2015 Members Newsletter

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2015 Members Newsletter

Welcome to the fifteenth Bainton Fisheries Newsletter, which is designed to keep you informed about the Fishery, in terms of news during the last season, future events and issues.

Membership 2014 – 2015

All permits for 2014/15 were sold last year, the demand for 24 hour tickets was very high but the dawn til dusk tickets were less popular but were sold after a week of being available on the Internet.  New members will only be accepted in place of existing members who do not renew by the deadline.  Membership numbers will be fixed again for the coming season.  Operating profits have been spent on the usual running costs in 14/15;  insurance, bank costs, bailiffing, contract labour, plant hire, stock, swim building materials, postage and accountancy costs.

Looking forward into 15/16 the running costs of the fishery will unfortunately increase by a minimum of £2000 just due to inflation on outgoings and some materials to improve the site for members, therefore ticket prices will increase in order to cover costs.  Therefore the permits will increase in cost by 50p for non-fishing permits, £10.00 for day fishing and £20.00 for 24 hours fishing to reflect this.

For 2015 – 2016 the prices are:-

Non-fishing Permit: – £20.00

Dawn to Dusk Permit: – £160.00

24-Hour Permit: – £320.00

Keys will remain at  £10.00

Fishery Maintenance and Development

Last year a working party weekend was held on the 26th and 27th April with the fishery being closed to anglers during the day.  On both days enough eager volunteers turned up to complete the programme of work.  The required work on the Saturday was the rebuild of three swims on the Big Pit, two along the North Bank where the level is too low, and a major reconstruction on the Point Swim in the North West corner.  In addition on the Sunday there was an attempt to lay a secondary track in addition to the one that already exists on the Orchid Pit and extend another 90m of track along the L shape from the Bailey Bridge side.

Working party dates

In 2015 there will be 2 working parties, and they will take place over one weekend.  The fishery is closed to fishing on all lakes from 9am on Saturday the 18th April until 5pm and again from 9am on Sunday the 19th April to 5pm.  Anglers with 24 hour tickets are more than welcome to fish nights outside of these hours, however they must remove their equipment to a safe distance to avoid any possibility of damage, e.g. falling branches.

The required work will be the creation of a new swim in the South East corner of the Big Pit and the leveling off of swims on the Match Pit to create flat areas to fish from but also try and reduce the impact of Winter water levels.  In addition there will be some road repairs along the Carp Lake Maxey Cut Bank and if enough materials can be obtained in time for the working party the fence along the Maxey Cut Bank of the Orchid Pit will have a new fence erected.  The precise plan of works for the weekend is still rather fluid due to dependencies on machine availability and materials which are still being sourced.  However once a plan is formulated nearer the working party dates members will be alerted to the likely running order of events via email and Facebook.

The most useful tools to bring will also be notified but if the fence construction takes place this will definitely require very thick gloves and hedge gardening tools as barbed wire will be involved.  Please stay tuned for further information.

Feedback from Members Meeting

The fifteenth members’ meeting was held at the Tallington Lakeside Bar on 18th March 2015.

·   The first and major item was a discussion which formed part of the formal consultation on the proposal to close the Lolham East Coach railway Line level crossing.  The initial proposal was shared which members did not support due to the creation of a long “deadleg” road from the Fishery Entrance North to the crossing.  A modified proposal from Railtrack was also considered whereby the highway ceases just past the entrance to the fishery, leaving a turning spot incorporating the fishery entrance in the turning spot.  Members supported this option in principle but did have additional improvements to feedback to Railtrack.  These were to consider moving the entrance flush with the main road to remove the temptation of using the entrance as a fly tipping site; to consider moving the end of public highway a little further South so that only members could pass an bollard or gate and finally to consider a CCTV camera to act as a deterrent to fly tippers.  All points raised by members have now formally been submitted to Railtrack.

·   There was a discussion about the new Bainton Fisheries Web Site which has primarily been overhauled to provide more information to prospective members who make the same enquiries time and time again.  It is also now mobile friendly as many people call from the front gate.  It is hoped this will cut down on the general enquires about where are the lakes, how much it costs to join, what fish are present etc.  In addition members will be able to renew their permits online through a PayPal/Debit Card/Credit Card payment web page.  This page is currently restricted to members only as new members would still be subject to review and payment would not want to be taken if a place was not available for them.  In addition it allows for ad hoc payments such as a guest ticket, all transactions will result in an email sending back as proof of purchase. This should be shsown to the bailiff if requested. New members would still require to pay by Cheque or Postal Order or Cash to the owners house as a last resort.  Online payments from peoples Internet bank accounts will still be possible (40% last year by this method) and is indeed the preferred method of payment as the transaction costs are the lowest. There is increasing demand to pay by credit card especially and Bainton Fisheries has to move with the times.  For Card or Online payments please remember to use the reference number you are supplied with as this is the only way to tie the payment back to the member.

·   The Bainton Fisheries Facebook closed group was also highlighted, it was felt by members that it has been a tremendous success and that the original intention of just providing a method to seek assistance when on site had been overtaken by it becoming a real community with regular postings every day.  If members are on Facebook and wish to become a member then they can ask to join by searching for Bainton Fisheries on Facebook.  The group will be restricted to current paid up members.

·   There was one stocking since the last meeting which was 80 Carp from Centre Parcs, 50 of these fish were stocked into the Match Pit and 30 fish stocked into the Big Pit.  All were young fish ranging from about 8lb to 17lb and all pictures can be found on the Bainton Fisheries Facebook closed group Album, with a summary update on the web site.

·   Future stocking was also discussed, one of the areas of greatest priority was trying to obtain some mid-range pike.  It was agreed this would be looked into.

·   .The Drainage pipes controlling the water levels had continued to work well during the Winter of 2014, however the pipe running between the L Shape and the Orchid will require some maintenance during the Summer of 2015.  The pipe is in two sections and tree roots have started to invade inside the pipe.  Therefore the pipe will be partially dug up when water levels are lower and a concrete collar will be built around the pipe join.  This work should not close the road.

·   The success of the plastic netting was also discussing for the grass tracks.  It was felt that where the underlying ground was very soft and muddy the nets had been less effective and rutting had still taken place.  Some drivers has also managed to avoid driving on the netting and had created ruts, which somewhat defeated the object.  There would be some minor repairs as part of the working party to add additional pea gravel where ruts had occurred and also any future netting would ensure that a good firm base was prepared prior to laying the netting.  The next section that it was felt needed attention was the West bank of the L shape between the bramble bushes.  If time and finances allowed this could be tackled in 2015, but it may have to wait until 2016 if fence repairs take place as both projects are quite expensive.

·   Poaching was also discussed and it was felt that increasing the difficulty to step over the fence along the side of the Orchid Pit was probably the most important issue of the evening.  The owner committed to looking at options within the financial constraints that funds would allow for.  Members also offered some materials that could be used.  As a result of that discussion it is likely that the existing concrete posts along the Maxey Cut bank will be extended using angle iron brackets and that barbed wire will be erected to make the fence approximately 6 feet tall.  This plan is still subject to change to develop a solution that is both effective but also the best value for money for the fishery.

·   Predation was also discussed, the owner reconfirmed that there is an active management of general vermin species that have an impact on fish and other wildlife such as songbirds.  The fishery is also licensed to control a limited number of cormorants which cause the greatest damage to fish stocks.  Otter fencing was also discussed but the cost to fence a 5 kilometre perimeter at £100 per metre is very expensive and would require a long term investment by the fishery coupled with a long term price rise by members to pay for it.  Otter presence had not really been noted in the last 12 months so it was felt that a watching brief would be kept in 2015.  There is also the aesthetics of the site to consider that releasing otters into the wild then leads to fisheries looking like concentration camps visually destroying the countryside.  The site is also incredibly hard to fence with a land drain running through the middle which must have access kept open for the local drainage board.

·   Members wanted to know what engagement with the Environment Agency had been had in the past year with regards to the old River Welland and poachers.  The owner confirmed that the EA had not prioritised any work on the Old River Welland since the last site meeting although it appears some trees had been felled along the banks.  With regards to poachers, the EA were unlikely to offer any assistance as they now had one enforcement officer from the Humber to Bedfordshire and they tended to concentrate their efforts on checking easy sites where they were likely to engage with large numbers of anglers as they claimed they had targets to meet.  The owner did state that he had tried to obtain the fishing rights on the Maxey Cut stretch of the fishery from the EA, but both attempts had been thwarted to date not on principle, in fact the EA had supported it, but on being able to find someone in the EA to make a decision and be accountable for it.  A renewed effort will be made.  The principle behind this was not for the fishing per se but it would allow people who were seen fishing Maxey Cut to be asked to leave. As the usual mode of operation from poachers was to pretend to fish Maxey Cut and if it looked quiet along the Orchid bank, they then stepped over the wire.

·   It was noted that although the gate had been repaired and the padlock had failed in 2014, high usage of the gate does take its toll and can people be kind to it.  It was noted that the jockey wheel was about to expire due to the weight of the gate on this wheel.

·   The main track was also discussed, Andy Nutt was thanked for his strenuous and persistent efforts in filling in pot holes.  This year limestone had been used which seemed to be very effective.  Some more would be ordered when it was all used up.

·   There was a discussion lead by the owner that many people were often unable to make the working party or indeed not able to undertake physical labour for 4 or 5 hours, but they were more than willing to do odd jobs at the complex if they only knew what needed doing.  There was a lot of support for this approach and the owner committed to finding a method for members and the fishery team to notify jobs that needed doing and also allow for feedback that they had been undertaken.  Typical examples could be including a shovel or a bow saw in the back of a car, and spending half an hours doing a few pot holes or trimming a few tress after you have packed up fishing for the day.

·   The fishery rules remain unchanged and it was felt the bait boats (and their owners) had generally been well behaved after last year’s rule change.

·   All in all it was a good meeting with lots of constructive suggestions and the Fishery Owner would like to thank people for their support in attending.

·   The deadline for renewal to ensure that all applications are received will be no later than Tuesday 12th May 2015 to ensure that membership does not lapse, thereafter; existing members will compete with new applications.  Should existing members wish to sponsor a new applicant please be aware of their abilities to fish and obey rules and an early renewal accompanied with that sponsorship is advised, as latent demand for 24 hour tickets seems to be great this year.

A note from the Bird Ringer……


2014 saw a change in the approach to ringing at Bainton.  Michelle Househam and I split the former ringing site into two new expanded sites.  One is exclusively on the heath and the other concentrated in the reedbed and damp scrub.  Between us we caught and processed 1355 birds of 33 species during 2014 which proved to be a much better year all round for most breeding birds than of late.  Some species did really well e.g. Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap and Chiffchaff whilst others continue to give cause for concern, not least Nightingale.  Many of you commented to me that you’d not heard so many singing males last year and it’s a sad fact that the population nationally of this iconic bird is dropping at an alarming rate – down 57% between 1995 and 2009. The results of the latest survey in 2012/13 are still awaited but at Bainton their numbers have dropped too and are now at an all-time low.  The reasons for this are many and varied but it’s now accepted that the burgeoning deer population on the heath is not helping so action will be taken this year to address the problem.  Let’s just hope it’s not too late. The birds we get at Bainton are just about at the northern edge of their range anyway so we are very fortunate to have them at all and one of the joys for me of ringing is setting up the nets on a spring morning, in the dark, accompanied by them blasting their songs out across the heath.   You’d probably be surprised at how many birders have never even heard one, let alone seen one so we are indeed greatly privileged to spend time in their company.  Long may it continue!

One of the first summer visitors to arrive is the Chiffchaff.  Many of these now actually spend their winter in the UK hanging around such salubrious places as sewage farms where there’s a bit of warmth and a plentiful supply of small insects.  One that was more traditional though was a juvenile ringed here on 21 July and caught again by French ringers at Wimereux, Pas de Calais on 27 September, no doubt on its way to southern Spain.  Weighing in at 7.7g (less than a £1 coin) it travelled 247km in just 68 days.  Lots of Chiffchaffs winter in southern Spain and North Africa so, in migration terms, it’s not too long a trek back to Britain.  Others head off much further south, most going sub Saharan, before heading back once more.  When I catch birds that I know have spent their winter so far away I often wonder what they’ve seen.  A few weeks before they arrive at Bainton, they’ve potentially been in the company of lions, elephants, rhinos etc.  Best of all is those that I’ve ringed here before and that have returned to exactly the same site.  One was Garden Warbler (X688838) ringed as an adult male on 15 May 2010 and retrapped on 30 April 2014. These birds overwinter in tropical and South Africa and the typical lifespan is around two years so this chap, at least 5 years old, was doing well.

The most amusing incident of the year involved one of those noisy Green Woodpeckers.  You can hardly fail to hear them as they are extremely loud.  Wandering back over the heath one morning I noticed one flying along calling as usual.  It flew into a bush and then the note suddenly changed as in a mad panic, it belted out hastily pursued by a Sparrowhawk.  To be honest, I think the Sparrowhawk was just joshing with it as it soon gave up and the panic stricken woodpecker disappeared from view.  At least it was a more likely scenario than the amazing recent photos of a weasel hitching a lift on the back of a Green Woodpecker.  I wonder who was more surprised – bird, weasel or photographer?

I hope you all have a pleasant fishing year in 2015 and, as ever, feel free to pop over for a chat.

Chris Hughes


And Finally…….

Without all your support and effort running this fishery would be an impossible task.    Hopefully you get out more from it than just a days fishing, I hope you feel included and consulted and feel that you are making a contribution into shaping the ways things develop.

Remember the Bainton Philosophy is for conservation minded anglers who care about the environment they fish in.


Ian Wakeford

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time