Apathy in angling
Posted 21 February 2000 - 03:49 AM
I have just read the last topic from start too finish. If I was totaly sober I could write loads in reply. It is the first time I have looked at the conservation forum and how interesting it is. I am a comittee member of a 500 or so club, run work parties and generally try to talk fishing up into the sport we all want. The apathy we talk of is so evident everybody complains of the cost of membership and nobody wants to be involved in work parties. I suppose comparing us to golf is not truly fair as if you play golf you join one club where as i joined six angling clubs this year at approx. £35 each.
I also try to buy my tackle from my local angling shop. It may be dearer but my veiw is you can,t buy maggots mail order. They need all the support we can give them. I chatted too members of the local essex wildlife trust recently while fishing and they were amazed that I was interested in the birdlife insects and plants. This is a major part of my fishing and I don,t understand why people think we are not conservationists. Then sometimes I see the damage so called anglers cause maybe I wonder sometimes aswell. Never mind its the time of annual general meetings and i have got several I want too attend so lets go forth and give it our best shot.
best regards john
Posted 23 February 2000 - 02:18 AM
Like you I was involved for a few years as Chairman of a 750 member Angling Club. The problems you state regarding membership interest are absolutely true and for a number of years it was left to THE FEW to make a difference. We changed this however, Full communication by newletters, A membership survey, Activities that led to own water purchase keeping members involved was followed by greater interest and involvement. It was bloody hard work, but less remote Committees, higher profiling of the club and waters,led to far greater involvement and commitment all round. We found that you needed to GENERATE involvement not wait for it to happen. We called it Marketing..... But it is hard work at the start. If it's any consolation, all sports are the same.
Posted 23 February 2000 - 03:22 AM
Like both of you I have been involved in running clubs, not as big, but with similar problems.
I was also an NFSA Divisional Secretary for a number of years as well.
Graham makes a good point about marketing, unfortunately all some people see of angling is the bad side. We fail to talk ourselves up enough and advertise the good in our respective areas.
Its definately one area we must improve upon, anybody out there have any ideas how to do this?
Posted 29 February 2000 - 02:48 AM
Posted 29 February 2000 - 04:21 AM
I was asked yet again to be Chairman of the Club I mentioned. I considered it and the fact that personally I like to succeed and add value for the members. I declined last week. mainly because the current committee did not like the idea of promoting the waters available to the Club and the fact that a 14.13 barbel and a 51lb (yes) common carp un named had been caught recently. The club struggled to fill its membership limit last year. This despite the fact that it does need to be run as a business(unfortunately) to allow expansion and investment in new waters. New members as normal pay a premium to join and each member currently has the equivalent of 50pc of their ticket value in a wholey owned water.
I am a traditionalist but you cannot buck the market forces that say income = buying power = perceived value. Only from this position of strength can you invest in subsidising initiatives for bringing back the needed junior fishermen and social events. Oliver fight the Ostriches.
Posted 29 February 2000 - 03:45 PM
A few years back I finally managed to join my local club. I'm in myt fifties and have lived here since I was 9. The club had an attitude and only signed new members once a year, after at least a years wait and generlally claimed a waiting list. I was 48 before I discovered that membership was even available on these terms.
Never one to sit quietly behind others I got proposed for the committee, most of whom had served for 40 plus years, the rest having been in place for 10 plus years. A president who didn't like night angling, on what is in reality a carp water, and a secretary who did not write to anyone if he could help it.
Two years later I was secretary and we conducted a survey of members to discover their wants and needs. Slowly but surely the older members left the committee and we found new blood, I'm now the oldest member on the committee so young blood is coming through.
Yes we need to run the club as a business in one sense, financial, but we have also endevoured to make the club a more socialable place. We put electricity into the clubhouse and now make tea and coffeee of ranglers who drop in for a chat. We plan our work parties so that people know what they will be doing on the day and don't get fed up moving last weeks cuttings to another site only for them to be moved back again the following week.
Like most clubs in the area we are struggling to gain memberships but at least we are not going backwards, like so many. We now publish a newsletter and have a photoboard in the clubhouse for memebers catches to be recorded.
We are under pressure to introduce massive stocks to some waters so that anglers (?) can "bag up" consitently, but we are trying to reach a reasonable balance. The danger remains that in 30 years time the same team will still be doing the work so each year we look for new blood and encourage it to come forward with fresh ideas and energy. It's interesting that most of those who leave the committee leave the club, sooner or later, perhaps because they no longer enjoy the power base they once had.
There is a huge amount of apathy in angling, but look around, apathy seems to govern most peoples lives in everything. Angling is no different to politics - 56 million people governed by parties which cannot muster 2 million members between them. Apathy is the normal human state. We must be the nutters, for getting involved, but who would want it to be any different.
tight lines to all
Posted 29 February 2000 - 06:56 PM
I'm particularly thinking here of fishery management where the club controls several waters. Bob wants bream, Tom wants tench, Charlie wants to bag up on small carp, Chris wants big carp. So what happens? Compromise! What's the result? Lots of similar but mediocre fishing, with every water the club controls having every species of fish in it whether it suits the fishery or not.
What is needed instead is proper fishery management with each water being treated individually. Then each type of angler can enjoy his fishing without conflict. Of course this is possible only when the club has the luxury of more than one water. With just one water I reckon it's best to develop the fishery to suit the majority rather than everyone. If further waters are obtained later they can then be developed differently.
Above all I think it's always worth getting professional advice from a Fishery Management Consultant. The cost is usually just a few hundred pounds but it can save much more expensive mistakes. In most cases it pays fot itself very quickly
BTW, there's another debate underway on the coarse fishing board about fishery rules, that some of you may have missed. This is covering related issues such as night fishing, and of course is relevant to this discussion about balancing the conflicting demands of different types of angler.
Posted 01 March 2000 - 03:03 AM
Posted 01 March 2000 - 02:10 PM
Isn't it always the case that club committee's are made up of 90% older individuals ? I know my local club is, but that said they have kind of gone down the route Steve suggested i.e. a number of waters catoring for different types of anglers. Match type fishery, pleasure/small carp water and speciment type water. I say type because I'm not sure the waters haven't gone that way on their own. The club fees are tiny and so revenue would never amount to a re-stocking campaign or any proffessional work. I did think about joining the committee last season but since I fish other waters 99% of the time I didn't think it was worth putting myself forward.
Posted 01 March 2000 - 05:00 PM
Clubs are more and more losing out to commercial fisheries. The latter are run on a day ticket basis whilst the clubs are funded by season tickets. People are funny. They'll pay £5 per day for 20 to 100 days of fishing per year (total cost £100 to £500), yet they'll jib if club subs are raised from £40 to £45! Obviously some simply can't afford it, others fish only a few times a year. IMO clubs have to decide whether they want to compete with commercial fisheries or alternatively offer something completely different. With a selection of waters under their control they can of course do a bit of both. However most clubs are unfocussed and resistant to change.
It's becoming increasingly apparent that most anglers either want to bag up on small carp or session fish for big carp. Relatively few compared with yesteryear are like me and want to fish for other species as well.
My own fisheries at Wingham have a limited membership but are relatively expensive, especially the carp only lake. Wingham therefore attracts those who are willing to pay a bit more for solitude. I'm not knocking other waters, it's just that Wingham isn't run on purely commercial grounds. Basically anglers pay for the running of the site, which is first and foremost a nature reserve. Too many anglers would have an adverse impact on the flora and fauna, so to pay for the nature conservation I have to attract the anglers who are prepared to pay a premium price. This in turn decides how the fisheries are managed.
BTW, there's an interesting (and hard hitting!) section in Angling: Fundamental Principles by Barrie Rickards on club committees. The book was published in 1986 and is now out of print but can be obtained from your local library. The ISBN reference is 0-85115-441-7.