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WIMBORNE AND DISTRICT ANGLING CLUB

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Koi Herpesvirus and why the Club’s officers decided to keep our lakes open. Lessons to be learned

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

At the end of the first week of October Club officers became aware that adjacent angling clubs had decided to close waters because of concerns about Koi Herpes virus (KHV). The Club received no prior warning about these decisions to close. It was, however, known by that time that there were confirmed outbreaks of KHV at a number of local commercial fisheries.

 

So what is KHV? The Environment Agency  advise that it is a very damaging and easily spread virus that affects common carp and carp varieties such as koi. Outbreaks of the disease occur in summer when the water temperatures are high and can kill a very high proportion of carp in a still water fishery, although survival rates can vary considerably. Critically the water temperature needs to be 15 degrees Celsius or higher and the incubation period is about 14 days. A key symptom is necrotic gills – there is excellent published information available that means all anglers can work from fact.

 

KHV appears to have infiltrated fish stocks via the commercial, ornamental fish trade and may well have originated in the Far East. It can most obviously arrive via fish being stocked and one of the key lessons I and other members of the Committee have learnt is that stocking additional fish from outside the Club’s control is a last option for fish management generally. [Currently a Club Sub-Committee is looking at future fish stock management on our coarse waters].

 

 

 

The reason the adjacent angling clubs decided to close waters was because it was seen as a preventative measure to avoid the disease being transmitted to their waters by anglers from those commercials close by. The evidence to support this position is based on deduction. It is common sense that an angler can transmit a virus from one carp to another via tackle and it is particularly likely that the transmission will occur from nets or carp mats and cradles. Thoroughly checking tackle after use, cleaning it and drying out nets, mats and cradles between trips makes best sense – I hang my nets and cradle out in the open air where the sun can help the process of sterilization too. A good friend of mine has his own disinfecting bath for his nets, which then get dried after dipping and I advocate this as best practice.

 

Common sense suggests that it is carp mats and cradles that may be the most likely culprits for transmission because in use they have a good contact with fish and also are the most difficult item to disinfect and dry thoroughly. It is ironic that an item of equipment focused on carp welfare may be their downfall.

 

So in that first weekend of October the critical matter became what evidence base was there for lake closure? I was clear that we should not be panicked by the actions of others or by pressure from social media. Fortunately Stu Hitchman managed to speak to our local CEFAS field officer who pointed to the weather conditions changing so it was unlikely that water temperatures would be high enough to facilitate an outbreak. Meantime I went to Edmondsham to check the water temperature which was fine because the water from the Crane keeps it cool, but a mean NE wind was blowing too and obviously continuing the cooling process not only here but across all the Club’s waters. We agreed not to call an emergency Committee meeting. Fishing has continued and there has been no report of sick fish or mortalities at our lakes as I write this (on the last day of October).

 

This exercise had already prompted a discussion among the Club’s officers about how, in an emergency, a lake is closed. At Kingsbridge and Edmondsham the likely methodology is to walk around the lakes, hopefully at dusk when most are packing up anyway, ask fishermen to leave and then lock gates with a large new padlock and chain. At the open access lakes at Creekmoor, Hatchpond and Alder Hills the Club would be restricted to putting up notices and then enforcing with bailiff patrols. We would of course also put up notices and post bulletins on the web-site and on social media.

 

It also prompted discussion about whether or not the Club should revise its rules to strengthen bio-security. No movement of any fish from one lake to another without the Committee’s agreement will be a new rule being recommended to the AGM in any event. However, should the Club ban keepnets completely for pleasure fishing and introduce compulsory disinfecting of nets and cradles etc?  How do we go about this in a meaningful way? The Club clearly needs to find a sensible way forward.

 

 

In the meantime – CHECK, CLEAN, DRY

DOWNLOAD THE 'TRANSMISSION OF KOI HERPESVIRUS' PDF HERE

Groundbait

By Brian Heap, Club President

Occasionally I look back through the fishing books that have come my way over the years, they sit on a shelf in the corner of my dining room and I can’t bear to part with any of them.  Many of these books are, ‘old’ now and the information they contain has been superseded by modern methods and by lighter and cheaper tackle.  Bread, worms and maggots have of course remained unchanged and I guess fish are no more intelligent now than they were when these books were written so perhaps some of the information they contain is still good, perhaps not.

 

Encouraging fish to feed then keeping them interested without overfeeding them has always been a personal challenge of mine so on picking up a new fishing book I turn to any information on ground baiting techniques first.  And now as I page through an old match fishing book I see the advice then was to buy a hundredweight (50 kilos) sack of breadcrumbs for 4 pounds and 5 shillings, this to last a whole season.  To prepare the ground bait for fishing the advice was to mix it with milk the night before the match using a bucket and a large spoon.  Heavier ground bait required for deep water and fast flowing rivers could be made by adding mashed potato to sausage rusk in the ratio of 3 to 1, the same mix as for strong concrete.  It was recommended that the mashed potato should be cooked and mixed on the morning of the match so, a nice early start was needed to peel the spuds and get things ready.  Certain venues required up to twenty pounds of pre mixed ground bait for a match and this was transported in tins and carried in a fishing basket strapped over the shoulder, no trollies about then.

 

Practice makes perfect, so accurate throwing was thought essential this to direct and present the bait to the correct spot each time.  Method feeders and pole pots were not by then commercially available but, it wouldn’t surprise me if early prototypes were being developed.  To improve throwing skills the advice was to position a bowl of water at one end of the garden path and sit on your basket at the other end then proceed to throw balls of ground bait at the bowl.  The reasoning was, the more accurate you were, the greater would be concentration of fish around your hook.  Setting the bowl into the garden path as a permanent fixture was also recommended for anglers seeking regular throwing practice.  The holding of the rod in one hand whilst throwing with your free hand was thought essential to the learning experience but anyone following this advice today should perhaps have a word with the neighbours first so as not to attract attention or cause alarm.  At the waterside regular feeding was the key to success and as one ball every minute was thought correct and hanging a wristwatch at eye level in front of you whilst watching the second hand sweep round was suggested to improve timing.  After several hours the wristwatch could be dispensed with in favour of the natural rhythm that would have developed by then.

 

Has fishing changed much in the last 70 years, perhaps not that much really, cereal based ground baits are still widely used nowadays but they are available in smaller bags and pure brown breadcrumbs take some beating on the river in winter.  Secrecy has always surrounded ground bait recipes and a it is a matter of personal choice whether we go home after a day fishing smelling of strawberry, chocolate or fishmeal.  After trying different brands, we tend to settle on our favourite, this decision often being made on the assumption that if it worked once it will work again regardless of where we are and which species we are targeting.  Can fish be tempted by a flavoured morsel when they reject a plain one; do fish prefer strawberry one day and chocolate the next; do the flavours catch the more fishers than fish.  Over to you and finally yes, proper preparation prevents a poor performance and as for practice, well we could all be world champions if we practiced every day, couldn’t we.

STICKY BAITS COMPETITION

By James Nash, Club Media Officer

In association with Sticky Baits and Wessex Angling we're fortunate to be able to launch our new competition, with £175 worth of Sticky Bait up for grabs.

A favourite haunt

By Stuart Davison, Club Rivers Officer

After spending several sessions chasing the chub at Throop I decided to continue a mini campaign I’d been conducting. This stretch is a favourite haunt of my mine, specifically when I can only do a short session, as it’s so close to home. It’s usually a beat without much competition for swims, but with a low stock of chub compared to Throop, it is a nice stretch of river to spend a couple of hours on.

 

Arriving on a Friday evening an hour before sunset, I was happy to find the stretch empty. I baited up the usual spots while I made my way up to my starting point mid-way up the stretch. I have caught a few from this area over the years and I’ve seen a small shoal this season with a couple of better fish among them. I went about my usual routine of a few baits on the spot whilst I was unpacking the ready made rod. With the low clear conditions this season I’ve been using a light link ledger down to a size 10 wide gape. It was 20 minutes after I’d dropped some bait in before I made my first cast of the evening, it landed perfectly on the gravel run downstream just above the snags the chub love to live in. I’ve found that with regular baiting of a spot, the first 20 minutes are usually the most productive. Tonight was no different, as within that period I had responded to the first tentative pluck on the 2 oz quiver I was using. By moving the rod toward the fish as it mouthed the bait, the strike was met with the thumping of a chub as it tried to rid itself of the hook. I could feel this was a decent fish from the off, as it piled toward the snag below. My heart sank when it locked up solid in a weed bed, which trailed the tangle of last years flood debris. I was not able to change the angle or get below the snag so as a last resort I dropped the rod top and slowly walked backward. By the second step the fish was free and I was now back in the game; with me firmly in control after nearly losing it to a snag it was not long before it was resting in the mesh of the net.

 

I lifted it onto the mat and thought it might go over the magical number, but I wasn’t disappointed when the scales read 5 lb 9 oz. It certainly had room to grow and I think with such good weather the chub have spawned several times this season, which can be only good for the future. I had another cast in the same swim and I was surprised when the tip sprang into life again, even though I bumped this fish on the strike and that was the last of the action that evening.

 

Two days later I was back again, this time I had to wait until darkness for my chance in a swim at the bottom of the beat. I missed my first chance, but luck was on my side when I connected with a low 4 lb chub.

 

I was back the following morning at day break for a dawn session. It had been a while since I’d done an early start and it reminded me of why I love spending this part of the day by the river as everything wakes up. It’s magical! It wasn’t until my second swim of the morning with the sun already up that I had my first indication of life stirring in the river, as I connected to a pristine chub.

I decided to put a few more freebies out and have another cast, within five minutes I was in again. Sadly this chub well and truly buried me in the snags downstream and I retrieved the link ledger minus the hook link. I wasn’t confident after losing a fish that I’d get another chance. but after making up a new rig I had another cast. Soon I was playing another chub and I wasn’t giving this fish a chance to make the snags; before long the second fish of the morning was resting on the mat.

 

With two fish from the swim. it was now time for a move to a couple of areas that I’d been baiting and not fishing for a few weeks. The first produced a bite only for me to lose the culprit in a weed bed as it transferred the hook. The second didn’t produce a touch. By now the sun was high in the sky and it was mid morning, so I called an end to the outing. The following evening I was back for more, although I missed my chances and packed up fishless.

 

The next day I packed a float rod, as well as the chub rod and headed to the same stretch mid afternoon. It was hard work on the float and maggot, but eventually I found some dace and chublets. They were in a fast run at bottom of the stretch which kept me occupied until it was time to give the chub rod a try. I headed to the mid stretch banker and had a fish on the first cast, even though it turned out to be a recapture of a 4 lb 6 oz fish I caught a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, I also saw my first cormorant of the season on the stretch and with it being early August it’s a month earlier than last year. Hopefully, my local club will be successful in obtaining its first area licence this season, so we can do something about these avian predators that cause so much devastation on our waters.

 

I had a break for a few days after that session and I decided to fish the above stretch for a change on my next dusk outing. It was clear, but there had been some other anglers on the beat in my absence, but they had not hammered the stretch and some swims hadn’t been used at all! I went about my routine of walking the entire beat before deciding on four swims for the walk back to the car. The first two didn’t produce a touch and as I made my way to an old banker, I was shocked to see another angler had dropped in on the spot. I left him in peace and headed to another swim out of sight. Just as prime time was approaching another angler that I knew walked past, just as I cast out. It was clear that the stretch had been fished more than I thought! Just as the light was fading the tip sprang into life and I was soon playing a chub. Several times it tried to do me in a snag on the far bank, but everything held and soon it was resting in the net.

 

I decided to pack up after that fish, I spent the last hour of my session catching up with the familiar face on the stretch since he tends to keep a low profile and usually it’s a while between chats. He spends a lot of time traveling abroad with a fishing rod, which means there is always plenty to talk about when our paths do cross.

 

The following morning I headed to Throop for a short morning session before continuing my mini campaign close to home. The stretch was busy for midweek and in the end I only fished a couple of spots. The first produced a 3lb chub, which hooked itself as I was sight fishing for some of the better occupants. Upon my return to the swim later that morning, I set out to sight fish only for a chub to take the bait on drop, but I wasn’t that bothered as it was a nice fish. After that capture the rest of the shoal vanished and I called an end to the session.

 

That evening I had a short stint at J.B which produced two bites. One was a recapture of the 4 lb 6 oz, while the other was a better chub that sadly after seeing it roll on the surface the hook pulled.

 

Bleary-eyed, I was back on the river for daybreak, my effort was rewarded within the hour as after several twitchy bites I hooked and landed a chub from my first swim. Sadly that was the only fish landed as another was lost in the banker.

The following evening I decided to take some lures to fish before trying for the chub at dusk. I settled into my first swim and after watching a small shoal of perch, I caught one around 12 oz before losing a better fish. With an hour spent doing that, I baited up some spots before heading to the banker to chub fish. As I approached I spotted another angler in the spot, but he seemed to be leaving. I waited to see if he left the fishery before dropping in the swim. Not knowing if he had fished it or baited it, I decided to just fish a single. The cast was made slightly further downstream than normal, 10 minutes passed before I had a some interest. Before I moved the rod toward the taking fish as I struck it piled toward the snags. Having lost a couple recently, I made sure I didn’t give it an inch and I bullied it upstream toward the waiting landing net.

 

My final swim produced another recapture of the 4 lb 6 oz, which made it the third time I’d caught that particular chub in a few weeks. It had been an enjoyable couple of months, but not being one to keep counting recaptures it was time to move on to another stretch until winter.

The Pinnock Lake Opening on the Thursday 20 September 2018

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

On a grey morning with a strong wind blowing up from the south-west I was delighted to find myself in front of a group of about twenty people that the Club had drawn together to mark the opening of the top lake following the Club’s reconstruction project. What a rare event this was.  I thanked the assembled guests for all for coming to Edmondsham to help celebrate the re-opening of this wonderful lake and explained how the Club has managed a restoration of a derelict water and the importance of our partners namely the Angling Trust with its grant allocation to the Club, our helpful landlords the Meddlycott Estate and in particular Julia Smith; and the Environment Agency who, not least, has given us A1 crucians.  I also thanked Peter Rolfe for his advice, we are so lucky to have the best crucian specialist living in our part of the world.

 

I also explained that whilst a number of our Members had done significant work they would understand if I singled out Stu Hitchman, the Club’s Secretary and Nick Lawrie for really driving the project and what a pleasure it was to be involved with such terrific people.

 

We had the ribbon cut by Martin Salter the Angling Trust’s Campaign Manager and then some special fishermen including Martin, Chris Yates and your Club President Brian Heap fished for the morning.

 

The local environment agency team of Jim and Rachael joined us and brought their testing kit. They found the lake’s water to be ‘about as good as you could expect'.'

 

 

 

At lunchtime Brian Heap thanked the team involved with helping on the day particularly Sue Miles, Sarah Hitchman and Helen Lawrie.

 

Chris Yates toasted the water.

 

Hugh Miles, who had been looking after the last-minute arrangements including ground baiting swims was his passionate best and was delighted when Martin Salter caught one of our tench that have been stocked alongside the crucians, second cast.

 

Nobody caught a crucian, but it was not surprising given the bankside disturbance.

 

However, I also need to stress a few matters. This is a restoration of a water with the long term in mind. It will be better as the crucians grow and it is designed to be a traditional fishing water where the expectation is that float fishing will be the norm. It is also much loved by our landlords, so the Club Members need to treat it with care.

 

 

The lake will be under permanent threat from predators. The Club will continue to string the lake to deter cormorants, and if you see one try and scare it off and report it on the Club’s website – it is easy to do. The Club is also considering the construction of fish refuge structures. However, the lake at present is weedy and both the crucians and the tench will benefit from being able to hide in it. Weed removal for swim improvement should be kept to a minimum. Martin Salter’s tench came from a small hole in the weed created for the purpose.

Crucians cross-breed readily with other carp. Moving fish between the two lakes threatens the future of the crucians. Please also recognise that the lake itself may become a reservoir for quality crucians which may, in due course benefit other waters.

 

Last, the Club’s Committee will be reviewing the fish stocked in all its still waters over the next eighteen months. If you feel strongly about any aspect of current stocking please email the Club secretary and we will take into account, any views received.

Distressed wildlife

By Stuart Hitchman, Club Secretary

As responsible anglers we all know the potential danger to wildlife from discarded tackle, in particular line. It is imperative that we all take five minutes at the end of our fishing session to clear the banks in order to keep the environment safe for all.

 

However, should you ever encounter an incident where wildlife is displaying signs of distress, for instance a bird tethered by fishing line or an injured deer as the result of a road traffic accident then please contact the Club’s Wildlife Office Mr Mike Meeks on 07884 226540.

 

Mike and his team are a local wildlife charity and will respond to all reports of injured/distessed wildlife. Indeed Mike and I recently teamed up to release a tethered Swan at Creekmoor Lakes.

The Long Wait is Over – Pinnock Crucian and Tench Fishing.

By Stuart Hitchman, Club Secretary

WDAC is pleased to announce that the new Crucian and Tench Lake at its Pinnock Lakes complex will open to members on Friday 21 September.  With eight brand new oversize platforms installed members can fish safely from a level base.

The long hot summer has allowed the original stock, gifted to the Club by the EA and stocked in Dec 2017, to pack on weight. Moreover, during weed clearing, irrefutable evidence of the Crucians spawning has been revealed. With the addition of a batch of larger Tench, stocked in May, the fishery promises to deliver some excellent sport. A further stocking of Large Tench and Crucians will take place in early October.

WDAC would like to thank the Angling Trust for its continued financial investment in the Club through the Angling Improvement Fund.  The Club has successfully secured three successive rounds of funding which has seen comprehensive access improvements not only at Pinnock, but at Creekmoor and Winterborne Zelston. Similar works will commence at the Kingsbridge complex shortly.

 

Many of you will have noticed the following at Pinnock Lakes:  replacement of the dilapidated platforms on the top lake; resurfacing of the car park; disabled parking bays; large notice board; fully screened wheelchair friendly portaloo; and the renewal of the storage shed. A huge thanks goes to all those members involved in the construction work, it is your voluntary effort that provides the membership with first class facilities. Not to mention the de-silting and remodelling of the top lake……

 

I remind all members that under no circumstances are fish to be moved between the lakes. The top lake is now an extremely valuable asset to the Club. It is one of ten fisheries in the country with the prestigious honour of holding A1, pure strain, Crucians.

Let's Go Family Fishing

By Sean Harris, Club Welfare Officer

With the school holidays in full swing during August, and the weather holding out with glorious sunshine, we embarked on our Lets go Family Fishing events.

The first was held at Edmonsham Lakes, this is a perfect venue for this type of activity, with all the hard work put in over the last 12 months in totally renovating the main lake, new fishing stages being installed, new toilet facilities and the ongoing maintenance of the landscape, it’s always a joy to fish .

 

We welcomed 6 families to the venue to try fishing for the first time, each family was paired up with one of our coaches or volunteers, and everyone managed to catch a variety of species, the feedback from the event was not only positive but also encouraging to know this type of event is welcomed as many Kids have never fished before, even parents who once used to fish in their younger years, could be seen reliving the joy that angling brings.

 

Our second event, and our biggest to-date was held at Creekmoor Ponds towards the middle of August.

 

The day started out quite grey but soon brightened up, as we were setting up in the morning we were approached by several members of the local community wondering why we had taken over the car park with a chip van and gazeboes, we explained what the day would entail and all of them were very positive and encouraging and pleased to see a community event taking place.

 

The day was full of laughter, surprises and very well received, in total 26 families attended,  with over 50 kids having a go and in the majority everyone caught – even a terrapin was caught…..

 

We were also able to donate some items of tackle to enable families to continue to fish, we were also able to gain several new members to the Club, which is always an endorsement to the long term survival of the club.

 

The family fishing days are quite challenging, but fun  to organise and run, and without our Coaches, volunteers, members and the local communities they would never be the success that they are beginning to become, as I talk to the families on the day they all say how grateful they are and that the coaches and volunteers are so welcoming, helpful and patient with them, even when they have to sort out a tangle, it’s always with a smile, a huge thanks must also be given to Dean at Purbeck Angling in Wareham for the free donation of the bait for the day.

 

What’s next……..

 

As we enter the autumn and winter months, I am in the process of planning next year’s events, liaising with local Schools, charities and councils, we already have a request from a charity to support some local kids during Easter.

The baler alarm at Orchard Lakes

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

Last week I took my granddaughter, aged six, for her first proper fishing session. We went with her Dad, my son-in-law to Orchard Lakes, which is one of the new venues the Club has invested in this year. Orchard Lakes, near New Milton is a commercial fishery where the Club currently has six tickets. It is a continuance of the recent practice of increasing our waters by buying into managed fisheries. So whilst I paid for two tickets for the non-WDAC members, I got in ‘free.’

 

I had never been to Orchard Lakes, but our President, Brian Heap, had told me that they had a ‘nice stamp of fish;’ so I thought I would have a look for myself.  The complex is located on the edge of the New Forest and was quite easy to find with good signs locally. It has a shop and the opportunity to buy the ‘house’ pellets, which is quite important, because ground baiting is banned and therefore one is restricted to loose feeding by hand.

 

We elected to fish ‘Jake’s Pond, which is the beginners’ water. After all the session was to try get a beginner fishing and indeed to get a lapsed fisherman, my son-in-law, back in the fold. It is a small pond but was ideal for the purpose, and for me there was a future promise of the other waters which I could see looked inviting.

 

For those in the business of teaching children to fish, the current trend is whips. That is how the Club runs its family fishing days. However, I kitted up my granddaughter with a rod and reel. The end tackle was a simple float big enough to take sufficient shot to make casting simple and a size 14 barbless hook tied direct.

 

We did how to cast. I explained the need to hold the line, open the bale arm and then swing the rod, stopping it where the bait was to go as the line was released.

 

Two maggots were the bait of choice to start with and as the lake is full of small roach it was not long before the float was being tugged about by unseen forces. However, and as expected, explaining striking was more difficult.  Both striking and reeling were proving tricky but after about an hour, at last, there was a six-ounce roach to be returned, followed by another.

 

Repeating the initial lesson granddaughter explained to me what she was doing. I am going to cast stand back. I am holding the line and opening the baler alarm and then there was a moment when, most of the time, the float hit the water.   We had not done fighting fish so when a carp took the double maggot and I said hold the rod up and wind the reel to get it out of the weeds the result was a lost fish. A bit too much pressure applied a little too late and the hook hold gave.

 

A slightly dazed child asked if we could do that again! We changed to a small cube of SPAM and an hour or so later a carp of about two pounds was in the cradle. It was looked at carefully, gently stroked and returned. [I did think I never caught a carp like that until I was much older than six].

 

The afternoon wore on, and carp could be seen on the surface from time to time.  My trainee wandered along the bank to talk to a slightly younger boy fishing with his grandparents. He then came down and sat with us and asked if he could try the rod and reel. So, when the float went under initially I gave the kit to this five-year-old, but it was plain he was not going to manage what, I assumed, was another small carp. I took over and raised the rod tip and the fish swirled at the surface – there is a big difference between a small carp and what turned out to be a large perch. I went slightly tense, but after a few more moments, made tricky by excited children, the perch was netted. It was an absolutely lovely fish of about two and a half pounds. The pond’s predator of the small silver fish had a taste for canned meat!

 

We fished on and granddaughter managed another small carp and then as we packed up almost lost the rod in the lake, as it was wrenched off its rests by a fish that came off shortly after.

 

However hard I tried to explain, the reel clearly has a baler alarm.  We have also agreed  that we will be fishing again soon. Her dad stayed on after we left and had two more carp so we may have a future senior too.

 

Give Orchard Lakes a try. I agree with Brian it is a place with a nice stamp of fish (and some are striped).

Creekmoor Campaign - Species Hunt

By James Nash, Club Media Officer

Having endured a forced abstinence from fishing during our lovely tropical summer, I decided that I wanted to explore what Creekmoor Ponds had to offer. The ponds were acquired by the Club last year from Poole Borough Council and were subsequently stocked with approximately 140 carp from Poole Park. The vast majority of these fish, between 10-20lb, making their new home in the main lake.

 

But what of the original stock? Which fish hide away in the depths that have so far eluded capture, or at the very least escaped the lens of a camera? I wanted to find out more so decided on a few day sessions during August (post hot temperatures) to have a go. Having spent most of the past 25 years chasing larger carp it was a refreshing change of target species and tactics. Would I catch anything other than carp and would my inexperience hinder my progress?

Creekmoor Lakes in the summer sun

The small lake has plenty of features to fish to

Hardly a vintage model but a centerpin nonetheless

Rumour has it there are all manner of species present: eels, pike, perch, rudd, roach and perhaps even crucians… aside from the larger common, mirror and ghost/koi carp of course. Armed with the simplest of gear, I descended the lakes in search of evidence. The plan was very straight forward – bread and an insert waggler. My theory was that these fish have been eating bread since birth so it seemed logical to make this my starter for ten. Set up on a 13ft float rod and centrepin reel loaded with 3lb line. Hardly typical gear for a stillwater but balanced and a great way to fish light.

 

Having never targeted any of these species before, I wasn’t exactly confident but I was excited nonetheless.

The first session on the small lake kicked off the mini-campaign nicely. A beautiful ornamental carp as well as two commons to 4/5lb were certainly welcomed onto the bank. These fish fell to bread flake fished an inch or two over depth, with the bulk of the waggler’s shot nearer the float for a slow descent to the bottom. In addition, two larger carp were hooked and lost. This was a shame but proved to me that there were numbers of fish present and some of them were definitely bigger than 5lb! It quickly became apparent that 3lb line wasn't up to the job, so on went a spool of 6lb line to help stop the larger fish in their tracks.

Once resident in someone's pond at home in years gone by

After two sessions on the small lake it was time to have a go on the main lake. Almost all members target only the carp so the existing stock of other species is relatively unknown. I decided to start off with red maggot over matching free offerings. It took a while for the swim to get going, but once it did things started to get interesting.

 

The first dozen fish or so consisted of small perch, small roach and then eels - some of which came in at over 2lb in weight. A difficult species to get excited about catching to be honest but really good to see them thriving in this venue. The session continued in a similar vain until a baron spell of about 30 minutes killed the action. Numerous bubbles were fizzing up all over the swim so at this stage I was convinced a few carp had moved in and pushed the smaller species aside. After what seemed like an eternity, the float slowly slid away to the right and I made contact with what was clearly a much larger fish. A 15 minute battle ensued, during which I caught sight of a lovely mirror carp, likely to be 10-12lb in weight. The vast majority of stocked fish in the main lake were commons - so I was particularly disappointed to lose the fish as it charged off to my right. The short session continued and then I had two fish that were were completely unexpected.

A small roach that delighted in acrobatic style jumping around the swim

A near endangered species but present in numbers in the main lake

On first inspection, I was convinced these two fish were true rudd, though having shared the captures on social media it transpires these fish are actually roach/rudd hybrids. Given away by a lower lateral line and a mouth that doesn't point upwards to the same extent as a true rudd. I was made up with the captures regardless - they came 5 minutes apart and looked stunning in the water as I played them to the bank.  Interestingly, no further roach or rudd were caught so it would appear as though there is at least one shoal of larger fish present - which reiterates the stories we've heard from local chaps who have known the lakes for years. For the first two fish to be this size may well indicate that there are larger specimens present - a 3lb fish would be absolutely magnificent and will be on the target list for the coming months for sure.

A second fish at 1lb 9oz no more than 5 minutes later

A new PB at 2lb on the nose, a roach/rudd hybrid after advice from our membership

After three or four sessions on the main lake, I decided to turn my attention back to the small lake in search of larger perch. I was delighted with the captures of the hybrids and wanted to see what size the perch went to - the opening few sessions had indicated the larger fish were likely to be in the small lake.

 

Having only targeted the small lake with bread to date, swapping over to maggots made for a completely different experience. Almost every session followed a similar story - small perch to begin with followed by longer waits for bites compensated for by the fish growing in size. With no exaggeration, the first three short sessions resulted in no less than 20 fish over the 1lb mark. For a complete perch fishing novice, I was really chuffed with this. What was of serious interest though was the larger fish I had seen chasing the fry and some of them looked truly monstrous.

 

Session number four saw the size of the perch increase, with a fish of 2lb 5oz landed. The fish fell to triple red maggot fished on a size 12 wide-gape hook to 6lb line and a 4lb trace. Again on the waggler, and again fished slightly overdepth. Having never fished for perch before I was really pleased and was starting to get a feel for how best to catch them. This session saw a 4-6oz perch followed in by what I had originally assumed to be a pike. It wasn't until the larger following fish turned that I realised my mistake - it was a huge perch and was significantly bigger that the 2lb 5oz fish. Perhaps even, dare I say it, over 4lb in weight. Now the adrenaline was pumping and I had become determined to land this presumably uncaught monster. This however wasn't meant to be - despite a new PB I was slightly disappointed I had failed to catch the 'big un'.

Another maturing perch just over 1lb in weight

The small lake is home to multiple fish over 1lb

A new PB at 2lb 7oz. The same fish 3 days later!

A new PB at 2lb 5oz

Several days later I returned to the same swim to pit my wits against the larger fish that I now knew were present. To my delight I managed to land a fish of 2lb 7oz - only to discover a week or so later that this was the same fish I'd caught previously, this time a whole 2oz heavier! The markings on the tail providing the conclusive evidence.

 

The massive perch I had witnessed a few days earlier eluded capture though and will have to wait for another day. What I would say however is the small lake at Creekmoor has serious potential for a specimen perch and I would encourage anyone yet to try for them to give it a go. On reasonably light tackle they give a superb account of themselves and it's a very exciting and rewarding way to fish. Someone with experience in targeting them could well be handsomely rewarded.

You can watch the goldfish jumping on the small lake

A lovely koi, scale and fin perfect

I was joined at Creekmoor on a number of occasions by Club Secretary Stuart Hitchman. Stu had a number of nice captures in pursuit of carp and was kind enough to share his images.

 

Stu's perseverance paid off as he was rewarded with a number of lovely looking carp and ornamental fish.

A colourful terrapin was partial to some breadflake

Watching bubbles around your bait is always exciting, especially so when you're hoping for a crucian!

Over the course of this 2 week period I had secretly hoped a crucian carp would grace my net. They had not made an appearance for me, but I had been assured by a number of fellow Club members that they were indeed present, just not in large numbers. I will keep on 'keeping on' and hope to share a capture of a crucian in the future. They are a wonderful species to behold and an asset to any fishery.

 

I'll also be back soon to sample the carp fishing, as well as finding out what pike the main lake has to offer when the winter months are upon us.

 

If you've yet to fish Creekmoor you should certainly give it a go. There are specimen fish present for sure and the added allure of never quite knowing what will grace your net next.

 

Tight lines.

A second more golden carp from Stu. A lovely looking fish.

Canada Geese at Winterborne Zelston

By Mike Hirsh, Club Chairman

As the trout fishermen among you will know, the trout lake at Zelston has had an annual influx of Canada Geese from approximately the third week in August for about six weeks for many years. However, in the last few years the numbers have increased dramatically. Last year there were up to four hundred on some occasions and thus now pose a serious pollution risk to the lake as well as a risk to health. Canada Geese are potential carriers of several diseases including E Coli.

 

Last year Club members tried various deterrent methods, short of shooting, without any great success and it was concluded, therefore, that a component of this year’s proposed strategy would be using starting pistols and shot guns primarily to scare, but if needed, to kill as well.

 

Canada Geese are not a protected species and indeed are causing similar problems elsewhere in the country due to ever-increasing numbers.

 

It was considered the shooting would have to be at the most effective deterrent time, when the birds came in for ‘day rest’ after being out feeding on stubble and in the fields. In the event this has varied with it being anywhere between 09.00 and 10.50.

 

I wrote, on behalf of the Club to the local residents living close to the lake, the owners of the adjacent agricultural land, the pony paddocks and to the Parish Council explaining our strategy to try and move the geese on. The adjacent residents we have met have been very understanding and to date I have received no complaints. Understandably the adjacent farmer has requested to be kept informed when shooting was taking place and, following on from the experience of dealing with cormorants, I have also phoned each shooting event in to the police.

 

With the exception of the seventeen geese borne on the lake this year, all the geese were moved on by firing blank ammunition as the birds were starting their descent. On Friday the 31st about seventy deflected away having circled several times. I concluded that the goose on the bank with a broken wing (understood to have been inflicted by the resident cob mute swan) was acting as a decoy for the other birds. With this goose despatched the remaining lake borne birds were deterred on Sunday 2nd September.

 

Paul Nicholls has invested Club monies in a klaxon and that also assisted the complete clearance of the birds on the morning flight on the 2nd and again on the 3rd when he did it solo. Paul reported no flight in on the 4th, although we have both seen very large numbers of geese flying just above the horizon to the north of the lake.

 

We have Nigel Taylor helping out too, but we could do with other members to assist. The critical time daily is from 08.45 to about 11.00. Please give me a ring if you are willing to lend a hand.

 

This annual problem is likely to mean a continuing annual effort, but at least there appears to be  a potential solution.

 

[With the weed dying back a bit and the water level not falling too fast fishing has been possible on most of the platforms in the last week.  Paul and I have also seen some very nice-looking rainbows up to about five pounds].

 

 

River Allen working party

By Phil Turnbull, Dorset Wildlife Trust - Rivers and Wetlands Conservation Officer

The River Allen is a chalk river that joins the Dorset Stour at Wimborne, and offers great habitat for a large range of river-based wildlife including many of the fish species associated with the main Dorset Stour.  Small tributaries of main rivers are often prime spawning and young fish habitat, producing a more sheltered environment that encourages fish survival and therefore recruitment within a catchment.  The river Allen runs over land dominated by chalk bedrock, leading to a system that is primarily groundwater fed.   The result is a naturally stable environment with clean gravels and dense plant growth, two habitats that are particularly important for fish spawning.  However, as with many rivers in the UK, the river Allen has been physically modified in the past, and is subject to various pressures from local land use.  Together these impacts can severely reduce the habitat quality, particularly affecting spawning and survival of fish species.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) worked with the Wild Trout Trust (WTT) to produce designs along the middle reaches of the river to improve in-channel habitat, and gained consent from the Environment Agency by grouping multiple sites into one project, enabling a significant stretch of the river Allen to be prepared for enhancement.  A week of practical delivery was completed last year by DWT, WTT and volunteers, enabling the use of a precious SSSI designated chalk river to demonstrate river management skills and increase awareness of the impacts within river catchments.  A variety of techniques is used, including brushwood berms, large woody material flow deflectors, and hinging bankside trees. All material is site won and secured with chestnut posts.  Shading is reduced at key areas to maximise production on shallow riffles, marginal habitat is improved through introduction of cover, and channel morphology and flow is varied, all acting together to increase habitat diversity for plants, bugs and fish.

 

DWT will be continuing the practical delivery this year with various volunteer groups, and would like to advertise Wednesday 5th and Friday 7th September 2018 (next week!) to the Wimborne & District Angling Club as an opportunity to get involved in further enhancing this important river, honing current skills and hopefully learning new skills that can be applied along WDAC waters in the future.  Furthermore, you will get to listen to me harking on about rivers and fish all day long - bonus!

Julia House Fishing

By Club Welfare Office, Sean Harris

In early June 2017 Stuart Hitchman made an initial call to Julia’s House to see if we could facilitate angling for their organisation, the following January 2018 the baton was passed to me to try and formulate a plan to get the Julia’s House Youth Group involved in Angling.

 

Following several communications and conversations I managed to meet up with two of their senior carers; Claire and Ashley at Edmonsham Lakes in early March 2018.

 

On walking the lake complex and completing the risk assessments they were very impressed with the work undertaken to the fishing stages allowing access to the wheel chairs being used by the group, we also assured them we would have a portaloo on site, suitable for wheelchair access – all looking very good and positive, provisional dates booked for early June, time to rally the troops and get coaches and volunteers lined up.

Mid-April came the email from Claire stating that the board of trustee’s could not sanction the use of Edmonsham Lakes because the Toilet would not be able to accommodate a hoist system for their service users, and the phone signal was not strong enough for emergency services - gutted, but not letting this be a barrier it was back to the drawing board, and thinking caps on.

 

Our ever resourceful secretary Stuart came up with the plan of using Todber Manor fisheries, a quick call to John Candy and we are back on!!

 

Early in July Stuart and myself trundled up to Todber with Claire and Ashley, the venue was perfect for their use, the toilet facilities were big enough to take the hoist, the lake we were going to fish was spot on, risk assessment’s completed and the complex was signed off as being suitable.

 

On the afternoon of Friday the 6th July, myself and a group of volunteers descended on the complex; at around 5 pm the youth group from Julia’s House started to arrive with their carers, the weather could not have been better spending time in the beautiful countryside.

 

An introduction was completed, safety talks given, picnic laid out by Julia House, and maggots at the ready……and we are off, using short poles and rods we were quickly into the fish, initially none of the group would touch the fish let alone hold them, but after gentle encouragement they were happily holding their catches for photos.

 

Fishing with this group was a complete joy and the banter kept rolling, we had participants fully engaged with coaches and volunteers, the look on their faces catching there first fish ever was priceless, memories were made for the youth  group, and just as importantly for us as individuals but also ambassadors for Wimborne and District Angling Club.

 

It took us over a year to get this up and running, with lots of bumps in the road, but we achieved our ultimate goal of getting youngsters fishing,

Huge thanks to our group of volunteers who helped with this event and the future events we have planned they are the backbone to this club and its future development, and to Todber Manor Fisheries who supported us in this event, and allowed us to use their facilities free of charge.

Not fishing but watching and a matter of privilege.

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

We have just been through a heatwave (I am writing this knowing an inch of rain has just fallen in Wimborne and I am wearing a jumper for the first time in six weeks). That long cold wet spring has been balanced out by a long spell of dry heat, at least I have heard this in conversation a number of times this July. However, if you are involved in an angling club, or are a farmer, it is not a balancing out but a double hit.

 

Farmers were late to sow spring crops and had to feed livestock in their winter quarters for longer, because the spring grass was not growing in sodden fields.

 

Angling was slow away too. There were jobs to be done, which just could not be undertaken because high water levels and unsafe conditions under-foot prevented it. In reviewing the fishing on the Club’s trout lakes, the weather in 2018 has meant less tickets being sold and a slower turnover of fish stocks than in 2017. Fishing in the cold and wet is not great. Fishing in the heat is worse, not least because the fish are more likely to be listless too.

 

I have cast at both trout and carp in July 2018 that were plainly not interested in eating. I wondered about the dissolved oxygen levels and that may have been part of the problem, but essentially it seemed that the fish knew it was too hot to eat.

 

However, it has been a good time to watch. The River Stour has been gloriously clear. I walked the Club stretch of Netherwood Mead twice in two days. The first was in company with a junior member, my grandson, and was in early evening. We stopped to watch two large chub swing out from under a bush and then drift back to their positions. The bigger of the two was well over four pounds, maybe five. It does not matter with you are eight or sixty years older; we stood enthralled. Of course our way home was essentially a tactical discussion, but as yet we have not put it into action.

 

The following morning I was back on Club business walking the stretch with a professional adviser. On the edge of the overhanging tree that marks the top of our Club’s ownership, there was a shoal of dace. The day was just getting warm and there was a hatch of small flies coming off the water, some of which were being sipped. They were delicate fish, turning silver sides now and again like mirrors flashing. Further down and out in mid-stream there was a decent trout at the head of a long line of chub. Business forgotten, we stood by our River watching about twenty wild fish enjoying their watery world, moving this way and that across the current. I did think that being responsible in a small way for this water is an absolute privilege.

 

My highpoint of the month was watching young people fish at Todber Manor on a Friday evening. The event had been organised by our Sean Harris in conjunction with Julia’s House and with the water and facilities offered, very kindly, by Todber Manor. WDAC provided the coaching and our team did a wonderful job. Those fishing were all in motorised wheelchairs and came with their helpers, and all of course became very competitive.

 

Everyone involved plainly had a good time; there was bankside banter of the sort you would expect anywhere.  The small almost, black carp, pulled well above their weight and there was a smattering of other fish most notably tench and one catfish. Before the evening drew to a close there was an in principle agreement that a similar event should be repeated.

 

Why Todber Manor? It was simply that the facilities are superior to anything our Club can offer, otherwise it would be been fished on one of our waters. Again it made me feel privileged just to be associated with a Club, where some of its members will pour their energies into such an event. Thank you to all concerned.

Fisheries Enforcement Workshop

By Club Secretary, Stuart Hitchman

I would like to advise all members of the upcoming Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Workshop to be held at the Royal British Legion Corfe Mullen Saturday 27 October 09:00 – 16:00.

 

Guest speakers include representatives from the following:

 

1. Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Office (EA FEO).

2. Institute of Fishery Management (IFM).

3. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS).

4. Police Rural Crimes Team.

 

The workshop aims to provide information on the following subjects:

 

1. Fishing without permission and fish theft - Theft Act 1968.

2. Environment Agency fisheries enforcement – how it works.

3. Best Practice for angling club bailiffs and fishery rules.

4. Rod licence compliance.

5. Practical demonstration of what to look for: nets, lines and traps.

 

As conscientious WDAC members I urge you all to attend this highly informative workshop. The workshop is completely free of charge and open to everyone. Please book your place via the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/angling-trust-fisheries-enforcement-workshop-south-west-tickets-47516781974

 

 

Celebrating the Club newsletters first birthday

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

 

August see’s our 12th monthly newsletter, meaning we are now a year down the line since our first newsletter was published. We now have over 500 subscribers, this was the target a year ago and we’ve just made it!

 

The importance of setting this up 12 months ago was to establish improved communication with our membership, ensuring all members of the Club had access to important information and had the opportunity to read up-to-date news on all things WDAC.

 

In addition, our newsletter boosts traffic to our website. The additional links and increased traffic helps get us found online, ensuring the next generation of members are able to learn more about the club. This supports the future membership income for WDAC for years to come.

 

From the committees’ perspective, we’d like to share more fish captures each month, it’s the best inspiration to get out on the bank and we all enjoy reading the catch reports. If you’ve had a capture on a Club water that you’d like to share with us, please email them to me: website@wimborneanddisatrictanglingclub.co.uk

Trade secrets and specific locations can be withheld, a photo and a brief description is sufficient if you don’t mind sharing your images!

 

We also wanted the newsletter to provide an opportunity to receive feedback about what content we put out every month. We’ve tried to encourage members to come forward with their thoughts and suggestions on how we can improve. The questionnaire at Christmas was well received and we were very pleased to read that some of you appreciated the steps forward we’re trying to make.

 

That said, please get in touch if there’s anything you’d like us to be talking about, it’s important we listen to our members and move forward with fresh new content when the opportunity arises. We’re committed to continuing with our outbound emails and welcome any ideas to improve the format and content.

Let's go family fishing

By Club Welfare Officer, Sean Harris

The second 'Let's go family fishing', in association with the Angling Trust, is coming soon. On Sunday August 19th the event will continue at Creekmoor Lakes, starting at 10am and concluding at 4.00pm.

 

Equipment, tackle and bait will all be provided and the EA has provided a blanket licence to cover the event. Food will be available to purchase at Creekmoor on the day or you're very welcome to bring your own.

 

If you know anyone who you think would enjoy this please contact Sean Harris on the email address below. A huge thanks to Sean for organising the event. Places are limited, so please bear this in mind.

 

Sean Harris

 

welfare@wimborneanddistrictanglingclub.co.uk

Clarissa and Learning to Read

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

When I was a boy growing up in West London I was, I suspect like many other boys, not a reader. I found reading difficult and I did not practice because live action, often outdoors, was always somehow more attractive. I was keenly interested in all things related to natural history and had an obsession with fishing.

 

I remember, on a number of occasions, going on family outings to the London Zoo and of course I always insisted on visiting the aquarium. It was a place full of wonder, but above all else I recall watching in awe as Clarissa the carp swam quietly through the waters of its large tank, dwarfing the other coarse fish. How did you go about catching anything that big?

 

Then by chance, at the corner newsagents, I found the Angling Times and there were not only reports of big and exciting catches, but a regular weekly slot by Richard Walker. Reading was no longer a grind, but a way to understand what I needed to do to catch proper fish. Of all the reports and information contained in the Angling Times it was invariably Dick Walker’s pieces that made me think about fishing – everything from why we fish to water temperature and to always rely and consider your own observations and to experiment. I spent pocket money on my first luminous plastic float after one of his articles about fishing at dusk.

 

When Dick Walker caught Clarissa in 1952 at Redmire Pool he was using a bite alarm that he had invented. (There are some evenings by lakes, when I do wonder whether it was such a clever thing to have done as interminable buzzer sounds cut the tranquillity).  It was on a split cane rod he had designed and using tactics that meant he could single out such a fish. Even today, with big carp in many more waters, a 44lbs fish is still a terrific specimen, but in 1952 it was a true giant smashing the British record.

 

As a trout angler I remember Dick Walker whenever I open my nymph box at this time of year, because like most trout anglers I have a number of tyings of his mayfly nymph.  He was also the first man to design a fly rod using carbon fibre. Whilst he understood and respected tradition, he was always right at the cutting edge of technology and invention.

 

Born on the 29 May 1918, Dick Walker would have been a hundred years old this year. If you look at a current coarse fish rod licence you will see Clarissa’s portrait.

 

However, until now Dick walker’s role in motivating me to read has never been made public.

Not Fishing?

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

It has been hot and dry in the last month. After that wet and cold spring in some ways it feels like nature is evening the weather out. However, for many it has been a doubly difficult year. The spring was so wet that farmers lost the window of opportunity to sow spring crops at the best time. The carp waters refused to warm up. WDAC’s stocking of trout for Rawlsbury and visits to that fishery were jeopardised by the soft ground. No opportunity presented itself to carry out a working party on the River Crane, before the nesting season, because the flows were so high.

 

Suddenly, all the bankside vegetation grew almost overnight as the temperatures warmed and the plants took advantage of the damp. So the Club’s stalwarts were out doing maintenance.

 

Now the River Stour is clear and the water is warm and flowing slowly. There is water weed that is growing several inches a day in some of our lakes and carp are basking in the heat. Many of the fish one might see or catch are hiding from the sun.

 

So have there been any good fishing days at all?  Yes, of course there have because being out there and spending time by the water reinforces those connections we all hold dear and love.  It is after all fishing not catching and in a year such as this it is still a wonderful activity.

The use of single-use plastic in the angling industry

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

Other industries have already started to look closer at what materials are used for product packaging. There are no doubt companies within our industry that have too, though there is far more that can be done to improve what we're doing. Single-use plastic is a non-biodegradable plastic that is used for a vast array of product packaging. It's essentially always sent to landfill as it can't be recycled. Over time it breaks down into smaller and smaller fragments, eventually ending up in the food chain where no end of damage is done.

 

A new initiative has been started recently on Facebook, founded by Chris Turnbull.  The group has been assembled to make a difference in our industry, not by finger-pointing but by providing a single voice in order for the angling community to come together to make positive changes for the future.

 

It's a fantastic initiative and one that's seen thousands of people come together in a matter of days since its conception. Please have a look at the link below and provide your support. What we do today will forge the landscapes of tomorrow.

 

Image courtesy of 'Anglers against the use of single-use plastic in the tackle trade'

 

The 2018 WDAC photography competition

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

Firstly, a massive thank you to those who have entered this years new WDAC photography competition.

 

We've received lots of great images covering all manner of subject matter.

 

Please keep these coming in - we'll continue to add these to the gallery on the competition page, the link for which is below:

 

 

 

A man who loved angling and anglers loved the man

By Club Secretary, Stuart Hitchman

It was befitting that Club stalwart Mick Maidment’s ashes were scattered at Pinnock lakes on Thursday 17 May.  Family and friends gathered at peg 19 to pay their last respects.

 

Close friend Tony Allen reminded all present that Pinnock Lakes was Mick’s favourite venue and that they had enjoyed a day’s fishing there together the day before he passed away.

Mick’s nephew Neil spoke fondly of fishing adventures with Uncle Mick and thanked WDAC Committee member Nick Lawrie for commissioning the oak memorial post. It was appropriate that in recognition of Mick’s prowess at accurate feeding that his ashes were dispersed using one of Jim Finch’s cupping kits.

 

RIP Mick.

Mayfly on a Bank Holiday Monday

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

On the 7th May 2018 I went to Edmondsham. It was the first of the May Bank Holiday Mondays and it had been gloriously hot; but by early evening it was just a beautifully warm. I met up with Stu Hitchman to help host a walk with a group from the Dorset Wildlife Trust around the Club’s lakes and the River Crane. It was an occasion that had been arranged by Hugh Miles who had, unfortunately, been unable to attend personally. The event was also important because Mrs. Julia Smith from the Estate attended too and provided both an historical and Estate perspective that gave an extra dimension to the evening.

 

Hugh could not have directed a better script. It was as if the event had taken months in the planning. Having already noted the perfect weather we walked up the lower lake’s east bank with the River Crane gurgling as background. As we drew opposite the top of the island one of a pair of anglers on the far bank hooked into a decent carp on the pole. Everyone stopped to watch the fight for a few minutes, but as the fish was not giving up, in the end, walked on.

 

 

I led the way down to a small pool on the Crane, where a hatch of olives was dancing over the water. I was extolling the virtues of the Club’s wonderful chalk stream and was just explaining about the number of wild trout there are in the water, when a small brownie leapt right on cue, after one of the olives. Stu and I finished by talking about the on-going study concerning the impact of watercress farming upstream and as Stu concluded, so the trout jumped again.

We walked the path to the upper lake, which as some of you will know, is traversed by ropes and protected by Jake our manikin, to keep avian predators at bay. The visitors listened with real interest as Stu explained the project to drain and dredge the lake, rebuild the monk and the inflow pipework, and then stock with crucians and tench. The group were also really interested in the predator issues.

 

Soon after we saw a bait ball of tadpoles. It was quite a large liquid, black, lump both swimming and slowly drifting. Of course one of the advantages of walking with a group of wildlife enthusiasts is that the sighting triggered a discussion about this behaviour. The consensus was that this was in fact a ball of toadpoles as, apparently, this is recorded behaviour of toad offspring. Among the group were also some good botanists – so I now know where our wild angelica is.

 

We walked to the upper limit of the fishery and looked at the way the River is flowing around the old weir, so sea trout can, these days, continue their journeys upstream. We also discussed the future of the ditch that provides the lake’s water.

We walked back to carp swirling in the lower lake and our resident kingfisher flew past. Swallows hawked the water and then a mayfly dun made a slow and ungainly flight landing on the bonnet of a car. I picked it up, and having freed it from its remnant shuck, we watched it fly off to settle under a nearby leaf. It was my first mayfly of the year and I am always reminded, when I see one of the article, written a while ago by Brian Clarke, of the importance of this species as an indicator of the quality of our lakes and rivers.

 

After the Wildlife Trust members left, I sat on the rail of one our new platforms in the gathering gloom eating an apple and reflecting on how lucky I am to be associated with such wonderful waters, where the life that it supports is so diverse. As Brian Clarke wrote in that same article, the decline in such species as the mayfly may mean that our grandchildren may not be able to show their children what wonderful creatures they are.

 

Mike Hirsh

 

 

 

 

Drive Slowly at Kingsbridge

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

The Dodds family live in a house right next door to the gate that anglers need to unlock on the way to the lakes at Kingsbridge. When it is dry, driving up the track at anything more than a crawl, creates a cloud of dust and the wind takes it over the fence and into the courtyard.

 

Driving slowly makes sense and will minimise the risk of confrontation between exasperated members of the family and surprised fishermen.

 

It actually makes sense to drive slowly at all times because the track is not in good condition and  even when damp stones will fly and mud can splash over this Family’s parked cars.

The Dodds family have nothing to do with the lakes. It is just a quirk of landownership that they own the farm around the land held by the Club’s landlord. It is not surprising therefore that now and again tempers flare, when there is a day of anglers anxious to get to the water and the family have had to go inside and shut all their windows.

 

The Club’s officers, the Dodds family and our landlord are trying to solve this problem positively by revising the access arrangements. An initiative about five years ago failed due to a planning refusal, but a revised proposal is again under discussion.

 

In the meantime all who want to fish Kingsbridge need to drive as slowly as possible along the track.

 

 

Little Canford

By Club Secretary, Stuart Hitchman

For those of you that did not attend the  AGM in March and in light of questions raised both on the bank and through social media I felt it appropriate to provide an update on this particular venue.

 

It is apparent that the fishing at Little Canford has become extremely difficult.  There has been no significant catch report submitted over the past 18 months. This is particularly disappointing considering the gargantuan weed clearing effort carried out by numerous voluntary working parties during 2016 and 17.

 

The Club’s officers have met with the owners to try to get silt removed around the platforms, which is central to the problems but to date, despite some goodwill, there has unfortunately been no action.

 

Members have also reported the presence of otters on the complex and along with the high migrant cormorant population in the Stour Catchment it is likely that predation has been responsible for the noticeable decline in both the quality and quantity of fish catches.

 

Despite these problems the Club delivered some very successful coaching classes at Little Canford during summer 2017 with many small perch and roach being caught and some jack pike.

 

As the summer fast approaches, inevitably the weed will thrive in the nutrient rich shallow water and fishing will become extremely challenging. Carrying a throwing rake to clear your preferred swim prior to fishing is recommended.  Temper your expectations and if necessary give one of the Club’s other waters a go instead.

Fish care Part 2: Common rigs and how to use them safely

By Club media officer, James Nash

As we all know, fish care is of paramount importance and should always be our first priority.

 

Part 2 continues our feature and is designed to provide a guide on carp fishing rigs, highlighting common mistakes and identifying the key points. This will help anyone in doubt about how to use their end-tackle safely and provide a go-to reference for all, especially those new to the sport or new to specimen fishing for carp.

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.

Collective Responsibility

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 website@wimborneanddistrictanglingclub.co.uk - 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.

 

Mike Hirsh

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.

 

 

 

Mike Hirsh

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 website@wimborneanddistrictanglingclub.co.uk

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.

 

CLUB AGM

7.30PM Tuesday 27th March

 

76A Blandford Rd, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne BH21 3HQ

 

 

AGM 2017 Minutes

AGM 2018 Agenda

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

5lb 1oz

 

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.

Members Picture

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.

 

Mike Hirsh

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.

A stunning scale-perfect dark common caught by Stu

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.

 

Creekmoor Carp

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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COMING SOON

What's happening over the coming months....

>>  We're delighted to announce that the Club now has access to five day tickets at both Orchard Lakes Fishery as well as Revels Fishery. See our venues page for more details.

 

>>  Our new for 2018 Annual Photography Competition has now launched. A designated page on the website is now live. Get your entry in for the chance to win a free annual membership.

 

>> Have a look at our new fish safety section from the main menu. Designed to provide  fundamental information on how best to target and land large fish. Have a read and if you think we can add any info, please get in touch.