Items filtered by date: November 2020

A worthy winner

A Hertfordshire man who has made Inverness his home has been awarded Inverness Angling Club’s Angler of the Year Shield. When he retired from work as a freelance carpenter, specialising in constructing conference settings, James Emery headed north to pursue his love of salmon fishing. 

“I first fished the River Ness in 2018 and have come to love the river, the area and the local people,” says James. “But the travel back and forth was getting too much so I took up residence in 2019.”

Club president Alex Elliott explained that the trophy, which comes with complimentary membership for 2021, was awarded annually to the individual who most reflected the spirit of the club.

“In the relatively short time he has been with us, James has become a very committed member. He is always ready to get involved and has spent many hours helping to maintain the river banks. And wherever he goes on the river he will collect and re-cycle litter, setting a great example for us all.”

Committed: James Emery with the Angler of the Year Shield

President’s Report for 2020

In his annual report, normally presented to the club’s AGM, president Alex Elliott says it’s been an honour to serve the interests of Inverness Angling Club over 2020, albeit through a tough year when Covid-19 brought dangers and restrictions few of us imagined.

“Those dangers struck home when popular member Ali Scott suffered the most serious impact of the virus. Happily, he came through that and is now making a good recovery. Sadly, several current and previous members passed away during the year - Cas Slaney, Dale Hunter, Harry Watson, Davie MacMillan and Charlie Findlay. Most recently we lost Mary Dyce, head of the well known fishing family and a dedicated supporter of the club.

“Covid forced the closure of the club fishings on March 25 but reopened on May 29 when restrictions were eased. All three of our riverside huts remain closed - a decision taken with regret but necessary to maintain social distancing. We appreciate members’ patience in coping with this, but hut closure will be essential as long as Covid poses a threat.

“On a different note, the committee decided to abandon negotiations with The Highland Council about a replacement hut at the Little Isle. Over two years of discussions and designs had led nowhere, and the committee felt that the investment proposed by the council - compared to the club’s modest proposals - was excessive and would best be utilised elsewhere.

“Fishing proved fairly tough and it wasn’t until July 4 that the first fish of the season was landed. The honour went to associate member John Mallin of Dulnain Bridge, who landed and released an 18 pound specimen from the Weir Pool. Catches continued to be sporadic but the final total was 140 salmon and grilse, a good increase on the 2019 catch of 74 but still well behind the 274 landed in 2018.

“With the new one-way system introduced on Bught Road, and plans to charge for parking in the Fishermen’s Car Park at the Little Isle, the committee is negotiating with Highland Council for space for anglers’ cars.

“The club boat on Loch Ruthven was well used during the year, being out most days, and it is now laid up for maintenance over the close season. We have also concluded arrangements for the storage of all of the club’s equipment in one place - a container unit at the Citadel. This made real sense as valuable tools had been stored in the garages of various members. We are grateful for their help and forbearance over the years.

“The club is in a good membership and financial position and our aim is to maintain this over the next year. But as a reward to members for their patience in difficult circumstances over the year, 2021 membership fees will be reduced by a third for those who held 2020 permits. I wish you good health, the best festive season circumstances allow and an enjoyable and productive 2021 season.

Membership holds despite Covid

Earlier this year there were serious concerns about the potential impact of Covid-19 on the health of Inverness Angling Club. But membership and visitor numbers, while down on 2019, remained stronger than might have been expected.

Overall membership dropped to 346, including 150 senior, four intermediate (aged 18 to 20 inclusive), 101 junior, 47 concessionary, 33 associate and five ladies. But it could have been worse. The loss of 73 members who did not renew their permits was partially mitigated by 61 new paying members.

Visitor permits sold through Graham’s tackle shop, FishPal and club members totalled 235 for the season. In addition, the club issued 35 sea trout permits for the estuary beat.

Permit prices reduced for 2021

With Covid-19 reducing the length of the 2020 season, the committee of Inverness Angling Club has moved to cut prices of 2021 permits. The discount will only apply to those who held membership during 2020.

The discounted prices will be: Adult (now including ladies) and associate £100, Concession £50, Intermediate (ages 18 to 20 inclusive) £35. The special entry rate for anglers who have not been members within the previous five years will continue at £100. Anglers with broken membership in the last five years will pay £150 to renew.

Adult permits must be renewed by April 1. Failure to do so will incur a penalty, as will failure to having submitted an annual catch return for 2020.

Management moves

With the postponement of the AGM, the current committee of Inverness Angling Club will continue to run its affairs until such time as relaxation of Covid-19 rules permits such gatherings.

Meantime, there will be some changes to committee responsibilities and membership. Steve Black has stepped down from his much appreciated role as secretary. Luckily, Graham Forbes, a current member of the committee, has volunteered to act as interim secretary until a full AGM can be called.

Following the retirement of Gordon Smith, who managed the club’s finances so well over the last few years, John Ralph will add the treasurer’s role, on an interim basis, to his work as membership secretary.

The committee has co-opted two club members, Chris Bruce and Kevin Elliott, to fill vacancies. Kevin Elliott will take on responsibility for reporting catches to FishPal, previously carried out by John Ralph.

Alan Scott will continue to maintain the content of the web site, with the assistance of IT advisor Stevie Graham. The news section, and the sections on club and fishing information, are in the course of being updated.

Achagour pioneer passes on

It is with great sadness that anglers around the Highlands and the north-east will hear of the passing of Stewart Mackintosh, owner and developer of the popular Achagour Trout Fishery at the family farm. Stewart had been in ill health for some time, and had frequent spells in hospital. But it was at home on Monday (November 9) that he spent his last hours with his wife Margaret and family.

Stewart was a generous friend and strong supporter of Inverness Angling Club. It was at Achagour that the club’s annual winter trout league was launched some 12 years ago. He took great delight in spending time with anglers, and in contributing valuable prizes for league winners and club competitions at the Highland Field Sports Fair.

Stewart will be sorely missed. Members and friends of Inverness Angling Club send their deepest condolences to his extended family.

AGM postponed

Inverness Angling Club has postponed its annual general meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 26.

President Alex Elliott said: “The AGM provides an important opportunity for members to be briefed on the club’s progress over the year. But these are extraordinary times and continuing Covid regulations prevent such a gathering.

“While we have managed to hold committee meetings through Zoom, we felt that a virtual AGM would not suit many of our members. We will, however, present annual reports on the web site towards the end of November. Meantime, the present committee will continue to run club affairs and seek to hold a full AGM when Covid regulations are eased.”


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