Sunday, September 24, 2006

Move on and face the future, says Phil

PAC president Phil Wakeford sent out a rallying call to pike fishing, as hundreds gathered for the club's annual convention in Leeds at the weekend.

He pledged the new committee would be open and responsive to members, as he called for predator anglers to unite to face future threats to their sport.

"We've had our differences over things like Blithfield and the like," he said.

"But they're not insurmountable, there's not a gulf which can't be bridged. We need to come together to fight for our sport.

"There isn't a PAC takeover going on in Scotland and Ireland, it's a coming together of like-minded people in a common cause."

Phil said the PAC was determined to establish a more pro-active, activist approach at all levels of the sport.

"When people ask what's the PAC done for me lately, we're spending our time fighting for your sport, so the least you can do is join if you're a serious pike angler," he said.

"It's time to stop the in-fighting because there's nothing to be gained from it. We've got bigger battles to fight and we need to join together to stand any chance of winning them.

"And we need to have an open mind and agree to differ sometimes, because sometimes you have to concede a battle to win the war."

Phil said all predator anglers should follow the PAC code of conduct, after a show of hands revealed around half the audience had read it.

"We need to show that we care for the pike and we will fish for pike in a responsible way," he went on. "Holyhead has done us a lot of damage."

One of the committee's key priorities is to encourage more pike anglers to join the club and reduce the numbers who fail to renew their membership.

The committee has set a target of handing the club over to its successors with a 3,000-strong membership, and ambitious recruitment drives are in the pipeline.

Phil said the object was not to get more people to go pike fishing, but to get more of those who pike fish to join.

"What we are trying to do is get people who go pike fishing to join the PAC. The target is to unite pike anglers as soon as possible," he said.