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Rod licence increase resisted

PUBLISHED: 14:15 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:22 30 June 2010

Fishing with Roy Webster



A COMPULSORY pound on the fishing rod licence to fund the cash-strapped Angling Trust?

Not from us, insisted Town anglers, who say they are perfectly satisfied with the quality of their Broads' fishing.

Fishing with Roy Webster

A COMPULSORY pound on the fishing rod licence to fund the cash-strapped Angling Trust?

Not from us, insisted Town anglers, who say they are perfectly satisfied with the quality of their Broads' fishing.

The Trust was formed a year ago and hailed as the great saviour of rod and line sport. But its appeal to anglers fell flat with only around 12,000 members subscribing £20 per annum, just half of what was estimated for the Trust to stay afloat.

Within six months, a number of employees were made redundant and salaries slashed by half. Now the future appears bleak.

Lee Arnold, who runs the Sportsmans and Jolly Boys Angling Clubs, was adamant that his members would stand fast on this issue and refuse to pay the extra £1 on the rod licence.

“We do not support any proposal that would force us to contribute financial help to the Angling Trust. The service we receive from the Environment Agency in the Broads, plus the facilities offered by the commercial fisheries, is excellent,” he declared.

Great Yarmouth's former England international angler Dave Docwra endorsed that view: “Forcing anglers to finance the Angling Trust through the rod licence fee is the equivalent of raising the vehicle road tax by an extra sum of money to gain membership to the AA or RAC,” he said. “I would accept this idea of it was discretionary, otherwise I shall simply forward the appropriate sum for my new rod licence to the Environment Agency but not the £1 intended for the Angling Trust.”

According to one insider this week, the Trust coffers are virtually empty despite receiving substantial grant aid from Sport England and donations on top of member subscriptions. And, according to another source, meetings are going ahead behind closed doors to devise some means for the Trust to receive financial benefit from rod licence revenues, which, if approved, could raise close to £1 million.

However, as Arnold points out, the rod licence is a statutory instrument that allows the angler to fish with rod and line. “Personally, I do not believe any of this can go through without Government approval, and I find that most doubtful.”

Most still waters were frozen over last weekend, one of the exceptions being the Burgh Castle fishery which had been cleared manually to accommodate Sunday's open event.

And, although fish were hard to come by, the hardy match men who braved the elements had some fish to put on the scales at the end.

Winner was Dave Grimwood with 7lb 12oz, then Mick Bunn 7lb 2oz and Gary Maddison 5lb 2oz.

Along the beaches, the Norfolk division of the National Sea League at Salthouse was dominated by members of the Gorleston Tackle Centre team, headed by Clyde Leggatt with 4lb 8oz and John Lacey 3lb 8oz. Their effort boosted the team into top spot with a score of four penalty points, followed by Holt Blue 10 and Avenue Angling 12.

Weekend prospects for rivers, Broads and lakes are rated the best since the turn of the year, with the River Thurne at Somerton, the Martham boat dyke, the Horsey Mill cut and Catfield dyke all teeming with fish, including pike.


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