Southdown Angling Association East Sussex Angling at its best
Southdown Angling Association East Sussex Angling at its best


Southdown Angling Association


Members of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal



Thank you to all of you who have joined or renewed your membership this year & for supplying an e-mail address if you have access to this facility. This does make communication with the membership much easier, shows considerable savings in printing & postage costs & enables us to keep you up to date with all that’s going on. Please don’t forget to advise us if you change your e-mail address or any other details so we can update our records & keep you informed.

Although not up to the levels they were some 4 or 5 years ago, membership numbers have increased slightly over last years poor showing & although we did actually reduce the fees from the 2012 levels, our income has been slightly higher, which, combined with the co-operation & understanding of our various landlords in accepting a reduction in the rents we paid & additional water sharing arrangements, has led to us being in a better financial situation than we were at this time a year ago. However, we could still do with lots more members. Hopefully current members will renew in 2014 & if each could persuade fellow anglers to also join, we would be in a much better position to move forward & provide even better fishing than we do at the moment.

Weather conditions in 2013 have probably been what one could best describe as average, with the usual lack of rain during the summer months resulting in low water conditions & the annual problem of the duckweed explosions on the Pevensey Haven & Cuckmere, making the fishing somewhat difficult on these venues at times. In general the fishing has been pretty average, although Curls Farm has continued to provide excellent sport with the carp, many anglers catching several double figure fish in a session. One member also reported good catches of tench to over 6lb & a nice carp from Raillands Ditch, a venue little fished by most members, rather shallow & weedy, but obviously well worth the effort & the hike to get there. Few specimen fish have been reported so far, but Peter Gabbitas caught a 5lb 6oz bream in the Cuckmere at Shermans Bridge during a club match & your Secretary was fortunate to capture a beautiful roach of 2lb 1oz during the first week of the season, again at Shermans, which if validated, will be a new Association record. We are sure that our waters, particularly the Wallers Haven & Cuckmere hold some superb fish. It does require a little effort to tempt them & we are confident that some are caught, but go unreported, by those prepared to put in the work, so come on guys, let us know what you are catching, any good publicity we can get can only help to promote membership of the Association & help to secure our fishing in the future.

Association competitions have continued to be supported by the faithful regulars, although it is noticeable that entries have dropped off a bit of late. This seems to be a current trend with many clubs at the moment, not just with the SAA, but we are considering steps to try & make our matches more attractive. If you haven’t tried a bit of match angling, why not go along to one of the competitions next year, they are fairly light hearted affairs with lot’s of fishy banter, the pools are optional & even if you don’t place you are sure to learn quite a lot to improve your own fishing.


Water Usage

This year we are tried something different by asking members, both renewals & new, to complete a “Waters that I am looking forward to fishing most in 2013” survey, rating the waters with a 1, 2 or 3, giving 1 to the venue they most looked forward to fishing, to a 3 for their third choice, in the vain hope that this would be easier to complete & that we would therefore get a better response. Sadly, this did not prove to be the case & as usual, only some 25% of members took the trouble to respond. Thank you to all those who did complete the questionnaire, as this information is very useful to us in planning for the future. Curls Farm again proved to be the most popular choice, followed by the Wallers Haven at Iron Bridge upstream, with Marle Green close behind & the Cuckmere at Shermans Bridge coming fourth. However all our waters have their devotees & we have no plans at the moment to relinquish any of the fishing.


Annual General Meeting

The 17th Annual General Meeting of the Southdown Angling Association will take place on Tuesday evening, 4th February 2014, commencing at 8 p.m., at the Afton Hotel, Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, BN21 3EJ.

To save costs, this is the only advice that you will receive regarding the A.G.M. No further notice will be issued. Those members with e-mail facilities, will receive the Agenda and Minutes of last years meeting nearer the date, for those without, copies will be available on the night. All members are cordially invited to attend & if you have something to say, so much the better, or even better still, how about volunteering to serve in some way, we could probably due with some new blood on the Management Committee, you might even get to enjoy the experience, at the very least you would gain an insight into the behind the scenes workings of our angling club. Positions up for grabs this year are: President and Treasurer, both with a two year term, Vice Presidents and Committee Members, all to serve for one year.

Association rules require that any nominations for Officers or Committee, or proposals for changes to the constitution or rules, or motions to be considered at the A.G.M., be received by the Secretary, in writing, duly signed by the proposer and a second member, before the 1st January previous to the meeting. Due to the lateness of this newsletter, the deadline is extended to the 15th January 2014 & proposals may be submitted by e-mail, provided both proposer and seconder names are on the e-mail.

The hotel is easy to find, being almost on the seafront, opposite the pier. Last years meeting at the Afton was well attended in contrast to previous years, let’s hope this one will be even better & even more members come along and have a say in the running of our club.


Club Development

Clive Copeland came on board the Committee in 2012 and was very keen to promote not only our Association, but angling in general, so much so, that he changed his job to take up the position of National Development Manager with the Angling Trust & since then has moved on to become their Head of Participation. We are fortunate that we have someone close to the heart of angling in the UK which can only be of benefit to our organisation. However our loss is their gain, as Clive has found that his involvement with the Trust, including travelling all over the country on their behalf, has meant that has simply not been able to devote any time to the Southdown A.A. cause & has therefore decided that at the moment he is no longer able serve on the Committee & will not be standing for re-election at the forthcoming AGM. Thank you Clive for your past efforts, hopefully you will be able to return to the fold at some time in the future & no doubt you will still be recording a fish or two to maintain your reputation as our specimen angler supremo.


Specimen Fish

We know that there are some splendid fish in Association waters & are fairly sure that some even get caught. However very few get reported and entries for the specimen fish trophies each year are very few. We recognise that many anglers fish alone and if landing a worthwhile specimen are unable to obtain a witness to their achievement.

In these modern times most people seem to carry a digital camera or a mobile phone with this facility with them, even when fishing & in order to try and encourage more members to report specimens, we will now accept entries without the need for a witness, provided photographs are provided showing the fish alongside the scales used for weighing & one clearly illustrating the venue where caught. Entries may be submitted via e-mail with the photographs as attachments & a specimen fish claim form for members use may be downloaded from our website. However, claims for potential Association record fish will still require a witness.

We hope this relaxation of the requirements will lead to more fish being reported, it is more open to cheating, but there is no financial gain to be had, only the honour, we like to think that our members are an honest lot, cheats will only be cheating themselves really.


Water Maintenance

Over the year we've had a number of work parties out & about on our waters. Weed clearing & reed cutting has taken place on the Pevensey Haven, Wallers Haven and River Cuckmere & hopefully members will have noticed that there are plenty of swims that are comfortable & ready to fish.

With winter upon us please take extra care on the banks. Be aware of any slip or trip hazards & be especially careful on any stretch of the Cuckmere. The river is very deep at the edge, in some places as much as 6 feet. Due to reed growth it's not always possible to see if a bank is safe, therefore, always have a prod & poke around with a bank stick before settling down.

Thank you to the small number of volunteers who have helped on the work parties, we are very grateful. If you have not volunteered yet but fancy doing your bit to help, all one needs to do is give Chris Copeland a call on 01323 438514 (evenings please) or send an email to:


SAA Web Site

Unfortunately for health reasons, Bob Spilsted has been unable to continue with the maintenance of our earlier website ( so it is now defunct & Bob has, with reluctance, had to resign from the Committee. Thank you Bob for all the work you put in & we hope your health improves soon. Fortunately, Jon Cook volunteered his services & thanks to him, we now have a have a new site at: which, although very much still work in progress, is now live, is regularly updated with all the latest news & information & includes downloadable membership application & specimen fish forms etc.

What we now need from members, is your news, preferably with photos if possible. Your report could be about a recent fishing trip when you enjoyed a fantastic days sport, it may be about the capture of a club record or specimen fish, your success in a recent competition, or you may want to feature a specific club venue or tackle tip. You can also send us your pictures of fish you've caught or snaps you've taken of our terrific waters, whatever, it's up to you. Please try and get involved by sending us items you are happy to share to: or to the Secretary at:


Cuckmere & Pevensey Levels Catchment Partnership

The EU issued the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) which came into force in December 2000 and became part of UK law in December 2003, requiring all waters in Europe, which includes rivers, lakes, wetlands, groundwater, estuaries & coastal waters, to be brought up to good environmental status by 2015 & the Environment Agency are partially responsible for achieving this. For the purposes of implementation, the UK has been divided into areas by river basins, our local area being the Cuckmere & Pevensey Levels, which encompasses the Cuckmere in the west , all the Pevensey Marsh & Combe Haven in the east.

As these catchments differ somewhat in character, in our area the whole catchment has been sub divided into three sub groups, one each for the Cuckmere, Pevensey Levels & Combe Haven respectively & your Secretary has attended several meetings of the catchment groups for the former two, as we have angling interests in both these two catchments. To date the EA have carried out surveys in both catchments & have identified situations where they fail to meet WFD requirements, the main one from our point of view, being the perceived shortage of fish. Both the Cuckmere & marsh waters are, at present, considered to be heavily modified, the latter particularly so as it is entirely man made & the many structures present, i.e. the weirs & sluices, several of which are now redundant, present a barrier to free fish migration both up & down stream, so one of the first actions, funding permitting, may well be removal or modification of some of these structures to bring the waters back into a more natural state, thereby improving fish passage.

It is thought that the 2015 date has slipped a bit & we will have to wait a bit longer, but we can only hope that these changes will eventually lead to improved fishing for us all in the future.

Should any member wish to contribute to this work, or require more information, please contact the Secretary.


Finally, we wish you all and your kith and kin,




Don’t forget the AGM Tuesday 4th February 2014, Afton Hotel, Eastbourne.






What a difference a year makes. At this time last year we were bemoaning the lack of rain & the effect this would have on our waters & our fishing. Since then of course it has hardly stopped & the rivers & lakes have been full to the brim or in flood for much of the time, with the coloured water & constantly varying weather conditions not proving conducive to good fishing. The ground is now so saturated that the slightest rainfall drains straight into the rivers & up come the levels again. The good side of these high groundwater levels is that even if we now have a dry year, although there’s no sign of that at the moment, the waters should stay in good condition for most of the coming season.

As you are all probably aware by now, last years poor weather also had a disastrous effect on our membership numbers, which were some 20% down on the 2011 figures. Aside from the contributions from the clubs which share some of our waters, your subscriptions are our sole income & most of this goes in paying for the waters we rent, so any reduction has a serious effect. While we have taken short term measures to try to overcome the immediate situation for this coming year, including releasing some of the little used venues, namely Hempstead Pond, Chilley Stream west bank & Milton Street on the Cuckmere & entering additional water sharing arrangements with Hastings & Bexhill on the Pevensey Haven & Seaford on the Cuckmere at Shermans Bridge, the only real solution to our problem is an increase in our membership numbers, ideally back to the levels they were some three or four years ago. If our numbers don’t show any improvement in 2013 we are afraid that we will also be forced to relinquish some of the more popular waters next year.

To this end, recognising that people may not have so much spare cash in these difficult economic times, to try & encourage members both present & past & new people to join, we have done away with the joining fee & reduced subscription rates this year back to where they were in 2011. We have also produced a flier to try to promote membership, two copies being enclosed with this newsletter, together with two copies of the 2013 membership form, one for you & the other for a fishing mate or acquaintance that we hope you will be able to persuade to join. Those receiving the newsletter via the internet will be able to download these as attachments.

Thank you to all of you who have provided an e-mail address who will have received this newsletter electronically. Over 50% of our membership now receive communications this way & with standard second class postage being 50p, it does save us considerable expense & effort during the year as well as enabling us to keep you up to date with the latest news & developments. If you haven’t registered your e-mail address with us, but would be quite happy to receive information this way, simply send an e-mail to:, with “Newsletter” as the subject and you will be included for the future. Also, please don’t forget to advise us if you change your e-mail address.


Annual General Meeting 5th February 2013. Far better attended than in previous years with around 30 members present, the new venue of the Afton Hotel near Eastbourne seafront seemed to meet with the general approval of all those present. In the sad absence of the late President, the meeting was chaired by Vice President Mike Sherlock.

Treasurer Grenville Weston presented the accounts for the past year which, due to the shortfall in subscription income, showed a £2162 deficit over the year. The accounts had been scrutinized by member Richard Sherlock & were duly approved by the meeting.

The Secretary presented a written report & thanked all the Officers & Committee for their efforts over the past year.

Fred Clews, a life member of the Association & lifetime friend of the late President was nominated to replace Roger in that position for the remaining year of the two year term, with Mike Sherlock and Jonathon Pang again confirmed as Vice Presidents for a further year, with Mike Richardson being approved as Secretary for a further two year term. Other than for the existing members, there were no nominations for Committee members received prior to the meeting & so all the 2012 Committee, namely Steve Brown, Chris Copeland, Clive Copeland, Nigel Crewe, Steve Izzard, Roger May, Nick Spicer, Bob Spilsted, Colin Spilsted & Tom Wood, were all prepared to serve for a further term and were duly elected en bloc.

At the conclusion of the formal business, lively discussion took place on various topics, including the Association website, all for consideration by the management team during the coming year.

After the meeting, three members came forward to offer their services, so Jon Cook, Michael Wood & Peter Gabbitas have accordingly been co-opted onto the Committee, while Nick Spicer & Colin Spilsted have both decided to stand down. Thank you guys for your service over the years.


Membership Renewals. 2013 Membership Forms are enclosed with this newsletter (attached if received via e-mail). As usual, you can renew your membership in person at the Polegate Angling Centre, Anglers Den in Pevensey Bay, Anglers Cabin in Hailsham, or by post. If renewing by post, please include a self addressed and stamped C5 envelope for the return of your membership card, complete the form as necessary and forward with your remittance, to: S.A.A. Membership, C/O Polegate Angling Centre, 101 Station Rd, Polegate, East Sussex, BN26 6EB.

If you have access to internet facilities, please include an e-mail address as this enables us to speed up communication with members & reduce postage costs.


Water Usage Survey. In the past we have asked members to tell us the waters they fished in the previous year. Unfortunately only about 25% of the membership bother to fill in the survey form & while this has given us some idea of the popularity or otherwise of our various waters, we have to make some assumptions in order to obtain meaningful data. This year we are trying something different, by asking members, both renewals & new, to complete a “Waters that I am looking forward to fishing most in 2013” survey, rating the 3 venues you are most looking forward to fishing this year, with a 1, 2 or 3, giving 1 to your most favourite, to 3 for your third choice, leaving all the others blank.

The survey form is on the reverse of the membership form (separate attachment if via e-mail). Please take the trouble to complete the form, it will be very useful to us in planning for the future, as it gives us an insight into what type of fishing and waters our members prefer. If your favourite water does not figure very highly in the final analysis and you didn’t bother to complete a form, you have only yourself to blame, so please make the effort, it can’t be that difficult, the greater the response, the more representative will be the results for the majority of the membership.


North Farm Pool, Marle Green. As last year, due to other activities taking place on the site, there will be occasions when this venue is closed to Association members. The closure dates this year will be shown in your 2013 Membership card and are repeated here for your information:

Monday 8th to Friday 12th April, Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July & Friday 27th to Sunday 29th September.

All dates are inclusive. At such times the lock combinations may be changed to prevent access.


Padlock Codes. As usual every year, In order to prevent access to all but current bona fide S.A.A. members, the lock combination will be changed on 1st May on all our waters which are secured by padlock, the new code being shown on the front of your 2013 membership card.

Disabled members and those authorised to drive down to the water at Curls Farm will be advised of the new code for the track gate by separate communication.


Social Evening and Prize Giving, Saturday 20 April 2013, Afton Hotel, Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, BN21 3EJ. 7:30 pm.

All members, prospective new members & partners, are cordially invited to this years Prize Giving and Social Evening at the Afton Hotel, when the various recipients of our many trophies will be presented with the rewards for their efforts last season.

There will be a Raffle, free Buffet, a Quiz & and as usual, the opportunity to renew your membership for the year.

The Afton is a superb venue, is easy to find, being almost on the seafront, opposite the pier & if the AGM is anything to go by, it should prove to be a very good evening.

The various trophy winners are as follows:


Match Results: 


Aggregate Weight Cup:              T Hoad        314-0-8                        Evening Cup:                 M Wood            245 pts

Bill Walder:                                  M Wood        8-15-0                        Junior Evening Cup:       No Winner

Pole Shield:                                 M Wood        8-13-0                        Marsh Shield:                 C Copeland      239 pts

Roger Weston Memorial:             P Gabbitas    13-2-0                        Waggler only:                 C Copeland      152 pts

New Years Challenge:                M Ferry          4-0-0                        Cuckmere Cup:               P Easton            98 pts

Southdown Challenge:               P Newman     24-7-0                        Percy Baron:                  P Easton          152 pts

Roy Andrews Memorial:             T. Crowdey   1-13-0                        Xmas Comp:                   T Hoad             152 pts

F Glazier Memorial:                    T Crowdey   13-10-8                       KO Cup:                          R Izzard                   


Specimen Fish:   Clive Copeland weighed in with no less than four species, a pike of 21lb 12oz, a tench of 5lb 12oz & an eel of 3lb 4oz, all from the Wallers & a bream of 6lb 8oz from the Cuckmere & therefore takes the trophy for most specimens. Tim Crowdey recorded a carp of 15lb from Curls Farm, while Graham Shinkfield wins the best specimen trophy with his chub of 4lb 3oz 8dr from the Cuckmere. As last year, very few fish were weighed in. We know that there are many more specimens landed than get reported, so this coming season, if you catch a worthwhile fish, please submit a specimen form, Clive can’t be the only member catching the larger fish. We intend to make the reporting of specimen fish easier in the future, watch this space, any publicity generated can only help to promote membership of our Association.


Web Site. Unfortunately for various reasons, the promised updates to our website ( have been rather slow in coming to fruition, although it is fair to say that input from members has been virtually zero. We will be improving the site in the near future & are determined to give you regular, up to date, topical information via the site, but need your help.

Please send us YOUR news for our features. Your report could be about a recent fishing trip when you enjoyed a fantastic days sport, it may be about the capture of a club record or specimen fish, your success in a recent competition, or you may want to feature a specific club venue or tackle tip.
You can also send us your pictures of fish you've caught or snaps you've taken of our terrific waters, whatever, it's up to you.

We plan to have regular match reports including photos, as well as details and pictures of specimen fish captures, plus news on how our waters are fishing throughout the year. Please try and get involved by sending us the items you are happy to share.


Water Maintenance. With spring now allegedly here, although there’s not much sign of it as this is being written, it’s time to turn our thoughts to getting our venues in tip top condition for next season. Every year we arrange work parties at various venues to carry out maintenance, to enable members to fish in safety & comfort. The work is nothing too strenuous, trimming back the undergrowth, strimming the bank, removing the odd branch or two, weed clearing etc. Every year we ask you the members to help, by giving a little of your time if you can spare it. Sadly most years we get very little response & the usual 6 or 7 members do as much as they can. Usually these work parties are mainly made up of committee members & match fishermen & we would really appreciate seeing some new faces helping out this year.

We meet at the venue on a Sunday morning at about 9 am & spend about 3 or 4 hours on maintenance, one does as much or as little as one feels able. You don't have to come to every one, just any that you fancy & the time you spend is up to you, even an hour would help tremendously.

It's generally good fun & obviously there's a good deal of "fishing talk" taking place.

If you want your favourite water to be comfortable, safe & ready to fish, please try and help if you are able. The dates arranged are all Sundays,

14th April at Marle Green, 28th April at Curls Farm, 12th May at Boreham Street & 26th May at Pevensey Haven (Pevensey end).

If you can help, just turn up on the day, or contact Chris Copeland, telephone: 01323 438514 (evenings), or e-mail:


Club Development. At the end of last year, four of our members attended an Angling Trust course at Plumpton College to become fully certified Level 1 Angling Coaches. This qualifies them to assist on recognised angling coaching sessions under the supervision of a Level 2 coach & in order for the SAA to be able to officially run coaching courses, two of these members are also intending to become Level 2 coaches. These are the first steps to enable us to apply for Club Mark accreditation, which is recognised by youth organisations, educational establishments etc. as providing a suitable, capable & safe environment in which to coach young people & can also help when seeking grant aid towards specific projects.

We feel that this is very important in this day & age as there are so very few youngsters coming into our sport, for instance, for the past few years, we have regularly had less than 10 young members in the SAA & we need to do all we can to try & encourage more people to take up angling.

Our plea in last years spring newsletter for members to participate in developing the Association by sending us your ideas, comments, criticisms etc., must have fallen on deaf ears, as the response was zero. However we would still like to hear from you, don’t be shy, it’s your fishing club & we all need to work together to shape the future & make it a success. Please email your feedback to:, or write to: Clive Copeland, 3 Silver Strand East, Silver Wharf, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN23 5NN, telephone: 01232 479077. We would really love to hear from you.


Facebook. For those of you into social media, Clive Copeland has set up our own pages ( where you will find all the latest news, catches, match results, forthcoming events etc. We hope members will contribute with their own postings of memorable catches, specimen fish, photos, questions, complaints, what have you, nothing rude or slanderous mind, as this will all help to promote the Association & enable us to work towards providing the sort of angling club member’s require.


Southdown A.A. Management Committee 2012


President: Fred Clews, Vice Presidents: Mike Sherlock, Jonathon Pang.

Treasurer: Grenville Weston, Secretary: Mike Richardson, Match Sec & Trophy Steward: Steve Izzard,

Committee Chairman: Roger May, Water Management: Chris Copeland, Assistant Secretary: Tom Wood,

Webmaster: Bob Spilsted, Development & Social Officer: Clive Copeland, Health & Safety Officer: Clive Copeland.

Committee: Steve Brown, Jon Cook, Nathan Crewe, Peter Gabbitas and Michael Wood.


The Secretary can be contacted by: telephone: 01435 812854,   e-mail:,

Post: Southdown A.A., C/O Polegate Angling Centre, Unit 7, Birch Industrial Estate, Eastbourne, BN23 6PH

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