Monday Angling news

Perhaps one of the hottest angling stories for some time is the news that the National Federation of Anglers (NFA) and the Countryside Alliance have finally got into bed together.

            Perhaps one of the hottest angling stories for some time is the news that the National Federation of Anglers (NFA) and the Countryside Alliance have finally got into bed together. The two bodies have signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' that is aimed at giving the sport's voice more clout.

            It will also, of course, add several more million so-called supporters (on paper at least) to the Alliance cause because even if an angler has no sympathy with it he will inevitably be roped in as one of the crowd. And let's face it there is a hell of a lot of anglers who will not want to be associated with a body that supports fox hunting and hare coursing.

            The Alliance is a body that the man in the street has no qualms at the description of being a blood sport collective and will hate the thought of angling being associated with it. Little old ladies from the comfort of their armchairs may see no difference between the two but those of us who are closer to the action know full well that angling is a million miles from being a blood sport.

            I suppose the truth of it is that the leaders of both the NFA and the Countryside Alliance are desperate to bolster their own strength by aligning it with that of allies. The Alliance needs the brute strength of angling's millions and their voting clout; the NFA is comforted by the thought that the Alliance's better contacts in high places might help come the show down.

            Either way, a recent poll of anglers has shown that a 60/40 split is against the union and wants no part of it. Quite what they intend to do other than complain I know not because as I wrote earlier I cannot see them escaping being roped in as part of the crowd. Even if their clubs resign from the NFA they will still be part of the angling horde.


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Another interesting political move, this time confined to the match fishing side of angling, looks like revolutionising the National Championships, as we have known them for many years.

Until about 30 years ago clubs from all over the country that belonged to the National Federation got together annually to fish a single match known as The All-England Championship. Because of the number of clubs and match groups that were joining the Federation at about that time and overwhelming the single-match Championship it was decided to split the event into divisions.

It was more to do with the lack of available venues that would accommodate such a large number of anglers than the administrative difficulties of organising such an event but the passing of the cherished All England was met with much regret by the majority of anglers.

The mood has not changed over all these years since that time and several schemes designed to get back to just one match instead of a promotion/relegation system of divisions have been put forward only to fail for one reason or another.

Now another scheme based on sudden death eliminator rounds in the eight NFA regions and a one-match National Championship made up of the regional survivors is being mooted. It is not a new idea but the scheme includes a three-team promotion from the National to an elite Premier League that seems to have fired some enthusiasm.

            It may need a bit of tinkering to make it work because in my view it sounds a bit cumbersome with ten teams of ten anglers qualifying from each of the eight regions for the National match. Where exactly they could fairly place an 800 pegger National each year remains to be seen.

            Anyway it shows that a problem has been recognised and that ideas are being floated that are intended to improve the face of match fishing. In my view it sounds better than the existing set up with its proneness to ringer infiltration and top team name changes to enrol into and 'walk' the bottom divisions. Time will tell.


            From time to time we all have 'just one of those days' and we like to think that they are hell-sent and nothing we have done or could do would alter things.

            But is that always really true? I remember sitting near an angler who claimed he was 'having one of those days' and blamed everything under the sun except himself for it but, although I did not say so (he was rather a large gentleman) I thought he had brought it on himself.

            His first problem came about when he was using a pole and his flowery language drew my attention to him as he lost a decent fish and informed the world that the flaming thing had broken his elastic.

            It turned out that the top two he was using was the only one he possessed (first black mark) and when asked it turned out that he had never bothered to replace the elastic in it in the twelve months he had owned the pole (second and larger black mark).

            With much sighing and the occasional expletive he had to rig himself up a waggler rod and start fishing all over again. For some time peace descended upon the lake and all was well. But then the growling started again as this chap complained to all who would listen that he was getting loads of little bites but couldn't hit them.

            And then I saw why. He had put on a whacking great waggler float that must have taken a couple of swan shot and had a tip that looked like a broom handle. Not only that but he had shotted it so that about half of it was sticking out of the water! I was surprised he could see the bites let along hit them. (More black marks).

            Soon he went home, frustrated and complaining bitterly about his luck. There was no doubt he would put it down to 'just one of those days' but I bet it never crossed his mind that he had brought it all down on his own head.



The fifth match of the eight match winter series was fished at Thornham and after a hard overnight frost making it hard going every one managed to weigh in. However it was Bob Gunn who took the honours of first place, second was Stuart Oxborrow just ahead of third placed Bernie Turner.

Mark Brewster caught tench to take first place in the sixth match of the series at Needham Lake, again this match took place after another heavy overnight frost, second place was taken by Ian Wood who caught roach on the feeder and third place also with roach was Ray Darnell.

Our last match at Beccles was not so easy going as was hoped but at least every angler managed to catch with overall weights ending very close. Stuart Oxborrow took first place ahead of second placed Mark Duhm, Lewis Wood took third place. Next season we plan to use Beccles for a new series entitled King of the Sweep; this will be contested over three legs. We have also organised several away matches that should make next season very exciting. Members wanting next season's fixture list can now obtain them from Bosmere Tackle, Needham Market.

Sadly Thornham will no longer be available for GVAC members to fish as from Monday April 1st 2002. This is the decision of FMS Ltd who has decided to try something different on their own for the remainder of their current lease. During this time the Countryside Commission will be carrying out a complete study of the whole estate to determine whether fishing will be allowed to continue or not.

However we shall be stocking our new site to a higher level ensuring that our members can continue to catch plenty of fish, this site will also be our junior teaching venue.

Notice of match venue change. Please note Sunday March 24th match will now take place at Battisford and not Needham Lake. All enquiries to Ian Wood 01473 403098.



            The annual meeting came and went without ado, in fact there were so few members there it would have been difficult to hold a decent whist drive! Signs of member contentment! Following the meeting I can reveal that next year's subscriptions will be £40 for seniors and £20 for juniors, OAP's and disabled members.

The only change in Officers was the committee replacement of Colin Walters by John Dobson as a result of natural rota retirement. Thanks for Colin's efforts over the years were expressed and recorded.

A recent Over 60's and disabled match was held at Middle Reservoir. It was won by Sid Holloway who caught four bream for 10 lb. 14 oz. and in-form Tony 'Roachy' Stollard got among his favourite species again to come second with 5 lb. 14 oz.

Middle Reservoir was also the venue for last week's Baitmait Winter Team Championship match. Strangely enough one of the teams failed to put in an appearance – perhaps the anglers knew just how poor the fishing was to be!

Select Heating came out of the day with 16 points; Heron were second with 12; Last Cast and Baitmait A tied with 11 points for third place and Baitmait B had 7. Individually Mark Palfrey had a clear winning lead with 7 lb. 8 oz.


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