Ladies and gents, The committee thought it was about time we explained a few things and what we are trying to achieve over the next few months.
So far this year we have had an overwhelming request for membership which is why it may appear busier than normal to some of our longer standing members. In fact we have sold our normal number we usually sell by year end already. Whereas we normally get a large amount of anglers joining pre season, and then another spike in membership later as the weather cools from those interested in piking and fishing the rivers, we have reached that target already. If you think about it, a lot of this is down to the corona virus pandemic. Hardly anybody will be going on holiday this year, so what better way to get out than go fishing. It was of course one of the few sports allowed in the first measures released by the government. People will be on our waters instead of on their normal 2 weeks away. Some unfortunate souls are also still furloughed from their jobs and again prefer to spend a day fishing rather than painting, or studying for the younger members. The third reason is that we are very cheap when you consider the price you pay for a day ticket or membership at other clubs or fisheries. At least that is when you compare the fishing we have on offer.
Price wise we held prices from last year for various reasons. One was the fact that the membership did not have the chance to air their views or vote on proposals via an AGM, secondly with the pandemic in full swing and a lot of people were losing their jobs it just didn’t sit right to increase membership prices. Long term of course we will have to increase to move forward and hopefully provide more and better facilities. It was intended to increase the night ticket by a significant amount this year if we had been able to hold an AGM. Ultimately of course it would have been up to the membership to accept this or not.
This year we have major expenditure at Causeway lakes. This is to try and stop the weed growth of surface weed we had last year and also improvements to the otter protection on the stream which flows in and out of the lake. These are by no means small (or cheap) projects but have to be done. There are also various smaller things along with normal maintenance jobs which need to continue and again are a drain on funds. At Alderson in the near future we will be installing another electricity supply adjacent the entrance gates. This is to provide lighting initially, but have the facility in future to hopefully allow us to utilise camera’s and even electronic gates if and when funds allow.
We have also started using a system called clubmate to record membership and details of members. This comes at a cost but we have to utilise a system like this to ensure we conform to data protection laws.
Going back to the pandemic this causes us problems with work parties. In years gone by we have had assistance from members who have used their skills and time to assist on projects. With the problems of social distancing this means that in some instances this year we will have to employ contractors to carry out some jobs that need completing.
Even now as things start to improve, the committee still have problems just holding a meeting. Over the last couple of months texts have been going on all day talking about anything that cropped up. Now it is outside, social distancing rules in place, around one of the lakes.
As you are also aware the committee changed slightly due to Andrew Winfield stepping down as secretary. To be honest with his work, having a young family and the demands of doing the secretary job something had to give. Between us we are all trying to take some of that load in various ways and fortunately for us Andrew still remains on the committee.
Stacy Bird is now finalising different email accounts which will help members to direct questions, get information, and send photographs of you catches etc. We also will have a specific email for the bailiffs in case of problems around our waters. Hopefully in this way we can respond to your questions quicker and especially if we have any signs of fish in distress for example.
Long term there will be changes to the committee as and when we can hold an AGM. But rest assured, those who are currently on the committee will endeavour to work in the societies and members interest until such a time as we are all able to meet up and air our views.
Lastly recent times have shown how easy it is to take things for granted. People have turned to the internet and some businesses will not make it through this uncertain time. Let’s make sure that while we have waters to fish, we have somewhere to buy our bait and equipment local to us all. I would therefore request that when you need to top up that bait bag or need a new rod we give those who have helped us by selling books etc like breakaway, birds and viscount first chance to provide it.