Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PAC saddened by Bill's call for bait ban

The PAC tonight said it was "saddened" that one of its founding fathers has called for an end to livebaiting.

It said comments made by Bill Chillingworth, which were reported in a regional newspaper, were made in a private capacity and did not reflect the opinion of the club or its committee.

Chillingworth, from Hingham, Norfolk, told the Eastern Daily Press he believed live baiting should be banned.

He went on: "I would support any proposal to stop livebaiting because law and order surrounding these practices has been surrounded by anarchy, with a minority of pike anglers prepared to go to any lengths to satisfy their swollen egos.

"There seems to be growing evidence that moving live fish unlawfully from one venue to another is rife and I believe the authorities are almost bound to step in and ban the use of coarse fish as bait.

"Three of us fomed the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain nearly 30 years ago to promote and protect the image of our sport.

"But now it has become a dreadful rat race to attain fame and fortune by the minority at the expense of the rest of us."

Chillingworth was one of the three founder members who started the PAC, in 1977. The club has campaigned to preserve the pike and pike fishing ever since.

Tonight PAC president Phil Wakeford said: "Bill is speaking as an individual and we don't agree with him, regardless of whether he is one of the founders of the club. His comments do not represent the views of the PAC.

"It won't just stop at livebaiting and that's why we have to make a stand. That's where the club and the majority of its members are.

"We are saddened that one of the great pike anglers of his generation should be so scathing about his fellow anglers at a time when we are trying hard to promote unity and the importance of following our code of conduct."

The PAC stall at the Sandown Winter Carp Show, on December 9 - 10, will have copies of the club's livebaiting code, which urges pike anglers to follow bylaws and not move livebaits from water to water.

Chillingworth's comments came after a high profile court case in which two members, who have since resigned from the club, were caught taking livebaits aboard a ferry to Ireland. Both pleaded guilty.

Nige Williams, one of those charged, later spoke of his regret at the damage he had done to the sport.

The PAC has made it clear it expects members to follow its code of conduct and has recently expelled a member for breaching it.