For the last few years I've been an avid reader and poster on the angling forum www.maggotdrowning.com
The site is a mine of information, with contributions by both top match anglers and enthusiastic amateurs like myself. Unlike other angling forums, it is very welcoming to anglers of all abilities, there is little bitching between members, and is a mine of information regarding venues, tactics, baits etc. not forgetting the jokes and general banter.
The nicest thing about it is that its free and there is very little advertising.
However over the years, the site has now become the most popular anglers forum on the net, and consequently a site which started as Daves (the owner) hobby, is now costing upwards of £10k a year to run not counting the countless hours of time Dave spends ensuring that the site, servers e.t.c. are working properly.
Family and work commitments have resulted in Dave being given a hard time by his better half, as his work life (income) and family time was suffering due to the hours spent on administering and financially supporting what has now become the largest angling site on the web in the UK.
This pressure led to Dave considering selling the site to a commercial operation, or plastering the site with advertising in order to raise cash to pay for someone to run the site for him. But instead of taking this route immediately he informed the members of the site about the costs and time involved in running such a large sitem and the problems this was creating for him and this has resulted in many of the sites regular users donating £15/year towards the running costs.
The £15/year is optional - some feel as though all websites should have free access, many users were happy to contribute a small amount towards the upkeep of what is one of the best angling resources on the net.
One of the sites members is Neil Grantham owner of Lindholme Lakes complex near Doncaster. Lindholme is probably the premier match fishing complex in the north of England and Neil very generously donated his lakes to the Maggot Drowners for a day so we could have a match to raise funds towards the up keep of the site.
So on Saturday nearly 100 of the UKs most inept and ugly fishermen were to be found desecrating the banks of lakes where you would normally find top match anglers such as Alan Scotthorne , Neil Mahcin and John Allerton plying their trade.
Sunshine, laughs and fish a plenty were the order of the day. I caught a lowly 15lb of fish but it didnt stop me having a thoroughly entertaining days fishing in great company.
I dont know how much was raised in total but hopefully it will go someway towards paying for a part - time webmaster for the site, and to keep it free of a heavy advertising presence.
www.maggotdrowning.com is still a free site, though regular users are encouraged to donate £15. Its worth it!
Oh and before i forget, (as if) my catch included an Ide and a gudgeon - so thats me up to 9 species for the season now. Phil and Tony - beware - I'm fed up of getting early morning texts saying I've caught aCrucian or I've got a tench - wedding or no wedding - the gloves are off!