It was just before Christmas that the autumn edition of the Angling Trust magazine dropped through my letter box. This is a twice-a-year publication which is free to all members of the Trust but is available to non-members at a cost of £4.95.
It is an excellent publication which keeps anglers in touch with what is going on behind the scenes to defend and protect our sport and just why every angling club, association and individual anglers are not already members is just beyond my comprehension.
According to the latest figures there are over a million anglers in this country but the total membership of the Trust is only a fraction of that figure, around 17,000 and 1,500 clubs at the last count. To me that figure is a disgrace.
I regularly hear the moan that £25 a year is too much to be a member of the Trust but then in the next breath they are paying around £40 to see a football match that lasts 90 minutes! What people do not seem to realise that the £25 fee is really a sort of insurance policy for the majority of it goes towards the protection of our fisheries from such as pollution and flooding.
But without money you can do nothing.
That is where the Fish Legal Department will step in to fight your case and their proud boast is that they have never lost a case, and over the years have won many thousands of pounds in compensation for member clubs.
So the next time anyone asks you what you want for either a birthday or Christmas gift just tell them a year’s subscription to the Angling Trust! That is the end of the commercial.
Now to the contents of the magazine and, specifically, the aforementioned Fish Legal Department, which is in dispute with the British Canoe Union over its interpretation of general rights of way on non-tidal rivers in England and Wales. The BCU website (at the time of printing) suggest there is a ‘general right of way’ under people’s Right to Roam, but Fish Legal believes this statement is false.
The Fish Legal Department would like the wording revised or removed from the website as they see it as misleading at best.
If this dispute isn’t settled amicably it could lead to a lengthy and expensive court battle. The introduction last year of new sentencing guidelines for those polluting our waterways has hit some early offenders really hard, as, for the first time, judges can now take into account the company profits when deciding on the appropriate fine.
Thames Water – profits £347m last year – were fined £250,000 for depositing raw sewage into a local stream.
Sadly, the angling world has said goodbye to a couple of old friends of mine who passed away at the weekend.
Ken Charlton, from Leeds, and Birmingham’s Kenny Giles – a former England international – died peacefully in their sleep.
Both were in their 80s.