I had a thoroughly enjoyable and, I hope, useful meeting with Rob from Burnsall yesterday lunchtime. We spent about 2 hours talking about what drove the MAA to move to a sustainable way of managing its fishery, how we got members to support this move, how we developed the strategy and what we have done to implement it. What struck most was the strong parallel between our respective clubs, the issues we face, the nature of our fisheries and the mix of members. Both cubs are of virtually the same age (Burnsall was founded in 1873) and are organised on similar lines. Both run farmers suppers and have still water fishing as well as a classic spate river fishery. There are marked differences though. There is a long waiting list at Burnsall despite very high joining, membership and other fees. They have the services of a full time keeper and lease much of their water from the Bolton Abbey estate. These expenses account for the hefty fees. The MAA is uniquely fortunate that, through the foresight of past members, it owns virtually all of its fishing waters.
We agreed to keep in touch and I will be fascinated to see how far and fast Burnsall move to a more sustainable management policy.
I had a stroke of pure luck yesterday. Just as we were winding up our conversation into the pub walked a fairly new member to book a room for the supper on 12 October. I asked him if he had been fishing as the water was perfect. He replied that he was just on his way to do so, but had fished on Saturday and had a superb day with 8 fish landed and a host of others that had escaped. I could not have asked for a better testimonial to round off the virtues of a sustainable wild fishery if I had deliberately planned it (I didn't, honest!!).
It's raining hard here at present and has been doing so for the past few hours so we have a rising river which is colouring up. It's quite windy and looks set to be a miserable day so not ideal conditions.
I'm in St Helens on Wednesday so there will be no blog on Wednesday morning nor will there be postings on Friday to Monday as I am in Brixham for a family reunion.