The monthly 'Chairman's letter' has now been replaced by more frequent comment on our Facebook page, but we have archived Paul's contributions bewteen December 2014 and October 2015 below ...
Chairman's letter - October 2015 (long harvest)
.Dear Members and Friends
Sorry I have not wrote beforehand but as a farmer a little thing called harvest happened - luckily the fishing continued and thanks goes to Jeremy,Bill,James and Celia for making sure all the matches went on, I feel very lucky to have a dedicated committee,who take time out to run this club.
Several matches and 2 night matches have taken place recently and seemed popular with those who come regulary, we wish to encourage more to fish the matches. Its all done in good fun, and possibly more who do fish, higher the prize fund and charity giving.
I was asked by a member why we give so much to charity,our answer is because that is what we wanted to do since the club started,So maybe like we said before if we know who is attending matches and that money on the day can go the the winner and runner up,(watch this space).
Bryan Butler kindly donated the Charity Shield which each season the winner names a charity for that match money to go to,I brought the Zakcat cup which each year money to cats protection. We also donate to local people who run marathons,and things alike.
We believe its a good cause,and realise some don't - anyway enough ramblings, hope to see you all soon
Chairman's letter - July 2015 (a tale of two cups)
Dear Members and Friends,
We have had 2 cup matches to date. The first being the John Phipps Memorial Cup, which was won by local man Lee Stevens. The second cup the "ZakCat" cup won by Chris Cade.
A big thank you to those who attended - as always, fun and happy days with good people.
We were able to donate £30 raised from the first match team South Stoke primary School as a couple of pupils and parents ran in the rainbow run for Helen & Douglas House.
We made a further £50 donation towards Cats Protection (another good cause) from the second match.
So far this year (only our second year in our current form), our charitable donations total £410 - not bad for a small club and we plan more donations to follow during the season. If any of you can think of a worthy cause and are willing to "simply buy a cup" we will donate to your charity.
Chaimans letter - June 2015 (a new season dawns)
Dear Members and Friends
We think everything is ready for the new season starting on June 16th,with the first match on
Sunday 21st June,John Phipps memorial cup.
See events and matches [link removed] for all match dates and details.
The end of last month we had our pre season riverbank maintenance weekend. All involved worked tirelessly - a bbq was held to thank everyone involved for all the hard work put in by so many (and I take this chance to add my personal thanks to you).
As a result, we can now say we have around 35 good fishing swims compared to just over 20 last season - and the whole site looks much improved.
Our contract with Christchurch is all paid and signed up along with the appropriate insurance which we have had to put in place.
May we remind you all that the genral access to the river is private rented land, but due to the kindness of the Phipps family and the Angling Club its always been allowed. We are committed to maintain this for our local residents - all we ask is that you respect where you are and don't drop litter and please while on the track and along the riverbank if you have a dog,clear up the dog mess (its a major problem - and we will name and shame those caught ignoring this!)
I Hope to see many of you on the 21st June (our firt match of the new season - and the longest day), which hopefully will be a lovely day.
Happy fishing on the 16th (the season starts)
Chairmans letter - April-May 2015 (getting ready and lesson learned)
Dear Members and Friends,
As we are in our quiet time and planning this year's fishing matches and the social events my mind is divided in to what we do.
We have received our License agreement from our Landlord and payment is within the postal system.
I thank all you, both fishing and supporting members in paying your membership in 'record time' so we can keep our part of the Thames for another year from outside Clubs trying to muscle in and take over.
Sadly there are those of you who don't believe in the hard work I and my committee have done to get another year for our village. I have emailed/facebooked,and newsletter stating our membership policy) those of you who are waiting till season starts will now have to pay a new payment structure - new membership costs are displayed here.
I feel I have tried my hardest in keeping this local and as stated above, thank you all for paying and helping us achieve this.
We have our Quiz and Curry night on the 14th May which is sold out, and prizegiving to those who won during the past season.
Chairmans's letter - March 2015 (a time to reflect)
Dear members and friends,
As our 2014/2015 season closes, it's time to look back over the past season and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done - credit to everyone who has/is been part of SOUTH STOKE ANGLING CLUB.
We have held 11 matches over the season with the 12th sadly cancelled due to river conditions.
We started off in June, with the John Phipp Memorial Cup match which will be held as an annual event held on the first Sunday of the new season - and finished off with the Chris Pool match in March. All competitions ran to a standard 'one rod format' with the exception of the infamous Perch and Pike Cup match in December - one of the most popular events of the year and certainly the one that obtained us the most publicity.
A summary of the full year's results are now displayed here (coming shortly).
As we look over the season it is clear that many are hardy fishermen - and wind/rain/snow/hurricanes etc will not stop them getting there fishing in, for which I thank them very much. Understandably, there are also those who prefer the warmer months and pack away their gear as winter approaches.
With this in mind, I am putting to the committee the idea of more matches in the warmer months but this would only be worthwhile if there is enough demand. So, in order to help ensure that we provide what you, the members, actually want please take a minute to complete this simple online poll on the subject (fishing members, including concessionary, only please)......
Webmaster's note: The online input form inviting votes/comments on the 2015/16 season competition format has now been closed. Thank you to those who contributed.
We now go into the closed season with things to do behind the scenes, bank maintenance being at the top of the list and permanent peg numbers to reinstate.
We are also planning an 'end of season' presentation dinner at the Perch and Pike - simple 2 course meal and a short award presentation. Details will be published on this website and our facebook page as soon as they are confirmed.
15/16 membership is slow to come in but not too surprised as June 16th is the deadline date for renewing if you want to be able to fish when the season opens - but the closed season is an expensive time for us (with rent, insurance and repairs to meet) so as early a you can please.
I hope you, like most of you reading this, feel lucky we have on our doorstep such an asset and surely it is worth protecting. South Stoke should be proud it has a river and control of its fishing rights.
Chairmans's letter - February 2015 (and onwards into our second year)
Dear members and friends
As the 2014/15 season comes to an end and closes the first chapter of the reinvigorated SOUTH STOKE ANGLING CLUB, there is much to look forward to in the 2015/16 season.
We just had our penultimate match, where - out of 6 hardy fishermen - only one bite and one fish won the match. Seems hard to believe that weeks ago all were catching - a week of cold wind and frosts may of made the fish go deeper and their feeding habits may of changed (after 48 years I am still a novice,so I may be wrong).
Our final club match (before the closed season starts on 15th March) is on Sunday 8th March and has been named the 'Chris Pool Match' - this is our way of saying goodbye to Chris who has been a member, friend and co-sponsor of the club since its relaunch. Chris is leaving the Perch & Pike in the next few week, returning to a 'previous life' providing catering on VIP yachts. We wish him well and are asking both competitors and non-competitors to make a small donation on match day to contribute to a small memento from the club as a whole.
The committee believe that we are well on the way to securing the long term future of fishing within the village boundaries to the benefit of both South Stoke fishermen and the South Stoke community in general.
We have successfully retained the fishing rights for the next season, have obtained appropriate insurance cover for the club's ongoing activities and the slightly restructured committee are working hard on maintenance plans, formalising our documentation and records and putting in place a busy calendar of events for next year.
Membership costs have risen slightly - mainly in order to meet the costs of such developments - but at £30 for a fishing member they are still extremely competitive for what we believe is an excellent angler's and village community facility. Full details of membership options are detailed here - and you can now apply (both new members and renewals) online.
The membership year runs from 15th March in any year (the first day of the closed season) - the closed season is an expensive time of year for the club (paying the following years rent, insurance and river bank maintenance) so we ask that all fees are paid before June 16th when the fishing season opens.
Sadly, there are a couple of 'bad news items' to comment on:
Illegal fishing: I have recently experienced something I have previously heard of, but never witnessed until last Sunday (8th February) ... a small boat came along on the far side of the river, and he was clearly 'trawling' the river. This sort of activity has been seen and reported in Oxford and other parts of the Thames in recent months, but it appears we are now being targeted.
Apparently, the occupants take all fish they net and sell this on the open market - even now, when many fish would be/or getting ready to spawn. Sadly these fish will never be able to restock our waters.
Many of the people involved reportedly come from cultures where such fishing is the normal and are very clever in what and how they do it, covering up names on boats etc, thereby making reporting them harder.
I urge anyone who may witness this sort of activity to take a photo (most mobiles have cameras) and call the 'incident hotline' on 0800 80 70 60 as quickly as possible - stating where and when the incident took place. We MUST do our best to stop this crime becoming more frequent and damaging your fishing stocks irreparably.
Crayfish: The other problem that is occuring is crayfish (yes to some this is delicious food - BUT to us, the river and other wildlife they can cause a real problem).
The native (European) white clawed crayfish are a protected species, and it's AGAINST the law to trap and sell/eat them.
You can however trap (non-native crayfish) but only with written consent from the Enviroment Agency. The 6 species of non-native crayfish are Signal (North American),Turkish Narrow Clawed,Noble,Red Swamp, Spiny-Cheeked and Virile Crayfish. The Signal is the one we have most problems with at present.
All information can be found on-line via GOV.UK, and Enviroment Agency websites - and we have a feature on this issue here.
If anyone plans to net crayfish down our stretch of water YOU must, be a fishing member, notify us and have written consent from the Enviroment Agency.
Chairmans's letter - January 2015 (a new era)
Dear members and friends
Happy New Year from us all
2015 hopes to be a start of a new era for SOUTH STOKE ANGLING CLUB.
The year started well with Jeremy catching a superb Perch (just over 3lb) followed a week later with 2 pike, one over 12lb.
Sadly we cancelled the 11th January match due to weather conditions, but hopefully the 8th February match will go ahead.
As stated before the Perch and Pike cup was a great sucess, for us, the pub, and Brakespear - we even got mentioned in the Henley Standard, a first - so all happy.
This year we plan to move on and hopefully have matches with other clubs (details TBA).
Lets make South Stoke a name for those who never have been here.
We will hopefully introduce a new membership policy, and for those who join this season (2015/2016) - a gold card is the card you need.(keep watching this website for details).
Chairman's letter - December 2014 (Phoenix from the ashes)
Dear members and friends,
SOUTH STOKE ANGLING CLUB is not new,It started way back in the late 1970's and was a very successful club,with its yearly awards dinner being the pinacle of the village,and it ran into the 1990's.
It stopped mostly due to committee and members moving away(to water's new) !!!! and no one was able to take over the running of the club. It then went into a period of different people taking it over,but the club was never to be again!!
Back in 2013 I was told the the "stretch" was up for grabs and rumours of a large outside club taking it over. As a boy,my Father,Grandfather and brother taught me how to fish and it seemed to me that as a village we should keep it local, (its part of South Stoke). So after speaking to the landlord the SOUTH STOKE ANGLING CLUB was reborn and I would not of believed how good it was going to be,like the phoenix rising from the ashes.
So we thought let's take on a membership scheme with those wanting to fish paying a bit more than those who just wanted to support the club. The response was huge and to to date in December 2014 we have some 148 members, about half do fish -with more members in the last few months keen fishermen, we owe all of you a big thank you.
Our first match was held on the 22nd June 2014 and was called 'The John Phipps Memorial Cup'. John was the President of the club for many years and was a great supporter of village life,so its seemed fitting we did something in his honour.
Since then we hold at least one match every month, and on Sunday 21st December we have the "Perch and Pike Cup" its back!!!
Our village pub - in the form of Alex,Kim and Chris - are our sponsers and brought some fantastic cups to hand out on the day,even Brakspear the brewery have mentioned us on there website, Good news all around, good for the village,good for the pub and shop and good for the angling club, as we have brought in some new customers and members
The Club has to date made donations to
and we are very pleased to do so
Our last South Stoke village event of 2014 took place on 6th December we held a race night in the village hall with a fish and chip supper cooked by a van outside, we all had a great time
In the coming months of 2015 I will write further about the club and its activities - and I hope to turn this website into a focal point for the club and other South Stoke village activities.
With best wishes for the festive season,