Good morning from a dark and wet Foxford. The winter seems to be arriving early and already the water levels are flying up. I have a boat on Lough Conn which I need to take home very soon as the lake has already come well up. It’s a dangerous time for anyone with a boat left unattended on a lake shore. The season has just ended and you think there’s loads of time before the winter floods, suddenly your boat is half way up a tree on an inaccessible shore. That’s the start of the winter prep for me. After the boat is safely home, I will start on the job of tidying and organising the equipment we have been using all season, Rods, reel, lines, Jackets, waders, Spinners, flies and everything else need to be sorted out. I enjoy these tasks as do most anglers and it rewarding. An hour spent servicing a reel now will be the difference in it working well next season or possibly falling to bits in Spring. Next Friday we might take a closer look at a few of the important things to do to get the “gear” winter ready.
I have been thinking about the season past and overall, it was a good one. I think for me one of the highlights came at the end of the season when a little club I’m involved in finally managed to have a competition. Its not necessarily the competition itself that made me happy but more the fact that finally we could come together and enjoy some time doing what we enjoy as a group of like-minded individuals.
I see clubs as a very important part of angling in Ireland and the past two years have been difficult and damaging to them. In a normal year our little club “Foxford Angling Club” would hold five or six competitions on the Loughs (Generally for memorial cups), try to do at least one thing to improve angling or angling infrastructure, support a local event or charity, perhaps have an end of season BBQ and finish the year of with a weekend away. None of these were possible and even the clubs AGM did not take place. I know it has been the same for clubs all over the country and I am afraid that some of them will find it difficult to recover. I hope they do recover and can get back to the business of Angling because without clubs our sport will suffer.
You may ask how will our sport suffer. Well without going to deep into it we have to remember that Clubs are the starting point for a lot of Novices and Juniors to get involved in angling, Clubs have kept the price of angling and in particular Salmon angling within the reach of normal people, Clubs are primarily responsible for the little infrastructure we have, Clubs bring us together and offer us opportunities to work together for the benefit of us all. These are just a few of the benefits of Clubs. I could expand on all these points and add more. but I’m pretty sure you get the idea. I would urge anyone who has an interest in Angling in whatever form to support their local club and if you don’t have one Start one.
Many of you will have had the pleasure of meeting David Browne. Unfortunately, David passed away last weekend. Along with been a very keen angler David will be remembered for his Trojan work with Youth angling in Ireland. I had the pleasure of working with him on some of the many training days he organised through Recreational angling Ireland and can still see him smiling with up to 50 young people gathered around him at various venues. David also done a huge amount of work with the ITFFA youth teams and I know that my own son was one of the youths who benefited greatly from this. I did thank him but probably not enough. Condolences to Davids family and may he RIP.