West & Fens Fishing: King’s Lynn AC gearing up for important meeting

King's Lynn Angling Association has what could turn out to be the most important meeting of its 130-year history at the Wm Burt Club next Wednesday night (7.30pm).

Proposals to turn the 800-strong club into a limited company stem in part from fears officials could find themselves liable in the event of anyone suffering an accident or injury whilst bailiffing its waters.

This centres on those patrolling venues who confront those fishing illegally – who often find themselves out in the wilds and outnumbered.

Incidents over last weekend brought this into sharp focus – ranging from the gang camping alongside a drain, who admitted to EA enforcement officers they had been barbecuing their catch on the bank, to the netters seen plying their trade on the Middle Level and Relief Channel over the last couple of weeks.

EA officers wear stab-proof vests and usually operate in pairs. Club bailiffs wear jumpers and are often on their own.

You may sometimes wonder what's become of fishing, but this is the reality in the 21st Century in the Fens. It's why two of the club's trustees have resigned.

Becoming a limited company would limit the liability of any official or member to �1.

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Bubbling away behind the scenes, officials in the Lynn club are also divided over whether to report catches. Becoming a limited company won't solve this one.

Predator anglers routinely keep mum, or at least keep venues quiet, for their target species are as vulnerable to angling pressure as being bonked on the head.

But the same culture of secrecy has spread to those who target bream and tench, with several catches this season going under the radar, for fear of attracting the netters and barbecue brigade.

And some fear that this is preventing Lynn AA promoting its waters and gaining the day-ticket and book revenue that would come from more anglers on the banks.

Those who did stray on to the rivers and drains over the weekend found mixed fortunes. One angler was well on his way to filling his net from a swim near the Wissey Mouth on Ten Mile Bank when I stopped for a chat on Saturday. He'd had seven tench – including an 8lb specimen – with bream also coming to worm and caster in the deep water at 14m. When he came in closer, it was a roach a chuck – including one not far shy of 2lb. The previous day, an angler had three roach over the pound from a swim near the railway bridge.