One bonus of our trip to the UK was that it allowed me to attend the Mullet Club AGM held in Portsmouth. It was the first time I'd been for a couple of years. It was nice to meet so many old friends again at one time, and there was a nice buzz about the meeting from the 40ish members present.
One good feature of the AGM is that the formal business of reports and elections is dispensed with quickly, allowing time for plenty of chat before the meeting and over lunch, and a series of presentations by guest speakers.
This time we had Martin Salter of Angling Trust in the morning and after lunch, Mat Mander of Devon & Severn IFCA both giving conservation-related talks. Then there was a presentation on fly-fishing for mullet by Colin Macleod and finally my good friend Mike Ladle, who'd been doing book signings with me on and off all day, gave the last talk about his innovative fishing as only Mike can. All the speakers did a great job.
There was loads of other stuff going on at the meeting too, including a tackle stall, a photo display board, a raffle and a separate auction of a mullet print donated by David Miller Art.
At the end of the morning session, trophies and certificates are awarded. It was great to see so many fine angling achievements recognised, and I was lucky enough to retain the "Venue Top Ten" trophy with a 2016 season aggregate weight of 50lbs 9oz for my best ten fish, counting a maximum of four from any one venue. I received the trophy from the Club Chairman, Keith Gillett.
I was happy enough with that, but more was to follow, and completely unexpectedly. Out of the blue I found myself being presented Life Membership of the NMC in recognition of my contribution to the Club over many years. My good friend Steve Smith had been approached to write the citation, and awarded me a framed copy, and I was also presented the gift of a wonderful David Miller print ...
The citation reads:
Citation for Life Membership of the National Mullet Club
Dave Rigden has been a stalwart of the National Mullet Club for many years. Always very active and energetic, his support for the evolving ethos of the Club has been of considerable and of long standing value.
Having held the position of Secretary for many years, in the age of hand written envelopes, snail mail and primitive duplication facilities, he went on to become Chairman generating a period of stability and driving a focus on Conservation. It was in this field that Dave played a pivotal role. By dint of sheer hard work he gathered together disparate statistics from multiple organisations and presented them in a powerful way to fellow anglers, their conservation organisations and politicians alike. This work underpins much of the genuine progress being made today and Conservation remains prominently and continuously on angling agenda across Britain.
Since his time as Chairman, Dave continued to play a major part in the smooth running of the Club with collation and distribution of newsletters , practical assistance to the task of distributing Grey Ghost. Recently he has been a major contributor to our forum and has always been generous with his advice and sharing of experiences. He is joint author of a book on Mullet angling, a welcome addition to the limited canon of authoritative works on this topic.
Dave has shown himself capable of catching fish of the highest quality from a wide variety of habitats for many years. When others might have shortened a session or indeed not turned out at all, Dave persevered and his use of innovative methods has yielded always consistent, sometimes amazing, catches across the years. Dave is a great researcher and he used this skill particularly to good effect when considering possibilities in Ireland where he has defined a wide variety of venues turning them into bona fide Mullet marks.
In acknowledgement of his significant work across many years, we hereby confer all honours and privileges of the position of Life Member, National Mullet Club to Dave Rigden.