information@bighitaa.co.uk

News Update: 20th January 2024

Annual General Meeting 17th January 2014

The Association held its AGM at Tempsford Village Hall which was well attended by members in addition to the board members.

It was with sadness that the Meeting was informed that Neil Sampson would be standing down from his position as Chairman and ceasing to be a board member. Neil has been an active member of the Board for many years occupying the positions of Fisheries Officer, Membership Secretary and latterly Chairman. The Association has benefited from his experience as an EA Fisheries Officer and his knowledge of fishery management. Although he will be leaving the Board, he will maintain close contact with the officers. In recognition of his past services, the Board unanimously awarded Neil a life membership which was well deserved.

The new Chairman appointed by the Board is Marc Snow, a manager with Cemex a leading aggregates supplier. Marc has been a club and board member for many years and brings renewed energy to develop the club further in future years. He has always been an active participants on working parties over the years and has been an asset to the Association.

During the year, the Association has been successful in obtaining a grant from the Environment Agency for over £5k towards the construction of paths and tracks at McGregor Lake. In addition, a second grant of £16k was received from the EA for a joint feasibility study with Vauxhall AC with the aim on identifying how the quality of flow in the River Ivel might be improved to provide a better habitat for fish. Both these works are ongoing.

Membership Rates for 2024/5

The Association boasts one of the best portfolios of fisheries in the locality offering both lakes and river stretches all holding quality fish. Many of these waters are rented from landowners who generally charge rents to the Association roughly in line with annual inflation. It is therefore, necessary for the Association’s membership rates to be revised in order to enable all increases in rents to be met as well as providing reserves to cover essential maintenance and restocking.

The Board decided that membership rates should generally rise by £10 across the board. Also, it was decided that a Concessionary rate be introduced covering existing OAPs and Disabled rates. Night permits for Swan Lake and Gingerbread Lake will increase by £20 but no increase was proposed for McGregor Lake although the number of permits available will now be 40.

Rule change for 2024/5

The Association recognises the increasing popularity of bait boat use and that of baiting spoons in recent years. Used responsibly they can help anglers to increase their catches by feeding their baited areas. However, concern has been expressed from many quarters of anglers using these devices to deliberately place baits next to snags where fish often seek sanctuary. Needless to say, fish risk being tethered around such snags or anglers resorting to heavy-handed tactics using excessive force to get them way for snags with little or no regard for fish welfare. The long-term result is the risk of increasing incidence of mouth damage or fish being tethered to snags.

A proposed rule change was received to ban the use of bait boats and baiting spoons on Swan Lake recognising the relative smallness of the fishery and the hostile views expressed by many anglers who fish there. Above all though is the desire to safeguard the health of the beautiful fish that are present in this lake. After a lively debate, the proposed rule change was passed by 15 votes to 3 not including the unanimous support of the Board. Appropriate signage will be put on the gates at Swan Lake to indicate that boats etc. are no longer allowed. Please note there will be no restriction of bait boats on lakes other than Swan.

Other

The Board has reluctantly decided to give up the fishing rights on the River Ouse at Tyringham Farm mainly due to the high rental cost and restrictions placed on fishing times by the landowner. However, the Association has been developing a close relationship with Olney and Clifton AC allowing them to share our Lavendon and Harrold fisheries in return for a rental contribution and help with maintenance. Olney has recently acquired new waters upstream of Harrold and we are in advance discussions with them to adopt a reciprocal arrangement allowing our members access to these stretches of the river.

The Association is an active participant in the restocking of barbel into the River Ouse making a contribution towards the cost. This year, barbel were stocked into our Lavendon stretch of the river but recognising that the fish will be free to migrate where they wish.

The Eaton Socon and Sandy Fisheries will remain closed as the land has not had time to dry out and the forecast for the coming week is more heavy rain and extreme gales with an inherent risk of falling trees and branches.