In the Beginning:
The Chub Study Group was formed in 1972, but where and when did it really start? When was the first seed sown?
The history of the Group wouldn't be complete without mention of the six years preceding it's formation and the events that led up to it.
The middle sixties was a very exciting time for the big fish angler. Catching big fish by design was really taking off and involved knowing more about the fish and its biology.
Anglers started to think scientifically about coarse fish as part of the knowledge that would lead them to become more successful. They were attending and contributing to the British Coarse Fish Conference, jointly organised by Liverpool University and The Angling Times. The National Association of Specimen Groups (N.A.S.G.) was formed in April 1965.
The coming together of the first seven specimen groups resulted in a ten-fold increase in number of Specimen Groups within a year.
The Peterborough Specimen Group was already involved in ‘chub study' when it began to investigate chub movements in the river Nene in 1966-67. Perhaps this work marked the beginning of the movement that led to the formation of the first “ National Chub Specimen Group” in 1969.
A year earlier in 1968, Charles Landells, a prominent member of the L.A.A. tried to get a Chub Group started. Charles discussed with and wrote to Eric Hodson, secretary and founder of the National Association of Specimen Groups, to get the ball rolling. However, the N.A.S.G. was attempting to be a parent/umbrella organisation over to other Groups.
Eric replied ..... Therefore to conclude, I might suggest that we get the “Roach Anglers” underway and then we can consider the formation of a Chub Group, providing we can find sufficient officers to run it. One important aspect of this is, whoever takes on the Secretaryship and must be prepared to run a regular Bulletin and Reports Sheets and ideally aught to have typing ability .
Well, “The Roach Anglers” did they ever appear? In 1996 there was talk of a Roach Group finally getting started, but Charles was thwarted in his attempts to start a Chub Group in 1968.
The National Chub Specimen Group did in fact form in 1969, a year later. The founding Secretary was Brian Lloyd; with Roger Craig and Roy Ecob making up a three man committee. Charles Landells applied and was accepted as a member in April 1970.
By the time of the 1st A.G.M. In May 1970 (at Melton Mowbray) the Group had 18 members from Southampton to Rotherham and the best chub taken by a member that season was 4llb-14oz.
There are some familiar names amongst the membership and the officers elected at that A.G.M.
Chairman: Brian White Sec/Treasure: Brian Lloyd
Records Officer: Phil Smith (Coventry Specimen Group)
Biologist: Dave Moore Press Officer: Tony Carter
Charles ‘Slugger' Landells
Ken Butcher, Jon Sears, Bob Wyant, Geoff Long, Arthur Brown, Albert Ibbotson, Roy Ecob, Roger Craig, Peter Lakey, Graham Daugney, Paul Asher, Mike Rees, Tony Chester, Dave Plummer and Steve Fox.
The N.C.S.G. arranged three get-together's in 1970/71... There was a successful trip to the Annan in August 1970 (from memory Phil Smith said it was well attended and a few 4lb+ chub were caught), two one day get-together's on the river Eye in November 1970 and finally the river Cherwell in March 1971
The second A.G.M. was held at “The Kings Head” in Melton Mowbray on the 30th May 1971. Little information was available and what there is was provided from memory by Charles L.
In August 1970, Phil Smith, Records Officer, compiled a list of all 6lb+ chub taken in the period 1954 - 1965. Unfortunately no copy of that list was available. It would have made interesting reading compared to the prolific captures of the present time. One can only assume the N.C.S.G. simply faded away, probably because chub fishing was in the doldrums.
1972 - The Birth of the Chub Study Group:
The Chub Study Group was formed in June 1972, largely due to the efforts of the late Tony Carter. Tony, Brian Lloyd and Dave Gamble met at Brian's home in Melton Mowbray and from this committee of three the Group was born.
As Secretary Tony would issue a Newsletter/Bulletin every two months. There was no fish reporting scheme as such, but by a 2 -1 majority they decided to have a trophy for the heaviest fish of the season.
Subscriptions were 60p with a £1-00 joining fee. The Group started with £3-11p brought forward from the N.C.S.G. The first bulletin was issued in June 1972 and all 18 members of the National Chub Specimen Group were sent a copy and invited to join the new Group. I (Fred Sykes) have been unable to trace a copy of the first newsletter, but in the in the August 1972 Bulletin Tony wrote ... Disappointingly, only nine re-joined, so probably the excessive period of inactivity of the old Group discouraged many. I received five replies from a the Angling Times, of which only one has joined and there are two additional members by word of mouth. The Group has therefore begun with twelve members.
The Original members were:-
Richard Barrett (Melton Mowbray) Ken Butcher (South Ruislip) Tony Carter (Stamford) Dave Gamble (Leicester) Malcolm Goodson (Peterborough) Peter Green (Enfield) Charles Landells (Ilford) Brian Lloyd (Melton Mowbray) Dave Moore (Peterborough) Jon Sears (Harlow) Brian White (Peterborough) and David Yarham (Stamford)
Today only Dave Gamble remains as a founder member, Charles Landells sadly passed away December 2009.
Within the first year the membership had grown to 39. Three others from that first year remain: Stuart Allum, Graham Cornish and Fred Sykes. Membership numbers fluctuated around the 40 mark until the late 80's, since then it has grown to and remains fairly stable at about 60 (ish)
Peterborough could fairly claim to have been the birthplace of the Group. Seven of the original twelve came from the Peterborough/Stamford/Melton Mowbray areas and really all the early history was associated with the town.
The above is taken from ‘ A Group History' * the complete history of the C.S.G. ‘A Group History' * is now available to Group members (only) on C.D. in addition to the original loose-leaf paper folder version.
A big debt is owed to and many thanks are given to Fred Sykes, Terry Brindle and Stuart Shepard for compiling and updating the complete History of the Chub Study Group.
The formation of the National Association of Specimen Groups, (N.A.S.G.) brought about by Eric Hodson and others in April 1965, set off a movement that existed under several names; the National Ass of Specialist Anglers (N.A.S.A.) and more recently the Specialist Anglers' Alliance (S.A.A.) right up to the formation of the Angling Trust in January 2009, sadly a few months earlier brought the loss of Eric Hodson.
I'm not sure just how Eric would have viewed the current situation. Lets hope the Angling Trust will take on the role of representing and promoting the issues affecting specialist anglers and groups with the same enthusiasm it does for the other interest groups involved in the merger. A recent addition to the Angling Trust web site has been a section dedicated to Specialist Angling, and Specialist Groups having their own committee within the Trust, the Specialist Angling Freshwater Group.
The history of the Chub Study Group would not be complete without mentioning a man who played no small part in making the Group what it has become today.
Very recently (March 2012) the Group lost one of its longest standing members, Graham Cornish. Although not a founding member, Graham joined the Group in 1972, has always been at the very heart of the Group and in many ways represented what the Group is all about. Over the years of his involvement with the C.S.G. Graham has taken on just about every role within the Group (most memorably that of Get Together Organiser when Graham always seemed to arrange them to co-inside with raging floods) played a major role in the publishing of the Groups first book ‘Chub' Celebrating 21 years of the Chub Study Group, the two ‘Best of Chevin' and was always on hand to help out during hard times. Until very recent years Graham also compiled and kept updated many of the N.A.S.A/S.A.A top 50 lists.
Graham Cornish 1943 - 2012
A true all round angler; Graham was just as happy casting a fly for a small stream brown trout, reservoir piking, fishing the wild Yorkshire rivers for grayling, or bass fishing from one of his favourite Welsh beaches as he was chubbing on his favourite river, the Welland. We'll all miss Graham and owe him a big debt.