Welcome to Bembridge Angling Club

This JULY 2018 newsletter version has been edited from the issued personal version for on-line publication:

As I write this, it seems incredible that we are already at the year’s longest day & what a mixed bag of weather we have had so far. After the disaster of a Cod season with very few showing, we then experienced dreadful conditions a lot of the time through the spring which not only affected fishing but also disrupted our timetable for rounds of annual boat maintenance on the quay. Further complicating the boat maintenance issues, we also had to replace two of the mooring poles situated just off the quay. This exercise proved more challenging than anticipated & the club is extremely grateful for the services of Kevin Newnham in both supplying the new poles & associated hardware and also the equipment & effort needed to install them.

Phil Mason was, as usual, dealing with allocation of spaces for each boat lift period & he has requested that participating skippers be made aware of the following:- The first boat lift was initially significantly under subscribed which would have resulted in a significant financial loss that the club would have had to fund. He therefore invited a number of skippers, who had only opted for the second lift, to extend their lift periods to also include the first lift and a few accepted. It was not a case of these skippers having initially requested both lifts, contrary to what may have appeared to be the case. It was unfortunate that the completion of individual maintenance periods became delayed due to adverse forecasts with one period having to be shortened.


Dates for your diary:-

30th  October , Tuesday :   AGM in clubhouse

1st November :   Membership & mooring fees due

18th November, Sunday :   Open Cod Comp: See advance details on BAC website Notice Board page.

7th  December, Friday : Prize Giving in the clubhouse. (Subject to confirmation re venue & date)

As hinted at in the previous news letter, the committee did agree to try to hold an alternative open competition for Bream, for which the unused prizes from the aborted open Cod competition would be allocated. Much to everyone’s surprise, the weather on the first scheduled date for the comp was such that the comp was able to go ahead without needing to be postponed. The virtual saturation netting throughout Sandown bay in the preceding weeks almost certainly contributed to the difficulty experienced by many competitors in trying to locate any Bream. Much to my utter amazement, I was actually able to locate a shoal and, together with my crew mate Phil Lewis, we managed to capture something in the order of 60 to 70 bream. Only a handful were, of course, retained with the remainder returned unharmed. In the interests of conservation, the club had set a maximum bag limit of two fish and my bag weight of 5 lbs 9½ ozs was good enough to win me first prize of £250 sponsored by Sydenhams Builders Merchants, Newport. Martin Dye was second with 5 lbs 4½ ozs taking the £150 sponsored by Pascall Atkey & BAC whilst Liam Smith’s 4 lbs 14 ozs was good enough for the third place prize of £100 sponsored by Nick Challen Building Renovations. The prize for the heaviest single bream was jointly won by both Martin Dye & Andrew Ellis, each having identical fish of 3 lbs 1 oz so the club added £50 to the £50 sponsored by member Charles Smallman so that both anglers received £50. Callum Smith won the prize rod donated by East Cowes Tackle for the heaviest single bream by a junior which weighed 2 lbs 4ozs

Phil Lewis contributed a further 4 lbs 5 ozs to our combined bag  of 9 lbs 14½ ozs, enabling us to take the pairs prize of £45 each jointly sponsored by members Dave Gawn, Peter Knight & Ross Staplehurst.

BAC is of course very grateful for all the excellent sponsorship plus the support received from East Cowes Tackle, Odessa Angling Centre, UK Hooks & the IW County Press. A full report together with images can be found on the BAC web site under open results.  Unfortunately the report that subsequently appeared in the County Press had been severely edited from that which I had submitted to them.

It seems that we have received far fewer claims than normal for specimen fish so far this year, probably down to the reduction in numbers of days when tides & weather were suitable.  Undulate Rays continue to dominate the “catch & release on board” fish of the month awards, as one might expect.  One of our newer members, Spencer Wright, has been dominating the shore caught fish of the month awards so far with a variety of species.  There was a short window when Herring seemed abundant round the ledge earlier this year but they soon disappeared again. I am not hearing any reports of members having any great success mid channel & it looks like we missed what sport there was being reported by mainland boats in the way of good Pollack sport due to our boats of being laid up for annual maintenance. Dave Geddes has weighed in a Pollack of 13 lbs 8 ½ ozs but that is likely to have come from an inshore mark. Some skippers have been targeting Plaice on grounds different to those that had been popular a few years ago. Catches however remain variable & with larger specimens very scarce. The generally disappointing fishing is probably the reason for the apparent lack of enthusiasm so far for participation in any of the competitions that were listed as optional on the published competitions list.  The situation is not being helped by the total ban on us retaining any Bass. Unfortunately it is now looking very unlikely that there will be any relaxation of the ban on anglers retaining any Bass in 2018. The data that was hoped would persuade the EU to relax the restrictions is not now due till July. But see the item about a new petition on home page of this web site. The EU has advised that it would then need a further 3 months to enact any relaxation if it even did make that decision. It seems highly unlikely that the EU would go to the bother for just the 2 remaining months of 2018. It appears that the European Anglers Alliance (to which the Angling Trust is affiliated), supported by the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, is looking to take the EU to court claiming “the decision creates unjustified discrimination between European citizens as well as violating the principle of proportionality” but there are doubts as to if this will even be allowed to proceed, not to mention the possible undesirable consequences of success that could possibly open the door for more commercial exploitation.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Mackerel are not yet abundant locally, leading to the worry that this may be an ongoing trend. It has certainly been apparent on the middle distance sharking grounds over recent seasons. As mature Mackerel are predatory on small fry, it will be interesting to see, in future years, if there are any local explosions of other species such as Sprats, Scad & Herring etc. (and Blue Fin Tuna perhaps J)

Defra has just commenced public consultations as to whether a third round of proposed Marine Conservation Zones should actually be designated. This consultation does not include discussion on what control measures would be put in place but merely concentrates on the question of whether each individual pMCZ should actually be designated. If designated, then discussion on control measures would follow some significant time later. For us anglers, those control measures for our local MCZs would be dealt with by the Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority. Of the proposed MCZs in this current round, there are only 2 adjacent to the IW, being Yarmouth to Cowes and Bembridge.  Bembridge pMCZ stretches from Nettlestone Point round across Sandown Bay to Dunnose. Our main interest is obviously in the Bembridge pMCZ and fortunately it looks like there would be minimal disruption to our activities if it were designated & the likely control measures mentioned  in the current fact sheet get implemented. They talk about restricting anchoring in seagrass in Priory Bay and restricting anchoring in a small area on Culver Spit that was originally going to be designated as a “Reference Area” where no activity could take place. The idea of reference areas seems to have been dropped but a no anchoring requirement for this spot is almost definite. It is required to protect a special bottom feature a little East of a small wreck and its likely position can be seen by looking at the club’s web site under Balanced Seas & scrolling down to almost the bottom of the page where you will find a chart showing a red rectangle labelled dRA21. I suspect that the area inshore where currently the use of bottom trawled gear is banned may get extended as part of this MCZ’s control measures. This sounds a good thing at first glance but the down side is that it then gives more confidence to the commercial vessels to lay fixed nets on the principle that they will not get carried away or damaged by trawled gear. We already suffer badly due to the extensive netting close inshore in Sandown Bay & any extension would be a nightmare. It is highly regrettable that the proposals for the Bembridge pMCZ do not include any requirement to protect our breeding stocks of Black Bream, despite having pushed for this since the idea of MCZs was first discussed.

A number of IFCAs have already introduced regulation on inshore netting & Sussex IFCA is currently consulting on possible controls on both trawled & fixed netting. Our Southern IFCA is preparing to consult on inshore netting controls but only currently in estuaries & harbours. Rest assured that I will be pushing strongly for measures that redress the balance between the needs of us anglers & the commercial sector.

As previously reported, I have still yet to hear anything from the MMO about consultations for control measures for the “Offshore Overfalls” designated MCZ which includes the area known by many BAC members as “the ray banks”.

The Angling Trust is continuing to strive to obtain a good deal for us anglers in any fishing regulations that may be adopted by the UK government post Brexit. It has to be said that the commercial sector seems to be enjoying far more vociferous support from its members than is forthcoming for our cause from anglers.

It rather looks like the initial government approach will be to just copy over existing EU regulation & then worry about introducing any changes at a (much?) later date.

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. Any problems found should be advised immediately to our moorings officer John Rackett on his preferred number as included in personal newsletters sent to members.  Notification forms are available in the clubhouse.

Please keep the club updated at all times with any change to your contact details.

It just remains for me to wish you all good catching during the rest of 2018.      Alan Deeming

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