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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.


For full details on how to join and the rates for 2020/21


Further details on all of our waters and concessions.



Visit Kieth's website here:


Visit Kevin's website here:


Visit Hugh's website here:

Wildlife images courtesy of Hugh Miles.

WDAC offers our membership the chance to fish two trout waters, Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury


WDAC runs numerous matches across the calendar year, encompassing both stillwaters and the River Stour. Matches are also held on non-club waters.



A page of the website purely for our younger members.


For full details on how to join and the rates for 2020/21


Further details on all of our waters and concessions.

WDAC offers our membership the chance to fish two trout waters, Winterborne Zelston and Rawlsbury


WDAC runs numerous matches across the calendar year, encompassing both stillwaters and the River Stour. Matches are also held on non-club waters.



A page of the website purely for our younger members.


For full details on how to join and the rates for 2020/21


Further details on all of our waters and concessions.

MARCH 2020

COVID-19 and fishing

By Mike Hirsh

I am not going fishing –it is not essential travel, nor can I pretend it is essential exercise, or I can socially distance in a fool proof manner – I have already set out the Club position; we are not fishing and you are likely to be thrown out of the Club for life if you do, until we can change that position in the light of National advice.


Be in no doubt this virus is dangerous and it kills previously healthy people. If you are a man you are twice as likely to die as if you are a woman, and if you are over 70 or have an underlying health condition it again increases the likelihood that you may not see 2021. This is all such serious stuff and yet our behaviours both individually and collectively continue to wrestle with this reality. The weekend before the Prime Minister told us to behave and lock ourselves away, the car park at Kingsbridge was full – how could anyone believe that was a logical response to avoiding the spread of this virus? Part of the problem has been the image provided by those in charge. If the Prime Minister and our Minister for Health would not keep two metres apart, when in Parliament and on TV then why should we? Well of course we now know that they have got the virus!  Part of our societal role is to lead by example and we should rise to the occasion – if the lock down is not causing a dislocation of our normal behaviour it is unlikely we are doing it properly.


So having closed our waters and explained by a note on the web-site and Facebook and by email why the waters are closed what else is your Club Committee doing?

We are staying in touch with the Angling Trust website to see what the body, that represents us nationally, is doing (and there is a link on our website to their latest information). We are arranging a ‘virtual’ Committee doing it on line using conference software. To agree more urgent items, such as the wording of my recent note about the Club’s position, all the Committee were consulted by email and telephone. We are keeping our website up to date and are answering queries by email or telephone.

We are working up contingency plans for when essential work is needed on one of our waters. Drafting a risk assessment that accommodates coronavirus to add to the normal risks. Considering the wording of a template letter so key volunteers can be provided with a cogent written reponse to show to the police and others if challenged. To avoid one person working in proximity to another etc.


The Committee are also starting to consider what the Club may need to do if this lock down goes on for several months. Areas of grass, normally worn by footfall and trolleys will be growing away and of course weed in our lakes will be growing too. We will need volunteers to reverse the lack of maintenance which we may face. If you would like to help the Club by volunteering to assist please email the website. If you have special skills such as a chain saw qualification, then please let us know that too please. However, a few hours with gardening tools will make a real difference if enough of you are doing it.  The sadness, in part, is our plans for trying to get more adults and children out on fishing days are on hold and may not happen this year.

Of course there will be an upside to us being locked down. The waters and banks will not suffer human disturbance, much as was the case in that last foot and mouth epidemic in 2001; so I expect to find fish who have forgotten what fishing pressure is. More song birds will rear young without disturbance and, depending on the weather as the season moves on, perhaps we may get a bumper year for some butterflies and insects too.


The Government has set out special provisions to protect businesses, the salaried and the self-employed. There are no special provisions for Clubs such as ours. Fortunately we are in a sound financial position and will be able to withstand the stresses and strains caused by this interruption to our normal activity. However, the heart of this Club is its members – it will be meaningless if numbers of you are no longer with us come the autumn. So be sensible, make decisions to minimise risk to your life and look after those who you love and are dear to you.

  • 'COVID-19 and fishing' by Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh
  • 'An interview with our Club Chairman' by Club Media Officer, James Nash
  • 'Golden delights' by Club committee member, Hugh Miles
  • 'If they called that work, boy' by Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

An interview with Club Chairman, Mike Hirsh

By Club Media Officer, James Nash

Thanks for volunteering to go first for our new newsletter feature Mike. We’re starting to profile our committee, a great way for our members to find out a little bit about us and what we do each month to help run the Club. Can you tell us a little bit more about your role as Chairman?

It’s been over four years since I commenced the role as Club Chairman. The key roles of Chairman encompass strategic decision making as well as providing advice and guidance to members and officers of the Club. Other responsibilities include key financial analysis and decision making as part of the officer management team, ensuring compliance with statutory law, keeping abreast of current legislation and considerations such as data protection. I also am one of the key outward facing officers, meeting land owners and those whose interests intertwine with ours.


In addition, I chair each monthly committee meeting along with our AGM - it’s important that WDAC is run transparently and effectively. Recently I have looked again and updated the job descriptions specifically for the roles of Club committee officers which I wrote shortly after I became Chairman, an important improvement advised to us by the Angling Trust. After all it is important that each of us can define our roles even though we are all volunteers


Most recently I have been working on the following:


• The agenda for the last committee meeting in the absence of our Club Secretary, Stuart Hitchman

• Content for the AGM which has subsequently been postponed

• Articles for the  Clubs newsletters

• A meeting with Stuart, our Club Secretary at Kingsbridge to assess the new access and to establish what improvements need to be made to finish the work

• Stocking Winterborne Zelston with our previous Game Secretary, Paul Nicholls in Nigel’s absence (who was fishing down under)

• Agreeing to the use of ferrets at Zelston to move along some awkwardly homed rabbits!

• And of course the impacts of Covid-19 writing advice for the Club and getting posted by James on the web-site


So all in all, a busy month!

Which is your favourite Club venue and why?

It would have to be Pinnock Lakes at Edmondham. Some years before the top lake at the venue was drained and improved over the past few years, I used to love fishing for trout. Since then, the allure of light tackle float fishing for tench and crucians provides no shortage of motivation to go fishing!


In addition, the magical River Crane, adjacent to the lakes, provides excellent stalking opportunities for small brown trout. If you’ve yet to sample this, please do give it a try. It really is enjoyable fishing with the lightest of trout rods!

What’s been your highlight capture from a Club venue since you first joined?

That’s a tough question, there’s been quite a few!


Top of the list would be a 10lb + trout landed by Mrs Hirsh at Rawlsbury. It was a stunning fish and a marvel to catch and land. The fly was tied on by me and I did explain very precisely where to cast, of course!


The next would be a lovely 2lb tench landed from Pinnock Lakes, Edmonsham last year. It was caught during the Club committee match, not too long after the reopening. Having spotted the fish feeding in the margins in approximately 6ft of water, I ended up lying flat on a fishing platform in attempt to remain stealthy. A light float rod with red maggot on a size 16 proved the winning formula, also helping me to win the match.


The final memorable ‘capture’ was a disappointing escapee from Packhorse, Kingsbridge. I was ledgering sprat to tempt one of the larger eels. Once the fish was hooked, it led me a merry dance for over 10 minutes before slipping the hook. It was either a carp or an extremely large eel – sadly I never gained sight of the fish, this one will remain a mystery.

If you could go fishing with any angling personality, who would it be and why?

I must confess that this one has been enjoyed already. I was fortunate enough to fish with Chris Yates last summer at Edmondsham. I was already fishing in the early evening when he arrived.  I thoroughly enjoy his authorship and knowledge, and it was a privilege to fish with him. I was, at the time, fly fishing for crucians… Chris perhaps thought I was mad and remained unconvinced, but was very polite!  I shall be trying this again for sure to see if it can be done with a greater degree of success! I will be happy to explain my theory about this and tactics in a future item for the newsletter if I catch one.

Can you tell us about any changes for 2020 within the Club?

We were going to be hosting a family fishing day at Moors Valley, in association with Dorset Council. It is a new event for the Club calendar and remain excited to see this come to fruition; although for the moment it has no date due to Covid - 19.


One of the biggest changes for the Club this year will be the new junior section that we’ve been working hard on. It’s going to be launching very soon, once we have completed the last elements of the work involved. It’s going to be so much more than a catch gallery – over time it’ll become a solid resource for junior anglers, with prizes, competitions, guides, video’s and more. The youngsters are the lifeline of angling’s future and indeed of our Club and it’s a very positive move. I need to thank all those on the Committee involved with this initiative particularly Hugh Miles, Sean Harris and James Nash.

What are your interests outside of fishing?

First and foremost I’m an extremely proud grandfather of five, two of whom can sometimes be seen accompanying me on the bank. These children keep me excited and busy!


I’m also gainfully employed part-time as a planning consultant, though I aim to retire in the near future at the right time.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself that we may not know!

I very much doubt many know this one – I am the proud owner of a certificate of competence in the maintenance of combine harvesters gained in the 1980’s!

Thank you for you time Mike, very much appreciated. We'll be interviewing another committee member for the next newsletter!

Golden delights

By Club committeee member, Hugh Miles

We were all dreaming of sunny springtime days of tench and crucian fishing when we woke to the present coronavirus nightmare. It then dawned that the health crisis might last until October and instead of that first summer cast for tench, it might be for an autumn barbel.


So to cheer our Wimborne club members up I thought it would be rewarding to go down memory lane and remind ourselves of the classic tench and crucian lake that we have created during this past three years. This was the challenge as we began digging ...

Mud, mud, not so glorious mud was the start of the project, for we had to remove years of silt from what was once a trout fishing lake. Following are the before and after pictures ...

Into this beautiful tranquil pool and with the help and support from the EA’s Culverton Fish Farm and the Angling Trust, we stocked with some cracking tench and small crucians from various sources ...

We had to protect these valuable gold bars so built an otter fence around the lake and ran strings over it to protect them from cormorant predation.

We had to protect these valuable gold bars so built an otter fence around the lake and ran strings over it to protect them from cormorant predation.

Suitably protected, the fish have grown fast, the crucians to a pound and a half and the tench to approaching four pounds, which given the thick weed is quite big enough.

So I’ll leave their smiles to say what we all hope will be a return to normality very soon. Keep safe and survive this crisis by being patient for that magical first cast

... and if you prefer bigger fish, our lower pond holds many pristine carp, so enjoy when you can ...

If they called that work, boy

By Mike Hirsh

I have recently been re-reading a Fishermen magazine from September 1973. I am unrepentant about the depth of angling penmanship of the 1960s and early 70s being an extraordinary time of quality that many of us took for granted – it was not just Walker and Venables. This magazine contained articles by Jim Gibbinson, John Goddard, Fred Buller, and the redoubtable Fred J. Taylor among others.


You may wonder why I was reading it. Well, first of all I had to find it, and that happened because my wife and I had to recently pack up all our belongings and leave our house, whilst some work was being done. There it was, part of a remarkably small pile of the Hirsh favourite angling mags!


I had hung on to it, when other similar magazines had been thrown away for two very different articles. The first was because the Fred Buller article was on what had happened to the Kenmure pike remains. I find a certain fascination in Fred Buller’s writing of his research about historic fish (salmon and pike). The story of the capture of this fish by John Murray in 1777 is of even more interest to me because it might have been caught on a fly – although this article cast real doubt on it, preferring the live baited duckling! Either way a pike of 72lbs is a really mythical beast.   [This article pre-dated the Fred Buller’s Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike by six years, which also documents this fish among others].


 In contrast, the Fred J Taylor article was on catching dace; well almost. It described a winter trip to the Avon with two friends, who instead of deciding to fish for prime roach, specimen chub or barbel elected to have a mini-match competition after dace. So on a cold day they settled down to catch dace after dace. They got into that winter dace rhythm of feed, cast, trot, and strike, lift out, unhook and start over again. The fish were not big, around 6 oz but they ended the day with bulging keep-nets.

They both fished hard and did not stop for a break and were clearly tired by the work in hand.


Fred, could not understand why anybody would want to go and catch a bag of dace like this on a cold day, when better sport obviously lay potentially elsewhere. He was reminded of a friend of his who had watched him come back from a day’s rabbiting plastered in mud, frozen stiff and collapsing under his load of nets, ferrets and other trappings. That man had said ‘if they called that work boy,’ the clear implication being that if you had to do it you would both grumble and expect to be paid. This article has always stuck in my memory because it is one of those that in its own way seeks to explore why we fish – what is that magic that drives us? It is often at the back of my mind when I see match fishermen, particularly on the Stour in the winter series, and yet part of me wants to be there doing it too.


Let us hope for normality next winter!






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