Urban Fly Fisher’s alternative Newsletter for the 2010 AGM

Seeing as how I do not get a spot to say my piece in the Newsletter before the AGM I thought I would post it here – also I get to say whatever the hell I want as I am no longer an office bearer – sweet!

Having a baby has really affected how much time I have to do pretty much anything. Last year I underestimated how much time I would have to dedicate to the office bearer post and I decided to resign – going to bed at 0800 tends to cut into fishing and club politcs time.

This season I will have more time (with a bit of luck) to fish and actually enjoy the river and its inhabitants.

I decided a couple of weeks ago to place a ban on discussing club politics on my River Kelvin Forum – the irony is that some people were asking extremely good questions which in the long term would have helped the club however due to a  serious trouble maker I called a halt to it – when club politics threads outnumbers fishing chat you have got to wonder – it is not as if the club help out with hosting fees (thae buggers are like folk that leave the meal early without paying their share of the bill)

In the past…

Last year at this time I thought the future of the River Kelvin was on a shaky hook – I felt the people that ran it did not have a vision and that nothing was really being done to help.

I complained regularly about the lack of progress – by progress I mean basic things like:

  • Assistance against widespread poaching.
  • No signs informing potential members of a club.
  • No habitat improvement.
  • Poor links with other organisations.
  • Poor contact with SEPA and potential developers on the banks of the Kelvin.
  • No bailiff force.
  • No coordinated effort to tackle pollution.

It was the night before the AGM that I telephoned Euan Greer the Chairman to complain that my name was still on as committee member for the association– I had quit a couple of years previous –or rather I had never been informed about any meetings after complaining about the lack of action about the above problems – I was disillusion as committee member because everything that I suggested was knocked back – they told me putting up a sign was pointless as they will just get ripped down. Anyway – he told me that he was trying to push some changes through and he wanted help with them from everyone that cared about the river.

I headed along – I had my own agenda wishlist for the river.

A year later I look back and wonder what the hell happened – the changes that are taking place are great. I mean people are actually sitting up and taking notice – a club that went from a few hundred members to one that numbers around a thousand means that we have a major playing card when it comes to getting things done for the river – I am pretty sure that other clubs notice this as well.

The problems that the club and river face are unique as it runs through an urban environment – a lot of anglers have access to it which means that protective measures must be higher than other rivers yet not spoiling the enjoyment that anglers want – it is a fine balance!

Returning Trout!

I strongly believe the balance can be met – sure it has been a rocky road over the last year however I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and look to the future – before you start to complain about the current guys doing the job ask yourself why you never complained in the past when all the good work was not being done.

Lines of communication are open to the club – we have a secretary who answers emails – we have a website that Kelvin fishers can contribute to if they wish and we have a group of enthusiastic guys that are actually willing to get things done.

Back in May 2009 I decided to work with the club to try and assist with the changes – if the truth be known I did not do much it was the secretary, chairman and volunteer bailiffs who did all the hard work – the club was ripe for change and for people to step in and get some serious work done.

So what am I happy with? – well here is a short summary:

  • Bloody signs up for a start – metal ones, with only one so far being vandalised – and even that was pretty humorous.
  • A volunteer bailiff force – they have all been police checked and for next season some of them will be crown bailiffs. They have removed nets from the river and stopped lots of people poaching. They are a bunch of enthusiastic guys who give up their own valuable fishing time for the sake of the river they love.
  • Willie Yeomans of the Clyde River Foundation is doing a River Habitat Survey  – this means that we will have a serious playing card when it comes to developers who want to mess up our banks and potentially destroy spawning redds for Salmon.
  • The secretary is in talks with Glasgow City Council regarding many new ideas for them to do their part in helping with the river.
  • Plans are afoot for some free fly casting lessons for junior members.
  • An update of the rules is in progress – no one understands a lot of the current ones.
  • An update of the constitution is in progress– the current one was made in 1992 – there are virtually no processes in it to actually get things done – the constitution has not been followed for years – what makes me smile now is so many people want to see it – the club had to get a grubby paper copy off an old committee member.
  • A Salmon tagging system (nowt to do with me)
Classic Slander - fantastic Glasgow humour though!
Slander = Great Glasgow Humour

To be honest there is a lot of stuff being talked about and things are looking pretty positive for the future if given half the chance.

Given half the chance?

Do you know what I want to see at the AGM? I want to see people coming up with some good ideas for the future of the river – traditionally the Kelvin AGM’s have been an absolute ruckus with people shouting and lots and lots and LOTS of rambling happening. This year I think it would be nice if for once people actually turned around and said “actually – that is pretty nice work”

For once it would be good if people actually came up with suggestions for improvements instead of moaning about what has not been done or trying to examine the fine detail of how things are done – look, we are talking about fishing here – some of what we agree is based on trust – the very people that shout loudest about rules are the very people that break them regularly.

I mean sure a tagging system is being implemented – the club cannot hire someone to constantly stand over ever angler to make sure they use it – your conscience has got to come into play somewhere  - why do some anglers  look for scams and dodges to get round rules?

Dark Forces

There are people that just want to disrupt any good work for their own ends.

You guys witnessed what happened with the LLAIA – a group of disgruntled anglers gathered together in an organised way (they had an alternative committee with office bearers) and attempted to stage a coup.

A forum that was set up by a disgruntled member of the opposition was closed down by legal threats by the association.

Needless to say the attempted coup lost!

I am not saying that it will happen with the association that controls the Kelvin however shit like that puts ideas in people’s heads – the main difference between the Kelvin and the LLAIA (apart from thousands of pounds) is that absolutely no one in the Kelvin Association gets paid for what they do and the only cash that gets paid out is to benefit the club.

The LLAIA problem set a precedent for every angling club to have votes of no confidence. The other problem with this is that there are no processes set out in the current kelvin constitution to allow this to happen – obviously you cannot have a lone gunmen who suddenly announces they want a vote of no confidence without any good reason – if that was the case pretty much every meeting would have one as quite frankly there are quite a few characters who do not like change and progress. No – what you need is some kind of process – a written proposal signed by 15 members (off the top of my head) with the grievance that has not been resolved by discussion.

I can almost guarantee that some goon that does not understand the process will attempt to state a vote of no confidence in the office bearers.

“A vote of no confidence in the lot of ye” – one problem – this is not a fecking Government – I mean it looks good in films n’ all that however practically this just does not work.

So let’s say the office bearers bring in a rule whereby you are not allowed to fish for salmon with a certain bait – lets say “glow in the dark tampons”– after discussion it is clear that nobody is happy and everyone thinks that a bad decision has been made – this is a good cause for a vote of no confidence as the office bearers are unwilling to relent – they have actually got to be able to relent by the way – if it is something outside their control then it kind of makes the whole situation kinda pointless. A bit like the whole “rod rest” fiasco – the club is totally unable to relent on that one.

So saying “The secretary has got something against people that use rod rests” is kinda pointless as it is against the law -  Oh – for the life of me – I am almost convinced this one will rear its ugly head – look –ledgering is illegal – can you not just hide in the bushes or something? I mean the river is like 20 odd miles long with some big deep holes that nobody ever fishes – instead of driving to within 50 yards of the river and camping up in the middle of a park it may be better to be a bit more subtle about it…

Other shit that will get spoken about..

There are only a handful of volunteer bailiffs and they also want to fish (bless em’) they have removed people from the river and done some good work regarding nets – this adds up to one thousand times more work than the previous bailiffs and no one complained about them.

“We want to stock with more fish” – alternatively the club could take a few thousand pounds, stand up on a hill on a windy day and watch the cash blow away in the wind as that is a direct comparison to stocking a river with fish.

“It is free to fish for trout in the river” – actually this is a tricky one – put it this way – you must not be using any bait or fishing in a style that could be misconstrued as fishing for Salmon – and if you did actually catch a Salmon – oops. Anyone fishing for trout without a permit is kinda stealing from the guys that do pay for a permit to fish for salmon – they are sucking up your resources and are willing for you to pay to improve the river for their enjoyment – all so that they can save £20 a year.

Essentially – anyone that asks if they can fish for trout for free is a cheapskate leach who is akin to a shoplifter.

Gone are the days that the Chairman, Secretary etc can just pop along to the odd meeting and have a chat about the river – they are now actively involved in liaising with fishing clubs, councils and other agencies regarding future plans for the river. In the future we need to get some more good guys to assist with the running of the club – I remember at the AGM people being asked to join the committee and being told all they would have to do is pop along to a few meetings per year – now it is totally different – you must be willing to put in a bit of graft.

So there you have it – the Urban Fly Fisher alternative outlook on the AGM to come  - I look forward to seeing all you guys there !

2 comments to Urban Fly Fisher’s alternative Newsletter for the 2010 AGM

  • Stuart_Lands

    From my first year of fishing the Kelvin I am glad I have joined the association during a period of positive change, I for one benefited from the signs being put up, as it prompted me to find out about getting a permit and actually start fishing the river I’ve stayed within a stones throw for the last 8 years.
    The links to the previous articles make for great and interesting reading, from the original ‘wish list’ post (http://urbanflyfisher.com/river-kelvin-wish-list), it looks like there is a similar debacle from the minority each time the AGM looms – and Alistair, it coincided with your holidays last year too!!
    I’m glad some of the suggestions made last year were taken onboard and applied as effectively as can be expected in the first year. I’d like to bring my own suggestions for improvement, however only ‘keep up the good work, let me know if i can help’ springs to mind.
    See you all Thursday, I look forward to a sensible evening of Kelvin chatter!

  • Stuart – apologies for not replying sooner – thankyou for the kind words – please make sure you come to the meet and greet !