Newsletter February 2019
Note that this version of the newsletter is a modified version of that sent individually to members in recognition of a small number of sensitive issues.
Membership fees for the current 2018/19 season became payable on 1st November 2018
At the club’s AGM in October, we only had a small number of changes to the elected officers of the club:-
Peter Knight stepped down from Social Secretary & Derek Ohren was co-opted onto the committee in that role when he kindly volunteered some weeks later. Marcus Gawn stood down due to work commitments & we welcomed Paul Hopkins as a new ordinary committee member.
It has been made official, by the EU, that from 1st April to 31st October 2019, anglers are allowed to retain one Bass per person per day. This 7 month window is a slight increase on last year’s 6 months. Outside of these dates, anglers may not retain any Bass.
Little did I realise, when writing in the October newsletter about potential problems with the winter Cod season, just what a total disaster it would turn out to be. The remarkably crystal clear water clarity that produced bumper catches of Bass at the start of the “Cod season” did not help but when the water clarity did go favourable for cod we only seemed to be inundated with conger eels ranging in size from quite large but with large numbers of very small ones which could be good news for conger stock levels in future years. A very small number of cod have been reported by members with most apparently being very small in the 5lb to 10 lb bracket. I have to say that I admire the enthusiasm shown by Derek Ohren in the number of trips he has undertaken to target cod, including quite a few at very unsociable times. I am informed that only 2 Cod were officially recorded in November with Matt James having the best one of 22 lbs 6 ozs. I am not aware of any other 20 plus one having been recorded by a member this season.
It seems fairly obvious that the wholesale slaughter of cod mid channel by anglers a few summers ago must have had some adverse impact on current numbers. That said, David Mitchell, Angling Trust’s head of marine campaigns, has just had published a very interesting article on the subject in the February issue of Saltwater Boat Angling. In that he indicates that rising water temperatures, especially in the southern North Sea have pushed copepod species, on which larval & juvenile cod feed, much further North over recent years. This has resulted in a much reduced cod survival rate in the southern North Sea & English Channel & hence the current lack of adult cod numbers in our local waters. If this turns out to be a main factor then I am afraid that we may not see our traditional winter cod fishery again.
Other fish recorded include:- Junior Daniel Gawn, Whiting 2 lbs 4½ ozs; Colin Hicks, Undulate Ray 16 ¾ lbs, Ray Ellis, Smoothound 15lbs; Spencer Wright, Spotted Ray 4 lbs 9 ozs; Liam Smith, Bass 12½ lbs; Ray Ellis, Pollack 14¼ lbs; Spencer Wright, Undulate 15 lbs 3 ozs (shore); Ray Ellis, Whiting 2 lbs 11 ozs, Karl Skoludeck, Spur Dog 13 ¾ lbs
I feel sure that you are all aware that we abandoned efforts to hold our annual open cod comp after a number of alternative dates suffered from poor forecasts. We have decided to use the prizes from it for a small number of different open comps that we hope to run during 2019 in addition to hoping to run the usual open cod comp at the end of the year. In order to attempt to address the generally poor level of support we have experienced for most ordinary club comps, it has been decided to limit spring & summer comps to just 3 open comps being individually for Bream, Plaice & Bass. Each has a reserve date in case of poor forecasts. In hopes of a better cod season, we are scheduling a number of ordinary club comps for cod in addition to our annual open cod comp. Of course, if the cod season turns out to be another disaster, we will probably have to rethink the target species for some of the club comps. This newsletter has been sent individually to the contact point that each member last advised the club. For those who have not elected to receive communications electronically, we have enclosed a grey scale print of the list of competitions for 2019. If you wish, you can copy & download a colour version from this (the club’s) web site. Those who have agreed to receive electronic communications should find have found attached files of both a grey scale & a colour version from which you could choose which version you wish to print.
As a result of comments from club president, Bob Cowley, we have now introduced a reference list of notable captures that records them just for future reference. These are mainly fish that were in excess of the then current club record but could not be claimed as such as they were not brought ashore for weighing. It includes multiple entries for some individual species. It can be found on this the club web site after the list of club records.
I very much hope that when you receive our next newsletter there will be some clarity regarding fishing regulations relating to Brexit. Currently there are a number of issues relating to what the EU wants to impose on us that a no deal immediate Brexit would negate & be to our advantage. One issue is that apparently the EU wants to force the UK government to prohibit the use of red diesel in recreational vessels. The angling Trust has joined with the RYA to attempt to block this. On a purely fisheries note, the Angling Trust seems to be having some success with getting angling friendly items included in the forthcoming UK fisheries bill.
There has been some talk of a total ban on catching sandeels but that has apparently been dropped in favour of the introduction of suitable conservation measures. I am not aware if this originated from the EU.
I have recently learnt that the inshore commercial boats that target cuttlefish have been complaining about offshore boats targeting aggregations that include immature specimens that are popular with anglers. They claim that the offshore fishery is having a negative impact on the sustainability of the cuttlefish population. It is too soon to determine what the outcome will be but there could be an adverse impact on their availability for bait or possibly the price being charged.
We are yet to see the implementation of the proposed new restrictions on the under 10m commercial fleet that would include better catch reporting along with plans to compel them all to have on board trackers that allow the authorities to monitor where they are fishing. It is hoped that better data from this inshore fleet will allow more equitable regulation of targeting species of common interest to both anglers & commercials.
It has been suggested that the MMO may commence consultations, mid this year, for control measures for the “Offshore Overfalls” already designated MCZ which includes the area known by many BAC members as the ray banks.
We are currently awaiting a government decision as to if the Bembridge proposed MCZ, which includes inshore Sandown Bay, will actually be designated. It does not seem as if there would be any adverse impact on us if it does get designated. I was disappointed to see that nothing was proposed relating to Black Bream. Consultation on control measures for it would take place some considerable time after designation if the government does agree to designation.
In the unfortunate event that any club skipper causes damage to another vessel (or other property) within the harbour then the following procedure should be followed where possible:- If the other vessel is known to be normally moored on a BAC mooring then immediately contact our moorings officer, John Rackett, or myself so that we can put the owner of the damaged vessel in touch. In all other circumstances, contact the Bembridge Harbour Office either on VHF radio on Channel 80 or phone them on 872828 & advise them of the identity of the vessel (or property) damaged along with your own contact details. Their data security procedures will almost certainly mean that they will have to put the owner of the other vessel in touch with you rather than them giving you the contact details of the other party. Responsibility for rectifying any damage resulting from such occurrences is entirely a private matter between the vessel owners. BAC’s involvement, if any, would be entirely limited to facilitating communication between the affected parties. All vessels moored in the harbour are required, by harbour regulations, to be insured against 3rd party claims at a minimum. Club rules also require that boats using our moorings must be insured, including specific cover for each person that may be driving the boat at any time.
Our treasurer has responded to queries about advance stage payments for moorings saying that electronic direct payments to the club’s bank account are not acceptable but he would be happy to receive advance payments, for the following season, of not less than £50 each, by way of cheque or cash accompanied by full details of payer & for what boat. The full balance of what is still outstanding would become payable in the normal way once the following season’s cost is decided.
As it is several years since the committee made the ruling, I should perhaps remind members that, during periods when boats are out for annual maintenance in our compound, parking in the compound is intended for those members who are actively working on boats. Anyone going out fishing should park out on the main road (after unloading their gear if necessary). This is particularly important at weekends when it is likely that most skippers will be working on their boats. Several issues are involved including the ability to readily move vehicles to give access to emergency vehicles in the event of a fire or other emergency.
Skippers who have participated in any of the boat maintenance sessions in the club compound are reminded that a condition of participation is that you turn up on the last day of the last session (this year is Saturday April 20th) and assist with tidying up the compound.
It is important that all mooring holders check, at least every 2 weeks, as much of the mooring hardware as they are able to with a view to identifying any components that are getting to a point that they should be replaced shortly & are advised immediately to our moorings officer John Rackett on his number that is included in the personal copy of this newsletter sent to individual members.
It just remains for me to wish you all good catching during the remainder of 2019.