NETTING IN PARADISE
Anglers Paradise was created by Zyg Gregorek around forty years ago a man who had a vision to transform a few acres of marshy ground into a fishing paradise. Visiting the complex to attend the annual netting event it is apparent that Zyg’s vision is still going strong.
Each year one of the complexes thirty plus lakes is netted to ensure fish stocks are kept at optimum levels. The netting also signals the start of the venue’s charity week.
This year the float lake was to be netted, a lake of around one acre that holds koi, barbel, golden tench, carp, goldfish and a large population of rudd. The plan was to remove a large number of the rudd, transferring them to the pike lake. The koi, golden tench, ghost carp and barbel would be returned to the lake along with a few new additions including chub and blue orfe.
I arrived at around 9:00am and found the netting party assembling at the side of the lake. I took a walk around the lake capturing a few images of the partially empty lake. Late autumn sunshine illuminated the scene highlighting autumn colours on the trees.
I chatted with Joe and Zenia who between them run the complex that is very much a family business. As the working party slowly gathered one or two were undoubtedly nursing hangovers from a night before in the renowned Safari Bar.
Netting a lake requires a degree of planning and after many years the operation is a well-rehearsed project. The first task being to ensure that the lake is at the right level. Too much water and it becomes dangerous, too little water and there is a risk to the valuable stock.
There is always a sense of anticipation as the net draws together and the contents are slowly revealed. The fish within were sorted with carp, rudd and a selection of koi removed for relocation across the complex.
The enthusiasm of the team for the task at hand was impressive with no one grumbling about the mud and cold water.
The netting day signals the start of a week of events to raise money for charity. This year’s charity is Tackling Minds. Tackling Minds is a charity formed in 2020 that offers support to people from all walks of life who are suffering from a huge range of issues. In 2022 Tackling Minds teamed up with Angling Direct and Anglia Ruskin University to highlight the measurable benefits of angling for both mental and physical health conditions.
I think we can all relate to the massive increase in mental health issues over recent years. I chatted with several present about mental health and how angling provides a valuable link to the natural world that is good for the mind. Speak with young people today and it is frightening how many know of friends they have lost to suicide. This is I believe the largest cause of death for young men. A fact that is often reported in the national media.
Angling provides a vital connection to the natural world that is recognised as being extremely beneficial to mental health. There is of course also a social benefit from mixing with like-minded people who share the passion for angling.
I fear that mental health is going to be increasingly high on the agenda in future years. Elon Musk raised the possibility of AI removing the need to work and that this will result in people searching for meaning in life. As social media continues to polarise opinions and religion becomes less relevant to many mental health will become increasingly challenged.
Fishing and other pastimes will perhaps play a vital role in exercising our minds and ensuring a vital link with the natural world.
Each day of the annual charity and netting week see fund raising activities such as quiz nights and bingo nights. The week culminates in a fireworks bonanza. This year’s event raised an impressive £3000 + for tackling minds.
The complexes thirty odd lakes are now well established and offer rich and diverse habitat where wildlife abounds. Many of the visitors to Anglers Paradise have been visiting for years and as each generation grows they bring their families. Those who first fished as children now returning with children of their own to share the joys of angling.
Report from Zenia below :-