The Angling Trust? Are you In or Out?

John Bailey

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Feature Writer
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
34
Over the years I have found that there are some columns that write themselves, and others that are a struggle from beginning to end. Like this one. In some ways, I would be better simply leaving the whole subject of the Trust alone perhaps, and I have considered that. It would be easier but cowardly, and we are at a crossroads in angling where we have to decide where we stand on every issue, contentious or not. So whilst I run the risk of annoying folks, I know I might well bore them too because, after all, what is there about the Trust that has not already been said? Oh yes, then there’s money, and none of us likes to part with that, or even be made to feel guilty if we don’t. Spring is a difficult time to go round with the hat, when the EA licence fee and any number of club and syndicate memberships are due, and I realise that as well.

MartinSalter.jpg


Martin Salter with a nice chub

Everyone knows membership of the Angling Trust, and its forerunners the Anglers Conservation Association and the Anglers Cooperative Association in the earliest days, has been a vexed issue. Richard Walker regularly harangued us in the Fifties and Sixties to join the ACA, and even Saint **** couldn’t drive numbers above twelve thousand or so. Why? Are anglers suspicious of any organisation, or simply tight? How come the RSPB boasts over one million supporters, and the various Wildlife Trusts getting on for similar numbers? Even Butterfly Conservation has forty thousand members paying for 36 butterfly-friendly reserves, and over 70 habitat/conservation projects ongoing. Anglers, though? It’s like herding cats.

Not that, in any way, I am claiming the high moral ground. One of my Christmas presents in the Sixties was ACA membership, but since being an earnest teenager I’ve been a periodic backslider. I served an ill-fated period as Vice President of the old ACA, and in the early days of the Trust I sometimes remained to be convinced of its expanded role. Now, after a year of head scratching, I’m pretty sure I have come out onside, but how can I convince the doubters amongst you? What can I tell you sceptics that you don’t already know? Perhaps nothing, but that doesn’t mean I won’t spend five hundred words trying.

JamieCook.JPG


Jamie Cook with a grayling

None of you know that last Friday night was Pizza Night for new boss Jamie Cook and family. However, when the nosh was eaten, the dishwasher was stacked, and the kids were put to bed, Jamie still spent half an hour emailing me the reasons the Trust should be a part of all our lives. When you have looked at the endless trail of emails, and considered the volume of calls and meetings to and with the present Government, you have to conclude that without the Trust we would have spent most of the last twelve months not doing what we love most. Last spring, the Trust worked well to get us back on the water, but between January 6th and March 29th 2021, they have excelled themselves. Despite putting together huge petitions, golfers had to put away their clubs and tennis players their rackets. Like me, Martin Bowler has had his criticisms over the years, but even he famously said “if you plan to cast a line during lockdown, you have a duty to join the Angling Trust”. (Happily, a couple of thousand of us heeded his call.) Two facts are inescapable. In this day and age, angling has to have a representative voice, however much we might want simply to be “a-quiet and go an-angling”, as someone once said. Second, the Trust has amply proved that its voice is loud, clear and successfully persuasive.

BassPoster.JPG


The joint campaign to protect bass stocks

Nor can I doubt any longer the Trust’s environmental credentials. Its legal arm, Fish Legal, is still fighting polluters with sharp and bared teeth. The Trust is central to endless marine issues, along with initiatives like Anglers Against Pollution, Anglers Against Litter and the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group For Chalk Streams. The Trust truly does seem to be fighting, or at least constantly questioning the things that are killing us like abstraction, predation and pollution, and even the present often ill-considered craze for re-wilding. Moreover, Jamie and team are showing guts. They take on the EA, Defra, the Scottish government, and whoever looks to be trampling on angling. Oh, and yes, they generally win as well.

Many of us of a certain age are inherently suspicious of all organisations and the leakage of monies, but I am now as convinced as a surly git can be that the Trust is only using money for specific, agreed purposes and outcomes. I might not be convinced about sponsorship of Team England, but that is just me, and I am impressed that even the Trust’s HR manager is part-time. Compared with some CEOs supposedly looking after the environment, Jamie Cook acts like Scrooge.

Look. There’s little point me going on about the work the Trust does, because you can all go on its website and get the detail there. The whole crux of all this is whether we need the Trust, and whether we believe in its integrity and ability to deliver. It has taken me time, but I have decided unequivocally that the Trust ticks both boxes and has earned the support of all of us. I believe Jamie himself thinks there is room for improvement and that this is a work in progress. What I am pretty damn sure of is that we should get off our tight arses and help him get there.
 

Mrtrout

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Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
22,286
Location
England.
I think they are a good organisation and as a club chairman I do all I can to support them donating fishing days to their annual auction.
We need a big body like them to protect our interests and I feel the government takes them seriously.
Steven.
 

Rhithrogena

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Jun 30, 2020
Messages
1,465
The lockdown lobbying was enough for me to rejoin. The joining fee was repaid in a GAC voucher, so it was free really....
 

Rob Edmunds

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May 8, 2008
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Midlands Reservoirs
My view is based on competition fly fishing and there involvement.

Personally I can't stand the A.Trust they are a complete bunch of idiots as far as I'm concerned...

Yes - I accept many will disagree with me....good you keep wasting your money.

I find Peter Drennan's (the long time sponsor of the Team England Course fishing team ) statement very interesting.

I'm not sure what happened in the end but I know it ruffled a lot of feathers.....


Statement as follows.....

“The Angling Trust has decided not to renew our sponsorship of the England team after 25 years.

Since late 2017, and for the first time during our sponsorship, we have expressed concerns regarding allocation of the funds we provided and accounts procedures on expenditure. Unfortunately, funds could not be accurately accounted for, particularly for the year ending March 2017.

We also questioned aspects of selection and management, in particular the exclusion of two anglers with the highest international ranking and the best available young anglers from the next generation, from the European Championships 2018.

These questions remain unanswered, but in the light of our investment for so many years, and for the benefit of the England team, we hope our concerns are taken into consideration by the Trust and the current team manager in future.

We have been proud of our association and have the utmost respect for all those world class anglers and managers such as Dick Clegg and Mark Addy.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege for our company to be associated with team England for so long.”
 

BobP

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Messages
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Wiltshire
There is more to fishing than competition fishing, and I speak as one who was involved in competitions for 14 years.

We have to ask ourselves who the government talks to when it comes to bird issues? The RSPB of course and a more toothless organisation would be very hard to find. But, there they are with their million plus members coughing up their annual sub year on year while the RSPB oversees the catastrophic decline of the bird species they are there to protect.

Fishing has plenty of enemies out there who would love to see the sport abolished no matter what the cost. We need an organisation to fight our corner in this as well as all the other issues they are involved in. They've been getting my money from Day 1 and I will continue to do so. The fact that they persuaded Government to allow fishing to open up last May was worth the annual subscription money alone.
 

JohnH

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Near Southampton
Agree 100% with what Bob says. The politicos want one organisation as a contact to speak to about, and for, angling; they are not interested in our internecine squabbles. For me the AT fulfils that role very well.
 

BobP

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Further to what John has written I'll plagiarise John F Kennedy. "Ask not what angling can do for you, ask instead what you can do for angling." For 95% of us that is paying our subscription to the AT and reporting to the EA via the Hotline number on your rod licence any pollution, fish mortality or illegal activity that you may encounter. Excuses such as "they never turned up to look" do not wash unless you are present at the site 24/7. Report it. If they do not attend immediately there could be many reasons why that happened. Finally, take part in the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative if you are a member of a river based club. It helps and it works.
 

sabalos

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Market Harborough
Was always an ACA member. Fish legal are just as effective so worth my standing order every year.
You will never agree with everything any organisation does and there has been some shenanigans in the past. However in general Angling Trust do seem to have some clout with the Government.
If only the majority of Anglers would get behind the trust we would be a potent force to be reckoned with...
 

Rhithrogena

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As I mentioned above it was a 'free' subscription: £29 annual membership of AT with a £29 Glasgow Angling Centre voucher as a joining 'gift'
 

BobP

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Was always an ACA member. Fish legal are just as effective so worth my standing order every year.
You will never agree with everything any organisation does and there has been some shenanigans in the past. However in general Angling Trust do seem to have some clout with the Government.
If only the majority of Anglers would get behind the trust we would be a potent force to be reckoned with...
Unfortunately, sabalos, the vast majority of anglers are in the "what's in it for me?"camp. Poor fools. I've effectively had free membership for the last 4-5 years through their 10% off the day ticket price at Farmoor. £25 membership, & Farmoor DT has been £25 C & R. £2.50 times 10 days fishing which is not hard to achieve adds up to my AT membership. Thank you AT.
 

sabalos

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Nice one Bob. I did buy a nice new coat from cotswold outdoors and got 15% off....
The insurance hopefully won't ever be needed but in these litigious times you never know.
Mate of mine moved to Scotland and he is still a member bless him.
Uniting anglers is always going to be a massive hurdle, too many splinter groups and axes to grind. Hell just witness some of the posts on this very forum.
Money talks and when facing up to politicians you need to look like a professional outfit or they will ignore.
Angling Trust is our best chance. Just how do we convince the majority?
 

wrongfoot

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Dec 2, 2007
Messages
1,850
Location
Northumberland
I wish I could support Fish Legal without supporting the Angling Trust. I pretty much unequivocally agree with what FL does, I'm much more conflicted about some of what the AT lobbies for and does.

Also, I feel that "one voice" for angling or anything else may be outmoded thinking. It works for a lobby with the power of the NFU, we're not that. In this new world of social media numerous voices on the same subject appear to be more influential and active lobbies set up multiple groups to push their agenda. The AT claims our voice through its website and social media accounts, but is more or less ignored by everyone, but anglers. It then reacts defensively to whatever article or report attacks angling and those attacks come from numerous small organisations. I suspect the appearance of this to younger people more versed in modern communication and influencing is that the AT is some behemoth establishment organisation. Not a good look and we're failing to win the influencing battle.

I'm not saying that countering the obvious rubbish isn't useful, but it's all very much on the back foot.

So I pay a membership to support FL a bit grudgingly.
 

wrongfoot

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Agree 100% with what Bob says. The politicos want one organisation as a contact to speak to about, and for, angling; they are not interested in our internecine squabbles. For me the AT fulfils that role very well.
I'm always suspicious of what politicos want. It's usually what suits them, not us and I'm very certain they don't give a damn about angling...
 

JohnH

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I'm always suspicious of what politicos want. It's usually what suits them, not us and I'm very certain they don't give a damn about angling...
Having got good support and feedback from my MP on two matters over the last year, one of them being the return of angling in May last year, I am less inclined to be cynical about all politicians, in all circumstances, than that. Can only speak as I found...
 

BobP

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I'm always suspicious of what politicos want. It's usually what suits them, not us and I'm very certain they don't give a damn about angling...
You could not be more wrong. All Party Parliamentary Group for Angling, All Party Parliamentary Group for Chalkstreams to name but two. Members from all across the political spectrum. When I was still in the EA I knew Richard Benyon who was then the Government Minister with particular responsibility for fishing. He told me then, and this was before the AT was formed, that in order for angling's voice to be heard in government circles it needed to be from one voice, one organisation that spoke for the nation's angling community. Now we have one that is doing a good job but still anglers can't see beyond the end of their noses. With attitudes like that, don't expect that your sons & daughters, let alone your grandchildren, will be able to enjoy fishing in whatever form in ten years time.
 

vital

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Nov 9, 2009
Messages
419
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South of England
Hmmmm ... its never easy when you try to find a 'one size fits all' solution.
Consider this: one voice crying in the dark will go unheard, thus we need a united voice. Forget the EA, they do not represent the recreational angler (whatever code) as they are a quango, partially funded by licence sales, who are supposed to look after our 'environment' which just happens to include rivers, stillwaters, and waterways, but they will always be in the pocket of the incumbent government. We need might to challenge the EA and Government; Peter Drennan (related by marriage BTW but he probably has never heard of me) will not fulfil that role. Whether we like it or not we need an organised body to represent us. The AT is the body that facilitates FL, and who were spawned from the two old ACA's. The AT did a great job last year: for the first time the three codes worked together under their auspices, getting Angling back ... sadly it changed again with Lockdown 2.0, but that wasn't their fault. 2020 was living proof that Sea, Coarse, and Game recreational angling can be united and achieve goals. We should get behind them, who else is there? We'll all need a strong ally in the years ahead, otherwise the next generation could well be the last to enjoy some of what we seem to take for granted now.
 

vital

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Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
419
Location
South of England
Over the years I have found that there are some columns that write themselves, and others that are a struggle from beginning to end. Like this one. In some ways, I would be better simply leaving the whole subject of the Trust alone perhaps, and I have considered that. It would be easier but cowardly, and we are at a crossroads in angling where we have to decide where we stand on every issue, contentious or not. So whilst I run the risk of annoying folks, I know I might well bore them too because, after all, what is there about the Trust that has not already been said? Oh yes, then there’s money, and none of us likes to part with that, or even be made to feel guilty if we don’t. Spring is a difficult time to go round with the hat, when the EA licence fee and any number of club and syndicate memberships are due, and I realise that as well.

View attachment 37626

Martin Salter with a nice chub

Everyone knows membership of the Angling Trust, and its forerunners the Anglers Conservation Association and the Anglers Cooperative Association in the earliest days, has been a vexed issue. Richard Walker regularly harangued us in the Fifties and Sixties to join the ACA, and even Saint **** couldn’t drive numbers above twelve thousand or so. Why? Are anglers suspicious of any organisation, or simply tight? How come the RSPB boasts over one million supporters, and the various Wildlife Trusts getting on for similar numbers? Even Butterfly Conservation has forty thousand members paying for 36 butterfly-friendly reserves, and over 70 habitat/conservation projects ongoing. Anglers, though? It’s like herding cats.

Not that, in any way, I am claiming the high moral ground. One of my Christmas presents in the Sixties was ACA membership, but since being an earnest teenager I’ve been a periodic backslider. I served an ill-fated period as Vice President of the old ACA, and in the early days of the Trust I sometimes remained to be convinced of its expanded role. Now, after a year of head scratching, I’m pretty sure I have come out onside, but how can I convince the doubters amongst you? What can I tell you sceptics that you don’t already know? Perhaps nothing, but that doesn’t mean I won’t spend five hundred words trying.

View attachment 37627

Jamie Cook with a grayling

None of you know that last Friday night was Pizza Night for new boss Jamie Cook and family. However, when the nosh was eaten, the dishwasher was stacked, and the kids were put to bed, Jamie still spent half an hour emailing me the reasons the Trust should be a part of all our lives. When you have looked at the endless trail of emails, and considered the volume of calls and meetings to and with the present Government, you have to conclude that without the Trust we would have spent most of the last twelve months not doing what we love most. Last spring, the Trust worked well to get us back on the water, but between January 6th and March 29th 2021, they have excelled themselves. Despite putting together huge petitions, golfers had to put away their clubs and tennis players their rackets. Like me, Martin Bowler has had his criticisms over the years, but even he famously said “if you plan to cast a line during lockdown, you have a duty to join the Angling Trust”. (Happily, a couple of thousand of us heeded his call.) Two facts are inescapable. In this day and age, angling has to have a representative voice, however much we might want simply to be “a-quiet and go an-angling”, as someone once said. Second, the Trust has amply proved that its voice is loud, clear and successfully persuasive.

View attachment 37628

The joint campaign to protect bass stocks

Nor can I doubt any longer the Trust’s environmental credentials. Its legal arm, Fish Legal, is still fighting polluters with sharp and bared teeth. The Trust is central to endless marine issues, along with initiatives like Anglers Against Pollution, Anglers Against Litter and the formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group For Chalk Streams. The Trust truly does seem to be fighting, or at least constantly questioning the things that are killing us like abstraction, predation and pollution, and even the present often ill-considered craze for re-wilding. Moreover, Jamie and team are showing guts. They take on the EA, Defra, the Scottish government, and whoever looks to be trampling on angling. Oh, and yes, they generally win as well.

Many of us of a certain age are inherently suspicious of all organisations and the leakage of monies, but I am now as convinced as a surly git can be that the Trust is only using money for specific, agreed purposes and outcomes. I might not be convinced about sponsorship of Team England, but that is just me, and I am impressed that even the Trust’s HR manager is part-time. Compared with some CEOs supposedly looking after the environment, Jamie Cook acts like Scrooge.

Look. There’s little point me going on about the work the Trust does, because you can all go on its website and get the detail there. The whole crux of all this is whether we need the Trust, and whether we believe in its integrity and ability to deliver. It has taken me time, but I have decided unequivocally that the Trust ticks both boxes and has earned the support of all of us. I believe Jamie himself thinks there is room for improvement and that this is a work in progress. What I am pretty damn sure of is that we should get off our tight arses and help him get there.
Nice one Mr B, I wasn't convinced by the Simon Cooper thing, but I 'get' this one!
 
Last edited:

John Bailey

Active member
Feature Writer
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
34
Thank you all for your replies. I was aware that supporting the Trust was a risk, but one that should be taken. Like many I have reservations, especially when it comes to match involvement, but I don’t know everything and I see the Trust as doing a good job generally.

I personally think that we would have fished far less in these endless months of lockdown had it not been for the Trust, and that has been a hugely good thing for many of us in a stressful time. That alone has suggested to me the Trust can get big things done, and that now it needs to concentrate on the issues that matter and sideline those that do not?

Giving the Trust support for two years costs not much more than £50, and perhaps they have earned the chance to prove they can speak for all of us?
 
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