Welcome to the seventeenth 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 2016 – 2017
All permits for 2016/17 were sold last year, again the demand for 24 hour tickets was so high that not even all sponsored members were able to obtain their desired ticket. Some settled for a Dawn-till-Dusk ticket with a view to hopefully upgrading in 17/18. 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.
Members should only refer another member if they can personally vouch for their character and have not been asked to leave other fisheries. Referrals due to demand should also be sent back promptly.
Operating profits have been spent on the usual running costs in 16/17; insurance, bank costs, bailiffing, contract labour, plant hire, aggregate, swim building materials, postage and accountancy costs.
It has been necessary to raise costs in 17/18, please see later for an explanation.
For 2017 – 2018 the prices are:-
• Non-fishing Permit: – £21.50
• Dawn to Dusk Permit: – £265.00
• 24-Hour Permit: – £455.00
• Keys will remain at £10.00
Fishery Maintenance and Development
Last year a working party weekend was held on the 23rd and 24th April. The required work was erection of a fence along the Maxey Cut Bank of the Orchid Pit, hard-core repairs to some tracks, swim repair on the Bailey Bridge Pit and the extraction of a Tree from the L Shape. Reeds were also cut on the New Pit.
Working party dates
In 2017 there will be 2 working parties, the fishery is closed to fishing on all lakes from 9am on Saturday the 1st April until 5pm and again from 9am on Sunday the 2nd April to 5pm. It is slightly early than usual, due to Easter falling in the middle of April. Anglers are more than welcome to fish nights outside of these hours, however they must remove their equipment to a safe distance during the day.
The required work will be the extraction of about a dozen trees from the L Shape Pit, some swim repairs to assist with parking on the L shape and swim repairs on the Orchid along Maxey Cut bank. The precise plan of works for the weekend will be sent out via Facebook nearer the time.
The most useful tools to bring will also be notified but the tree removal could be supported by members who have a chainsaw and who have protective clothing, chest waders, sledgehammers and shovels. Please stay tuned for further information.
Feedback from Members Meeting
The seventeenth members’ meeting was held at the Tallington Lakeside Bar on 20th February 2017.
• There was an update on membership, including the trend to more and more online payments but also cash. There had been no stocking prior to the members meeting, there have been discussions with the National Crucian Carp Conservation project with regards to converting the Bailey Bridge Pit to hold this species (again). The owner had been directed for support to the Environment Agency and attempts were still being made to get a response from them.
• Predation and poaching was discussed, cormorants have not been as numerous in 2016 and the 50 crank brackets along the Maxey Cut Bank seem to have deterred fishery poachers over the last year.
• Otters were then discussed, at the fishery. They have not had a great presence since the first one was spotted in 2012 along Maxey Cut. Although this winter we had our first carp kill by an otter. They are becoming more problematic in the local area. The fishery has looked at this in the past and the cost coupled with restrictions from other agencies have always been a problem. Therefore it has been considered that for Bainton Fisheries it has not been practicable or financially viable to fence the whole complex with regards to the stock loss value versus the cost to fence. At the meeting it was explained that balance now seems to be tipping in favour of fencing, as costs are becoming lower and with the increase in neighbouring fisheries being fenced, the unfenced fisheries will be targeted. The owner wanted to share with members the full impact of a proposal for the members to consider and listen to views with regards to the proposal. A video was shown of using Embryo Angling who are a charity who install at cost, the fence design they use, the visual impact of their design and the disruption of the install. A fencing plan was also shared with members which created three fenced zones; a South zone to include the New Pit, Big Pit and Stock Pond. A central zone to include the L Shape and Orchid Pit, a Northern Zone for the Carp Pit and Bailey Bridge Pit. The Match Pit could not be fenced by machine so is currently outside of the scheme.
• Depending on whether otters continue to visit this pit it may have to be fenced manually at a later point. The formal quotes of the three zones were also shared with members including VAT, the costs are likely to be in the region of £93,000 for 4.8km of fencing around the site. Members were asked for their reaction and support was gauged. All members were in support of fencing the fishery and accepted that a plan to pay the fence off over seven years, from a loan to the Fishery, this would keep the cost down to about £70 per member per year. The owner stated that the plans were still being developed but hoped what was agreed could be honoured. Follow up meetings with the EA, Drainage Board, Peterborough City Council and National Grid were all needed. A further site visit from Embryo was also required to fine tune the fence route.
• With an increase in cost it was asked if it was likely that day anglers would leave the fishery. The owners stated that it was a risk that we could have day tickets unfilled and huge demand still for 24 hour tickets. The owner was asked if he would then just sell more 24 hour tickets to cover the cost. The answer was that this was not the desired outcome, and if it had to happen then 2 day tickets would be withdrawn to offset each 24 hour ticket if they cannot be sold. Thus keeping the impact the same on the fishery.
• The main road through the complex was also discussed, as no money had been spent on stocking this year. Members were asked if they would value the main track re-laying so that potholes did not re-occur. The owner also stated that he wanted the Bailiff to concentrate his efforts on vermin control and not potholing, thus potholes were likely to increase.
Members felt that they would rather spend the money on contributing towards the otter fence and that they would all take a few minutes to fill potholes as they leave the fishery, using a bucket or small shovel. Therefore it was agreed that that would be the arrangement going forward.
• Baitboats were discussed at length. The discussion did expose a significant dissatisfaction of anglers either not sticking to the existing rules, or fishing spots that would not be considered safe. The current rules were looked at again at the meeting to see if they were adequate. Rule 12 governs Baitboats, it states;
• Bait boats are permitted but they must be used within the following framework:-
a) to use the boat in water that you can actually safely cast to from your swim keeping out of un-castable sanctuary areas and
b) to only use it within an area which would be considered to be the swim area, (i.e. not intruding on another swim’s fishing area and
c) not to exceed a maximum distance of 120 metres and
d) not introducing risk of loss of fish by proximity to snags.
A vote was taken regarding what the issue was, the vast majority of members felt that the rules were fair, but it was the compliancy to the rules that was the issue, very few people wanted to ban baitboats but they did not want anglers to cheat or gain advantage over anglers using rod and line to cast nor undertake unsafe practices such as fishing over thick weed beds or next to snags. It was agreed that a strong message would be sent to baitboat users that only absolute compliancy with rules would be tolerated and that the rules are a maximum framework not a target to aim for. Pre marking 33 wraps (120 metres) on a line would enable a member or bailiff to see immediately if that range was being fished at. This was felt to be a useful suggestion.
All other rules were accepted as needing no further adjustment.
Post Meeting Otter Fence Update.
Following on from the members meeting it is anticipated that ground clearance work will begin in late March 2017 for the fence, with fence installation to take place in late April to Early June. It will be necessary to fence along the dyke bank of the L shape at a distance of 5 metres from the top of the dyke. Gates will be put alongside of swims to allow for parking of cars and fishing. It is hoped that elsewhere all other banks will be fenced outside of the tracks allowing free movement inside the fence.
A note from the Bird Ringer……
JUST ABOUT HANGING ON
The title could apply to me as well as my favourite bird, the Nightingale, and its status at Bainton. In my latest summary on ringing at Bainton I commented that it’s not so many years ago that I would have up to 27 captures in a summer, some being the same birds caught on more than one occasion. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I even get into double figures and 2016 was no exception with just 8 captures of 4 individual birds – male, female and 2 youngsters.
It does seem sad that in an area made so famous for its Nightingales by the poet John Clare that they are on the brink of disappearing as a breeding bird. The species across the UK generally has been in decline now for many years – alongside birds like the Turtle Dove (another Bainton speciality) whose decline in numbers is even worse than the Nightingale – and there are many reasons why this is the case. Loss of habitat, indiscriminate shooting of migratory birds as they cross countries which are supposed to be abiding by EU laws on hunting but chose to ignore them (and naff all gets done about it), dodgy weather during the breeding season etc, all of which chip away at species until they can no longer sustain a viable population. It may be just part of the cycle of life and there’s no doubt that over the years I’ve been ringing the birds at Bainton I’ve caught species that would have had twitchers in a right old lather ‘back in the day’. So, perhaps it’s just the way it is and I have been fortunate to have been able to handle many hundreds of these most wonderful songsters over the years. Many ringers would give their eye teeth just to ring even one.
A few years ago at the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water we caught a Nightingale, the only one caught in Leicestershire and Rutland that year. It was just about the first bird caught on the first morning and, as many birders had never even seen one due their secretive habits, we announced it on the tannoy system. Within a few minutes, folk were standing around 10 deep just to catch a glimpse of this most enigmatic bird. The lad who ringed was a delightful chap called John Wint who’d been ringing for over 40 years and who’d never even seen one and, as he was dealing with the bird he said to the assembled crowd that he wasn’t too sure on things and would ‘ask Chris as he’s an expert on them’! Perhaps compared to him I was but I would prefer to be called experienced rather than expert. There is a difference. John was thrilled to be able to handle a bird he’d dreamed of catching and, as he sadly passed away a couple of years ago, I’m glad I was able to help him achieve his dream. Such is the pulling power of this bird. Not much to look at but a voice beyond compare. Do listen out for it this year and enjoy it while you can. I know from speaking to several of you last year that you too had noticed how few were around. Cynics might argue that in the great scheme of things it doesn’t matter if they disappear but I think our lives – well certainly mine – are greatly diminished by not having the opportunity to hear one in full flow.
So back to the title of the piece. I’ve now been able to add polymyalgia rheumatica to my list of woes and am cursed with stiffening joints, aching fingers etc – just about everything you patently don’t want to happen to you as a bird ringer. The steroids are messing up my diabetes as well so getting down to Bainton is getting more and more difficult. However….there’s one small brown warbler with a russet coloured tail that makes all the aches and pains a lot more bearable. Guess who that is?
I hope 2017 brings you good fortune with rod and line and good fortune too for all our wildlife.
Chris Hughes (Bird Ringer)
Remember the Bainton Philosophy is for conservation minded anglers who care about the environment they fish in.