Mark Cockburn

Mark Cockburn CEO FishPal

Mark Cockburn, CEO FishPal

The season on many rivers ended last weekend with a fizzle and not the big bang many of us had hoped for. The weather since the start of Autumn and even on the final day has been unseasonably high, which are not ideal conditions for anglers and fresh fish to enter the system.

On a positive note most rivers are reporting high numbers of coloured fish this Autumn. Spring and summer fishing generally has been good. But it is the lack of fresh fish that have entered the system during the last 2 months that is at the heart of many a conversation right now. My thoughts like many of you is will we get a late run of silver on east coat rivers that have now closed.

From feedback we’ve received not everyone thinks their Autumn fishing trip has been poor. Some have described encounters with large coloured fish as the highlight of their year and fishing career! For many the colour of salmon in Autumn is truly magical. Whilst we would like to hook into a sea licer an encounter with a large aggressive, wiry autumnal fish can be equally as exciting and just as memorable!

Judging by conversations with anglers in the FishPal offices and increasing numbers of comments on social media and forums there is a growing belief that we are witnessing a change in the cycle on many of our rivers. Those that were predominately autumn focused are moving towards runs in spring and summer. I guess only time will tell but this certainly seems to be the topic being discussed by everyone up and down the country.

Anglers are also increasingly voicing their concern on the perceived worsening problem of predation. Also on anglers minds are the growing problems out at sea. Add all this to the mix of global warming and temperatures, positively balmy for most of this year and we have much to be concerned about.

In amongst all of the debates going on lets not forget the times when you’ve hit the river at just the right time. The enjoyment of a fishing trip with friends, staying in great accommodation and the optimism from your ghillie and/or boatman even when its is tough going!! Many say this year had all of these ingredients and will stay with me as memories for ever.

Everyone who books a days fishing with FishPal is sent a customer feedback form. Every form is hugely valuable to us and is a good indicator to assess the fishing experience of a beat, river and region. Thankfully many of you do this in great numbers!

Top of the list of most important comments are those comments about the ghillie experience as you might rightly expect. Invariably these comments are all extremely positive and great to read about all the various characters that look after us so well on our rivers across the country. Next are comments on beat facilities including banks, access, huts, and then value for money. This feedback is important to us and owners as it really does help shape thoughts and actions required.

So there is much going on in our industry right now, you might say “what’s new” as we do seem to always have plenty to discuss but that’s absolutely fine, as long as we are all trying to improve our sport with constructive thoughts and feedback so actions can be followed through on thereafter.

I will send another note out next week covering my thoughts on the season so far on various rivers up and down the country whilst conscious that we of course still have rivers open right now.

Tight lines

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