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RFA update
Club News

RFA update

Good morning all, Just another quick update to the RFA contacts I have (bcc of course!)

As you know our long-serving RMC / Blackwall bailiff Tim has (sadly) had to retire from his duties. I’m pleased to say though that you may see Chris (wearing the yellow Hi Viz he got made for us stating ‘RFA bailiff’) on the banks doing his bit for the RFA.

This is mainly though just an ‘early days, nothing set in stone’ enquiry – firstly, it might be possible if there is interest for an RFA club to say ‘leave it to us, we will look after one or more of the RFA waters, we can bailiff it now and again.’ If that is so, please let me know and we can see if we can develop something.

Secondly, and related, you might know of one or more of your (local to RFA waters) members who might be interested in doing it so, again, let me know if so. It would be good to have more than one voluntary bailiff helping the RFA.

Thirdly, it would be worth telling your members that, in reality, it is well worthwhile taking a small rake and sickle with them when fishing the canal and probably Blackwall or Ham Green as well.

We’re into another long and very dry spell, the waters are gin clear and suffering from low flows yet again, and weed growth has been dramatic. This is likely to be the long-term summer pattern, so if anglers invest a few quid into buying a little bit of swim-opening equipment, as shown in the photo, they will find their fishing is easier. (Make sure waterproof gloves are used though otherwise hands will have a distinctive dour for days…….)

Unfortunately, the RFA does not have the resources to do much in the way of swim preparation itself, we’ve always relied on voluntary efforts (and if you recall I’ve done a number of swims as far downstream as Newenden) and without a big subs increase (unlikely) the reality is that things will stay as they are.

You can tell them that the canal definitely responds to a bit of raking. I don’t fish very often these days and I’m not a skilled angler, but I took my rake to a swim on the canal last week and within half an hour had the first of four lovely tench (and one big roach). Starting at 5am but going through the day until 3pm. In bright sunlight. Having raked the swim once, at 5am, I did it again at 8am and the bites started again. Great (and surprising) fun. I took a guest, I raked his swim, and he caught a lot of roach and rudd, two (very) big eels, and finished off with a nice tench. All the tench we reckoned were around the 3 pound mark and I had one big one that might have gone 5.

I’m only saying this to encourage people to try the canal, not to boast, but it really does mean that they have to do a bit of groundwork on much of it, to make themselves a swim, and it does pay off. You can see the big pile of weed, filamentous algae, and muddy sludge in the photo. Good news as well – swan mussels thriving (I got two in the rake – and returned.

The fish were untouched by human hand, laid in my landing net in a clean groundbait bucket full of water, unhooked by disgorger within seconds, and released back none the worse for wear – they all swam off strongly.

Finally, new signs have been put on the various waters, and as I write it is the case that every RFA water access point is clearly signed. There are some more to come.

Regards

Steve Crowley (and for the grey-haired like me, ‘not a ‘Richard Walker’)

27/06/23