2018 AGM ... 2017-18 Chairman’s Report
This was the Club’s 64th year and as with previous year’s it has been rather quiet. Club membership seems to remain relatively healthy with around 54 registered members of which 2 are Ladies and just 2 Juniors. The latter is particularly worrying as at the end of the season we are now down to just 1 active Junior member. This seems to be the pattern of recent years and maybe we should not worry but majority of Club members are of that mature age and this year it has been noticeable that a few of the Club regulars have had to forgo fishing Club matches for health reasons, I wish them a speedy recovery. As in previous years we have had a number of enthusiastic new members who travel some distance to regularly fish Club matches and I welcome them aboard so it is not all doom and gloom.
This year saw a reduction in the scheduled number of matches to just 33 which was further impacted by the weather and for a couple, poor turn out with 5 being cancelled which were all in the Autumn/Winter period. Just 13 pure Club matches survived where there was an average attendance of 12 whereas the 13 Open and Teams matches attracted an average Club attendance of 24. This gives an average Club attendance of 18 over all matches which cannot be bad but maybe gives some indication the direction the Club should be heading with regard its matches.
The quantity and quality of fish caught by Club members provides some interesting statistics with 7359 being recorded which averages out at around 294 per match and 16 per Club member. The interesting figure is that all these fish weighed just over 1716lbs which averages to 69lb per match or 3¾ lb per Club member per match. A clear indication that we are still catching good fish but not every match with one match extremely productive whereas others were very barren.
During the summer there was altogether 9 matches excluding the Bass Festival which was a reduction on previous years with matches at the end of July and all of August omitted. This period saw good quantities of Dabs and Whiting at the start along with some decent Flounders along with a quantity of Hounds during all the summer matches. The largest being a 9lb 12oz specimen taken by Dave Burr at Bacton in July with others taking multiple Hounds at Bacton and Kelling. The Bass were rather elusive during this period but John Harvey did find the heaviest of 3lb 7oz at Kelling at the end of May which was also the biggest of the year. The Summer Accumulator was again as last year a close competition with Mike Watts just scraping in by 3 points with 415 points from Tony Thomas on 410 points and John Carter on 301 points. Well done all!
The 5th Annual North Norfolk Bass Festival attracted 108 Match Anglers and produced the biggest surprise for years when the Hounds gate crashed the event particularly on the first day. Altogether there was 317 recorded on the first day with just 27 on the second day and the impact of this was Suffolk man Alby Clement recording 51½ lb on day 1 at Kelling. There was still 85 Bass recorded over the 2 days most of which were Schoolies with Club men Jack Ackester & Andy Gallacher sharing the heaviest Bass of the event of 3lb 7oz. Overall Bass Festival winner was Gainsborough’s Simon Drayton with a consistent performances on both days. Many thanks to all the sponsors of this event Kelling Heath, Sea Angler, TronixPro, Maver, Country Cars, Breakaway and Sheringham Carnival.
The Club ran its annual West Norfolk Challenge at Kings Lynn but reduced the number of rounds to 3 to see if that would improve numbers. Although round one was well supported the subsequent 2 showed a decline. At last finding some form on the river, Mike Watts became the Champion with 5pts from Dave Read 8pts and Richard Burt 9pts.
In May the Club had its Annual Summer Trip to Orford and although the fishing was as usual poor the Rays did appear with Kevin Green finding the heaviest of 3lb 14oz. Sea Angler magazine were also invited and its group included Editor Cliff Brown making a rare excursion out but finding his very first Ray and Hound albeit very small.
In June the Club ran the Penn Sea League Final for Sea Angler followed by a Club Summer Open next day at Kelling. Plenty of fish and unfortunately plenty of weed but it did advertise Kelling as a brilliant match venue with Grimsby’s England International George Smith taking both days. The Club received a contribution to its coffers for this so many thanks to Sea Angler for these and associated advertising.
Three Club members, Adele Smith, Andy Gallacher and Hentry Randell were selected to represent England in the Homes in North Wales in June. Congratulations to them for the selection and respective performances.
The Autumn period saw just 5 pure Club matches fished with reasonable attendance except for the only night match at Kelling in November with just 5 members. The weather and poor attendance leading to the cancellation of 3 other matches. The first match at the end of September was embedded in Gorleston Tackle’s Annual Open which worked well with good Club attendance and plenty of early Whiting. In contrast, the Whiting did not really appear on the Shingle early in the period and catches were just a handful of Dabs and this did not improve here until later in November.
The Charity Match at Kelling was the first Open of the period at the start of September for which there was an excellent turnout of 37 producing a lot of serious Flounders up to 1lb 2oz. Suffolk man Mark Pinder took the match from the wreck end peg and the Club raised £200 from a cracking raffle table for the Mundesley Independent Lifeboat.
The Annual Open at Bacton at the end of October once again suffered from clashing with other Opens but was supported by 14 Club members. Kevin Green took the match helped by a stonking Flounder and a good Bass.
The Xmas Fayre Open and Town Team Challenge in mid December at Kelling attracted an excellent turnout of 43 from around East Anglia and Lincolnshire. Over 1100 Dabs were recorded with a lot more undersize with victory going to Essex man Craig Buy and Town Challenge taken by Lowestoft. The Rocket House Open, the Club’s only length only match as usual attracted just a small turnout predominantly Club members. They weren’t disappointed with lots of fish comprising of Dabs and some big Whiting with Keith Morley taking the honours with 66 fish.
This period saw the first 3 rounds of the North Norfolk National Sea League which kicked off in October at Bacton. Serious weed was a problem at this match and everyone struggled with only 110 fish recorded and 10 blanks. In total contrast round 2 on Gt. Yarmouth South Beach produced the most fish ever recorded in this Sea League of 1960. In horrendous cold, wet and windy conditions the big Whiting showed up to give plenty of sport. Back to reality in round 3 on the shingle at Cley where just 335 fish were recorded and one person blanking.
The Club again ran the National Sea League Final at Eastbourne in mid-November where an excellent turnout of 33 teams from around the country participated. The fishing was hit or miss depending on where you were drawn with George Smith’s ASSO Anyfish Anywhere team taking the honours and the Club’s North Norfolk Lads team coming a creditable 4th. Many thanks to Peter Morse and Mike Watts for their help with the finances and results.
The Winter period was seriously effected by the weather when we were hit by “the beast from the east” in late February early March. Only 2 pure Club matches were held during this period at Kelling and Salthouse. The Kelling match at the end of January attracted a good turnout and they were rewarded with plenty of Dabs and Whiting but the majority were very small. The Salthouse match was less popular with a lot less fish recorded all of which were small Dabs and the odd Flounder with just ONE solitary small Whiting.
The New Year Open was reasonably popular with a turnout of 19 with all but 2 being Club members. There were a lot of good Dabs and big Whiting as well as hundreds of undersize Dabs in numbers not seen before. Clubman Paul Tovell took the match with 53 fish.
The final rounds of the North Norfolk National Sea League suffered from the weather with just two rounds completed and the final round postponed until April. Round 4 in January was held at Salthouse where 586 fish were recorded majority of which were smallish Dabs. There was also a few good Whiting but the stonking versions were elusive along with a few good Flounders with a monster of 39cm taken by Dave Burr. Round 5 at Kelling in February was very poor with the weather contributing to just 127 fish being recorded. It was a struggle for everyone with just small Dabs and Whiting and 6 members failed to find a single fish.
The Joc Goudie Memorial two day event was run by NAC in February at Kelling with a large contingent from Scotland participating. The top two anglers were Club men with Dave Shorthouse taking victory from Henry Randell, well done lads!
The Winter Accumulator was a victim of the weather but 5 Legs were fished with Tony Thomas taking the trophy with a 24lb 7oz total. Runner up was Adrian Bordianu with 22lb 3oz followed by Paul Tovell with 21lb 4oz.
The Overall League title was taken by Mike Watts to add to his Summer Accumulator trophy with 1065 points from Tony Thomas with1056 points and Neil Smart with 932 points. Although it appears close it was not, because of the number of cancelled matches Mike still had one match total to add whereas all others had all their match results.
Financially, the Club had another successful year with a surplus of £666 to take forward into 2018/19. This achievement is solely due to the successful raffles held during the Club’s major events and thanks to all members who helped to run these.
This coming year the Club will see the running of the 6th North Norfolk Bass Festival in May. An event that is getting more and more national recognition and bookings to date promise to make it bigger and better. The Club will also be involved in running the SAMF Masters event in North Norfolk in April and could determine how the Club fits into the national match scene.
The Club’s Summer West Norfolk Challenge at Kings Lynn this year was a reasonable success helped by the reduction in number of rounds but the turnout was still low so the Club needs to make a decision on whether or not to continue with this next season.
This year’s National Sea League Final is in North Norfolk and should be bigger than ever and should enhance the Club’s reputation to do things well. The Club will also be in theory running its whole raft of Open matches throughout the year along with the North Norfolk National Sea League.
The Open matches generally along with the Sea League are very successful but pure Club matches sometimes struggle for attendance. It will be a challenge for the Club next year to get the balance of these matches right. The Club may have adapt to achieve this but if it does this should contribute to its survival in the future.