Secretary’s address, 149th AGM, 22 February 2014

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Derwent Angling Association’s 149th Annual General Meeting. Once again I find myself with the honour of addressing you as your club secretary.

The association we all in this room represent is once more in good order with a strong senior membership and a hopefully growing junior membership.

This is thanks in no small part to my fellow committee members who give up their own free time and effort for the benefit of the association, so once more I thank them for their encouragement,effort and support over the 2012 season.

I have not fished as much as I would like but when I do I always look out for other club members to have a bit crack and ask them what they think of the club, and the river in general.

I get a lot of feedback about fish stocking,water levels and of course the weather, which is usually either too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet. Well, I can’t do anything about the weather, but I can assure members that the fish stocking has not changed in numbers for the past 20 years.The only difference is that we now spend more time with on-the-day stocking and try to drop fish in smaller numbers over many areas to discourage poachers and to encourage the membership to get out there and explore the entire 15 miles of river the association controls.

As far as poaching goes, we will never stop it but we can limit its effect. We do have good river watchers who have over the years robustly explained to these thieves the error of their ways. But please accept that they are volunteers with families who have limited time to help, so information received by members is vital to allow us to use our limited resources in the most effective way.

So far as pollution goes, this is and always will be a massive red flag to me and we, as our past has shown, will take on any polluter, big or small.

I can assure everyone in this room that we do our best – and, yes, at times it’s not enough – but we win more than we lose. Just ask Northumbrian Water – we took them on and won. If you had spent one day in our shoes during that wonderful year, you would have a better understanding of the inner workings of your committee.

Junior membership
It is a sad fact that in this modern world, kids play more sport and games on their computers than they do actually leaving the house and taking part themselves. So to improve and promote our junior membership we have decided to attack the problem from more than one direction. We will soon be advertising in the local press and will put up a stall at Shotley Bridge cricket ground during the August bank holiday children’s day to promote fly fishing on the Derwent.

I would also ask you the members to encourage your sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandchildren to try out the sport. The association allows any senior member to take a prospective junior member out fishing up to six times for free to see if they, pardon the pun, get hooked. They can only fish in the presence of the senior member and to fish the junior competition they would have to fully join the club, but we hope this will provide a free taster for anyone who might have been considering having a go but was put off by the costs.

Committee members standing down
I would like to thank Chris Hope and Dave Foster for all of their many years of hard work. It is at times a thankless task and without their like there simply would be no association.

Senior competition
Sadly, due to the organiser being taken seriously ill, we were unable to stage the senior competition in 2013 but it will return for the 2014 season so please keep an eye on the club website. If you wish to be contacted by email, please go to the website and follow the club contact to email us your current email address.

Grayling
I’m glad to say they seem to be making something of a comeback and have been caught along the middle and lower stretches of our water. Not in great numbers as of yet, but a definite improvement has been seen.

In finishing I cannot stress enough the importance of you the members in promoting the club. Please tell others, take someone out on a day ticket and hopefully they will join and enjoy the River Derwent in its entirety so they will come to see what a cracking little trout stream we have on our doorstep.

Thank you

Alan Farbridge

Secretary, Derwent Angling Association

AGM 2014

If you’d like to find out more about how the club is run and exactly what your club membership fees get spent on, be sure to come along to the Derwent Angling Association AGM this year on Saturday 22 February at The Crown and Crossed Swords, Shotley Bridge. Proceedings kick off at 7pm, but as the room usually gets quite crowded, allow a bit of extra time if you want to make sure of a seat.

Whether we’re speaking to the Environment Agency or to our riparian owners along the river, it’s incredibly useful for the club to have an accurate record of how many fish are being caught on our water, so don’t forget to bring your catch returns along on the night. (It’s not a competition, so don’t worry if you’ve blanked all season – that’s just as useful for us to know as it would be if you were having a golden day every day.) As a special thank to members, all entries go into the pot to be entered into the draw to win a year’s free fishing!

And don’t forget to bring a generous pocketful of change so you can buy plenty of raffle tickets!

(And if this all looks suspiciously similar to last year’s announcement, that’s because it is!)

Fish of the Year?

Don’t forget: fish win prizes. The member catching the heaviest gets a free club licence for the following season!

As the season closes, can anyone beat this 5lb 8oz clonker, which was caught by a member on a pearl bead hares ear a few weeks back? (Its somewhat frosty appearance is the result of its short stay in the freezer before being taken round to club secretary Alan’s for its official weigh-in!) However, we do have one slight problem. We don’t actually know who the member is who’s pictured here, as Alan got his picture but forgot to write down his name! So if you’re reading, sir, or if anyone who knows you is, please drop us a line so you can receive your full credit.

big trout

Senior Competition 2013 cancelled

The club is sorry to have to announce that this year’s senior competition, which was due to have taken place on 8 September, has been cancelled. This is due to the member who had been organising it being taken seriously ill.

We’re really sorry to disappoint members who were looking forward to fishing this year.

We would also like to wish Andy all the very best and look forward to seeing him back on his feet again soon.

Small stream nymphing tactics

Check out this excellent video by DAA member and former national rivers champ Jon Barnes.

Lost: Orvis scoop net

If anyone has found an Orvis scoop net upstream of Lintzford Bridge, please drop us a line and we can reunite it with its owner.

Thanks

Juniors Competition 2013

Congratulations to Cameron Tait, who took the honours at this year’s Juniors Competition with four fat brownies for a total bag of 5lb, 6oz. In second place was Zak Coates with four fish for 4lb, 1oz, while Ben Fletcher was just a few ounces behind in third with three for 3lb, 14oz. Heaviest fish of the day was a stonking 2lb, 3oz brownie caught by Dylan Elsdon. Ten members fished for a total catch of 21 fish.

The day went well and considering the cold winds, cold water and the fishing being hard work, all entrants caught fish with help and support from senior members. Our thanks to all members who helped out and congratulations to all entrants who all received some cracking prizes courtesy of Lawrence Hawley of Ultimate Fishing Supplies, whose support over the years has been very much appreciated.

Junior competition 2013

Saturday 11 May 2013

All current junior members are welcome and everyone taking part will receive a prize so there’s no excuse not to have a go.

Meet at the iron bridge car park at Shotley Bridge at 9am. The competition will kick off at 9.30am and may the best angler win.

Junior non-members will be able to join on the day, so if you’ve not got your ticket yet, it’s not a problem.

(Fingers crossed the weather’s a bit better this time than it was last year!)

The challenges ahead

22 March sees the start of the 2013 trout season on the river. We hope this season will bring a return to drier conditions than those experienced last year, when it simply rained for months on end, rendering the river unfishable for large parts of the year.

You win some/you lose some

As secretary I have heard many rumours that the club is giving up water. This is simply not true. We are committed to securing as much water as possible for the association to allow the membership 15 miles of quality river fly fishing from the Derwent road bridge to Lintzford.

We do however have to report that one of our riparian owners has decided he no longer wishes anyone to have access to the river adjacent to his land. We’re still awaiting documented clarification of the extent of the loss, but at present, as we understand it:

Members may no longer fish from the corner of the field below the new road bridge at Ebchester to the corner of what was the old village football field, and then down as far as the old Sturdy Electrics site. This only applies to the County Durham side of the river. The vast majority of the lost water can still be fished from the Northumberland side of the river, so although it’s a great loss, it could be worse.

Once we have full documented clarification from the riparian owner, we will be updating the maps on the website. We appreciate that this stretch was a favourite for many members in the Ebchester area but the committee tried their utmost to change the owners mind, to no avail.

On the plus side, the association have now acquired more fishing up from Lintzford, by agreeing rents for the Chopwell woods area on the Northumberland side of the river. We will be updating our maps shortly to reflect this.

Poaching and Pollution

Once more as the season begins so does our battle with those who through greed and ignorance break the law by fishing and taking fish without a current club or rod licence.

We have a good network of water watchers, who as well as patrolling the river, target hotspots of illegal activity. Recognising these hotspots is where we need members; help: by informing us when poachers are present, we can target our resources to effectively bailiff the area.

Pollution is a constant worry and we would ask all members to inform both club officials (at the numbers on your club licence) and the Environment Agency (at the numbers on your rod licence). If they come across obvious pollution, especially dead fish.

Alan Farbridge, Club Secretary

Fathers and sons (and daughters too)

One of the aims of our association is to keep a healthy junior membership as we recognise that they are the club’s future. We also realise how costly it can be to kit out a child and then buy the licence, only to find that after a couple of weeks they decide they prefer the Xboxstation.

So we’ve had an idea. Any senior member can take their own child under the age of sixteen on the river for free for a maximum of four outings. This will allow you to see whether the great outdoors and fishing in particular is what they want to do.

All you have to do is email the club through the website with the name of the senior and junior member and the day of your first outing. After the trip, please do email us and let us know whether they enjoyed the experience and if you’re planning to take them out again. And don’t forget: if they do enjoy fishing, get them joined up before the second weekend in May to qualify for the junior competition.

Remember they must be accompanied by the adult at all times, so please take advantage of this offer to encourage the younger generation to participate in a wonderful pastime.