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We're always updating our news feed to keep our membership up-to-date with Club news.


See this months news below as well as links to previous articles.


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When the Kingsbridge Lakes complex was provided with its new main road access and car park, the Club’s officers were aware that there might be additional remedial work to be done, particularly to the car park.  As regular users last winter will know there is a soft patch, which needs to be repaired and the surface also requires general improvement. The works were delayed last spring because of the wet weather and then Covid-19 struck. Once we unlocked in May it was not reasonable to deny Member access due to the waters’ popularity.


At the last Committee Meeting it was agreed that the Lake complex would be closed, following the Christmas break, for a week so these essential works can be undertaken. It was concluded that this would be the least harmful time of year in terms of likely attendance. [Please check the Club website for updates if intending to fish the following week].

The closure of Kingsbridge for essential works from 4 January 2021 for one week

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

It is with some sadness I report that Nigel Horsman has resigned as the Game Secretary. Nigel has done a terrific job looking after both Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury fisheries in the last year. Nigel has worked closely with the Club’s trout supplier and obtained some wonderful hard fighting and good eating fish. He has managed this stocking without being able to rely on the normal paper based returns due to Covid-19.  Many of the Club’s trout anglers have been really pleased in what has been the most difficult of years and wrote as much when making email returns.  Nigel was not only involved in resolving the problems of working parties during the pandemic but took time out to do habitat improvement for resident fish on the Club stretch of the River Crane.


Paul Baker, who will be known to a number of the Game Section regulars, has agreed to take on the Game Secretary post.  Paul has a good understanding of our waters and the Club is very fortunate he has stepped forward to take on this work. Of course the immediate priority will be on maintaining service as usual as far as the stocking regime is concerned.

Committee News – Game Secretary Changes

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

The Committee’s work, the AGM and Annual Trout Section Meeting

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

The WDAC Committee has been at work through the Pandemic and has been continuing to look for ways to communicate as effectively as possible. Naturally we have been feeling our way and learning from our experiences – as many businesses have had to do over this last year.


The concern has been to get on with routine work and also manage the non-recurring items as efficiently as possible.


Having operated as a virtual Committee with the use of web-conferencing, we then met once out in the open, socially distanced as a business meeting.  Although it was great to see everybody properly, rather than just head and shoulders, for the first time in several months it was never going to be other than a ‘one-off;’ as nights were already drawing in. The Committee then returned briefly to the British Legion at Corfe Mullen, but due to the age profile of most of the Committee and the inherent problems of a socially distanced business meeting we have again resorted  to meeting on line - now using Zoom.  Urgent business, between monthly meetings, has always given rise, in any event, to emails and phone calls to obtain consensus and Covid-19 has not changed this. The Committee has agreed to continue meeting by Zoom until March and then we will review.


No decision has yet been made about the dates for an AGM and Trout Section meeting. The Committee will consider the way forward in the first week of January 2021. The concept is to try and have conventional meetings but the key issue is of course when?

Line, Otters and Cormorants

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

This year the bailiffs and those members on working parties have reported more lost line and leads than ever. It is rubbish and is unacceptable to leave behind.  At the Committee’s only meeting at the British Legion in late summer Match Secretary Jim Finch struggled  in with a large, heavy, bag of weights retrieved from Packhorse, which was the result of a working party around the ‘island.’ It was an interesting reflection on the ability, or lack of it, of quite a number of carp fishermen.   It is unacceptable to leave any tackle, but long lengths of line represent the worst problem because it can snare  birds. This year a swan died at Creekmoor ponds, the line in which it was entangled was certainly a major contributory factor in its demise. In the new Membership Book there is a request to contact the Club if line is lost – it is important that all the work the Club does to conserve the quality of our waters is not compromised by this problem.  We all know carp are margin feeders but remember so are waterfowl.


Lately there have been consistent reports by Members of otter sightings, particularly on the River Stour. There is very little the Club can do about otters. These animals have the highest level of statutory protection and all anglers and fishery owners must learn to live with them. The Club has been able to install an otter fence around Medleys, the top lake at Edmonsham and the lower lake has also been partially fenced and further works are planned for 2021. However, we cannot do anything on the Stour.


Conversely it is important to keep recording sightings of cormorants as the Club needs to monitor where these birds are being seen and how many there are. The website has a facility for recording sightings of these birds. The Club not only has a number of volunteers who will go out and shoot to scare and if necessary kill, but has again strung Medleys to deter these birds from taking the tench and crucians. It is difficult to do anything but scare cormorants on the Stour due to the number of walkers and recreational users of the river – a bye-product both of the provision of open spaces for recreation associated with new development and the pandemic.

Some Personal Thoughts – Covid Silver Linings

By Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

Helping to run an Angling Club during a pandemic has provided challenges that are unique. I do however, have some favourite silver linings that have kept me optimistic. I have to say re-writing Covid advice for the Club has, however, not been one of them. This has been a bit of a chore and trying to understand the Government’s advice and regulations has not been easy – thank goodness for the help provided by the Angling Trust!


In the first lock down, when we could not fish, the Committee resolved to feed our fish. At Winterborne Zelston trout had just been re-stocked, when the lockdown came, so Steve Neale the WDAC Head Bailiff,  took over the feeding on a regular basis. The pay-off came when members were allowed to go fishing again. The trout, had all put on weight, and were super fit. The feedback from the fishermen was that they were the fittest, hard fighting, trout that most of the Members had come across anywhere. We have carried this concept forward, and Paul Baker has been feeding some fish at Rawlsbury through the current closed season, so I am looking forward to seeing them in March.


Unsurprisingly we had practically no new members or renewals during the first lock down and then Chris, the Club’s Membership Secretary, was inundated with applications once Boris allowed fishing. Chris has done a wonderful job getting membership books out both to existing members renewing and new members. We have ended the year as a Club with more new members and over 150 minors.  For the last five years the Club has consistently run Family Fishing Days and other initiatives aimed at trying to get the next generation to fish, and numbers had been rising, but this year has been exceptional. In a way it has not been surprising as fishing has been one of the few outdoor activities which by its very nature is effectively self-isolating. It has, nevertheless been magic to see more children and parents by waters everywhere. One of the Club's challenges will be to try and hang on to these younger members and indeed the new adult members too – we can help with skills and may, Covid permitting, put on some novice parent and child match days. We will also continue to improve the web-site facilities for juniors too.


I have found being by water a real help to my peace of mind. I have spent more time on maintenance work than fishing, but working with nature at my feet is just as good. I have watched crayfish and young trout, met dragonfly nymphs so large I was tempted to weigh them and seen some large fish up close. I am sure fish know the difference between a person working on a task of some sort in the water and somebody fishing.  How fortunate am I to be able to find that joy of being by water!  I have caught some fish and had an outstanding fight with one of those Winterborne Zelston trout that was the hardest contest I recall from any fish over the last ten years.


Of course Club members have been catching some terrific fish. Roach to over three pounds and recently a fish within eight ounces of that size from the River Stour too. Carp to over thirty pounds and several specimen perch from both the River and our lakes. The largest rainbow trout caught this year was over twelve pounds from Winterborne Zelston and several large browns have been caught and returned. However, just being out there by the bank is good enough for me.


Tight Lines in 2021 and let us all hope to be able to go freely about our lives without masks in the not too distant future.

Fishing safely

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

As Club Chairman Mike Hirsh has identified in his article already, this past 12 months or so has seen higher numbers of snared birds and broken lines.


Some time ago, we put together a member's guide for fishing safely and sensibly. With a large percentage of members targeting carp, it's these tactics that more often than not result in broken lines. Definitely worth a recap, especially for those new to angling or for a general reminder. Fishing safely and sensibly will result in more accurate casting and less lost fish, thus minimising broken lines left in the water and waterside foliage.

Members new to fishing

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

2020 has seen the Club grow once again, which is great news. Some have renewed memberships after time away, some have returned to angling once again, some have started angling for the very first time.


If you're out and about on Club waters, finding yourself close to someone who is starting out, remember that we were all in this position at one time or another. Helping those new to fishing boasts so many benefits, especially to our new junior members who are hungry for knowledge and will benefit no end from a few wise words.


WDAC has prided itself on being a welcoming and friendly Club, home to seasoned anglers, elderly members, juniors, those with disabilities and those new to the sport. A few moments of your time, socially distanced of course, supports this ethos, assists those who need a hand and helps secure the Club's fishing for generations to come.



To be in with a shot of winning a years free membership with the Angling Trust, simply send us your winter catch reports with a short description. You can do this via our Facebook Page or via the email address below:




Win a years subscription to the Angling Trust

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

To say the Angling Trust have done well this year would be a huge understatement.


They have successfully lobbied on behalf of the fishing community, to ensure anglers have been able to keep fishing for the vast majority of the current pandemic.







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