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.

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

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