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


Although not up to the levels they were some 4 or 5 years ago, we have had a pretty good year on the membership front, the numbers being very similar to last year, with maybe just a slight increase. As a result, thanks to the co-operation & understanding of our various landlords in accepting rentals much the same as last year & the additional water sharing arrangements, our financial situation is now reasonably secure & we don’t foresee any need to relinquish the fishing rights on any of our current waters in the foreseeable future. Hopefully current members will renew in 2015, but we could still do with more, so if each of you could persuade fellow anglers to also join, we would be in a much better position to move forward & provide even more & better fishing for all members to enjoy.

This year’s weather has been pretty good & even the lack of any rain over the summer months didn’t cause any problems. For whatever reason, we did not seem to suffer the annual problem of the duckweed explosions on the Cuckmere & Pevensey Haven, although despite the efforts of our water maintenance team, the fringe lily & floating pennywort growth on the Haven, both being invasive non native species, made fishing almost impossible unless one was prepared to take a weed rake with you to clear a swim. While we haven’t heard of any outstanding catches, it seems that most members are content to have a pleasant few hours fishing on our waters in beautiful surroundings, Curls Farm has continued to provide excellent sport with carp, with plenty of double figure fish & the Cuckmere has fished well for roach, rudd & perch during the summer. Let’s hope that this trend carries on & the river continues to produce good sport over the winter months.

In common with many clubs at the moment, match attendances have declined in recent years, although our competitions continue to be supported by the faithful regulars. It would be nice to see a few new faces, the matches 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.

Thank you to all of you who joined or renewed your membership this year & for supplying an e-mail address as this does make communication with the membership much easier, enabling us to keep you up to date with all that’s going on & shows considerable savings in printing & postage costs. 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.

Annual General Meeting

The 18th Annual General Meeting of the Southdown Angling Association will take place on Tuesday evening, 10th February 2015, 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 offering to serve in some way,

Association rules require a Committee of not less than eight members, but last year we had just seven, plus the Officers, so we were technically out of order there. We therefore really do need more of you to volunteer your services & really could do with some new blood on the Management Committee. Most of the current incumbents have been serving in one way or another for more years than they care to remember & we can’t expect them to carry on for ever. 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.

Other than Committee, officer posts up for grabs this year are: Vice Presidents to serve for one year & Secretary, a two year term. Again, Association rules state that; “.The Secretary & Treasurer shall not serve in the same capacity for more than three consecutive terms of office.” Mike Richardson, the retiring Secretary has now completed his three two year terms & is therefore not eligible for re-election, so we need to find a new Secretary. Mike is happy to remain as a Committee member & be on hand to help & advise the new Secretary as necessary, so it shouldn’t be too onerous a task to take on.

The rules also 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 2015 & proposals may be submitted by e-mail, provided both proposer and seconder names are on the e-mail. If you would like to offer your services but can’t find anyone to propose or second you, please volunteer anyway, you will be welcomed with open arms & we’re sure we will be able to find someone to nominate you.

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

Specimen Fish

Despite our relaxation of the rules last year, so far we have received very few claims for specimen fish caught in our waters. We know that our venues contain some splendid fish & are fairly sure that some even get caught, but for whatever reason, the successful anglers seem to want to keep things secret. So come on guys (& girls) get those claims in, you have until the end of February 2015 to qualify for this years awards.

Water Maintenance

This year we have had to operate without a Water Maintenance Manager as due to other commitments Chris Copeland was unable to do the job & no one else was prepared to take it on. Never the less, the half dozen or so stalwarts who regularly attend have managed to carry out work as required to make the waters fishable. The dates for next years pre river season work parties will be published in your 2015 membership book, on our website & in our spring newsletter. Please try to come along & help, the more persons that turn up, the more can be achieved, it’s all quite enjoyable really, you get to meet other members, learn about our waters, which can only improve your fishing & it’s really all part of being a member of a fishing club.

Two of our members, Alan Law & Alan Woods have, over the summer, done quite a bit of work at Curls Farm in renovating the pegs, which over the years were becoming somewhat dilapidated. Thanks guys, it’s much appreciated. Hopefully the work will continue through next year until all the pegs are done.

SAA Web Site

Thanks to Jon Cook, who joined the Committee last year, our new website at has been up & running for well over a year & now contains all the information on our fishing club. It is regularly updated with all the latest news & includes downloadable membership application & specimen fish forms etc. There is a sales & wants section for members to advertise any tackle surplus to their needs or perhaps to seek particular items that are no longer available new. There is now also the facility to join or renew your membership on line via the Polegate Angling Centre website.

Sadly, despite our appeals, other than Chris Copeland’s match reports, thank you Chris, we have received nothing from members for inclusion. What we need is your news, preferably with photos if possible. This could be about a recent fishing trip when you enjoyed a fantastic days sport, it may be about the capture of a personal best, club record or specimen fish, your success in a recent competition, or you may want to feature a specific club venue or tackle tip. 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

Your Secretary has attended several meetings of the Cuckmere & Pevensey Levels Catchment Partnership which aims to bring all waters in the area up to the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive. At present, for various reasons, one being the perceived shortage of fish, most of all our waters fail to meet these requirements, so any improvement can only be of benefit to our fishing. Although to date no work on the ground has started, funding being a real issue, plans are being formulated which should improve the conditions for our fish. Should any member wish to contribute to the work of the catchment partnership, or require more information, please contact the Secretary.

As part of this work, the Environment Agency are seeking volunteers to assist with water quality sampling. This work is not too demanding, requiring say 1-2 days a month collecting data using a handheld device and submitting the data to the EA. All equipment will be supplied & full training given. Anyone willing to help with this work should contact our Secretary in the first instance & we will forward your details to the EA.

Health & Safety

With winter now upon us, please take extra care on the banks. Be aware of any slip or trip hazards & be especially careful on the Cuckmere. The river is very deep at the edge, in some places over 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.


Southdown A.A. Management Committee 2014

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: Vacant,  Assistant Secretary: Tom Wood,  Webmaster: Jon Cook,  Committee: Steve Brown, Chris Copeland, & Peter Gabbitas.


The Secretary can be contacted by:  telephone: 01435 812854,


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


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





Oh dear, it never rains but pours! Anyway that’s what it seems like, as since before Christmas we’ve experienced more rain & strong winds than even last year & as a result, the rivers & lakes have been high & full to the brim or in flood for most of the time, with the extremely high flows & coloured water making any sort of angling a bit of a gamble. Fortunately we have not suffered so much as other areas of the UK & it remains to be seen what effect this will all have on our fishing in this year. Although the Cuckmere has been really out of sorts, once the levels had dropped & the water cleared a bit, members fishing the Pevensey Levels have reported some good sport during the last couple of weeks of the season.

Despite our efforts to boost membership, numbers last year were almost identical to those in 2012 & subscription income likewise, there being just one pound difference. It does seem that at the moment angling participation generally has declined, as the EA & tackle trade both report a drop in sales, despite all the efforts of the former & the Angling Trust to promote our sport.

Thankfully, due to the measures we took last year in releasing some of the little used venues, making additional water sharing arrangements & the co-operation & understanding of the various landowners from whom we lease the fishing rights in accepting lower rents, for which we are most grateful, we managed to reverse the losses seen in previous years & even made a small surplus over the year. As a result, we do not anticipate any need to relinquish the fishing on any of the current waters & subscription rates will remain the same as in 2013.

Two copies of the 2014 membership form are enclosed with this newsletter, one for you to renew your membership & the other for a fishing mate or acquaintance, in the hope that you will also be able to persuade them to join us. In this day & age we feel that Southdown AA membership offers real value for money in the variety & quality of the waters we control, after all you would soon spend the equivalent of the membership subscription if you regularly visit day ticket fisheries. Those receiving this newsletter via the internet will receive the form as an attachment & it is also available as a download from our website.

Thank you to all of you who have provided an e-mail address & who will have received this newsletter electronically. Well over 50% of our membership now receive communications this way & with standard second class postage now costing 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 & 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 4th February 2014. Some 21 members attended the meeting at the Afton Hotel near Eastbourne seafront, on a very windy Tuesday evening, the meeting being chaired by retiring President Fred Clews.

Treasurer Grenville Weston presented the accounts for the past year, which, thanks mainly to the reduction in the rents paid for the waters we lease, showed a slight surplus of £1878 for the year, thereby reversing the trend of past years & rebuilding some cushion for the future. 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 was nominated as President for a further two year term, with Mike Sherlock & Jonathon Pang again confirmed as Vice Presidents for a further year, with Grenville Weston continuing as our Treasurer, again for a further two years.   Of the 2013 Committee, Steve Brown, Jon Cook, Chris Copeland, Peter Gabbitas, Steve Izzard, Roger May & Tom Wood, were all prepared to serve for a further year & were duly elected en bloc. Sadly, other than via the retiring Committee, there were no nominations for Committee members or Officers received prior to the meeting, or any proposals to put before the meeting. We can’t really expect the same people to manage the Association for ever, we are all getting that little bit older & some would like a break, so come on guys (or girls) please volunteer your services, we could do with some new blood with perhaps fresh ideas & would be more than happy to co-opt you onto the Management Team. With the formal business over, lively discussion then took place on various topics for consideration by the management committee during the coming year.


 Membership Renewals. 2014 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 & stamped C5 envelope for the return of your membership card, complete the form as necessary & forward with your remittance, to: S.A.A. Membership, C/O Polegate Angling Centre, Unit 7, Birch Industrial Estate, Eastbourne, BN23 6PH. 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. The 2014 Membership cards should be available around the middle of April.


Water Usage Survey. This year we 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 3 Association venues members were most looking forward to fishing that year, with a 1, 2 or 3, giving 1 to their most favourite & 3 for their third choice. Sadly, again response wasn’t that good, but from the returns received, the popularity ratings of our various waters were much as in previous years, with Curls Farm coming out on top, so we do not intend to conduct any survey this year.


North Farm Pool, Marle Green. Due to other activities taking place on the site, as last year, there will be occasions when this venue is closed to Association members. The closure dates for this year will be shown in your 2014 Membership card, on the website, notices in the local tackle shops, by a notice on site & are also repeated here for your information. Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th April, Saturday 14th, Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th June, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th July & Friday 19th to Sunday 21st September. All dates are inclusive. At such times the lock combinations may be changed to prevent access.


Social Evening and Prize Giving, Saturday 19 April 2014, Afton Hotel, Cavendish Place, Eastbourne, BN21 3EJ. 7:30 pm.

All members, prospective new members & partners, are cordially invited to this years Prize Giving & 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. Last year’s event was a great success, well attended & enjoyed by all present. There will be a Raffle, free Buffet, a Quiz & 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 last year’s do is anything to go by, it should prove to be a very good evening.

The winners of the various trophies are as follows:

Match Results:   Aggregate Weight Cup:             P Gabbitas           332-7-0 

                              Evening Cup:                            P Gabbitas           245 pts

                              Bill Walder:                                S Brown               5-0-0

                              Cuckmere Cup:                        P Gabbitas           151 pts

                              Pole Shield:                              M Wood                7-14-0 

                              Marsh Shield:                           P Gabbitas           249 pts

                              Roger Weston Memorial:         T Crowdey             5-0-0

                              Waggler only:                            C Copeland          143 pts

                              New Years Challenge:              C Copeland           4-13-0

                              Percy Baron:                            T. Crowdey           199 pts

                              Southdown Challenge:              M Wood              13-11-0

                              Xmas Comp:                            P Gabbitas            151 pts

                              Roy Andrews Memorial:          G Shinkfield            8-6-0

                              F Glazier Memorial:                  C Copeland

                             Roger Izzard Memorial:            G Weston             10-15-0

                             KO Cup:                                     D Ramsden

Specimen Fish: As last year, Clive Copeland weighed in with no less than four species, a pike of 17lb 6oz, a tench of 5lb 10oz, an eel of 3lb 2oz & a bream, all from the Wallers Haven & he therefore takes the trophy for most specimens once again. Doug Izzard caught a carp of 16lb 10oz, fishing with a pole in a club match at Curls Farm, while Ian Wicks landed the best Tench of 5lb 11oz from the Wallers & Peter Gabbitas the heaviest bream at 5lb 6oz, from the Cuckmere at Shermans Bridge, both also while fishing in Association matches. SAA Secretary Mike Richardson wins the best specimen trophy, with a superb roach of 2lb 1oz, a new Association record, again captured from the Cuckmere at Shermans. As last year, very few fish were reported & we know that there are many more quality fish caught by members, so we have tried to made the recording of specimen fish easier by deleting the requirement to have the fish witnessed, other than for potential new Association records, & specimens can now be reported electronically or on paper, so, this coming season, if you catch a worthwhile fish, please submit a specimen form, we would love to hear about it.


Web Site. Thanks to the efforts of Jon Cook, our new website at is now up & running. Although still not fully completed, it is regularly updated with all the latest news, match reports & information. It also contains a “Sales & Wants” page for members to advertise any surplus fishing equipment they wish to dispose of, or to possibly acquire some other tackle item that is no longer available. If you haven’t visited it yet, please take a look & let us know what you think. Unfortunately so far, input from members has been virtually zero, but we feel that in this day & age, an active, current website is an essential tool in promoting the Southdown A.A. & we are determined to give regular, up to date, topical information via the site. This is where members can 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 pictures of fish you've caught or photos you've taken of our terrific waters, whatever, it's entirely up to you. Please try & get involved by sending us any items you are happy to share with the wider fishing world, by e-mail to: or to the Secretary at;


Water Maintenance. Every year we arrange work parties at various venues to carry out maintenance to enable anglers to fish in relative safety & comfort. The work is nothing too strenuous, trimming back the undergrowth, clearing the banks, 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 & sadly, most years, we get very little response, with the usual 6 or 7 members, mainly Committee & match fishermen, doing as much as they can, so it would be nice to see 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 working & 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 spent is up to you, even an hour helps. It's generally good fun, there's a good deal of "fishing talk" taking place, it enables you to meet other members & maybe even learn something which will help your fishing in the future. If you want your favourite water to be safe & ready to fish this coming season, please try & help if you are able. Don’t complain if you favorite swim has become overgrown or filled with weed if you haven’t volunteered to help. The more members that turn out the more can be achieved. The dates arranged so far for this year are: 13th April at Marle Green, 27th April at Curls Farm, 11th May at Boreham Street & 25th May at Pevensey Haven (Pevensey end). All are Sundays & if you can assist, just turn up on the day, armed with suitable tools & clothing.

Unfortunately, Chris Copeland, who has been our Water Maintenance Manager for several years now, is no longer able to fulfill the role, although he still remains a valuable member of the Committee. So far no-one else has offered to take on the post, so if any one of you out there would be prepared to take on the job, please contact the Secretary or any Committee member. It’s not really that arduous a task, you wouldn’t necessarily have to attend all or indeed any of the work parties, the main function being the organization.


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 2014 membership card. Disabled members & 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.


Southdown A.A. Management Committee 2014

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, Assistant Secretary: Tom Wood, Webmaster: Jon Cook,

Water Maintenance Manager: Vacant, Committee: Steve Brown, Chris Copeland, & Peter Gabbitas.


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

Postal Address:

Southdown A.A., C/O Polegate Angling Centre, Unit 7, Birch Industrial Estate, Eastbourne, East Sussex,

BN23 6PH.

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