Well, it's that time of the year again, December. Where on earth does the time go? I regularly see clips from the 90's on my Facebook page with comments like "Old School" and "Back in the day" and I think what are you on about "Old School?" "It was only a couple of years ago". But when you think about it, 1990 was 27 years ago (my old maths teacher would be very proud of me) and that is without doubt 'Old School' very disconcerting to those of us that think the 70's are the real 'Old School' days. The world changes at such a pace now it's quite frightening. Where it's all going to end? I don't know. Much has it changes though, it still follows the same pattern. I remember as a young lad in the mid 70's, just embarking on my journey (how very progressive) of boozing, fighting and chasing women, I'd go into the pub and talk to a few of the older ex-Teddy Boy blokes and they'd tell you tales of smashing the cinemas up when 'Rock around the Clock' was shown and stories of razor blades in lapels, and how Elvis changed the world. Fast forward 40 years and when I've had a few I quite often narrate stories of Sham 69, Angelic Upstarts or Cockney rejects concerts that more often than not ended prematurely in mass riots. I'll take my audience through the late 60's early 70's skinhead movement through to the 80's casual movement and tell them the massive impact Johnny Rotten et al had on the world. And I've no doubt in 40 years' time older people will be telling the youth of that day about the time they had V I P tickets to see Little Mix and West life at the all seated Wembley stadium and how they saw Simon Cowell at the 'after party' They'll probably tell them of the dark ages of the 20th century when there was only 2 genders and people were allowed to disagree with each other without the thought Police arresting them for non-compliance with the loudest voices. All of which has nothing to do with this blog, but if nothing else, it's food for thought, or just the ramblings of an old cynic? There's someone in my head but it's not me.
For no other reason than I like these photos
2017 in Carp Society world started (and finished) has most years do, with several work parties on all our lakes. Work goes on on our fisheries throughout the year but the winter is the time to really get stuck in and be quite severe, the more you can do in the winter, the less you have to worry about in the spring and summer if you get it right. Spring and Summer should really be just about keeping the plates spinning in regard to maintenance, keeping an eye on the oxygen levels, bits of trimming back here and there but if you can do it well and do it right in the winter, then that's all the better for the anglers and, more importantly, better for the welfare of your fish. The majority of work on the lakes is not about getting it right aesthetically (although it's always nice to see your lakes looking well) it's all about what's best for the fish. So when you see snags being removed don't just stand there tutting and telling everyone "fish love snags" "They're butchering the lake" etc. etc. Just stop and ask yourself why the snags may be being removed, in fact don't ask yourselves, ask the people removing the snags. Yes, fish love snags, they are though not quite has keen on being tethered to them with copious amounts of unbreakable lead core or braid and hooks with giant barbs on that effectuate the fish to a slow painful death. There's a myriad of reasons why things are done on fisheries and I can assure you that not one of them are ever done to spoil your enjoyment or your chances of catching a fish. Quite the opposite in fact. After the welfare of the fish, giving the paying angler the most enjoyable experience once they are on our lakes is absolutely paramount. No anglers will eventually mean no fishery, so, much as most of you do my head in, I do actually want you to fish on our lakes, and to be fair, you only do my head in when you're not catching and looking for excuses, so the more I can do to help you catch, then the better it is for me and for you, so everything we do on our lakes is equally beneficial, quid pro quo. And don't worry too much about doing my head in, one of my ex-girlfriends used to do my head in and I married her so it doesn't mean I don't love you. Just don't take my house and bank account when we part.
Sometimes you've just got to bring the Big Guns out
I went up to Scotland in January to attend a course to allow me to trap Otters. The course came about after consultation between UKWOT (United Kingdom Wild Otter Trust) and Natural England, and pressure from the PAG (Predation Action Group). What they came up with was basically an agreement that if you have a fishery that is Otter fenced (adequately?) and an Otter gets in to your fishery, you can call a licenced trapper who is then allowed to trap the Otter and release it immediately outside your fence perimeter. One of the conditions of obtaining a licence is that you attend a course and display competence in being able to fulfil the conditions of the licence. The course cost £400 and was in the far west of Scotland, not far from Fort William, for those of you familiar with Scotland. It was a 9 hour drive but it's such a lovely part of Britain it's well worth the drive regardless of what you are there for. I've been up that neck of the woods a couple of times now and I've got to say it is breathe taking, definitely a place I could live quite happily. I covered my experiences up there in an earlier blog so I won't go over it again, except to say I was eventually granted a licence to trap otters and am still licenced as I write. Fortunately I haven't been called upon to remove any otters form any Carp Society waters (or any others for that matter) I was nearly called into action during 'Beaver Gate', again, an episode I covered in a previous blog. The Beaver is still in Horseshoe and now goes by the name of Geoff (don't ask) So if you do see anything you're not sure about on Horseshoe, please be sure before you announce to the world via Facebook, that Horseshoe is over run with Otters, it may just be Geoff frolicking about. That's not to say we should be complacent and I do in fact welcome any reports of suspicions you may have. With the best will and fences in the world, there's no guarantees these apex predators won't enter your fishery and go on a killing spree, all with the blessing and adoration of people who claim to care about nature but fall well short of understanding the 'balance'. It saddens me that has 2017 comes to an end, despite the efforts of the few (PAG) the Otter still remains a massive problem to our pastime and indeed, without being over dramatic, our lives. Angling brings millions (if not billions) of revenue to the country and thousands of people rely on angling (directly or indirectly) to pay the bills. It's a massive industry and would be catastrophic to the country should it ever cease to be so. You really all do need to throw your weight behind the PAG, these guys are trying to save angling and they are not getting the support they deserve and need. Its all well and good those of us that can afford or are actually allowed, erecting fences round our lakes, but what about the thousands of waters that can't possibly be fenced? Who's going to look after them? I'll tell you who, no one. Once they've been lost to anglers, they'll be gone forever. We all know, all these people that claim to care about the environment don't actually care enough to get off their arses and look after it. Once anglers disappear, waters will be left to stagnate and die and everything that relies on it, fish, birds, plants, Bees, Butterflies, insects, animals, they'll all die, mark my words, as sure as eggs is eggs, once anglers disappear so will the flora and forna. If you only do one thing in 2018, then please support the PAG.
Don't let this happen to your fishery
Jesus Christ, I've just read what I've wrote so far, I don't know what I had for breakfast this morning but it was certainly laced with cynicism and acridity. Let's change that now.
Manchester Rob set the year off with 20 fish to 34lb
After the winter, the fishing on Horseshoe, traditionally, usually really gets going in April, sometimes if we have a mild March that can start it a bit earlier. This year though, Manchester Rob came down in early February and helped himself to 7 fish. He came back the following week and landed an incredible 13 fish, include a 34lb common. That seemed to set the tone for the next few months, Horseshoe really got off to a flyer in 2017. Not long after Rob opened the scoring Andrew Konsoumis chipped in with a couple of 30's amongst his captures. Unsurprisingly Mighty Melvin was soon in on the fact himself with a couple of 30's. Even Brownie found a gap in his very busy social calendar and graced us with his presence; we obligingly rewarded his effort with a lovely big framed 30. We had a number of new fish push through the 30lb barrier in 2017, there's some proper beasts amongst them as well, some of these fish are going to be big big fish before they stop growing, I don't want to tempt fate but I'm genuinely excited with the potential on Horseshoe, there's some gems in here now and they are getting bigger and better with each and every year. I've said it elsewhere but Horseshoe will blow Farriers away before too long. Just have a look at some of the fish Matty Hoskins has been catching, you couldn't wish for better fish than them. I was absolutely delighted with the way Horseshoe had not only started but had continued to fish, throwing up good catches for a lot of anglers. It continued fishing well until spawning, then we had some really hot weather immediately after spawning and that definitely but the breaks on, and then the weed appeared.
Andrew with a couple of early season Horseshoe 30's
Andy Powers 25lb and Richard Seeds 31lb from Horseshoe
Smiley with a truly wonderful Horsehoe carp at 38lb
After a couple of years in hiding, the Tench came out to play in 2017, and look at the size of them.
Boy did the weed appear, and with a vengeance. I remember watching the carp spawn in front of Summer Disabled and the lawns this year, they were bang at it for the best part of a week (put me in mind of my younger self) A couple of days later a fella came into the shop and commented on the weed in summer bay, I told him it was just floating weed from where the carp had been spawning and had ripped it up, he said he didn't think so, so I went and had a look. I couldn't believe what I saw, bearing in mind I'd seen it only the day before, the weed was actually growing out of the water and there was loads of it, there must have been an area the size of a football field that actually looked like it could have been a football field, it was mad to see how something so mad could have just appeared in the space of a day, I could swear it was growing as I looked at it. Weed growth is always a difficult subject with regard to a fishery, some people love it and can fish quite efficiently and competently, others hate it and wouldn't even know how to approach it never mind fish in it with any competence or confidence, and has such all they will ever do is lose fish after fish if they ever did manage to present a bait successfully. That's not a criticism by the way, if people haven't fished in weed before then it can be quite mind blowing when you first encounter it. Unfortunately more and more fisheries overcome the problem for them by obliterating every strand of weed in their lakes. Problem solved? Maybe, but at what cost? Does anyone really know the long term effects both on the fish and the water? I've yet to be convinced. I am convinced removing the weed in Horseshoe in 2010 did for the fish in 2011 and that's why I'm massively paranoid about weed removal. I appreciate it's difficult for some people to fish in but when I see the number of fish in the weed, I'm convinced it's good for the fish, they're there for a reason aren't they? They are not dumb, they wouldn't be in the thick of the weed if they weren't happy there. I'm just not happy to take that environment away from them. I don't claim to be the world's leading authority on aqua culture but I know a bit and I know the weed is there for a reason and is part of the ecology and has such needs to be dealt with sensitively and sensibly, that applies to fishing in it, or not, has the case may be. Commercially you'd just rip the stuff out and bat on, but have we really come to that? Does everything we do have to be commercially viable just for the here and now? Not for me, you may have other ideas, but it's not for me in any way shape or form. The day we start doing things purely for commercial reasons is the day we should call it a day. If you want to catch fish and your waters weedy, just change your approach accordingly. If a mobile food van is, say, in the town centre merrily selling his kebabs or burgers or bacon sandwiches until one day he realises he hasn't had a customer all day. It then dawns on him that it's scorching hot and everyone is at the beach, he doesn't then, in the middle of the night sneak down to the beach and cover it in broken glass in the hope that his customers return to the town centre the next day and buy his burgers. If he's any sense he'll nip to the cash and carry, stock up with ice cream and lollies and the next day he'll have his van on the beach selling his new wears. That's probably the crappest analogy you'll read all year, but really all I mean is it's more about effecting as opposed to affecting.
Horseshoe 2017, where there's weed there's fish
Melvin and Tom with 2 more Horseshoe 30's
Adele and Emily
Samantha and Tam
It's been fantastic to see the ladies doing so well on Horseshoe this year
Matty at Horseshoe
Horseshoe, where dreams come true
In a parallel Universe kind of scenario though, although the fishing got tougher on Horseshoe with the freakish prolonged hot weather, the fishing on Farriers went positively ballistic, you couldn't go wrong, even the noddy's were catching 40's. Before anyone gets all uppity about that last sentence, I was actually referring to myself, and in no way making light of the undisputable skill and water craft demonstrated by the other anglers that masterfully outwitted the Wiley old carp that reside in Farriers, nothing short of catching the impossible. I am of course being a tad facetious. One or two of the guys on Farriers are ever so slightly precious and I can't stop myself from playing on that. There genuinely are some good good anglers on Farriers and they do make it appear easy but it really isn't. Rob Andrews for one landed 70 carp from there this year including 8 different 40lb+ fish. Rob Saunders likewise had a similar amount. Even Brownie found a gap in his busy social calendar and graced Farriers with his presence; we obligingly rewarded his effort with a couple of lovely big framed 30's.
Rob Andrews with a couple of his ten 40's from Farriers this year
Rob Saunders and some old bloke with a couple of Farriers 40's
He's not the Messiah
Baz and Boycie at Farriers
Mark and Richard with two more Farriers 40's
Main man Trevor with a beautiful Farriers 40
At the beginning of 2017 we put 35 new fish into Little Farriers, these were mid to upper doubles, with a couple of scraper 20's as well. Now I don't know for sure that this was the major contributing factor but Little Farriers fished so much better than the previous 2 years put together. The first people on there this year, a father and son combo, had 40 fish out over a weekend. The next group had something like 26 fish out and it just carried on like that. It wasn't just the new fish neither, fish that hadn't been caught before were suddenly appearing, it was great, all topped by our very own Karlos who is now the proud holder of the lake record at 39lb. I was particularly pleased to hear reports of a few mid-single figure carp being caught from Little Farriers, these fish haven't been stocked so I'm hopeful there's some natural recruitment going on there, it's something I will be monitoring and investigating but it sounds promising.
Karlos 39lb Little Farriers
Talking of recruitment (seamless Miles, seamless) brings me round to what I would say was our biggest project on Horseshoe in 2017, the stock ponds, or in this particular case, the unused, overgrown area where the beginnings of a stock pond used to me. This pond had long been forgotten about and basically just left to fade away, consumed by years of vegetation. It had always seemed a crying shame to me but previous attempts to do anything with it had been poo poo'd so I was over the moon when I suggested to the board of Directors that I would like to do something with it and they responded in the positive, as they have indeed with most of my suggestions and plans regarding our fisheries. I can't tell you how good it is to have a board of Directors that share your enthusiasm and goals, it really is a breath of fresh air. Don't get me wrong, I haven't got carte blanch to do what the hell I like, my hopes of my own personal heated swimming pool were dashed, as were my plans for a monorail around Horseshoe, I can just see Steve Bowles in a Casey Jones style hat, sat astride a little train delivering supplies to the anglers. But, alas, it's not to be, for now anyway.
Progress on the Stock pond
Andrew, Ben and Dave
Back to the stock pond. Having been unanimously agreed, we set about getting the stock pond up and running. As usual I called Andrew Ellis, Dave and Ben in, hired a ten ton digger and dumper and let them work their magic. They didn't let us down and before I knew it we had the best part of a beautiful stock pond, otter fenced and all. My intensions were to drain it down, lime it and leave it empty for a while and let nature take its cause and start a fresh with it in 2018. Nature did take its course, but not exactly in the way I had hoped for. First of all, after 2 or 3 days of pumping the pond out, I was a bit dismayed to find the following morning that it had filled back up. The pond hadn't been clay lined at its original conception, so leaving it dry wasn't an option. Not the end of the world but a plan B was needed. Fortunately we had managed to drain it down to about a foot or eighteen inches before it started filling back up. That gave us a brief chance to survey the lake bed and discover that although it was weedy, it was quite solid with very little silt. Accordingly it was decided the best thing to do was let the weed die back naturally over the winter and put some fish in at a later date and feed them in such a way that the fish keep the weed down. It's a bit more in depth than that but that's the basics of it.
As is its want, nature had other ideas for us though and unfortunately we had an oxygen crash in the stock pond behind the 'Mounds'. It was heart-breaking to find 20-25 dead fish one morning, we'd been growing these fish for about 3 years and were all doubles, they were proper Horseshoe fish with lovely scale patterns. I had also though in that pond put a load of spawn in there the previous year so I was hopeful there may well be some survivors left. I got a couple of centrifugal pumps going and managed to get the oxygen levels up, the levels weren't great but high enough to take any surviving fish out of immediate danger. I say any survivors because along with the 20-25 Horseshoe fish in the pond. To be honest, at this stage I didn't know how many, if any, fish had hatched from the spawn, I was hoping there might have been a few and that, given I hadn't found any dead after the oxygen crash, they could possibly still be alive. There may actually have been none at all that had hatched or survived, I really didn't know. I called Andrew (Ellis) and bless him he came up to Horseshoe with his nets. Nathan, one of our bailiffs turned up as well and between the three of us we ran a net through the pond. What happened next really filled me with gladness and lifted the gloom that had set in after finding the dead fish. We pulled the net in and low and behold we had about 500 (maybe more) beautiful little fish. Most of them were about 4 to 6 inches long, a few were smaller and there were a few fliers amongst them that dwarfed the others. Fantastic stuff. We transferred the 500 or so fish up to the new revamped stock pond, the plan being to drain the mounds stock pond in readiness to put some more eggs in there from next year's spawn. You never catch all the fish when you run the net through a pond but the 500 or so we had caught were plenty enough to confirm that the collecting of spawn and consequent hatching of the fish meant we could do it successfully. I knew we'd left one or two still in the pond but we could deal with them later. After the set back of the oxygen crash, confidence was now sky high.
The Mounds Stock pond
Wouldn't you know it? A few weeks later while checking the new stock pond I saw a couple of little perch in the margins acting odd, I then saw a couple of little dead Perch, then another couple. A bit odd, I thought to myself. Just to be on the safe side I took a dissolved oxygen reading and was horrified to see it at 1.5mg/l. That is critical. 9mg/l is excellent, 3mg/l the fish can cope, anything below 3 and you're in trouble. Oh maann, not again. What happened next was a sequence of one disaster after another. First of all I got an aerator and generator up to the pond, got it situated, tied down, connected and running. Two hours later the generator packs in. I phone the hire company up in a bit of a panic and they deliver me a generator, thank the Lord for that. A hour or two later the bloody aerator packs in Luckily we had a spare aerator on site so I untied the broken one, unwired it, connected the spare one up, tied it down and away that one went, running smooth. A couple of hours later that one packs in. I then set a pump up, that's working fine till it runs out of petrol, I refill it and pull the cord to restart it and the cord comes off, no way of restarting that now. While all this is going on I notice there's loads of fish just below the surface in the mounds stock ponds. A quick check of the oxygen confirms it's crashed again. I quickly get our final pump going on there and low and behold that thing then suddenly decides not to work. By this time I had turned into Basil Fawlty on acid. My last hope was try the EA, I didn't hold out much hope but Jim Seymoor bless him and his mate were here within the hour with a couple of aerators, a generator and a centrifugal pump with a Venturi aeration system fitted. If you've never seen a pump with a venturi system by the way, check them out, they're brilliant. Anyway, not only did they turn up with the gear, they stayed and helped me set it all up on both the ponds. Thank the Lord for that, I could relax a bit now and put Basil Fawlty to bed. I say relax, but that actually never happened, I was too busy filling the generators up with fuel, they all had different capacity fuel tanks so were running out at different times, not to mention the pump needed filling up every 2 hours as well, and in-between all that I was having to run to the petrol station with all sorts of jerry cans. It was a hell of a lot more manic than I could ever describe but on the positive we didn't lose any more fish (apart from the previously mentioned 20-25) and another positive was when the fish were in the upper layers of the mound stock ponds, where I thought there might be one or two left in there, there is in fact several hundred.
The good the bad and the ugly
As always, every action has a positive and a negative and whilst the oxygen crash's resulted in a few dead fish and me running about like a man possessed. It did hammer home the fact that if you are going to rear fish you have got to do three essential things, feed them protect them, and oxygenate them. The feeding we were already doing, we have erected an otter fence around the stock pond to protect them, and we have now laid 2,000 metres of electric cable to get power to all 3 of our stock ponds now and set good quality aeration systems up on all of them. The cable and subsequent laying of it cost a small fortune. Luckily Andrew Wilkinson did the business end of the electrics, connecting it all up to the mains and whatever other witchcraft it took to get it working, so a massive thank you to him. I did put a little video of the work in progress on our Facebook page and more than one person raised doubts about its viability. The common feeling was that we hadn't got a thick enough cable to take the voltage the distance needed. Andrew always assured me it would work, but having laid out a king's ransom for the cable and various other necessities, the last thing I wanted to read was people saying it wouldn't work. I know these people meant well but they did give me many a sleepless night while the work was in progress. Needless to say I was like the proverbial dog with two doodars when we eventually switched the power on and the aerators sprang into action. Had I of been identifying myself as a lady that day I would have kissed Andrew. Instead I gave him the highest accolade a Yorkshire man can give and said "Cheers, well done" high praise indeed, believe me.
Anyway the long and short of it is we now have 3 stock ponds and a bountiful supply of baby fish growing on. I'm hoping next winter to have some to sell, so if you're in the market for a few baby Farriers commons, watch this space. I'm probably getting a bit ahead of myself there though, given the disasters and close calls we've already had but I'm staying hopeful. That's not the only work we've been doing though, we've done more snag removals and over the winter we will be doing some swim repairs, fence repairs, and whatever else we come across that needs attention. It's not just Horseshoe where the work goes on. The guys at Farriers have been busy, we have just given it a massive facelift and it's looking good, and with more work parties in the pipe line, Farriers and Little Farriers should be looking tip top come the spring.
Farriers, that's what it's all about.
Away from the lakes for a bit now and, as always, there's plenty going on behind the scenes. We have been working closely with The PAG and The Angling Trust on many issues, predation being only one of the many things we are raising concerns about, and indeed working on solutions for. The Carp Society board of Directors are keen for The Carp Society to champion the needs and wants of Carp anglers and our environment, the two are very much intertwined. It's a bit like banging your head against the wall sometimes, not least of all because apart from us, fish welfare is not at the top of anyone's agenda. We will bat on regardless though, progress is being made and awareness is growing. I think people are beginning to see the folly of releasing Otters back into the system and are slowly acknowledging the negative impact they are having, whether or not they are willing to address and make amends remains to be seen, but The Carp Society and The PAG won't be letting up.
We, The Carp Society, attended many shows during 2017, trying to raise membership and spreading the word that we are back in business after several years in the wilderness. We attended, Brentwood, Five Lakes, The Northern Show, and of course, the original and still the best show of them all, our very own Carp Society Winter show at Sandown. We will be at them all again in 2018 so if you're attending any show, pop along to see us and find out what we're all about. Whilst I'm on about the shows it would be remiss of me not to mention Sabrina. Our show is a vital part of our operation, apart from everything else, it's a good earner, and it allows me a few quid to spend over the quiet winter period on Horseshoe to get it ready for spring. Money's a mucky subject and as we know only too well, the root of most evils. But never the less it makes the world go round and running a Successful Society with 3 lakes already does need financing, that's not even mentioning the huge outlay in actually putting the show on, so it's vital we have a well-attended show, both stall holders and attendees. There are lots of shows around now and what with it never being easier to shop on line as well, running a successful show gets harder and harder, so it's to Sabrina's great credit that she was able to put it all together and pull off another great show. We made a few changes to the show this year involving hiring a far larger area than previous years. I know Sabrina was concerned about this, but she needn't have been, she did a great job and it worked very well and is definitely something to build on for 2018.
I'll stay on the unpleasant subject of money, just mainly to answer a couple of emails I've had asking why you need to be a member of The Society to fish our waters, why there's a charge and where does the money go. It always gets my back up when I hear or see these questions. That's probably because I know the answers, I don't mind people with a genuine interest asking, I enjoy talking to people about what we are doing and where we are going and I always let people know what we are spending the members money on. The people that get my back up though are the ones that, well, I don't really know why they ask, they're not interested really, I don't know, I guess some sort of mental disorder compels them to act like they do. I'm sure Freud would have the answer?
Why do I have to be a member? The Carp Society is a non-profit making member's based organisation. It was set up as such in 1981. The members own The Society and all its assets. The members then appoint and entrust a Board of Directors to carry out the running of The Society on their behalf. There was never a better example of the need for members than the recent legal battle we've just been through. The membership had been whittled down to around half a dozen and that half a dozen then conspired to sell The Society and all its assets. The money raised from the sale (probably 3 million pounds) would then have been divided amongst the members and the Society, Horseshoe, Farriers would be no more and 6 people would have been 3 million pounds better off. Had we of had say a thousand members they would never have voted to sell the Society in the first place so the whole sorry mess would have been avoided. That's a rather simple description of what really went on, but I wanted to briefly explain the consequences of not having a good membership and therefore just one of the many reasons to join. The Carp Society and Derek (our chairman) are working hard on giving the members something more tangible. Amongst several other things, he's working on putting a book together for the members. He's very keen on a membership package and he's a man that likes to get things done so you can rest assured there's a few things in the pipeline on that score.
Why is there a charge? I'm hoping everyone knows why there's a charge, if not I hope the answer to the first and the next question covers this.
What is the money spent on? Jesus, I could be here all day with this one, I'll try keeping it short but I've a feeling I'm going to get on one here. First of all, The Carp Society has grown, probably beyond anyone's expectations. I'm sure when Greg and Tim were sat in Greg's flat in Sheffield in 1980 discussing the possibility of setting up a Carp Society, they never for one minute could of imagined the success and longevity of what they were about to create. With that success has come development, and development inevitably costs. We have overheads to cover, bank loans, wages, rates, utilities, etc etc. We need about ten grand a month just to pay the bills. Then if you think on top of that this year alone we've done about £40,000 on maintenance on the lakes, over £50,000 on legal fees, we've put about £10,000 into stocking Horseshoe and Little Farriers this year. That's just off the top of my head, I won't give you a blow my blow account of our out goings, all I want to say is, as outlined in the first question, we are a non-profit making organisation. That doesn't mean we don't turn over a profit, what it does mean is that the profit made is reinvested into The Carp Society and we are able to grow and improve. We are able to keep the price of your fishing under market value, we are able to otter fence your lakes, we are able to put an annual show on for you. There's lots we want to do for your benefit, it all costs though and you can rest assured your membership money is being spent for your benefits. I do get that people are cynical or suspicious, especially given recent events, but I can assure you that you have a board of Directors in place now that you can trust implicitly to behave honourably and in accordance with everything that The Carp Society was originally set up to do. Why should you believe me? You won't have to believe me, just support us and keep your eye on us, the proof is in the pudding. I'm not saying we are going to get everything right but I am saying everything we do will be with the best of The Society's member's interests at heart.
We did find time for a bit of fun
Talking of Directors. We had our Annual General Meeting in October, there was a good turn out from the membership. One of the agendas for the meeting was the election of a new Director. We had 4 worthy candidates, unfortunately due to family circumstances one of the candidates withdrew at the last minute. Each member of The Society was given the opportunity to vote and the outcome was that Rob Saunders was elected onto The Board. Rob has been actively involved with the society for a number of years, certainly as long as I've been here. He has attended and played a leading role in all the work parties we've had and has always taken a keen interest in the Society. I personally feel it's a good appointment and I'm certain Rob can continue to bring a lot to the table. As well as being a top angler, he's a God send when it comes to work on the lakes, he knows what needs doing and he gets on with it. So, on a personal note, I look forward to him lightening my load, especially on Farriers. Welcome aboard Rob.
2017 saw us hold our first 'Open Weekend'. It was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. The attendance was less than we had hoped for but the outcome was better than we had hoped for. It's an event we hope to hold again in 2018, but with a few tweaks here and there. We will let you know more about this in the New Year so keep a look out for announcements. During the open weekend we were able to pay due respect to two people, first of all Carp Society founder Mr Tim Paisley was acknowledged by having the lodge at Horseshoe named after him. Derek Stritton was also recognised and justifiably awarded The Carp Society's 'Man of the year' accolade. Were it not for either of these two gentlemen, it's safe to say I wouldn't be here now writing this, but much more importantly, The Carp Society wouldn't be here. I could eulogise for ever about these two men but to save them embarrassment I won't, suffice to say, we owe both men much much more than any award could do justice to. A chap on Horseshoe did make me laugh though when he asked what Tim and Derek had ever done for The Carp Society. I think he was from The Judean Peoples Front or maybe the Peoples front of Judea. To be fair though when I saw him fishing, his reel handles were folded and he did tell me he was at Lac-De-Monster when Del landed the 300lb Mirror, so he was obviously no mug. Although I'm sure Mrs Buttocks was glad to have him out of the house.
What have the Romans ever done for us?
I dread to think what will happen to the world of Carp fishing when guys like these two decide to call it a day. I say guys like these because over the last couple of years I've met several guys whose endeavours over the last 50 or 60 years have made Carp fishing the phenomenon it is today and who the rest of us owe so much. Sadly, we've stopped making men like this now, I don't see many coming through who even come close to these guys, but then again that's not just in Carp fishing, that applies in all walks of life, you don't have to look much further than Westminster to see the calibre of people we're churning out these days.
And on that cheery note I think I will leave it for 2017, I've probably not even scratched the surface on The Carp Society 2017, but I suspect I've taken more than enough of your time with my meandering. All that's left is to wish you all a happy Christmas and a brilliant 2018. Thank you to everyone who's helped out this year in any way shape or form, your support is massively appreciated. Thank you everyone
Till next time