reeling in my rods.
Maybe twenty minutes had passed when one of my rods, now baited with prawns,sprang into life. I grabbed the rod from its rests and as soon as I felt the fish pull I knew exactly what it was. "It's another good eel ! " Dad said as it came to the net and I was soon weighing and having my photo taken with my first Packhorse Lake Eel of 3 lbs 2 oz . Dad caught another smaller eel soon after , which meant that four Eels had been caught in less than an hour ! Sadly,that was the last action of the afternoon , but I couldn't believe that after spending all those nights without a single eel , I had seen four of them on the bank in the space of an hour!
I only managed a couple of night sessions on the lake last summer after that afternoon , with just one more eel and a couple of carp being landed. I can't wait for this summer to arrive however ,as I will definitely be returning to Packhorse and definitely be taking some prawns !
Creekmoor work party
Sunday 11th February 2018
We're pleased to announce our second work party for 2018. On Sunday 11th February we'll be at Creekmoor lakes, starting at 10.00am. We've been in touch with the 'Friends of Creekmoor' group who have kindly offered to promote the event to their members to assist. The objectives for the work party are:
1 To thoroughly litter pick the public footpaths and undergrowth
2 To open up our designated swims by cutting reed lines back and clearing debris
3 To utilise the boat and clear any litter and debris that's currently in the lake out of reach of the bank
4 To rake as much residual weed as possible
WDAC work parties are fully inclusive events with all members and relations invited. The work is varied and is suitable for Juniors, Senior and OAP members. WDAC is a members Club and successful maintenance is incumbent on work party attendance. Please make time in your hectic diaries.
It is recommended that you wear robust footwear and old clothing. Bring a pair of gloves and waders/dry-suit if you have one. Likely tools required are: Spade, Pick, Bow Saw, Pry Bar.
Lunch and Hot drinks will be provided, see you all there and thank you in advance for your help and support. Our club needs our help.
Received from Club member, Dave Kent
Many thanks to Dave Kent for sending in some great pictures of a three-fish haul at Creekmoor.
Given the time of year and the conditions, to bag three carp on a moderately stocked venue is fine angling and it's great to see these fish putting weight on since their release into the lake last year.
A good number of these Poole Park fish will hit 20lb this year and we're eagerly awaiting the pictures through when they do!
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What's happening over the coming months....
Copyright WDAC 2018
>> We're delighted to announce that the Club now has access to five day tickets at the very popular Orchard Lakes fishery, just outside New Milton. See our venues page for more details
>> Our new for 2018 Annual Photography Competition has now launched. A designated page on the website will be coming soon. See our news section and FB feeds for further info!
>> Please spare a minute or so to participate in our questionnaire. Our Club needs our input. You can find the link via the menu at the top of the page.
>> Please can we ask ALL members to make an effort to record sightings of cormorants via our new 'cormorant watch' page. The situation is critical and we ALL need to get behind the initiative.