This is, according to board member Gus Brindle, mainly due to the inability of the individual boards to effectively consult with members and to run annual meetings to put forward proposals for the next steps.
He stressed that the Angling Scotland board has reached a key decision point as, in its current format as an umbrella structure with no independent income stream, it is simply not financially sustainable as a business.
He added: “Therefore, collectively as the sport of angling in Scotland, we need to decide on the future direction. I would strongly urge anyone who cares about the future of our sport to take time to get involved and have your say.”
If anyone would like any more information, or if any clubs would like to arrange a virtual conference to speak to their members, Brindle would be happy to arrange one.
Fife-based Brindle is also chairman of the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling (SFCA), a post he has held for 14 years, and he said that identifying a successor needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency. The SFCA annual general meeting has also been pencilled in for Thursday, March 26.
The organisation has 1,363 individual members which includes 103 juniors. This is a 27 per cent increase in adult membership on last year however 500 people who joined in 2019 did not re-join in 2020 and there are another 834 who joined in 2017 and 2018 who have not re-joined since.
Anyone who joins between January 1 and March 31 this year will receive a membership running to March 31, 2022.
Brindle said: “If you are one of these individuals (who did not re-join), I would encourage you to let us know if there is something that we are doing, not doing, or if there is something that we are not providing, which has contributed to your decision not to re-join. Only by knowing what is wrong can we hope to address it.
“I would like to ask all members of the SFCA continue to help us to promote membership of the SFCA by encouraging all of the anglers they know to join.
“Being able to demonstrate a large, active and engaged membership plays a huge role in ensuring that we are able to keep coarse angling and coarse angling interests high on the agenda of Angling Scotland, sportscotland and the Scottish Government.
“In addition to free fishing across the Lowland Canal network, all SFCA individual members again receive free public liability insurance cover for all of their fishing activities whether engaged in SFCA events or fishing on their own anywhere in the world.”
There has been a pleasing increase in junior memberships – which are free – despite not running a development programme in 2020.
Brindle said: “This may have something to do with parents looking for activities for children to do during lockdown but, hopefully, 2021 will see our development activity return in earnest and we can get more youngsters out on the bank learning to fish.”
Covid-19, he said, resulted in the cancellation of all international and all federation national fixtures but the gap has allowed officials time to reflect on the match structure and it is hoped to run a virtual meeting with all stakeholders to look at the way ahead and try to fix the format and calendar for 2021/22.
He added: “If the Covid situation permits, we will run a series of selection events and a Scottish Lure Championships and look to field our first Scottish Lure Team in a Home International in 2022.”
Meanwhile, the snow and freezing temperatures, plus Scottish Government restrictions, have hit leisure fishing hard. Sea fishing charters firm Aquamarine of Eyemouth are in dock until February 1.
However, there is a break in the ice. Kailzie boss Jimmy Barrett said he plans to re-open today, weather permitting, but spaces are limited as the pond is still half frozen.
John Jackson at Tweeddale Millennium near Gifford reports “brilliant” sport with anglers hooking up to 14 in a session. Angler Jimmy Quinn landed eight and lost count of the number which got away with green and white tail lures working for him at different depths during a three-hours session. Quinn said: “The pulls I was getting on the drop were unbelievable. Place is fishing its socks off.”
Jackson confirmed that only anglers from East Lothian are being allowed to fish as per Government travel restrictions.
Rosslynlee, near Roslin, and Bowden Springs, at Linlithgow, have been closed because of ice but you are advised to keep checking Facebook in case the ice thaws and they can re-open.
Iona Allan at Allandale Tarn Fisheries by West Calder confirmed she will be closed until the current lockdown is lifted.
Meanwhile, Robert Ross, company secretary of Malleny Angling Ltd, who administer fishing at Harlaw and part of Threipmuir reservoirs, had sad news to report on the death of the wife of Arthur Howes, who is well known to the local angling community and a founding member and former secretary of Malleny Angling Association (MAA).
“It is with sadness that I must report the death of Arthur’s wife Isobel,” said Ross. “Our sincere condolences go to Arthur.”