Paws and Claws

The secretary of the charity Paws and Claws would like to thank everyone involved for the £100 raised at the Robbie Wallis memorial match held at Wildings, also to thank the club and anglers for their continued support of the charity.

Paws and Claws website

24 Sep, 2020

News September 2020

As you may have seen on the previous short news bulletin, the AGM, scheduled for 16 October has been cancelled. We will be preparing the usual Officer’s Reports and these will be posted on the website as soon as possible after the 16th. If the rules for gatherings are relaxed we will take very opportunity to reschedule the AGM and as advised will ensure members receive plenty of notice.

In the meantime we would once again like to thank all our members for their support.

Masons update

After a mammoth effort another swim has been reclaimed at Masons. Believe it or not this is what we started with, a very overgrown peg 33.......

Clearing peg 33 Masons Lake

Halfway through the morning we had our doubts as we still had a lot of reeds between us and the lake

Clearing weeds

However we stuck at it and we now have a fully restored peg 33 although it could be interesting if one of the wild carp takes your bait.

Peg 33 restored

Providing the reeds don’t re-grow we will be back next Spring to have a go at peg 34.

Decoy swim repairs

After a successful grant application we have sufficient decking boards to repair at least two swims at Decoy and one at George Cragg pond. The first (shown below) was completed on 4 September and we will be going back again during Autumn and Winter to complete the rest. Many thanks to the Environment Agency as it was their grant which provided the materials. Now you know where your rod licence money goes.

Repaired platform
Electricity pond

As you may be aware we cleared a lot of the scrubby trees and shrubs from the side of the pond earlier this year. We have been back with the mini digger to level the ground and remove some of the undercut, which has had the extra benefit of increasing the size of the pond. We have been keeping a record of the work so once the new swims are in place a full report will published.

Wineham Incident

There was a somewhat unsavoury incident at Wineham recently when one of our non fishing members exchanged “words” with the land owner’s wife. It does sound like a bit of six of one and a half dozen of the other with neither lady giving way.

However the fall out is that we could potentially lose the water so could we remind members that unless you are actually fishing, membership of the fishing club does not give you the right to go wandering around private land.

In addition if you are on club waters please ensure you have your membership with you at all times as land owners have the authority to ask for proof of identity. The rights of the landowner exceed those you may have as a club member so if the owner asks you to leave their land we would ask that you accede to their request rather than argue the toss with them.

The presence of the member’s dog didn’t help matters, It is clearly stated in the club rules NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON CLUB WATERS. As we speak the Club Chairman is trying to smooth things over with the owner.


The digger has now finished excavating the extension but the lack of rain has meant that it is still just a hole. As soon as it starts looking like a pond we will take some photos.

Other News

As mentioned last month, Richard Blackburn is standing down as website manager at the end of October and to date we have not had a response to our request for a successor. If you are interested in helping the club out please get in touch with Richard.

Also we would like to pass on our thanks to our new team of Bailiffs. We now have at least 8 members who have volunteered to act as Club Bailiff and it seems to be working as in the recent weeks we have received no reports of littering etc.

This Month’s 100 Club draw was won by Phillip Mallet. Phillip is a new member who has only just joined the 100 Club – one ticket one win. Not bad !

And finally ..............Having been around the waters in my role as Maintenance Officer it is clear that despite the tough conditions there are plenty of decent fish being caught so could I make a plea to all you non carp anglers. Please send in some photos as I am getting bored of seeing nothing but carp on the gallery.

15 Sep, 2020

AGM Postponed

Due to the uncertainties of social gatherings, during the present Covid 19 pandemic, the Annual General Meeting of Hassocks and District Angling Society, scheduled for 16th October 2020, has been postponed until further notice.

The committee will monitor the situation and give at least 30 day's notice of any rearranged meeting.

11 Sep, 2020

News August 2020

Thank goodness the weather has broken and the temperature has dropped below 30 degrees. Like a lot of fisheries in the country water levels are way down and this and the very high temperatures have resulted in very low oxygen levels but so far we haven’t had any reports of fish fatalities.

However we can all do our bit to keep waters healthy so if you have any bait left over at the end of the day we would ask that you don’t chuck it in the lakes but take it home with you please.

After the rain of the last couple of days I popped into George Cragg and Badgers Wood and the tench seem to have woken up with some decent 4lb plus fish being caught and even some crucians from George Cragg.

Are you good with Computers – If so Your Club Needs You

In these technological times we have been very fortunate over the last eight years or so, to have the services of Richard Blackburn as our club’s Internet and Media officer. During that time he has published three versions of the website culminating in the latest version. In addition he has developed a membership system which has totally streamlined the joining process, even for dinosaurs like myself.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and Richard is now moving on to concentrate on his writing career. Therefore we are hoping that one of our members will be prepared to step up and take his place, with effect from the end of October if possible. Richard will be around for technical advice on the website, but we need somebody to deal with the following:-

Keep membership informed by posting news, notices and events to the website and social media.
Respond to questions and comments from members and the public.
Promote the club and club events.

Clearly some computer skills are required as most of the work is online.

In addition you will:-

Need to know how to use Facebook, posting and answering messages.
Use the website admin area for posting members catch photos, news, events and match results.
Attend committee meeting in Burgess Hill on the second Thursday of each month.

If you feel you would like to help, please contact Richard by email to:-

We would like to pass on a huge thanks to Richard for what he has done over the years, our website is the envy of all the local fishing clubs.


We are pleased to announce that the excavation of the hole for the lake extension will be completed by 24 August and it will then be down to Mother Nature to fill it up. The far corner is a lot deeper than it looks which will be a good hiding place for the double figure carp in the lake. Once it is all complete there will be a number of additional swims but it will be some time before they are available so watch this space for updates.

Oldmans extension
Masons update

Good news and Bad News. More rubbish including a discarded barbecue (not members) at Masons so the sooner the owners sort the security out the better. On the positive side we will be going back in a couple of weeks time to try and save at least one more of the swamp swims, 33 or 34 or both.


Unfortunately members have been seen fishing after dark at Wildings so the owner has insisted on a 6am to 8pm fishing rule. We would ask that members stick to these timings and ensure you have left the fishery before you are asked to do so by the owner.

It is with regret that we must advise you that Sid Bailey, one of our long standing members passed away recently. Sid served on the Committee for a number of years and we would like to pass on our condolences to his family.

And finally.....

This Month’s 100 Club draw was won by Norman Stevens.

23 Aug, 2020

News Mid July 2020

It seems my last newsletter struck a chord with some of our members. Here are a couple of responses we have received.

"I was saddened to read in the July news on the website about litter at Masons. On my couple of sessions this season I noticed a lot more litter around than usual, especially on the most recent one (28th June). Most of what I saw was booze-related, broken bottles and cardboard from six-packs etc. On my first visit I was also bit disturbed to find that both the carp I caught had damaged mouths, which to me suggests the use of overly heavy tackle - reminiscent of the picture of the rig that someone found at George Cragg, maybe? I'd meant to get in touch about both things, but hadn't got around to it; it seems that others have noticed as well, anyway......

.... A lot of the other anglers I've spoken to there feel the same way. It's inevitable that the increased pressure (many times in previous seasons I've had the place to myself, even at summer weekends) will have some effect on that, but we could minimise the impact if we behave responsibly."

"Hi the last 3 time's I have been to Mason's I have picked up litter twice white cable ties in two different swims and once two empty tins of bait, not good".

At the moment we only have two official bailiffs and as we have a number of waters it is difficult to monitor all the venues. We have therefore decided that all the Committee members will now be appointed as bailiffs and we also have a volunteer (Harry) who is keeping an eye out at Decoy.

The message we would like to get across is that this is your club and we would like your help in keeping the waters in a good condition and also to deter illegal fishing on your waters. To achieve this we would like to recruit a number of voluntary bailiffs from our existing members. Duties are not particularly onerous and can be done before you start fishing for the day. All we would expect is for you to check that anglers have their membership cards or guest tickets and if you have any concerns just take as much information as possible, name, venue, peg number etc and pass it on to Roy Fisher our Head Bailiff for further action. If you would be interested in acting as a voluntary club bailiff please contact Roy and he will arrange for a card to be sent to you giving you full authority to act on behalf of the club.


Despite not having the use of large machinery we decided that we would try and remove the tree which has been in the water alongside peg 56 for a couple of years. It was a lot bigger than it looked from the bank but with a bit of brute force and a lot of ignorance we managed to get it out.

This was what it looked like after we pulled out the first chunk.

Peg 56 before

Five hours later ......

Peg 56 after

In addition we have made a start on trying to reinstate some of the "swamp swims" at Masons. Despite the silt we were able to pull out a lot of reeds from the edges of pegs 29 and 31 so there is a much bigger area to fish plus the two lost swims 30 and 32 have now been fully recovered. Believe it or not this is the same swim (32).

Peg 32 before
Peg 32 after

We propose going back at the end of August to see if anything can be done with the old pegs 33 and 34, but at the moment they are both a wall of reeds.

The owners of the Masons Estate are extremely concerned about the overall security so they intend putting in additional padlocked gates, to deter the general public from wandering around the lake. The numbers will be the same as our other waters and we will let you know when they propose carrying out the work. In the meantime they have asked that members display the HDAS badge (Page 15 of the Yearbook) in a prominent position in the front window screen of your car.

Badgers Wood (and George Cragg)

On a couple of occasions recently rats (the four legged variety) have been seen at Badgers Wood. I am sure they are present at all of our waters so would anglers please make sure they clear up after a session and do not leave unwanted bait or food stuffs on the banks. In addition please do not throw unused bread in the lake (Sorry, but I am guilty of that one) as rats have been seen swimming across ponds and taking bread off the surface! We have put tubes down containing poison, close to pegs 1,4,9 and 14. The tubes are well hidden but we would ask that if you do come across one please do not touch.

Last month I mentioned a very nice looking barbel caught from Badgers Wood and it is no surprise that we have received a claim for a new club record. A barbel of exactly 3lb was caught by Keith Huggins in a recent match and as it was witnessed will be recorded as a new club record. There is still plenty of time before the2021 yearbook is printed so I am sure that it will be improved upon before the year is out. For now, well done Keith.

Training Days

We are aware that enquiries have been made about this year’s proposed training days and junior matches and it is with regret that we must advise you that there will be no junior matches or training days in 2020. It is hoped that these will recommence in the 2021/2022 season. Adult matches have recommenced in accordance with guidelines issued by the Angling Trust.

And finally........

Following the relaxation of lockdown rules we had a social distanced Committee get together recently (in a pub beer garden of course) and during our meeting drew out the winners for the last 4 months of the 100 Club. The results are as follows:-

April 2020 Won by number 5 Tony Smith
May 2020 Won by number 73 Max Swain
June 2020 Won by number 47 Richard Jackson
July 2020 Won by number 63 Guy Tipton

Congratulations to you all and commiserations if your number didn’t come. There is always next month.

28 Jul, 2020

News July 2020

Last month I touched on the fact that club membership numbers are up and it is the same again this month. That is the good news.....

We would like to welcome the new members but the increase in number does bring difficulties if the various reports we have received are anything to go by.

The two most common rules which members seem to be ignoring are:

Night fishing on all waters must be pre booked with the Club Bailiff

Maximum of two rods per angler from 1 April to 30 September inclusive

In a addition over the last month we have seen an increase in littering especially at Decoy and Masons (see later) plus the usual old chestnut of gates being left open at Decoy, Badgers Wood and Upper Hookers . All gates and height barriers should be locked after entering and leaving the lakes.

Non members were caught fishing the river Arun at Pulborough and we even had one of our landowners threatened by an angler ( no longer a member !)

Unfortunately unless we know who the individuals are it is difficult to do much apart from highlight these issues in newsletters and social media so I would remind all members that you are perfectly entitled to ask for proof of membership. You can then pass on details of any potential offenders (in confidence) to the club bailiff to consider what action to take.

It was well documented that we lost the rights to fish the lake and river at Flintstones because of the behaviour of members and we have also had night fishing taken away from us at Wildings, again because of the actions of a minority of our members. If we are not careful Masons could be going the same away.

The owner had already been in touch with us about littering at the lake and at the request of the owner we cleared it up. Unfortunately when two of the Committee went back to Masons again on 6 July another individual had left his swim (Peg 31)in a right mess. A pair of trainers had been left in the water, plastic bottles and litter was strewn on the banks and soiled toilet paper left hanging from the bushes. To rub salt in the wounds it was clear that the person involved had been night fishing but had not pre booked. Fortunately the Membership Secretary and her husband cleared it up before the owner became aware. If it had come to her notice it could have been another lost water and all because of the selfish behaviour of one individual. Unfortunately we do not know who it was but if anybody is caught littering etc we will take whatever action is appropriate including suspension of repeat offenders.

We are not a commercial fishery with a 24 hour presence so the bailiffs cannot be everywhere at all times. There is also an element or trust involved as we have had reports of members bringing along unpaid guests and on the question of littering it is simple and I would have thought pretty obvious – take it home. One of the reasons we have enjoyed a surge of members over the last few years is the quality of our waters and the maintenance of the surrounds . The Committee are all volunteers and there is plenty to do without having to go around clearing up after anglers.

It is good to see Oldmans is fishing well (including a rare 2lb eel) and the owner has asked me to remind members that there are toilet facilities in the car park by the main entrance. We are still on course to extend the lake later this year so we will keep you posted. It may well be that all or part of the lake will be temporarily closed while the diggers move in but we will let you know as soon as we have details.

The following was found in one of the swims at George Cragg recently. As the person who found it said” it would land the queen Mary”. I blame the Weetabix advert of the little girl catching a submarine.

I know George Cragg is a bit snaggy with lilies and reeds but this seems a bit over the top when the biggest fish is likely to be in the region of 5 to 6lb. Nice knees by the way.


Sorry if it is a bit of a rant this month but we have never had so many problems since I was involved with the club. I suppose we are the victims of our success and whilst we are grateful for the members who have decided to join us it does seem to have brought us more problems. I appreciate it is only a small minority but if you see any anti social behaviour let us know so we can deal with it.

And finally, I was delighted to see the barbel caught from Badgers Wood on 28 June. Not sure if Ben was aware but the club record is only 2lb 6oz and to my untrained eye unless he has a tiny net this fish looks a lot bigger.


What a lovely looking fish, Well done Ben !

As it wasn’t claimed and the fish is still in the pond why not go for it and get your name in the club records.

That is it for this month. Off to the pub for a long awaited pint .Tight lines (cliché !!!) and stay safe.

10 Jul, 2020