Ah the Glorious 16th.... What a day....
Some of you will be asking, Why the 'Glorious 16th? What's so special about that?
Well, in todays fishing world, the 16th of June has lost it's meaning. Only a few will hold their breath as the calendar turns to June. All that preparation will soon become worth while at midnight of the 15th.
Before February 2000, the traditional closed season from 15th of March to 15th of June, meant that ALL coarse fishing stopped to allow coarse fish to spawn in peace and to allow the rivers, lakes and canals to recover from the impact of anglers. The closed season was introduced during the late 19th Century to protect fish stocks. Most coarse fish were killed for the table at that time, so removing egg bound fish was drastically reducing the number of natural fry in the rivers. Now that fish are returned alive to the water, the argument for abolishing the close season completely has gained a lot of support.
As a child March was always a sad time for me. The weather was just starting to look up after the long, cold winter and the fish were feeding hard ready for spawning. But on the 15th March it all stopped and the wait had begun... The long wait for June... Rods were very often cleaned and put away for the closed season. Household chores could be carried out as men tried to pacify their spouses for enduring the last season of fishing. Old fashioned views maybe, but at the time, it was true. I know. I saw my Dad do it year after year!
March was sad. April was miserable. May was a bit better. But June... June was the one we all waited for...
The rods came out and were checked. New lines were loaded on to reels. Tackle shops were revisited after the long 'Silly season', as my local shop used to call it. Tackle companies used to time launches of new tackle to coincide with the start of the new fishing season. New memberships were purchased as were rod licences. More than one licence were needed if you travelled any distance because the regional water companies required you to buy a licence from them, instead of the much more sensible national licence that we have today.
I remember not being able to sleep on the night of the 15th of June, even if I was not going fishing and having to go to school or work, such was the anticipation of knowing that fishing was returning to my life. In Feb 2000, the government decided that there was no scientific evidence to close all waters, so lakes and canals were allowed to remain open throughout the year. Rivers and river fed waters still have a closed season. Local waters like Radipole Lake in Weymouth will be open again today, as will all the rivers except where a special season is in place like the Frome.
So today we can feed our fishing addictions all through the year and it's a good thing, right?
Well.....Yes and no..... Yes because todays anglers would not cope with a closed season if the recent lockdowns are anything to measure by. Two weeks of not being able to wet a line was too much for some people during that period, so crime rates and assaults would soar if those people had to forgo fishing for three months!!!
As I wrote in a recent blog, some fisheries have enough responsibility to protect their fish stocks by closing during the spawning season or during periods of low oxygenation. Many more do not. I would like to think that anglers would take on a responsibility of their own to show sympathy to creatures that are vulnerable. Unfortunately, some of these anglers are those that threw abuse at fishery owners for following government guidelines during the lockdowns.
Today is the 16th. The glorious 16th, and all waters are open once again.
I am looking to expand our junior program to bring in some river fishing into the training. The problem is that many of our local rivers are not suitable for Junior anglers at the moment on safety grounds. But, if possible, I want to introduce some river days into the 2022 program.
I is a special way of enjoying our sport. Needing different techniques to those used on lakes. It's much busier too, you need to work at it to get it right and good river anglers can make tricky manoeuvres look so easy, to the point of being an artform. Until recently, I had not fished a river for over 23 years. As soon as I started, I wondered why I had not bothered for so long. I loved it and I cannot wait to show our Juniors the ways of the river in the near future.
Many of our Juniors have benefitted from our Tackle Re-gen Program. Giving away old, but usable tackle, is a great way to help new anglers get a start to their fishing career. They in turn will be able to help newer anglers on their journey when they hand back the Re-Gen tackle when they have purchased their own equipment.
Of course the program is for our Junior Members only. CLUBMATE records all members and it has shown that a number of Juniors have not yet re-joined the club after the enforced lockdowns in 2020. Because the tackle is donated to the Junior section of the club, it is, therefore, club property.
If there are any former Juniors that have not yet purchased a new membership and know that they do not intend to re-join, can I respectfully ask that you get in touch with me to so I arrange collection of the clubs equipment. However, I would really rather you come back and use the tackle with us again soon...
I have marked the beginning of the summer holidays as a cut off point for joining the club again. So please take a look at the information on the website because joining could not be easier!