The West arm at Shoreham has always been a popular spot for fishing, with it’s ease of access and variety of fish encountered. With this popularity comes the bad side of people who fish there. I’m not going to say anglers because serious anglers don’t do the things that were being done. Squalor, that’s all it can be described as – rubbish and rotting bait being left behind along with discarded line and tackle. People defecating on the lower deck, urinating anywhere. At times, the place smelled worse than a really smelly thing.
I reckon that if you took a load of people with ‘digestive problems’ and put them on a fishing boat with one toilet, fed them on cat food for a few days, then left the resulting carnage in the sun for a week, it would still smell sweeter than the West arm. I think you get the picture!
I digress. A few years back, some local anglers took it upon themselves to try and do something about the disgraceful state of the arm and improve it for everyone. The SAS (Shoreham Angling Squad) was born. The guys voluntarily cleared the rubbish, put bins up and kept the place in good order. Of course the usual Neanderthals carried on as before, not giving a damn about anyone or anything else apart from themselves, leaving their revolting crap behind and generally behaving like dick-heads. The lads of the SAS, undeterred, carried on cleaning and tidying. As well as trying to keep the West arm a pleasant place, they found time to organise charity fishing matches and managed to raise thousands of pounds in the process.
Anyway, it had to happen. Despite the best efforts of the lads, the Neanderthals won and because of the mess they left and their behaviour, Shoreham Port Authority decided that the West arm would be closed to anglers and it would be fenced off. A long standing, popular and productive fishing mark was going to be lost… until…
Some guys from Prime Angling in Worthing, Ally Harvey and George Cunningham (CEO of TronixPro) stepped in and put an offer to the port authority. They would find the funding to manage the arm and have someone on there to regularly clean up and keep good order; and thus West Breakwater Fishing (WBF) came into being. While these two guys are the main driving force behind the venture, they are obviously kept occupied with their business and so the day to day issues concerning WBF will be handled by Mark Sumner of SAS. This is a four month trial and the port authority still have the right to close the arm (and will do) if this venture fails.
To finance this, it was decided to start charging a small fee for fishing on the arm, in a similar fashion to what they do at Brighton Marina. This will go towards paying staff to man the arm, initially from 6am to 10pm. £3 for the first rod and £1 per additional rod. A steel hut has been erected at the beginning of the arm and will act as the HQ for WBF Tel: 07926 811882. From here, tickets can be purchased, along with bait, small items of tackle and now, even hot and cold drinks.
So far, the response has been positive, although there have been some moaners who want something for nothing. To them, I would say It’s either pay and support this idea or lose it as a venue for good. As already said, this is a four month trial. If it appears that the venture cannot be afforded due to lack of funds, then it will close and be fenced off – end of story. If it succeeds, then it stays open and will be a clean, pleasant place to fish, with the added benefit of having tackle and bait available on site. So if you think that by boycotting the arm and refusing to pay, you will somehow get them to change their minds and it will go back to being free to fish – think again, it will be gone, plain and simple. Is three quid a time too much to ask – really?
I really hope that this venture succeeds and goes from strength. Thank you all who are in involved – George, Ally, Mark and others and thank you to the port authority for listening and having the balls to trust these guys to make a good job of it. You can get the latest updates and news here on the WBF Facebook page