THE Total-Fishing team would like to take this opportunity to wish all users and their families a wonderful Xmas break and have a prosperous and fish filled New Year.

So much has happened since we rescued the site in 2002 that it seems like an age ago. The site continues to go from strength to strength, and regularly clocks up over seven million hits per month.

We often get over 30,000 page views in a day and we were recently voted in the top two angling sites by Angling Times readers. As far as general fishing and match fishing is concerned, we are easily the No1 site.


Bulging bandwidth

The success does have its knock-on effects. We are using over a Gig of bandwidth on many days, and that is a lot. Our hosters have recently announced that they want over £420 PER MONTH to host the site from 2005.
This is too much and we will be moving servers, although this will itself be a costly business, added to by the fact that the current hosters own both the content management software and the forum software.

I think many people assume it’s pretty cheap to host a website, but not if you use as much bandwidth as we do.

It’s not just because the forums are so busy. The site holds a lot of content and now has an excellent archive as well. You might not be aware that in our ‘Fisheries’ section many of the entries are updated regularly with latest match results and fishery form. All the stuff that is potentially available to the users eats into the bandwidth.

One of the reasons we launched our club site back in April was to help pay for the costs of running this site. At the time I received quite a lot of abuse from some users, who thought that the plan was to eventually charge for use of Total-Fishing. This was never the plan, and never will be.


The Club Site

As for the club site, , it’s been a fantastic year and the club gets stronger by the day.

We now have over 450 members, and with that strength comes more influence. In fact that puts the club in the top 10% of angling clubs in the UK. There are well over 1000 top quality coarse, match, game, sea and carp angling articles on the site and we add them at a rate of more than one per day.

The forum is also busy, although more exclusive than the main forums on here. Current threads include details of how to enter the two-day Glebe 2005 match, news on the three teams we have entered in the Van den Eynde Supercup, news on the team we are entering in the Division Three National (if you are interested get on there now). Members are also busy voting on where the money raised from this year’s Glebe match should go, in light of the recent bad publicity surrounding the ACA. Keith Arthur is on there all the time.

Other meets are also arranged on the club site throughout the year and we also run an individual championship, this year won by Fred Davis on Larford Lakes. In my job as editor of Southern Angler and Midland Angler I get to ‘hear things’ before they are out in the public domain, and if I can I like to let club members know of anything that could benefit them.

It really has become a great community of its own and remember that if you want to take part in any of the above events or represent any Total-Fishing team, you need to be a club member.


Special Offers

The growing membership has also given me far more clout when it comes to approaching the trade.

I’m in the process of getting some club match clothing made through Mosella which will be available to club members at well below the normal shop price. Club members will also be given the opportunity to cash in on some really special tackle offers, which will be publicised through the new Club Newsletter.

The first of the Club newsletters has just been sent out, with updates on all the club activities.

I’ve also just finalised the renewal free gifts for club membership. These will kick in in 2005 and some of them have an RRP which cover the cost of joining, which is being held at £19.99. A couple of these are pictured below.

It’s all about offering value for money and we really feel that with all the events being organised, teams being entered, the exclusivity of the forum, the special offers, the hundreds of top class articles from some of the top names in the business and the gifts worth the value of the joining fee, club membership is now OUTSTANDING VALUE.


Newsletter For All

Our efforts are by no means all going into the club site though, and anyone who has registered to receive a Total-Fishing newsletter will receive their first in January 2005. This will also include special tackle offers and other site news.

If you would like to register to receive a newsletter, just type your email address into the field at the bottom of the navigation buttons above left and click ‘Join’.

Your address will automatically be added to the distribution list. We are also working with manufacturers to bring you more competitions in 2005.

The success of the site has also drawn the attention of some of the tourist boards which is opening the doors to more opportunities. I won’t go into too much detail on all of them, but to give you a taster I recently had a meeting with Cyprus Tourist Board with a view to running a new angling festival there, with flights and accommodation subsidised by the CTO. And the Guernsey Tourist Board tell me they got more interest in their Bailiwick Sea Angling Challenge from Total-Fishing than from any other avenue of advertising they pursued.

As you can see, as long as we can stay strong we can work on some great benefits for all of the site’s users. 


Forum Change?

Have there been any disappointments? Apart from a few stupid people who like to come on and mess with the forums from time to time, the only disappointment has been the failure of the fly fishing forum. This despite some heavy advertising in Today’s Flyfisher magazine. The carp forum is not as busy as it was either, but when it was it was a lot of trouble.
I’m hoping we can build a new community of carpers on here, who are prepared to put themsleves out and help others, and perhaps follows the leads of the sea and coarse forums and arrange meets and charity events so that the community spirit can really go. I certainly do not miss some of those who used the carp forum and were very aggressive to me when I launched the club site. Predictably I have had no apologies from them despite their accusations being proved to be wide of the mark. I do not want this kind of person on Total-Fishing and am particularly glad they have moved on. I just hope we can build the carp community from scratch again – some of the more loyal and helpful people are still on there so the potential is there, although there are loads of carp forums on the internet now.

I can’t put my finger on why fly anglers do not seem to be interested in keeping in touch online in the way that carp, sea and coarse anglers are, but then I’m not a fly angler. We will be reviewing the future of the fly-fishing forum in the New Year, possibly having a specialist forum instead.

This was meant to be a short ‘Happy Christmas’ message, but I thought I’d update everyone with what’s going on, and as you can see there is a lot.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to contribute and keeping Total-Fishing as the UK’s No1 online angling community. As I reflect on 2004 I can see that we have made great strides forward and I look forward to a very exciting 2005.

We have a fantastic community of people here who get things done, a rare commodity in angling these days. There are other sites out there, but none of them put as much back into the sport as we do and I’m proud to be part of it. Here’s to a great 2005!

Tight lines!