FAS foundations strengthened
The Executive Committee have always looked at new waters that became available in our catchment area, and over the last few years several had been visited by members of the Executive Committee, but with commercial price tags attached by land agents they were ultimately considered either too expensive or ultimately unsuitable for the Society’s needs.
Early in the year, Cemex Angling announced they were going to sell off all of their fisheries, and FAS entered into the ‘closed bid’ process, but were subsequently advised in mid-July that we had been unsuccessful in our bids for Papercourt Lake, Frimley Lakes and Theale 1. Missing out on these single bids was ultimately to prove a blessing in disguise.
The proposed fee increases for 2013/14 were carefully calculated so that we would remain the best value fishing club within a 40 mile radius of Farnham, but realise larger annual surpluses that would be used to increase the ‘waters fund’ that had proved insufficient. These proposals were agreed in late July 2012.
On 8th August we were advised by Fenn Wright that Cemex Angling were going to split the Yateley lakes (which we had requested they did in the first instance), and we were approached by Fenn Wright as a preferred bidder, due to us having previously made 3 other bids. Executive Committee visits were arranged and undertaken quickly.
A meeting of the Executive Committee and our three trustees took place on 23rd August 2012 at which options on combinations of the various lots within Yateley were discussed. A unanimous Committee decision was made to make a bid for the fisheries, which would require a mortgage to be obtained. The three trustees were all supportive of the decision.
Fortunately our offer was accepted the next day and so began the real work. Chris Arnold of Fishery Finance UK was recommended by Fenn Wright and was engaged by FAS to assist us in securing the necessary finance to purchase the waters, which would involve the requirement for FAS to enter into a mortgage for the first time in its history. The earlier review of our finances was to prove invaluable in this process.
Following further visits to Yateley with the Chairman and Mike Barrass, the Treasurer and Mike Barrass and our broker, and with Fenn Wright, asking further questions of Cemex, and more nights of number crunching and analysis of income information and providing a vast range of figures as required by our broker, a mortgage offer was obtained from The Royal Bank of Scotland and with this the Society’s solicitors were formally instructed.
Upon the advice of our solicitors, we undertook a ballot to modify the Constitution to allow our trustees to enter into a mortgage on behalf of the Society, but with no personal liability upon them. This was successful, with a great response of over 800 members (over 27% of voting members), of which 98% were in favour.
The Executive Committee had agreed that the intended purchase would not be discussed outside of the Committee as we did not want to be gazumped, but inevitably our visits to the fisheries and discussions with Cemex members and bailiffs, meeting with Mike Barrass and our future neighbours to discuss boundary alignment prompted speculation about which lakes we may or may not be purchasing. A badly kept secret perhaps, especially according to Facebook where speculation was rife, but a necessary evil we are afraid, as we could not announce anything in case we were ultimately unsuccessful in the purchase.
The map shows Yateley Lot 1 comprising the lakes within the two separate areas within the red lines, either side of Sandhurst Road. As a reference point, Mill Lane is shown as the complete lake at the top left of the map with River Valley beneath the eastern end of Lot 1.
The Autumn Newsletter was delayed in the hope that the purchase would be secured in time to include within it, and at the end of November, we were suddenly advised we had to complete by 21st December 2012. The goalposts had been changed without warning and more sleepless nights ensued as further information was prepared for the mortgage lender as modern banking checks and balances demanded. Added to which were the complications of dealing with this on behalf of the Society and therefore needing to relay all developments to the Chairman & Treasurer to ensure they were happy with decisions being made, and ultimately relayed to the Executive Committee.
A great team effort by all involved finally resulted in the lakes being purchased on 19th December 2012, a great early New Year present for our Members, which will be available to fish from 1st April 2013. We have decided to name the waters Yateley South Complex and Yateley East Complex, and billboards to this effect will be erected above the access gates to the car parks that serve the fisheries. Apart from South Lake which will open on 1st February 2013 (see below), there is strictly no access to any FAS Members prior to 1st April 2013 unless sanctioned in writing by the Executive Committee.
Although there is a good car park for the South Lake, we will be working on providing an additional car park to service Horseshoe Lake & Pumphouse Lakes in the future: initial access will be via either South Lake or from Mill Lane. In time, Tree Lake will be set up as another ‘canal style’ fishery, much the same as Kings Pond, to provide some easy fishing for less experienced members. The car park that exists on the Sandhurst Road will for the time being service the entire East Complex, although we do have access for maintenance purposes via Sandhurst Lake until we obtain another access to serve the complex and link to an existing car park by Copse Lake: either via a vehicular bridge over the river or via an access from the north east. The access improvements and additional car parking and further development of the complex will be undertaken over time whilst maintaining the naturalness of the fisheries.
South Lake will open to existing FAS Members on 1st February 2013, but Members must be aware that Cemex Gold card members and the bailiffs on the fishery will retain their rights to fish the venue until 31st May 2013, and will abide by Cemex rules during that time, including the use of 3-rods and barbed hooks. All FAS Members will however be required to fish to FAS byelaws and rules.
Under the purchase agreement of these waters from Cemex Fisheries, their existing 2012/13 Gold Card members and Cemex bailiffs for these waters are entitled to continue to fish all of these fisheries, with the exception of Copse Lake & the River Blackwater until 31st May 2013. When doing so, they will be allowed to fish to Cemex rules, but will be required to show their permits to FAS bailiffs.
Description of the different lakes and the river fishing available:
The following information is based on the information that was on the Cemex website and we will clearly gain our own knowledge of the fisheries in the years to come and amend what appears in the FAS permit in due course.
This is an attractive, mature venue full of features, holding some 300 fish with a good head of Commons and Mirrors over 20lb to a current top weight of over 31lb 8oz, there are also Bream to 8lb, Perch to 1lb 8oz, Tench to 5lb & Pike to 15lb. The former owners undertook considerable work on the venue in 2008 which has resulted in an excellent Carp fishery which is a maturing water since its rejuvenation.
At 2.2 acres is apparently best known for its stocks of large Bream, which are historically most likely to have made their way there from adjacent lakes.
At 1.3 acres is known for its Tench and Carp. Both lakes provide exciting and satisfying sport where substantial weights can be amassed in a day, throughout the year, to the float or feeder approach.
A survey was carried out on both lakes around 2009 and while there was a sufficient stock present, a number of young Tench and Crucian Carp were introduced to back up the already growing stock.
At 0.9 acres, these two small, tree-lined lakes are very shallow, but hold a good selection of species. Future works will see this developed into one lake with single bank fishing, whose pegs shall back onto Pumphouse Lake with trees thinned on the opposite bank to allow light and wind across the water.
FAS plan to enhance this 1.8 acre water in the coming years to try to restore the fishery to somewhere near what it was in its heyday, when big Tench and quality Crucians to 4lb were present. This beautiful pool now contains a few good Crucians, some decent Tench to around 8lb, Rudd, Perch and some Bream. A lovely fishery where stealth and cunning may enable you to still find a specimen Crucian or catch some Tench.
River Blackwater – 1,000 metres
This small river, with its overhanging trees, which shall be thinned out in the future, and straights for trotting, contains a mixture of fish species from silvers to Carp and the occasional Barbel.
This 4.4 acre lake is a very pretty, secluded and peaceful lake, with bars, islands and bays: so there are plenty of features to fish to. 20 Carp were stocked in 2010, with two different 30lb fish present, whilst the other fish stocks will reveal themselves in due course.
The Nursery Lake is a mass of bars, snags, lily pads, tree roots and small islands covering approximately 7.5 acres with an average depth of 3 feet. This venue is largely un-fished although it holds good stocks of mixed fish with a good head of large Carp to satisfy the specimen hunters among our members. The stocks are generally made up of Roach, Perch, large Bream and the Carp, which all take the usual specimen/match type baits.
Works undertaken previously have included the removal of several large trees from the margins that has allowed more space for not only the anglers but the fish as well. Removing these large snag features has allowed more light in, so intensifying the potential for marginal features.
This attractive 13.8 acre lake contains three islands and offers a good head of 20 and 30lb Carp to a current top weight of 39lb + at the right time of year. A number of double-figure fish are also present, which have done well as a result of the management plans formerly undertaken on the fishery.
Common Carp to 30lbs, Mirror Carp to 39lb+, Bream to 10lb+, Perch to 3lb 12oz, Tench to 7lb+ & Catfish are all present. The Cats were stocked in 1993 as ‘kittens’ and the good head of fish that makes up the backbone of the stock, now top 56lb in weight with much larger specimens seen, but not caught.
All feedback via Water Reports to the web site would be welcomed and photographs of members catches for the FAS web site galleries would also be appreciated.
The Executive Committee are delighted with the acquisition of these new waters and trust that you too will enjoy them in the coming season and in the future as we find out more about them and improve the accessibility in the years to come.
Honorary Secretary & the Executive Committee
8th January 2013