You ask why? Well, I know there are not many ladies that fish - but there could be! Yes, there are hundreds if not thousands of women all over the country who would like to fish, or to accompany their partners and sit and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the beautiful surroundings on balmy sunny days.

Our men go off in the early hours of the morning, leaving us with the children or on our own. Over the years my partner, David, has often asked me to join him on one of his fishing jaunts. So I go, and after going to these beautiful places and even being taught how to fish, what happens? Yes - I need the toilet. After sitting there for a few hours, it's only natural isn’t it? After a few cups of tea, no matter how I try, I cannot tie my legs in a knot forever. So off I go looking for the ladies - and in desperation, even the gents. What do I find? If I am lucky, a disgusting, smelly, dirty portaloo. Of course, our men are made in a way that it's convenient (that’s a pun) to go behind a bush or tree. Do fishery owners believe we of the gentler sex are made in the same way, or is it their way of telling us we are not wanted on their fisheries?

Do they realise the commercial implications of not encouraging us ladies to visit their fisheries. Why, they could double or even triple their income if only they clean up their act, or should I say toilets.

Today for example I visited Kingsnordley Fisheries at Quatt Bridge North in Worcestershire. Beautiful lakes, nice views, very peaceful, a lovely place to spend the day fishing. But again, nature called and off I went looking for a loo. I found one (much to my surprise) but if I had used it, I think I would have caught more than fish at Kingsnordly. It was disgusting. I have not got the words to describe it. It was sickening. I only stayed for half the day and had to leave my partner there, fishing alone. A good start and a bad finish to what could have been a great day. If the toilet facilities could be given points Kingnordly would get 0.

Last week I went to Sion Farm Fishery on the A450 between Hagley and Mustow Green in Worcestershire. Now there is a place to fish. Only 2 lakes, one is a fair size and the other quite small. I arrived one morning when the mist hung over the lakes and the fish were dancing on the surface. What a sight. The fish were inviting me to catch them.

I had to go and visit this fishery before the day I went fishing, because I wanted to spend the whole day at this sport I am beginning to love. I did not want another disappointing day (or should I say half-day) and having to leave because there were no facilities for ladies. But much to my surprise there was a brick built toilet block, both for ladies and gentlemen, with running water and yes, soap to wash your hands! I must say I had a great day fishing in beautiful surroundings and with nothing else to catch except fish. Marks for Sion Farm for their facilities has to be 10 out 10. Great place to fish ladies, and no worries to go with it. And on top of all that I caught a 10lb mirror carp. There is no feeling like it in the world.

Over the last few months I visited a few local fisheries in my area and have decided there must be something done about this situation. I do hope all you women who fish agree with me.

Here are a few of those local fisheries I would like to make some comments on.

Shatterford Nature Park on the Bridgenorth Road in Kidderminster Worcestershire. There they have night fishing and more often than not, there are quite a few bivvies dotted about. During the day fisherman can be seen on most of the lakes, either fly fishing or carp fishing. There are toilets in the reception area and nice clean ones at that. But, and a big but, if you are fishing on the lakes there is a ten minute walk up hill and the hill is 1 in 10 at least. There is a portaloo, which is situated by the bottom pool, and that you can smell from 20 yards away. I could not muster the courage up to venture inside, but I did get my partner to go and inspect them, and even he came out feeling nauseous. These are the only toilets available to people night fishing. The reception closes at 8.00pm and reopens at 8.00am next morning. So again, marks out of 10. A big 0 for those ladies who would like to fish at night.

Next on the list is Holt Pool at Holt Heath, Nr Ombersley in Worcestershire. Another very pleasant place to fish. They have several pools there and I managed to catch my first perch there. A wonderful feeling! My partner caught an 18 lb common carp and what a beauty that was. But I am afraid to say, another place that is a let down when it comes to toilets. Just a portaloo and again, you would catch more than fish, using that on a regular basis. Marks out of 10 just 1. I am afraid, if wasn’t for the portaloo letting the side down I would give it at least 8 because the fishing there is superb and the surroundings are lovely.

Stakenbridge Pool nr Hagley in Worcestershire - Another lovely lake but again we are let down on the convenience front. Nothing at all there just trees and bushes. So what can I say - a big fat 0 on marks out of 10 for the ladies.

There is of course Moorlands at Hartlebury Worcestershire. That has toilets, and I'm told they are clean. There is also a café there. I have never fished there but for the reputation of their facilities I must give it 10 out 10.

Another place is Pool Hall Fishery, Alvely Nr Bridge North on the Bridgenorth Road, Worcestershire, Again, there are toilets and a café there. Again, by reputation, 10 out of 10. I have never fished there but I intend to in the very near future. I have visited and found it to be very pleasant - and it was very busy so surely that is evidence of a good fishery.

So ladies, as you can see, many of the above fisheries on the whole do not cater for those of us who would like to visit their places. I think something should be done about the situation. Surely some of these places could become a health hazard. Think of the children that go fishing, they surely should have somewhere to use? If the fisheries do not want to encourage us ladies, then do something for the younger generation, they are our future and their health is precious. Mind you, so is mine! And I will of course carry on inspecting these places and talking to the owners and putting my point of view across.

I must just add that last summer we went on a fishing holiday for a week to Waverley Lakes in Norfolk. An absolutely marvellous place. Pleasant beautiful site, several pools and, of course, conveniences. I would recommend it to any lady that fishes. 12 out of 10 !!

I have of course visited other fisheries but I feel I have made my point. I know there are a lot of these places that do cater for us ladies, but on the whole we are not given a second thought. Come on fishery owners - increase your income. Encourage us ladies to visit your fisheries and even fish there, but make it convenient for us PLEASE.

Of course I would welcome any comment both from the ladies that fish and the fishery owners.

Note:

When I first received this article I thought of re-titling it 'Bog Standard'. Whilst that would be mildly amusing, it would detract from the serious concerns revealed within the piece. Kerry has made a very valid point. The entire angling industry is losing out on a potential big % increase in trade, much of it due to a simple lack of amenities. Of the fisheries singled out above and given poor marks, all I can say is that from my experience, they are probably typical of the majority of fisheries in the country. My wife too hesitates to join me on the bank for the same reasons that Kerry states above, yet Maggi loves fishing. In this new millennium, perhaps we can move out of the male dominated attitudes that have dogged angling in past years and start catering for those other potential anglers - the women. It makes sense.

Geoff