Keith Arthur on the future of the Angling Trust, and more...

Obviously there is a lot of information on this website recently regarding ‘The Magnificent Seven’, as the initial advisory group were christened, and the meeting with some of the board of the Angling Trust. That report details the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the outcome.

What blew me away was the sheer goodwill of so many very important people within angling: serious players at all levels of the sport and industry.

Those names will be pulled together and will present a unified force to promote the reasons why a strong, unified governing body is essential for angling at all level.

There should be no fears about the viability of Fish Legal, by the way.

Although it is a fully paid-up and vital member of the Trust, because of its unique position it is financially independent and no threat to its existence. Its ability to give fully of its services to members will not compromise the AT.

Our meeting indicated a way forward for the advisory group. We have a role to play in taking the movement in the right direction, a situation that will become very much clearer in the ensuing weeks.

And what avenue hosted the meeting! Lower Berryfield Fish Farm, a fishery that produces stunning English carp ¬Leney strain fish - and superb koi stocks too, on the banks of the River Thames. I have wangled my way in there to make a film or two for Tight Lines and my mouth is watering already!

Several years ago the owners had a problem and were advised by the then-National Rivers Authority to ‘dump’ over 5,000lb of these magnificent, heavily-plated Leney-style fish into the Thames. A fair number still inhabit the area, although I won’t be trying for one! Bream to 9lb-plus and hordes of roach also live there ¬ far more likely targets for me.

I reckon there will be some big perch too so I might just add a lure rod to my feeder and pole gear. If only we had 30-hour days and eight-day weeks!

What an astonishing match the Sixth Annual Tyne Champs was! An average of over 10lb per rod, and you can bet some anglers threw fish back.

Sixty-four pounds of dace takes some catching! Although we had some truly wonderful dace matches on the Lower Thames, including a New Year’s Day event at Richmond where 28lb on and 13lb-odd was 23rd out of 46 anglers, there was never anything close to the weights on the Tyne. The only real difference was, the weights on the Thames were 100 per cent dace, but there are chub involved in the Tyne nets.

The success story of the Tyne really underlines why we pay our rod licence fee. The coarse stocks were in serious decline in the 1980s, but sterling work by local angling groups, in association with and helped b the EA, has led to the Tyne becoming not only one of the premier coarse fisheries but, in the case of the North Tyne, possibly the most prolific salmon rivers in England.

It’s just such a shame about their football teams.