--MANDATORY NOTE TO ALL ANGLERS--
Due to a local outbreak of K.H.V. no keepnets to be used on any still waters. Dip tanks are in place on all stillwaters. Nets, mats and slings MUST be dipped (FULLY immersed) for a minimum of 15 minutes. Keep nets are allowed on the River Stour (only) from the start of the river season.
At last nights committee meeting existing Covid related restrictions as applied to the Association’s fisheries were reviewed.
In the interests of our members health and safety it was decided to ere on the side of caution and, with two exceptions to continue to apply the existing restrictions.
The following changes were agreed :- The Association’s keepnets at Stonar, which are only to be used at Stonar will be brought back into use. Please, where possible, try and dry these nets before returning them to the store.
Secondly members may share swims where it is possible to maintain a reasonable level of social distancing. How this “reasonable distance“ is interpreted the committee would like to leave to the common sense of the members.
Pike fishing. Recently spotted a number of lure anglers starting their day on the river at Fordwich with un-dipped nets etc.(So far so good ) .Later spotted the same lure anglers fishing on Trenley having worked their way down the river and into the top end of Trenley ( not so good ).If you are moving from the river to the lakes YOU MUST DIP YOUR TACKLE ,Why not do it before you set off down the river? Additional dip tank installed by Fordwich toilet for your benefit .
Westbere car park. Your committee is still investigating the disposal of Westbere car park . The Estates and Acquisition sub-committee is overseeing the project with additional professional input being engaged where it is seen to be beneficial to do so.
Grove Ferry swims. Having been held up by the activities of KCC and Canoe Wild on the picnic site Jon Weir has started re-instating the majority of the swims.( work party volunteers urgently required ).
The four swims which KCC repaired are still in need of attention to make them safe and usable .The difficulty is proving to be getting KCC back on site to complete the works to which they have already committed themselves .Anglers should take care before committing to the slippery slopes !!!
Rats at Stonar. There has been a marked increase in the population of rats at Stonar and the committee has agreed to the installation of semi permanent rat baiting points around the lake .The boxes are clearly marked as to their purpose and should not be touched .
Wiels disease is spread by rats and is a very serious disease .If however you follow the cleaning routines recommended to combat covid 19 this should not be a problem .
Covid 19. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel Covid 19 is still with us and is still responsible for the demise of large numbers of individuals . It will continue to be a threat to us all for the foreseeable future . The current schedule of Covid related restrictions on our fisheries are the minimum required by the government and must be adhered to. We could still loose the right to fish if it is thought by the powers that be that the existing rules are being ignored .
Jock White. I think we were all saddened and surprised by the death of Jock ; he seemed to be indestructible .
Very many of you have suggested that we should seek to remember Jock on his favourite swim at Stonar and to this end “The Bunker “ is to be renamed “Jock’s Bunker” and a memorial seat is to be installed .
It is also planned to organise a memorial fishing competition on Stonar sometime in August with all proceeds going to the charity that Jock supported . the NSPCC.The staging of this event is still subject to the vagaries of Covid 19.
Membership fees 2021 / 2022. Your committee have agreed that there are to be no increases in fees in the coming year .
Conversely they have also agreed that there are to be no refunds of fees already paid for the 2020 – 2021 season.
I would remind those anglers ( few in number )who have sought refunds that our fisheries have been open for most of the season except when the government have dictated otherwise .The Association provides very good angling for a very low fee and our expenses continue to increase year on year .
Boats in the meadow at HQ. There are a number of boats stored in the meadow behind HQ. Some belong to the Association , most do not .The committee have agreed that as of April 1st.all privately owned boats will be charged a rental fee of £50.00 each quarter ,payable 1 quarter in advance .
Where the ownership of a boat cannot be established that boat will be disposed of to cover the Association’s costs .
No fuel is to be stored on site by the private owners .
To keep (net ) , or not to keep (net )? That was the question posed at the AGM. The vote went in favour of retaining the use of keep nets.
The current situation is thus:- Keep nets may be used without restriction on the river (subject to season ). They may not be used at Littlebourne and Minster (no change).
At the Fordwich complex and at Stonar the use of members own keep nets is forbidden while the risk of KHV persists.
At Stonar members may use one of the 10 sets of nets kept for use ONLY AT STONAR (Larger landing nets are on order).
When matches are held on our lakes competitors will be provided by the Association with keep nets which Jon Weir will maintain in a safe condtion.
Dipping of nets etc. Current emergency rules require all anglers to dip nets, unhooking mats, slings etc prior to fishing, but the committee is aware that a small number of members feel that these rules do not apply to them.
This is an incredibly selfish attitude to adopt which puts the future of our fisheries in jeopardy and is to the detriment of all other anglers.
Where anglers refuse / fail to dip their nets etc the committee is prepared to ban such anglers for life, such is felt to be the severity of these individual’s inactions.
Matters raised at the AGM. Members raised number of points which will be considered by the committee at its next meeting, these points include the provision of parking / drop-off points, closer to Stour and Trenley and the extension of the Stonar net scheme to the Fordwich complex.
The provision of otter fencing was widely discussed and members were bought up to date with the Committee’s progress to date and the next steps to be followed ie. seeking the opinion of our landlords on the erection of fencing on their land, while we continue to monitor for the presence of otters.
15 new platforms on the Fordwich straight and down to the trout pool were all completed on time thanks to Jon and his volunteers. The grant we were promised to help offset our costs has been applied for. These new swims will provide some fabulous autumn / winter fishing .
Tackle boot fair will be held at Stonar lake on 1st July from 10am to 2pm. Parking will be adjacent to Jock’s sheds and members will be asked to pay a stalling out fee of £5.00 per car (bring your own tables) with all proceeds going to The Pilgrims Hospices.
Please restrict your sales to angling or angling related items. No knives or firearms of any kind.
Ron Meares will be on site and has offered to try and value for you any vintage angling items you may wish to bring along.
Committee membership. Two of our anglers had put their names forward for the role of committee members. As their nominations were not seconded they were not eligible to have their names put forward at the recent AGM. However rather than loose such enthusiasm the Committee have asked that they consider becoming co-opted Committee members with a view to seeking nominations at next year’s AGM. Roger Stanger has also agreed to join the Committee, initially as a co-opted member.
Guide notes on the safe use of keepnets .
First of all many thanks for your positive comments regarding our first newsletter. We'll try and keep up the good work,
Site safety . It is the committees intention to provide fisheries in which our anglers can pursue their hobby in safety . Members will recognize however that the bailiff can only stretch himself so far when it comes to site inspections and it is quite feasible that naturally occuring hazards may arise which neither the bailiff or your committee will be aware off . Every angler has a duty of care to him / herself and I would ask that where problems arise , such as banks washing out , fishing platforms deteriorating etc .that you notify Jo at the office so that such problems can be dealt with as soon as is possible.
New Key System. With some 8000 keys in circulation , many in the hands of non-members ,and with replacement keys of the same pattern no longer available the committee has decided to replace all the locks on our fisheries . Some 20 locks and 3000 secured keys have been purchased at a cost in the region of £13K . It is anticipated that this cost will be recouped over the next few years as the new keys are “sold “. The new locks will be installed at the beginning of April this year but new keys will be available prior to this as soon as they are delivered to H/Q , for a £15.00 deposit The older pattern keys can be returned at your convenience and £5.00 will be refunded to you.
Fishing Platforms at Fordwich on the Stour . Agreement has now been reached with the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership as to the style and positioning of the new fishing platforms .Five platforms including one disabled platform have been completed and it is hoped that the remaining platforms will be installed by the end of March with the help of a grant of £2250.00 .
Fish Stocking . The river has received a substantial stocking of fish courtesy of the Environment Agency as the result of an application made to them by The Association .Particular thanks are due to George Howson for his invaluable input . In total some 10,000 fish have stocked to Fordwich , Plucks Gutter & Grove Fery including Chub (4000 ) , Dace (360 ), skimmers (100) and 5000 Roach .
Vauxhall lakes . Your committee , particularly Terry Hardman , have been very pro-active in trying to ensure a future for these lakes which involves The Association . The site is proving to be quite sensitive and it seems that the way forward may well involve the formation of both a fishery and an educational facility . Should discussions ever reach that stage it should be recognized that there is a huge amount of work involved in bringing the site to readiness although grant aid may be available . In the short term there can be no further progress in our discussions until 2019 as for safety reasons the site is to be closed while the National Grid install new power lines .
Beavers and Otters . With the re-introduction of Beavers into the Stour Valley this has created new problems for our fisheries . Concerns have also been raised regarding the possible presence of otters although to date we have received no reports of their having been been spotted on our fishery Beavers at least only damage trees . Otters are fish killers and can do extensive damage to the fisheries . The committee is investigating what control measures could be put in place but given Fordwichs' status as both a RAMSAR and an SSSI controls are problematical. Otter fencing is one option but with costs likely to be in the region of £100k to protect the whole of the Fordwich fishery this is not a project to be undertaken in haste . Members can assist the committee in gauging the extent of the problem by registering with the bailiff or with Jo at the office all sightings of beavers and otters or evidence of the damage caused by either of these species.
Keep net ban is still on. Members must continue to observe the need to dip and dry their own nets on every occasion .
Office opening hours. Please note that as a trial and for the convenience of members the office will be open from 9am to 1.00 pm on the first two Saturdays in April ie. the 7th. and 14th
Your committee is quite good at getting things done but ,( so we are told ), doesn’t always keep the members “ in the loop “.
This newsletter seeks to address that shortcoming and will , we hope , become a regular feature.
Grove Lake .Now lost to the membership as the owner has decided to “ do his own thing “ .We did try to renegotiate our lease but were only successful in agreeing with him that the Association would get first refusal if he did change his mind. The Tench we stocked into Grove are to be netted and moved to our other lakes.
Pump house Lake .The committee were unanimous in their decision that fishing on Pumphouse would be limited to “float only “ as the fish were being badly damaged by the use of heavy tackle and oversized leads .It was also felt that the use of the new , heavy controller floats which act as bolt-rigs was contrary to the welfare of the fish and the bailiffs have been asked to discourage members from using them . Pike Fishing .The season is now upon us though the current warm water conditions can be detrimental to the welfare of the fish as they fight much harder in these conditions .
Pike are not as hardy as their appearance would suggest and they demand care and attention both in the water and on the bank. One of the main criteria is to use an indicator system that alerts you as soon as the pike picks up the bait and. Be aware that pike feed differently on different waters and on different days . It is always better to strike too soon than risk a gut-hooked fish .
The Fordwich Complex . Flooding of the lakes and the loss of fish to the river has been a problem for many years and the stock fencing along the lower bank at Fordwich has gone some way to reducing fish losses from this lake.
With the increasing frequency of such flooding and the committee’s wish to improve the fishing on Stour and Trenley lakes it was decided to install a large bund at the top end of Trenley at a cost in the region of £14K .This has been successfully installed with a major input of time from Roger Stanger , John Sturge and Keith Heckley .
Stour lake . The committee have recognised that Stour lake in particular has not been fished on a regular basis mainly because of the weed problem . This has been dealt with by the application of blue-green dye.
It has also been agreed that the lake should be made available for carp angling throughout the season and to this end the lake has been stocked with both small “ grow-on “carp and larger target fish .
At a cost in the region of £7k , 22 carp between 14 to 17 1/2lb and 10 fish from 4-5 lbs were stocked into Stour and 20 of the smaller fish into Fordwich . All the fish selected were from a fast growing strain.
KHV / Fish herpes / Keepnet ban .Anglers will be aware that one of the waters close to us has been confirmed as having KHV although the Owner of the venue is still allowing his anglers to fish the lake . The Association has met with the E.A and CEFAS with a view to determining whether such infected venues can be forced to close until the disease can be eradicated .It appears that no such powers exist !!
It is therefore imperative that our anglers maintain the highest standards of hygiene until the threat of infection in our waters has passed .To this end a total keepnet ban is in force and dip tanks have been installed on all our lakes .Anglers are also reminded that all landing nets , weigh slings and un-hooking mats should be air dried between uses .
The Association has purchased some 20 keepnets and landing nets for use in matches and their use and cleanliness will be controlled by Jon Weir .
River Stour .We are currently negotiating with English Nature and the EA . To be allowed to install fishing platforms , including a disabled swim , along the Fordwich straight . Grant aid may be available to offset some of the costs .
TIGHT LINES .