Our annual fundraiser doo was held on Saturday September 24th and I know we say it every year, but WHAT A DOO…
And I know we always labour the old stress and hard work and worry element of organising these events – in fact we do about everything project related - but this year was no different so we’ll be upholding that tradition….. It was an absolute bloody grueller!
However, the way we see it is if we put in the pre-event effort and graft, there is far less chance of anything going wrong on the day when people who come along deserve the very best. And what could be better than a friendly fishing match and a catch-up on the banks of the Avon followed by a fabulous three course meal at a wonderful Country Hotel and a mind-blowing auction of some seventy amazing lots?
Our nerves are in shreds by the time the soup is put in front of us, but by the end of the evening we have lived out one of the highlights of our entire year which is worth every bead of sweat and wrinkle of worry.
We stick to a set, tried and trusted formula each year, which all starts for us way back in June when we send the initial invites out to all the folks on our database, which is shifting and growing each year, then get about writing to tackle dealers and manufacturers, tackle shops, fishing clubs, syndicates, river keepers and friends of the project for donations of auction lots.
We try to stick to the same time each year; enough distance from summer holidays and enough distance from the threat of the first frosts. However, there is always something to clash with no matter what day of the year, but generally we are very lucky.
We have the friendly fishing match spread across the Royalty, Winkton (upper and lower), Severals (upper and lower) and Avon Castle thanks to the generosity of Southern Fisheries, Ringwood and District Anglers Association and Christchurch Angling Club. Unfortunately, the river conditions tend to make for tricky fishing in the clear waters of early autumn, but we still have a good chance of pleasant warm weather and perfect day length.
The match winning trophy is awarded for the best specimen, which this year was decided almost unanimously by the folks in the room, and was for the second consecutive year won with a roach. And we are delighted to be able to add that the catch return sheets and the post-match stories revealed that roach had been caught by a number of anglers from the different venues, some in quite good numbers.
This years’ event was one of the best ever in terms of auction lots and atmosphere, food, banter and the general feel-good factor of the whole day; not that any of the others have been too shabby….
We had sixty-four people attend and some seventy-two auction lots of all kinds of goodies from exclusive guided fishing days and weekends, rods, reels (one made and engraved especially for us), pictures (including an original David Miller oil painting), books, floats, DVD’s and a whole lot more, and we raised just short of £6,500.
These annual fundraisers enable us to operate completely financially unencumbered and even to get creative and inventive in how we are helping the recovery of the Avon Roach. And we never stop learning and trying new things.
It has all now gone way beyond simply growing Avon Roach and all the time we are supported at these events we’ll carry on doing what we do best, and with roach now being seen and caught throughout the river the future is looking bright.
We would like to thank everyone who came along, everyone who donated an auction lot and everyone who raised their hands in the room and made a bid… It enables so much as we continue to reap the rewards for our efforts on the Avon, and continue to set the standard and example for others to follow up and down the country on other rivers.
And, as we said in a recent post on the interweb ‘The real tangible evidence that the Avon Roach are actually making a recovery is one trumpet we are never going to get tired of blowing…. So PLEASE forgive us when we do…’
Match winner Bernard Stebbing collects his well-deserved trophy from Trev.
From a bright idea and diggers in the mud to a beautiful and manageable, naturalised lake. We were going to stock it in March 2016 but had some concerns over the health of the fish; being that there was signs of fungus present on some of the fish. So we decided to leave them where they were and quarantine them and treat the fungus. This is all clear now, and has been all summer, so we intend stocking these and others from a number of different stews later in the year when the water temperature drops and is more suitable for fish movement.
As you can see from this image, the willows we cut down to the ankles in the winter fight back at about ten feet of sprouted growth in six months so will need an annual hacking which has been started here….. Another excuse for a big-boys-bonfire…