SOME of our readers may have seen in the national angling press, the search for the country’s oldest angling club.

Several clubs have records going back over 100 years – but St Ives & District Angling Society can trace an unbroken existence going all the way back to 1881.

Club vice chairman Colin Leach, 67, has searched through years and years of club minutes, and has discovered that, in fact, the St Ives club has never been disbanded, not even during the two world wars.

“At one time the club controlled more than 25 miles of the Great Ouse between Bedford and Earith. There is also evidence that in the early days, AGMs were held in the House of Lords!” said Colin, who allowed us to look at a folder containing some of the historic gems he has uncovered in his research.

It starts with a document showing the origination of the club: a beautiful hand-written deed in a copper plate style which is signed by 47 landowners and dated October 12, 1881.

Another gem is a little hardback club rules book for the season of 1901-02. This includes such information as the annual subscription of 2s 6d being due on January 1.

The book even lists the use of spears as illegal (apart from when fishing for eels) and empowers the committee to purchase any specimen fish caught by a member who does not wish to have it 'set-up' themselves.

There is also a whole page of 'railway arrangements', with details of cheap tickets available for anglers wishing to travel on the Great Eastern Railway from Liverpool Street and St Pancras, and on the Great Northern Railway from King's Cross. A three-day return ticket cost one shilling.

Reading the documents makes one feel very humble and aware of the years of history behind our local angling clubs.

“It was decided that St Ives isn't the world's oldest angling society,” said Colin, that honour apparently belongs to the Salford Friendly club, which was was formed in 1817 for 'pleasure and health'.

But, as Colin added: “They never told me whether the other clubs have ever disbanded…”

Meanwhile, back in the present day, there has been very little happening, match-wise, because of the weather – but Sunday's March Open on the Old Nene attracted a field of 50 anglers and the weights were good, despite the falling snow.

The match was won by Michael Buchwalder with 15lb 15oz of roach and skimmers caught on bread from under the town clock.

March angler Paul Constable was second with 13lb 10oz, Mick Burrell was third and Stanjay's Dave Rawlins fourth.

There were eight anglers present for Sunday's match on Factory Bank which won by Paul Kilby with 7lb 10 ½ oz. David Steels was second and Ivan Steels third.

Results

March Open: 1 Michael Buchwalder (Preston Innovations/Daiwa Dorking) 15lb 15oz, 2 Paul Constable (Ship Inn, March) 13lb 10oz, 3. Mick Burrell (Maldon) 13lb 5oz, 4 Dave Rawlins (Stanjay Tackle) 11lb 14oz, 5 Martin Roper (Sensas Mark One) 11lb 11oz, 6 Rob Wright (Browning Hotrods) 11lb 10oz.

Ramsey: 1 Paul Kilby 7lb 10 ½ oz, 2 David Steels 7lb 1oz, 3 Ivan Steels 5lb 1½ oz.

Fixtures

Sunday, January 27

Maver Pairs Match (River Glen & Welland): Draw 8am, Fisherman's Arms, Spalding: Fish at 10am-3pm.

Ramsey Club Winter League match at Ramsey Narrows: Draw at 8am; fish at 9am-2pm.

St Ives AS: Contact Chris Geeson.

Tuesday, January 29

Lawn Farm Golden Rod Open: Draw at 9am; fish at 10am-3pm