An angler's journal

Friday, 2 November 2012

Same old story!

You may recall my recent post (here) on trying to persuade the Birmingham Anglers Association (BAA) to change their 'one hour after sunset' rule. Firstly, many thanks to Mr Williams of the BAA who has taken the time to read and respond to my report. His reply is as follows:

Mr Lee Poultney,

As promised I tabled your letter at the Management Committee meeting which was held on Monday 29 October. I have been asked to pass on the thanks of the Officers to you for taking an interest in this matter.

Firstly I have to point out that your letter contains a number of assertions and presumptions which do not reflect the reality of the situation. I should perhaps point out that the introduction of night fishing on Association waters is a relatively recent initiative and was introduced only on an experimental basis at limited venues and is by no means certain to be extended or even retained. The current system for issuing night permits is as flexible as it can be, whilst retaining the required control elements of the procedure. It is not necessary to visit the office in order to obtain night permits, indeed most members call the office to order their permits which are then posted on to them. We realise that this is not practical if a member makes a late decision to fish at night but it does work for most members. We cannot tailor every Association rule to cater for individual member’s requirements, we have to balance this against what is practical and in the best interests of the Association overall. We cannot have a situation whereby we lose control of knowing who is fishing where at night. You suggest that the vast majority of anglers fishing BAA waters do so in order to catch Barbel – what evidence do you have for this? You also assert that the BAA match calendar has declined over the past decade – do you mean the contests which BAA run, or the number of contests run by associated clubs?

In your proposed changes you suggest we use ‘dawn’ as a starting time – when is dawn? We have to have a rule which can be enforced and which is clear and not open to interpretation, hence the fact that our current fishing times are determined by known parameters, i.e. Sunrise and Sunset.

Under your proposed changes, there would be a potentially unlimited number of anglers on river banks, unsupervised, in all weather conditions until well after dark throughout the season. This we consider to be a potential hazardous situation and one which could put many members at risk. Furthermore, many of the fisheries which we only rent have ‘no night fishing’ clauses in their leases so in these circumstances we could not sanction any change. Having considered your proposals in detail, the Management Committee are unanimous in their opinion that to make changes along the lines you propose would not be in the best interests of the Association or the overwhelming majority of its members.

Regards,

John Williams
General Secretary
Birmingham Anglers Association Ltd.

In the letter, Mr Williams poses a number of questions/points as follows (The yellow bits are my response):

The current system for issuing night permits is as flexible as it can be, whilst retaining the required control elements of the procedure. Could an online system not be incorporated?

It is not necessary to visit the office in order to obtain night permits, indeed most members call the office to order their permits which are then posted on to them. We realise that this is not practical if a member makes a late decision to fish at night but it does work for most members. Not every angler wants to sit there all night, but paying for an hour or so does not represent value.

We cannot have a situation whereby we lose control of knowing who is fishing where at night. Do the BAA know who is fishing and where in daylight hours so why is it different once the sun sets?

You suggest that the vast majority of anglers fishing BAA waters do so in order to catch Barbel – what evidence do you have for this? I applied this assumption to the BAA's river venues and I'd say I'm not too far away with this remark.

You also assert that the BAA match calendar has declined over the past decade – do you mean the contests which BAA run, or the number of contests run by associated clubs? A look at the weekly venues unavailable due to matches is tiny compared to 15 years ago. There is a definite decline.

In your proposed changes you suggest we use ‘dawn’ as a starting time – when is dawn? Dawn was used as an example. All I wanted was the opportunity to discuss this matter further and such fine details are ‘nitpicking’ in my opinion.

We have to have a rule which can be enforced and which is clear and not open to interpretation, hence the fact that our current fishing times are determined by known parameters, i.e. Sunrise and Sunset. That is fine, but a set cut off time as I suggested would serve the same purpose.

Under your proposed changes, there would be a potentially unlimited number of anglers on river banks, unsupervised, in all weather conditions until well after dark throughout the season. How do the BAA supervise unlimited numbers of anglers during daylight hours and during a range of weather conditions?

This we consider to be a potential hazardous situation and one which could put many members at risk. Anglers are at risk every time they visit the bank, are the BAA assuming responsibility for anglers’ welfare? If so, does that mean the BAA are at risk of being sued should a member fall in and drown?

Furthermore, many of the fisheries which we only rent have ‘no night fishing’ clauses in their leases so in these circumstances we could not sanction any change. In this case, they would be exempt.

I do believe that the BAA are missing a trick here especially when they have clearly advertised that they are trying to attract 'specimen anglers'. I also wonder what the background of the committee is and if it’s representative of its members. I had hoped there would have been more of a discussion rather than a 'straight no' to my suggestions, since that's all they were, suggestions. I'd have hoped we could have discussed them in more detail and tried to thrash something out to suit all parties. I did send my responses back to Mr Williams but I fear that without a significant backing from other like-minded members then any calls for change will fall on deaf ears. All the best, Lee Poultney

1 comment:

  1. Lee. I have fished waters that allow night fishing and those that don't. To be honest I can see the clubs viewpoint. Maybe you will have to work from within the club for change?

    I will follow your progress and have signed up.

    Call in and see me at my blog.

    www.smallstreambrowntroutfishing.blogspot.com.

    ReplyDelete