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Frequently asked questions

Q.  Do you allow fly fishing on the river’s that you have the rights too?

A.  Yes as a member you can fly fish any of our river sections between 16th June and 14th March, or any of our lakes for that matter although surrounding vegetation often makes this difficult.

Q.  Can I buy a night permit from one of your agents?

A.  As the number of standard night permits is now limited they are not widely available through our agents but JP Tackle in Maldon do hold a small supply of standard night tickets early in the season.  Howells night permits can only be obtained directly from the membership secretary.

Q.  You seem to have a lot more lakes to fish than when I was last a member 15 years ago, which is your newest?

A.  Slough House West was added to our portfolio a couple of years ago.  It is a shallow farm pond with an island which is stocked with carp and silver fish.

Q. How many nights can I fish at Slough House Farm now, I have bought a standard night permit?

A.  You can fish two consecutive nights between 1st Nov and 31st Mar and one night only between 1st Apr and 31st Oct (followed by a 24 hour break from Slough House Farm).

Q.   Hi just after some information and fish stocks on Totham Pit, Slough House Farm and Howells.  I was a member about 7-8 years ago when the unfortunate fish kill occurred at Totham Pit.  I am looking to join up again and possibly get a winter ticket if still available.  One main question is if Willow is still in Totham Pit and her current size?

A.  All three of the lakes you mention have fished well this season.  Slough House Farm has produced a 30+ Mirror, more than once, and Howells continues to be our most reliable twenties venue with several carp to upper twenties reported.  Following the devastating fish kill at Totham Pit in 2003 the lake was restocked with carp to 27lb from a variety of sources including one of our ex-fisheries which we were about to lose the fishing rights but we owned the fish, a local trout lake, Beckingham Hall, Bog Grove and Simmos and Commons to low doubles were also introduced to grow on.  The result is a varied stock of strains of carp with probably more 26lb+ fish than we had before the fish kill, but less carp overall.  It is now widely accepted that Willow has passed on but I still receive reports of her capture, the latest report being the 32lb Mirror below:

I think that this is a similar looking but different fish.

Q.  As a new member I thought I would target the chelmer, particularly the back waters. Last week I walked from Maldon golf club to the backwater at Langford, where I had a discussion with another angler regarding fishing rights, he informed me that the backwater belonged to a syndicate!  Can you confirm who owns the fishing rights because I was informed that we had access to all of these areas, hence me joining?

A.  I believe you are referring to Ricketts weir pool and backwater?  We used to have the fishing rights for this stretch but it was owned by Cemex (along with Ricketts Mere) and has now been sold off and is controlled by a syndicate.  Your Maldon AS membership covers the 14 miles of public access towpath bank along the Chelmer & Blackwater canal and some extra offshoots such as Browns Wharf, the backwater at Hoe Mill and Neville’s cut (where the canal splits at Beeleigh).  Please remember that we also have the fishing rights on around 2 miles of the River Blackwater at Wickham Bishops / Langford.
Q. Hi, on some of your lakes, it says close season-none, does this mean it can be fished all year round?

A. Yes, you can fish all year round on the majority of our stillwaters. The exceptions are Whitehouse Farm and Rook Hall (closed from 1st Oct to 31st Jan) and New Hall Vineyards (closed in April). The others are all 12 months fishing.


Q.  Why can’t I pay extra and use 3 rods on Totham Pit all year round?

A.  Using 3 rods on Totham Pit all year round, based on the feedback I get from people fishing the shallows in the summer, especially the reeds, would not be welcomed as 2 anglers doubled up in the long swim using 6 rods would essentially tie up almost the whole of the shallows (fallen tree, lilies, bays, island & reeds).

Q.  Why have your subs gone up so much?

A.  Most of the fees went up by £1 for the 2016-17 season and the concessionaries by £3.  The night permits went up by £5.  This is mainly to pay for the portaloos at Slough House Farm and Howells which are now staying on site all year round.

Q.  My partner is looking to come down with me in the summer months, I see that there is a non fishing membership, but does this mean my partner can stay over night or is this only a daylight pass?

A.  Yes your partner can stay over night with a non fishing membership.  This is one of the main reasons that this category of membership was introduced.

Q.  I have filled out an application form to be sent off and enclosed 3 cheques, but I was wondering about when I can fish your waters.  Do you send me a membership card and key etc as soon as you have received the relevant paperwork and or do I have to wait for the cheques to clear before I can fish?

A.  I will post you your membership card, rulebook, key etc by return and you can start fishing as soon as they arrive.

Q.  Are fish finders allowed?

A.  The sort you cast out or hold in the edge of the water are but the sort that require a boat aren’t (as all types of boats are banned).

Q.   I have bought a disposable BBQ.  Can I use it?

A.  Not anymore, the rules were changed at the 6th Feb 2013 committee meeting and they are now banned (gas stoves are allowed as are non-disposable BBQs in the winter).

Q.  Before I make a membership application could you please confirm the age at which concessionary membership applies?

A.  From Jan 2016 onwards you must be aged 65+ to apply for a concessionary membership.  The age restriction does not apply if you are registered disabled.

Q.  I would like to join as a non fishing member and want to walk round society waters as I like wildlife  photography.  I will not always be with a fishing member. Is this allowed?

A.  Yes.  If you are not occupying a swim that an angler wants to fish this is perfectly fine.  The £10 non fishing membership (and £6 access key) gives you access to 15 stillwaters and a mile of the River Blackwater that are mostly out of bounds to the general public.

Q.  Please can you tell me why leaders are banned on your waters?

A.  In 2012 a number of tethered fish were reported / rescued, especially at Howells and Totham Pit.  Also a number of death rigs have been retrieved from the snags at Totham Pit and all of them involved leaders of some kind.  The ban is unfortunate as if used sensibly they can be very safe but it seems that a lot of people do not read the instructions properly if at all!

Q.  I wondered if there are any toilets/portaloos at Howells lake and Totham Pit?

A.  Yes, both Totham Pit and Howells have a portaloo on site all year round.  At our other venues members are expected to either wind in and visit a local facility (pub, supermarket, home if living close to the lake etc) or carry a trowel and bury their waste out of sight.  I appreciate that this is not ideal but seems to be the preferred option at the moment rather than increasing the membership and night permit fees to an exorbitant fee.  If funds allow we will re-instate the toilet on Slough House Farm (it was stolen) and also install one at Bog Grove.

Q.  How old do you have to be to take a junior member night fishing?

A.  18 or over (both of you must have a night permit).

Q.  Do you allow fly fishing for carp etc on any of your waters?

A.  Yes we allow fly fishing on all of our waters but some, such as Bog Grove and Totham Pit are probably too densely wooded to allow proper casting.  Slough House Farm used to be a trout fishery so this venue is more ideally suited to this tactic and holds carp to low thirties.

Q.  How many thirties are there in Toham Pit now?

A.  The jury is now out on this one but there are a few upper twenties showing potential to break the thirty barrier.

Q.  Can I visit your lakes before I join for a look round?

A.  Normally yes but please do not park so as to block the entrance to the fishery, do not drive into a lockable car park, do not carry any fishing tackle with you and please leave the venue if asked to do so by a member/bailiff.

Q. I see that you ban peanuts does this mean that I can’t use any type of nuts?

A.  Only peanuts are banned so you can use tiger nuts , brazil nuts etc but please ensure that all nuts are properly prepared.

Q.  Can I fish the canal in the close season as I have heard that this is now allowed?

A.   Sorry but the Environment Agency have stated that because the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation is a ‘canalised river’ then it will retain the river close season of 15th March to 15th June inclusive (rule 2.1).

Q.  I have a remote receiver for my buzzers how far can I be away from my rods?

A.  If you are fishing anywhere close to snags you should not leave your rods at all, if you are fishing in open snag free water then the very next swim is probably acceptable (at the bailiffs discretion).

Q.  I have bought a bait boat for fishing in France, can I use it on your waters?

A.  No, bait boats are banned on all of our lakes.

Q.  My dog is very well behaved please can I take him fishing with me?

A.   Unfortunately not, unless you sign up to be a bailiff as bailiffs are allowed to have their dogs with them.

Q.  As you can use 3 rods if you have a night permit does this mean that you can only use a third rod on waters where night fishing is allowed?

A.  If you have a night permit you can use 3 rods between 1st October and 31st March on any venue.

Q.  Can I take eels home?

A.  No, eels are actually becoming quite rare and no fish may be taken home (rule 5.14).

Q.  What are the best swims at Totham Pit?

A.  Personally I favour the shallows during the day and the deeps after dark.

Q.  Which of your venues is the best bet for a 20lb+ carp?

A.  Howells, Totham Pit and Slough House Farm hold several twenties but Little Park, Whitehouse Farm, Little London and the Canal have all produced the occasional twenty pounder in previous seasons.  There are even unconfirmed rumours of at least one 20lb+ carp from Heron Hall and Rook Hall.

Q.  Where can I get a bite in the depths of winter?

A.  Your best bet might be the canal but if the lakes are not frozen then Bog Grove is always good for a bite.  Heron Hall produce fish most winters and Howells has a good reputation among our winter carp anglers.

Q.  Do your river sections ever produce any barbel?

A.  I hear of the odd one or two reported from our stretches of the River Blackwater, and have even seen a photo of a 6lber from the Wickham Hall stretch, but most river catches are not reported as those fishing the rivers prefer to stalk their quarry and not attract attention to their favourite swims!

Q.  Can I take two guests fishing at the same time?

A.  Only if they are partners (rule 10.1 applies).

Q.  Can I use braid?

A.  Yes you can now as the rules were changed in Feb 2019.