Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tough times ahead, warns PAC president

It's been a tough year for pike fishing and there are even bigger challenges just over the horizon, PAC President Phil Wakeford said in the club's New Year Message to pike anglers everywhere.

In the run-up to Christmas, a blanket ban on livebaiting won the backing of the Scottish Parliament, after forthcoming fisheries legislation was amended at the eleventh hour.

In England and Wales, pike anglers are anxiously awaiting the outcome of an announcement from Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw, that some recommendations made during the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review some years ago, which included the possibility of livebait bans in some parts of England and Wales, could become law.

"When we took over the running of the club, I'm sure none of us realised how hard pike fishing was going to come under attack from all sides," Phil said.

"The one positive thing we can take forward as the PAC enters its 30th anniversary year is we have a strong committee backed up by a hard core of active members, who are united in their determination to stand up for the ideals the club was founded upon.

"Our tenure began with the club responding to claims that coarse fish were being netted wholesale from the Norfolk Broads for the deadbait trade.

"As well as strongly refuting the story, we introduced a PAC-approved Pikemark, which bait firms could use to show their products come from legal and sustainable sources.

"To date, many of Britain's biggest suppliers have signed up, showing the that the PAC and tackle trade can work together for the greater good of predator fishing.

"Soon after, we were made aware of plans to stop fishing on Abberton Reservoir, which is being enlarged to safeguard water supplies to drought-prone Essex.

"While we have not yet reached a satisfactory result here, we are seeing encouraging signs of a rethink on the part of the water company which owns this historically-important pike fishery.

"At times it's been hard to believe we're now well into the 21st Century.

"Calls for anglers to kill pike have come from everyone from TV chefs, who reckon we ought to eat more of them, to a former World Champion match angler, upset by the number of jacks snatching roach off his pole.

"In the case of one TV chef, we won an apology. In the latter case, it emerged large fish were being killed and removed from at least one of the rivers concerned, meaning there were less of them to predate on their smaller cousins, with predictable consequences.

"Our line on culls is that they are misguided and can only further upset the natural balance. What matters is that larger pike are conserved, since they are what maintain this balance.

"On the fish killing issue, we were relieved when the Fisheries Minister announced tougher fines for those who remove fish wholesale from our waterways for food.

"While mass immigration from eastern European countries, where all fish are regarded as a ready food source, is now a reality, we are calling on all pike anglers to report any abuses to the Environment Agency and to do their best to bridge the cultural divide with education.

"Our fisheries are our natural heritage, as well as a resource which supports a tackle industry which employs 18,000 people and contributes £500m a year to our economy.

"As I said, we have frequently found ourselves under attack on several fronts at once this year. In the last few weeks, we've seen a blanket ban on livebaiting become almost certain to become law in Scotland.

"The position in England and Wales is currently unclear, with news that parts of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review could now be enacted via "secondary legislation".

"Through our political contacts, we are trying to clarify exactly what this means as we prepare our response. There will be an announcement on this early in the New Year, once we know more.

"One of the committee's top priorities is to grow the club, because we recognise how vital it is to ensure that the voice which speaks up for the pike and pike fishing is as strong as possible.

"To this end, we have launched an ambitious recruitment campaign which gives anyone who enrols a new member the chance to win a purpose-built pike fishing boat.

"Improving communications both within the club and the media and other external bodies is another important goal.

"We now have a blog, which is updated sometimes several times a day. It's good to see stories which break on our blog end up subsequently being covered by the media, as this shows that the PAC is on its way to becoming the authoratitive source of news and comment about pike fishing, which of course it should be.

"Anyone can subscribe and receive daily news updates from us for free. We also have a PAC Forum, which members can use to interact with each other and the committee.

"We'll continue striving to improve communications both within the club and externally, and looking for new ways to reach people and get our message across.

"Looking after your pike fishing locally is going to become more and more important to many of us in 2007, as rising fuel prices and the spiralling costs of running a vehicle make travelling any distance to fish an increasingly expensive option.

"One way of doing this is to spread the word about the PAC and the work it does to promote safe fish handling and good practice among other pike anglers you meet on the bank.

"Each PAC member is an ambassador not only for the club but for the pike itself. Please equip yourself with some membership leaflets - you can download and print them from our web site - and hand them out to fellow pikers on the bank.

"Please also be ready to give advice and assistance where needed. We all of us had to start pike fishing somewhere, helping a new angler unhook a fish, or even showing them the right tackle and bite indication is an investment for the future care of pike in your waters.

"We still have a long way to go in terms of pike welfare but together and with a concerted effort we will get there. We owe it to the pike, which brings us so much pleasure, to do so.

"On behalf of your PAC committee and our network of regional and local organisers, I'd like to wish all predator anglers a successful year and assure them that the PAC will be working just as hard on their behalf in 2007.

"I'd close by urging anyone who values their pike fishing to join the club and help make the voice which defends it stronger."

You can join the PAC via our website. Just click here.

Rodders lined up for Lincoln talk

Lincoln PAC present an evening with the one and only Steve 'Rodders' Rodwell on Monday, January 8.

It's being billed as Big Fish - Big Laughs, Rodders and his mates being legendary in both departments.

One not to miss if you want to hear like it is from a real Fen piker, who's kept his feet firmly on the ground despite some exceptional catches.

Venue is the Turk's Head in Cecil Street, Newport, Lincoln LN1 3AU. All welcome from 7pm, admission £2.50 for PAC members, £3 non-members.

STOP PRESS: Lincoln have two top-notch speakers lined up for February and March, with ET and Rob Christen set to pay them a visit. Click here for more details on their blog.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Spoon lore from US lure buffs

To see a series of three articles from In-Fisherman in the states about spoon fishing click here.

Weather brings no let up for New Year pikers

Storm warnings issued for the whole of the UK this weekend have been extended to New Year's Day, Monday, the Met Office said today.

Winds of up to 80mph are forecast at times. Pike anglers should check weather forcasts for their area, especially if contemplating fishing from a boat.

Long-range forecasters today said we could still be a week or more away from more settled weather.

For the latest on the Met Office warnings, click here.

A tall story from the BBC archives

More lies are told about the pike than any other fish, someone - maybe Izaak Walton - once said.

Whether history has proved him right or not, there are certainly plenty of tall stories out there, like this little gem from the BBC archives.

Friday, December 29, 2006

And you reckon it gets cold over here..?

So you reckon it gets cold over here, do you..? Coccooned in plastic, these Russian anglers are fishing a frozen lake in Siberia, 2,500 miles east of Moscow, as temperatures plummet to -15.

How they do it Stateside - food for thought..?

Nylon traces and circle hooks for pike fishing..? Just the job according to today's Asbury Park Press.

Forget the nylon for a second. More and more people over there are using circle hooks for bait fishing, so maybe there's food for thought..?

Click here to read it - and why not let us know what you think on the PAC forums..?

New softbait material is 'stronger and safer'

A revolutionary new softbait material lasts 10 times as long as standard soft plastics and is kinder to the environment, its makers claim.

Many rubber lures on the market contain chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked with cancer. These are added to soften the material.

Click here for more.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stormy times ahead warn weathermen

Winds gusting as high as 70-80 mph, accompanied at times by heavy rain, are predicted to hit the country over the weekend, the Met Office said today.

It has issued weather warnings for virtually the whole of the UK, valied from 6pm Friday night.

Anglers, especially those fishing from boats, should check forecasts for their area before venturing out.

Click here for more information and forecasts.

Herts and Chilterns Region up and running

Herts and Chilterns Region is back with a bang with a list of meetings lined up for the last three months of the season.

Meetings are on the first Thursday of each month at Shefford Town Memorial Hall in Hitchin Road, Shefford, from 7.30 - 11pm.

RO John Lawrie has lined up Neville Fickling for Thursday, January 4; Steve Rodwell for Thursday, February 1 and Mike Green for Thursday, Feb 1.

John said they'll also be staging a monthly fish-in at various venues and a regional shield match in January.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Feast of twenties on Ayrshire blog

Having a bit of a lean time of it lately..? Twenties rarer than rocking horse sh*t..?

Then cast your eyes on the Ayrshire Region's blog, where there's literally a boatload of belting fish on show, many of them from the big wild lochs of Bonny Scotland.

Click here for some inspiration.

Eric joins the blogging set

Lancashire-based piker and PAC member Eric Edwards is one of the first to start his own personal blog.

Click here to see it.

Anyone else blogging..?

E-mail the address to press (at) pacgb (dot) co (dot) uk if you'd like us to plug your handiwork.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Question mark for pikers over minister's pledge

Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw is pledging to improve fisheries by bringing in parts of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries review using so-called Secondary Legislation.

But while there are suddenly some eye-catching headlines about issues like cracking down on fish theft, there's a big question mark over other areas of the review which weren't exactly sympathetic as far as pike fishing's concerned, such as the powers to impose livebait bans in so-called sensitive areas.

Secondary legislation gives the minister powers to impose new controls on an activity where the benefits can be shown to outweigh the added burden to those taking part. That means laws can be amended and tweaked with little in the way of consultation.

It's a worrying time for pike anglers everywhere, we'll bring you more when we have it.

Story here.

Bill Dance on lure angling

Master of mishap Bill Dance wrestles with a trolling motor, click here.

Having tamed the beast, he then shows how robust they are by bending one on a snag, click here.

Not much more luck when he tries jigging, click here.

Or launching the boat, click here.

Broads boaters petition minister

A petition criticising the Broads Authority's maintenance of East Anglia's unique waterways will be handed over to Defra minister Barry Gardiner.

The online petition, which has so far attracted around 1,450 signatures, makes a direct appeal, warning: “Without major corrective action the Norfolk Broads will be lost within a generation”.

For more on the story, click here.

To sign the petition, click here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Don't go trying this at home

Revolutionary new hand-lining technique being perfected by the Luddite Pike Anglers Club, who prefer to fish without such hi-tech refinements as rods, reels etc.

Insiders admit the method is still being perfected. But not being weighed down with all that tackle at least means you can be on your way to A&E a lot faster without having to pack up and lug all the gear back to the car.

Click here for more.

Fen doyen Rodders heads west for talk

Fenland piker Steve "Rodders" Rodwell travels west to present a talk to the Somerset Levels region on Wednesday, January 17.

While best-known for his catches on Norfolk's Fen drains and rivers, you can expect plenty of laughs and anecdotes along the way from one of pike fishing's true characters.

The evening gets under way in the Swan Inn, North Petherton, at 7.30pm for 8pm. Admission is free to PAC regional members, £3 non regional members, £2 under 16's.

The venue is just off the A38 between Taunton and Bridgwater, close to Junction 24 of the M5.

For more details of events in the Somerset Levels area, click here to see their blog.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Scottish livebait ban set to become reality

A livebaiting ban in Scotland came another step closer to becoming a reality as the Scottish Parliament agreed in principle the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill.

Debating the bill last week, MSPs discussed tough new measures to eradicate the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus salaris in the event of an outbreak in Scotland.

They include the powers to poison river catchments if the disease, which is currently present in Scandinavian countries, is detected.

But Green MSP Eleanor Scott turned the debate to the ethics of livebaiting and the blanket ban which was now included in the fabric of the bill, instead of an earlier proposal to create the power for bait bans in areas where translocation of baits could put rare species at risk.

Ms Scott said: "There are two problems with using live fish as bait. First, if they escape the potential exists for them to establish themselves in areas where they do not belong—which, it has been argued, has already happened—with consequent effects on the ecosystem.

"The second problem is fish welfare. Some angling groups have suggested using as bait fish that were caught in the same waters on the same day. That would solve one problem, but it would not solve the fish welfare problem. Fish are sentient beings. That is acknowledged by the aquaculture industry, which has taken steps over the years progressively to safeguard fish welfare. I do not believe that any live vertebrates should be used as bait and I endorse the committee's request that the Executive lodges an amendment to prohibit the practice."

In her closing speech deputy environment minister Rhona Brankin, who endorsed the livebait ban, said: "I thank the members who have spoken in today's debate. The vast majority have been thoughtful and constructive and have brought a degree of consensus to our deliberations. I am glad that there has been widespread support for the broad sweep of our proposals from across the chamber. I believe that that reflects our stakeholders' views about the bill.

"Eleanor Scott talked about using live fish as bait. The Executive will lodge a stage 2 amendment to introduce explicit provision in the bill that will prohibit the use of live vertebrates as bait. That is in response to the committee's recommendations and stakeholders' wishes."

The bill was agreed in principle at the end of the debate, meaning it now looks certain to go to become law.
To read the whole debate click here. NB the fisheries bill is some way down the day's business.

SAA calls for trade to support fighting fund

The SAA and other specialist groups are calling on the angling trade to support a new fund which will be used to campaign for the sport.

Click here to read more on the SAA blog.

Win a boat entries are flooding in

Getting on for 20 members are already entered in the draw to win a shiny brand new Sea Nymph from CP Boats.

All you have to do to be in with a chance is recruit a member to the PAC. And the more you recruit to the club for all pike anglers, the more chances you stand of winning.

The winner will be drawn at next year's PAC Convention, which is being held at Stoneleigh, Warks, in September.

The event marks the club's 30th birthday and one person's going to be celebrating it in style, with a new boat to start off their season.

For more information and details of terms and conditions, click here.

PAC AGM details being finalised

The PAC AGM, otherwise known as the Working Dinner, takes place on Saturday, May 19.

The venue is the Holiday Inn off Junction 25 of the M1, at Nottingham.

PAC chairman Colin Goodge said he hoped LOs and ROs would attend the meeting, which has traditionally adopted the format of a working lunch.

"Feedback is important to the committee and their comments on the day regarding several ongoing issues is also vital," he said.

Please put the date in your diary if you're an LO or RO, more information will be circulated in the New Year.

Illegal eel nets seized and netter nabbed

Illegal eel nets seized have been seized from a Hampshire nature reserve. Anglersnet has the story, click here.

In a seperate incident, AN is also reporting a court case in which an illegal netsman was fined £600 and ordered to pay £475 costs. Click here for this story.

Pike and other coarse fish can be caught in fyke nets, while otters can drown in nets set without special guards which stop them swimming in after the fish they contain.

Eels are also a much-loved summer quarry of many predator anglers, a fish which appears to be getting rarer and rarer.

Forums sign up nearly 400

The PAC forums now have a membership nudging 400, while more than 250 people suubscribe to this blog and hundreds more around the world read it.

If you're a member and you haven't already checked out the forums, why not register and have a look about.

It's a members-only forum and as you'd expect from the PAC, the atmosphere's very friendly and helpful.

To sign up for the forum, click here - make sure you have your membership number handy and read the instructions down the left hand side of the page first.

Please also note you need to use your full name to register. We don't accept nicknames.

The blog has broken some of the big stories about pike fishing since it was set up by our webmaster Dave Lumb earlier this year. It's free to subscribe, you don't have to be a PAC member and you'll get an e-mail newsletter most days.

Many PAC regions have also set up blogs to keep people informed of meetings and other events. There's a list down the side of the PAC blog, why not see if there's a region near you online..?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Season's Greetings from the PAC

Happy Christmas from the PAC. We hope you'll get the chance to get out and catch a few over the Festive Season.

There's nothing quite like blanking in your new thermal socks or one-piece suit with a hangover the size of Wales.

Friends are what makes pike fishing special for many of us and we're remembering those who've passed on this year.

David Overy, Vic Bellars and Gerry Castles all meant a lot to those lucky enough to know and fish with them.

They were all big-hearted pike anglers, who were more than happy to share their love of our sport.

Next year's not going to be an easy one. There are some serious challenges ahead.

Our president is going to be outlining some of these in a New Year Message to pike anglers everywhere.

You'll read it here first.We'd like to thank everyone who's helped the club and the wider cause of pike fishing this year.

Please help us spread the word in 2007.

Friday, December 22, 2006

January Pike and Predators preview

January's issue of Pike and Predators magazine is about to hit the news stands.

And we've had a sneak preview of the contents:

- Barrie Rickards on pike handling

- Chris Donovan offers some timely tips on pike location at this
crucial time of the year

- Dave Lumb interviews Norfolk big pike specialist Jason Davis

- James Holgate on the German pike scene, including a photo claimed to be
one of the most impressive pike you'll ever see.

- Dominic Garnett gives a new twist to a classic method of presenting bait

- Gary Knowles on the ups and downs of trout-water piking

- Barrie McConnell gives exclusive details about a new method of run detection

Don't miss Scotty D in Lanarks in Feb

North Lanarkshire region are hosting Scott Davidson for a talk/slide show on Tuesday, February 6.

Loch Awe, Menteith, trolling and one or two other matters will be covered in an evening not to be missed.

The venue is the Joker Bar, in Calder Road, Mossend - just off the A775 near Motherwell.

Admission is £2 for RA93 members, £5 non-members. There'll be a light buffet and raffle with a Prologic bivvy as top prize.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holyhead magistrates - a clarification

The PAC is tonight issuing a clarification with regard to the way today's hearing has been reported by at least one news organisation, which implied Williams and Banks were prosecuted for livebaiting.

Livebaiting is not illegal in England and Wales and the two men were not fined or prosecuted for this.

They were prosecuted for attempting to export fish without the relevant legal documentation, which is an offence.

We ask any media sourcing the story from this blog not to imply otherwise since this is not accurate.

Williams fined £800 for livebait smuggling

Nigel Williams was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs today after he admitted trying to smuggle livebaits to Ireland on a ferry.

Holyhead magistrates heard Williams, 48, and his friend Gary Banks were stopped by customs officers as they were about to board a car ferry at the North Wales port of Holyhead, in May.

They found 100 roach, carp and goldfish concealed in a large tank in the boot of Williams's car.

Both anglers admitted exporting live fish without the necessary health certificate. Banks was also fined £800 and told to pay £500 costs at an earlier hearing.

Today the court heard transporting live fish without the correct documentation was banned to help prevent the spread of disease.

Steve Maidment, from the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, said: "Angling is not a game to be played by a few professionals, it is a sport enjoyed by millions and is acutely vulnerable to the threat of fatal fish diseases.

"The most important element of the sport is healthy fish - if they die, then so does angling.

"We are determined to prevent illegal shipments of live fish out of or into Britain, and we will pursue vigorously anyone breaking the law and risking the health of our indigenous fish stocks."

In a letter handed to the court, Williams said he deeply regretted his actions. Both he and Gary Banks resigned from the Pike Anglers Club shortly after the Holyhead incident.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Grass network being set up to spy on pikers

The EA is setting up a network of informants prepared to pass on the number plates of anglers seen arriving at and leaving waters in Norfolk with livebait buckets, it was claimed today.

What's that got to do with the price of fish..?

Top-level EU fisheries talks are taking place in Brussels today. Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw is hoping to overturn reduced quotas including a 25 per cent cut in the number of North Sea herring which can be landed.

The move would see the price of many pikers' staple deadbait rocket if he doesn't succeed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ET lands in Sussex - Wednesday night

The one and only ET, aka Eddie Turner, will be speaking at the King's Head in East Hoathly, Sussex, tonight (Weds).

Eddie will be sharing some of the ups and downs of a piking career in which he pioneered tackle essentials ranging from unhooking mats to drifter floats, and notched up an impressive tally of big fish along the way.

Definitely an evening not to miss.

The venue is just off the A22 between Uckfield and Hailsham. The meeting gets under way at 7.30pm.

For more details, see the Region 70 (Sussex) blog - click here.

Gerry Castles funeral set for January 2

Gerry Castles will be laid to rest on Tuesday, January 2, after a service at West Norwood Crematorium, in South London (3.30pm).

His many fishing friends across London, the Thames Valley and East Anglia, were stunned at his sudden death in hospital last week.

As he grappled with a lengthy illness, Gerry's only thought was for the next time he'd be out fishing again.

For more details on how to find the venue, click here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Regional blogs now number 13

Thirteen regions from Devon to North Lanarkshire now have their own blogs featuring their meetings, fish-ins and other actvities.

Make sure you bookmark them, subscribe or check back regularly for updates if you're in one of those areas listed to the right of the main PAC blog.

And remember if you're an RO who wants to take their first steps into the blogosphere - or if you're interested in starting up a region, we're here to help.

Don't forget our win a boat promotion

Most pikers will be planning a few days out on the banks over Christmas. So why not try and recruit a new member or two over the festive season and get yourself entered for our draw to win a purpose-built pike fishing boat at the same time..?

Every time you sign up a member using one of the PAC's new leaflets, you get entered in the draw.

The more people you recruit, the more chances you get to win the boat.

If you're not already a member, you can enter as soon as you join the club and start recruiting members yourself.

With pike fishing uner attack from all sides, we need all the members and support we can gt to make the voice of our sport stronger.

There are one or two terms and conditions, click here for more info on the promotion.

Don't forget to write your membership number and name in the space provided on the form to make sure you get entered.

You never know - Santa might come early next year if you do.

Stop poaching or we'll cull pike, warning

Management at Gartmorn Dam have sent out a chilling warning to pike anglers in an interview set to be published by Angling Times on Tuesday.

Chris Smith, fishery manager at the 167-acre trout water, said anglers from across the country have been targetting the water despite the fact that it was closed for fishing between October 5 and March 31.

The water, which has produced pike to over 40lb, is only open to pike anglers through membership of the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland, which has privileged access on the first and last weekends of its six month season.

“People are regularly trespassing on private property with their vehicles and vandalising the ropes set on anchors around the shore that we use to stop people poaching trout,” Mr Smith tells AT.

“The problem has got very serious. We are constantly having to move these people on and the police have had to become involved on a number of occasions.

“Our regular customers are sick and tired of the problem and are calling for us to cull these pike as that would undoubtedly provide the most effective solution to the problem.

“We don’t want to kill the pike stocks but if these people keep targeting the water then I fear we’ll be left with no other choice.”

AT is appealing for pike anglers to stay away from the potentially record-breaking water. The Peterborough-based weekly says it will not publicise any fish caught outside of the PAAS-arranged access dates.

The row over Gartmorn, which has been simmering all season, came to a head after a large catch of pike believed to have come from the water was featured in Anglers Mail.

Details of the water are widely available on the internet, where a heated debate over the ethics of poaching it has been going on.

The PAC has appealed to management not to cull the pike. It told AT it was carrying out its own enquiries into what had happened on the water and could not comment further until these were concluded.

The crisis comes just days after forthcoming fisheries legislation was changed to include a blanket ban on livebaiting across Scotland.

Ely/Fenland quiz night

Mark "phone a friend" Barrett will be compering Ely and Fenland's Christmas Quiz and Raffle at the Sportsman's Club, Chatteris, on Wednesday night.

Buffet and cheap beer on offer from 8pm, members £3/non members £4.

For directions and more info on meetings in that part of the world click here .

Saturday, December 16, 2006

New blog for Teeside and Darlington

Teeside and Darlington region has launched a new blog to keep people in their area in touch with what's going on. Worth book-marking or subscribing if you're from that part of the North-east. Click here to check it out.

Don't miss our Skee-Tex competition

Don't forget the competition running in the Winter edition of Pikelines for members to have a chance of winning a Skee-Tex fishing suit, or a pair of Stream Hopper boots, or a pair of the Field Boots shown here, or even a pair of the original Skee-Tex moon boots - not to mention a number of runners up prizes.

Check out page 21 of Pikelines for the two questions you have to answer, then send your entry in by December 24th.

Fish thieves will face tougher fines, pledge

Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw has pledged the government will tackle the problem of fish being taken wholesale for the pot by migrant workers.

Responding to a Parliamentary Question from Reading West MP and keen angler Martin Salter, he also said the findings of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review , which has been in the political long grass for some time, would be enacted via "secondary legislation".

While Mr Salter heralds this and the annual fisheries debate, which took place on Thursday, as a step forward, the status of proposals to give the EA powers to ban livebaiting in sensitive areas remain unclear.

Click here for a report of the exchange between Mr Bradshaw and Mr Salter.

While most of Thursday's fisheries debate concerned sea fisheries and the sustainability of fish stocks, Mr Salter made a lengthy speech about recreational freshwater fishing.

If you click here and scroll down the debate to 4.45pm you can read it without having to wade through all the other largely irrelevant stuff.

Scottish pike fishing in crisis

Pike fishing in Scotland is in crisis this weekend, with a blanket ban on livebaiting now looking certain and the management of a potential record-breaking water threatening a pike cull to deter poachers.

An eleventh-hour amendment to the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, soon to be debated by MPs, prohibits the use of all live vertebrates.

Throughout its consultation stage, the bill proposed the less extreme measure of creating the power to ban livebaiting in areas where translocation could be argued to pose a risk to rare species or sensitive ecosystems.

But the tougher power has been strongly endorsed by Scotland's deputy environment minister Rhona Brankin.

Responding to the latest draft of the bill on behalf of the ruling Scottish Executive, she said: "I thank the Committee for their recommendation that the Executive brings forward an amendment at Stage 2 to prohibit the use of live vertebrates as bait. I can confirm that we shall do so."

How realistic - or for that matter enforceable - such a ban might be will remain to be seen in a country where many of the waters pike anglers fish are vast and remote.

During the consultation period before the wording of the bill was changed, the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland, Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling and Pike Anglers Club for Great Britain all argued that a similar approach to that currently in force in England would suffice.

In its submission, the PAAS said: "We totally oppose such a ban. It would be both superfluous and disproportionate to the risks it purports to address.

"It is claimed by some that discarded or escaped live baits have been responsible for the introduction of certain species to a number of waters in Scotland.

"There is no hard evidence for this, but even if it is true it could only account for a tiny fraction of the spread of locally non-native species and the dilution of genetic identity among established species in Scotland."

The Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling said: "There is no necessary connection or causal link between the use of live fish as bait and the movement of fish between waters. These are two entirely separate issues.

"The appropriate way to prevent inappropriate introductions and transfers is by legislation directly regulating fish movements.

"No additional Regulation is required. If the Executive believes it is essential to strengthen this by regulating the use of live fish as bait, the appropriate step would be to bring in provisions analogous to those in Denmark which directly restrict the use of livebaits to fish caught on the same day from the same water where they are being used.

"Whilst probably still superfluous, this is workable and would reinforce the message the Executive seeks to convey without alienating the angling community it aims to regulate."

The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain came out strongly in support of the PAAS and SFCA.

In it's submission, the PAC said: "We believe any bans should be the province of individual fishery owners and controlling clubs, in consultation with interested and informed bodies such as the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling, the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland and ourselves."

Addressing the wider livebaiting issue, it added: "We reject the claim that anglers translocating livebaits have been responsible for the wholesale introduction of species such as roach to waters where they were not previously indiginous.

"We believe that the appropriate way to prevent inappropriate introductions and transfers is by legislation directly regulating fish movements, such as exists in England under Section 30 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act."

As the PAC and PAAS decide whether it is worth mounting some kind of last ditch lobbying effort, it emerged that the management at Gartmorn Dam are considering culling their potentially record-breaking stock of pike.

Broadcaster Keith Arthur broke the story on his show on Talksport this morning.

It is understood management at the 168-acre Clackmannanshire trout water have told Angling Times they will bring out the gill nets if pike anglers don't stop poaching the water, which is closed to all anglers between October and March 31.

The lake has produced fish to over 40lbs in recent seasons, and a string of 30lbs-plus specimens.

Ironically, pike anglers are allowed to fish the water via privileged access days organised by the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland.

But there have been confrontations on the banks in recent months involving pike anglers poaching the water and officials claim fences have been damaged and ropes set out in the water to prevent trout being stolen have been cut.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Scottish livebait ban clears another hurdle

A ban on livebaiting across Scotland looked certain to form part of the forthcoming Scottish Fisheries Bill tonight after the Scottish Executive backed the move.

Original drafts of the bill proposed creating the power to ban livebaiting in areas where translocation of fish could damage rare species or fragile ecosystems.

But an ammendment tabled last month proposed a blanket ban and this has now become incorporated into the bill.

In her response, which was published on the Scottish Parliament's website earlier today Rhona Brankin, Scotland's Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development said: "I thank the Committee for their recommendation that the Executive brings forward an amendment at Stage 2 to prohibit the use of live vertebrates as bait. I can confirm that we shall do so."

In her opening remarks, Ms Brankin said she was happy with the wording of the Bill, after lengthy consultation.

She went on: "I believe that as a result, the Bill reflects the agreed view of the majority of stakeholders, striking a careful balance between competing priorities.

"While there are clearly some points of detail which may require to be amended, I believe the Bill as a whole should not be changed fundamentally."

Coarse angling interests north of the border, between them representing thousands of anglers, were united in their support for livebaiting and their belief similar legislation to that currently in force in England would suffice.

The PAC came out strongly in support of the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland and Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling in its submission during the consultation stage.

To read Rhona Brankin's response on behalf of the Scottish Executive in full, click here.

For more of the background, click here.

For the PAC's written submission in evidence, click here.

For the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland's submission, click here.

For the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling's submission, click here.

For links to all submissions received, click here.

Surface lure and other action on Youtube

Couple of short but spectacular video clips here, here and here.

The last one's a bit, err, savage.

Pike's popularity as food is "soaring".

The culinary status of pike is "soaring", says the Scottish Field magazine. Read it here.

Stock bigger trout to cut pike predation

Stocking larger trout at different times of year can reduce pike predation, say experts in Colorado, US. Article here.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees and down in Big Fork, Montana, they're calling for a cull. Article here.

Protect our pike fishing, says Lynn AA

King's Lynn Angling Association, the biggest club in the Fens, today appealed to anglers to fish saafely for pike using adequate tackle.

It comes after anglers fishing Fenland rivers reported a sharp increase in the number of fish caught with traces left in them.

Writing in toay's King's Lynn News & Advertiser, Lynn AA secretary Mike Grief urges people fishing the club's waters to follow the PAC's advice on ninimum tackle requirements.

"These fish deteriorate if treated badly," he goes on. "Please observe the rules and help protect everybody's fishing for the future."

Ice fishing time over in the States

While pikers over here bemoan the wet, mild and wild conditions of late, they're reaching for their thermals over in the US, where it's ice fishing time.

Gravel pits again then this weekend lads?

Flood warnings are in place right across the west of England and Wales today.

After six weeks of wet weather, forecasters say the ground is now so wet in many areas any extra water will run off straight into rivers.

Rivers in Cumbria, Wales and Gloucestershire have risen to critical levels, the Environment Agency said.

Torrential rain in Scotland this week has resulted in the closure of schools,roads and public transport, and dozens have been forced to leave their homes.

Up to 240mm of rain has fallen in Glasgow so far this month - more than double December's average.

There are currently eight floodwarnings in place for England and Wales, but these would drop off as the rain began to clear.

Fish for Gerry - friends organise memorial

Friends of Gerry Castles, the popular South London-based pike angler who lost his battle with cancer yesterday, are organising a memorial fish-in to mark his passing and raise cash for charity.

More details soon.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Blithfield - new dates announced

Replacement dates for Blithfield Reservoir, to compensate for the weekend cancelled after adverse weather was forecast, are Saturday, Junary 13 and Sunday, January 14.

Loch Awe fund raiser cancelled

This Sunday's Loch Awe fish-in, to raise funds to send a terminally-ill boy and his family on holiday to Disneyland, has been cancelled due to adverse weather north of the border.

Organiser Sandy Mackie said it would now go ahead - weather permitting - on Sunday, January 7.

Watch this space for details - we'll have more details nearer the time.

Goldfish dumped in Thames, court told

A man was given a conditional discharge in court today for dumping a bucket of goldfish in the River Thames.

Derek May, from Reading, was seen releasing between 15 and 20 fish into the river on March 29, Reading magistrates heard.

The Environment Agency said the goldfish, a species originally brought to the UK from Asia, could put thecountry's native fish populations at risk if released into the wild, either by spreading disease or by breeding with native species causing hybrids.

May admitted breaking two wildlife laws, releasing an animal into the wild that is not normally resident and introducing a fish into water without Section 30 consent.

He was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £60 costs.

Dennis Welling, the EA's environmental crime officer, said: "Although thehumble goldfish has been part of our society for 400 years, it is still anon-native species that should be enjoyed in garden ponds and fish tanks, rather than damaging native fish stocks in our lakes, streams and rivers.

"Introducing non-native fish into the wild can have serious implications for our native fishpopulations. They carry disease, out-compete native species and breed soprolifically that they change the natural balance of the ecosystem.''

PC Russell Hounslow, from Thames Valley Police's Wildlife Crime Unit, said: "Although this prosecution may seem trivial to some, thisincident could have had traumatic implications for the environment."

Gerry Castles - a tribute

The founder of Anglersnet has paid a touching tribute to Gerry Castles.

Pike anglers in London and East Anglia tonight learned that Gerry had lost his brave battle with cancer.

Elton Murphy had this to say about a man who always had time for others:

"Gerry epitomised what a 'community member' is, when it came to helping others and organising get-togethers on the forum.

"On top of that, he was a true angler - one who always seemed to offer help to those not so fortunate as himself.

"He will be sorely missed, not only by those fortunate enough to have fished with him, but also those others whom he helped over the years.

"Our sympathies are with his friends and family at this sad time.

"If you wish to add your own thoughts on Gerry, there is a thread currently running in the coarse fishing forum, Gerry's regular haunt.

click here

Rest in peace, Gerry. I'm going to miss you."


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Log cabin break is latest PAC raffle prize

A week's fishing on a secluded complex of lakes in deepest Lincolnshire is the latest prize on offer in the PAC's Winter Mega Raffle, thanks to member Steve French.

There aren't any pike but you get a log cabin and three lakes with prime fishing for other species, which all adds up to a quiet break you can take any time from May to September if you win it.

Get selling them tickets...

Sad news RE Gerry Castles

Gerry Castles passed away this afternoon in a London hospital, after a brave battle with illness.

His many friends in pike fishing will remember his dry sense of humour, his sharp wit and his skill at lure fishing.

Gerry was a big bloke with a big heart. Advice came as easy as a smile if you were lucky enough to fish with him.

Not even his closest friends in fishing knew how poorly he was. He didn't want us to worry.

Rest in Peace Gerry.

Pike fly guys launch new website

Our friends the Pike Fly Fishing Association have just launched a brand new website.

It features in-depth, no-nonsense guides to pike fly fishing, how to get started, tackle choice and fly patterns, along with information on pike care.

And if you dismiss it as a slightly eccentric method of fishing for pike, feast your eyes on the gallery, which features pike to 42lbs 10oz. That's right, 42lbs 10oz.

To check it out click here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Watch the gravel pit pike hunt online

Angling Times has today added a two-part video featuring gravel pit pike fishing tactics, presented by Martin Bowler, to its website.

Click here to see it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Roll up, roll up - Mega Raffle prize list

Here's a list of prizes secured to date for the PAC's winter Mega Raffle.

Top prize is a Catfish Holiday donated by Martin Walker, who runs Catfish Capers.

Closer to home, Mark Barrett is offering a guided trip for two in the Fens.

Brawler jerkbait rod (Ted Carter Tackle).

Brute jerkbait rod (Ted Carter Tackle).

Boat rod holders (The Tackle Shop).

Hand-carved pike replica (Ben Thomas).

Fox Guide to Modern Pike Fishing (four copies, Fox).

Daiwa Emblem 12' bait rod (Harris Sportsmail).

Daiwa Emblem boat rod (Harris Sportsmail).

Rapalla Legendary Fishing Lures, Ltd edition book (Harris Sportsmail)

Berkley Eel Lures (Mark II Angling).

Abu Cardinal 301 FR Reel (Mark II Angling).

Subscriptions to Pike & Predators (Predator Publications).

Big Pike, by Bob Church (Bob Church).

Pike Fishing in the UK and Ireland, by Steve Rogowski (Steve Rogowski).

Modern day Pike Anglers, by Barrie Rickards (Barrie Rickards).

Cormoran Bullitt lures (Cormoran).

ACE Searcher lures (Fishing Pool).

PAC products, plus other prizes to be announced.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Raffle - we're snowed under already...

We're already being inundated with requests from people wanting more raffle tickets.

Extra books are on their way to promotions manager Mike Kelly, who's your point of contact should you require any. Give him a call on 07909 854347.

The prize list is still being finalised because we keep getting more stuff. You could win anything from a guided catfish holiday to rods, reels, lures, clothing and a whole pile of other pike-related goodies.

PAC-backed schools scheme set to expand

Fishing could become part of the curriculum in schools across the country, if funding can be found to expand a successful pilot scheme backed by the Pike Anglers Club.

Junior Coarse Angling's Fishing in Schools programme has already been run in 12 schools in Oxfordshire and London.

The PAC is the first specialist group to back the initiative, which includes lessons for 11 - 14-year-olds about different aspects of fishing.

They include the biology of the pike, how to fish for them and how to unhook and return them safely.

PAC treasurer John Synnuck and Kent-based piker Steve Gould have helped both in the classroom and on the bank.

John was recently awarded a prestigious Investors in Education Award by the East Oxfordshire Education Business Partnership for his work.

Today Junior Coarse Angling founder Les Webber said almost 70 more schools across the country were hoping to take part.

"What we're hoping to do is get it into schools around the country if we can get the funding," he said.

"We're hoping PAC members will get inolved to do the lessons. We can arrange CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) checks and child protection training if they need it."

While around £45,000 is needed to run the scheme for three years, Junior Coarse Angling is in talks with a potential sponsor.

John Synnuck said: "We are looking forward to working with Les, both in the classroom and on the bank.

"We hope he gets the funding he needs to take his programme to many schools around the country.

"If he is successful all aspects of pike angling will be taught by PAC members.

"Pupils will learn that pike are predators but very fragile fish and the need for correct tackle and gentle handling are of utmost importance.

"We see this as a way of educating youngsters so those that take up pike fishing safeguard the pike and their future fishing."

Venue change for ET talk in Sussex

Please note the venue has been changed for Eddie Turner's talk in Sussex on Wednesday, December 20.

The new venue is the Kings Head in East Hoathly - click here for map.

PAC members get their first drink free by way of apology for cock-up by the original venue, which had double-booked.

Friday, December 08, 2006

How to order extra membership leaflets

We've had a few requests/queries regarding how to get hold of extra membership leaflets.

Please e-mail all requests to membership secretary John Cahill:

John's very busy processing new members and renewals at the moment, so please ensure you include your address with your request and bear with us if the leaflets take a day or two to get in the post.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Slide show season going well

The fishing might have been pants this week but the talks have been packing 'em in.

Mark Barrett's slide show in Lincoln and Eric Edwards' presentation to the Cambridge region were both attended by around 40 people, and both were cracking evenings' entertainment by all accounts.

Check out what's happening in your part of the world, around a dozen regions now have their own blogs featuring forthcoming meetings and activities, with links down the right-hand side of this blog.

Meetings are a good way to get to know people, renew aquaintances with people you've bumped into on the bank and even broaden your pike fishing horizons.

Walton on Thames are hosting Eddie Turner on Monday, December 11. For more details, click here.

Reviews added to PAC Members Forums

The PAC Message Boards now have a review forum where you can tell other anglers about the tackle you've used and abused, how well it stood up to the rigours of pike fishing and whether it was worth the money.

These are real reviews from PAC members who've used the tackle concerned after forking out their hard-earned for it.

First up was webmaster Dave Lumb, with his thoughts on an innovative new rucksack system. He was sceptical to start with, but it soon grew on him.

If you're a member and you haven't already signed up for the forums, here's another good reason to.

Please read the terms and conditions carefully before trying to register. Posters must be PAC members who use their real names to sign up.

We don't need a pike cull - Barrie

Leave things as they are, we don't need a pike cull. That's the message from PAC founder, former club president, pike expert and author Dr Barrie Rickards.

In his column on the FISHINGmagic website, he has this message for the cull-em brigade: "Nobody likes these upsurges of small pike but the way to get around it is counterintuitive to many anglers; either you must leave things as they are but do not remove any pike, or you put in a few big pike."

To read the whole column - which tackles a couple of other pike-related topics - click here.

Fish theft warning posters in 11 languages

If you click this link, you can download and print off posters in 11 different languages which carry the following warning from the Environment Agency about fish theft:


Anyone aged 12 years or over who fishes for salmon,
trout, freshwater fish or eels in England or Wales must
have a valid Environment Agency Rod Fishing Licence.

• Rod Licences are available from every Post Office in
England & Wales. Failure to produce a valid licence could
result in prosecution and a fine of up to £2500.

• A Rod Licence does not give you permission to fish,
therefore you also need the permission from the owner of
the water before you start fishing.

• A rod licence does not give you the right to take fish from
any water. This will depend on local byelaws and you must
have permission from the owner of the water where you are
fishing. Anybody caught taking fish without permission is
liable to be prosecuted under the Theft Act.
Fishing Close Seasons (months when fishing is NOT

• Fishing close seasons exist on all rivers and streams in the
UK. The times of these close seasons vary locally and you
are advised to contact your local Environment Agency
office for more details. For canals and stillwaters – this
includes all lakes and ponds - you must contact the owner
to check if there is a close season on their waters.

Please call the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506
for more details if you are unsure of the close seasons
on any

New NFA guidance on fish theft

The National Federation of Anglers (NFA) today issued guidance to anglers and those who run fisheries about fish theft.

It includes a helpful form you can use to log the kind of information which may be of use to the Environment Agency and other authorities in mounting a prosecution.

You can read and print of the form by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

PAC recruits at Carp Show

The PAC will have a membership and merchandise stall at this weekend's Carp Show at Sandown.

Anyone going along will be able to join the club, buy clothing or have a chat about pike fishing.

Come and say hello if you're down there.

And don't worry - we won't tell anyone you went to a carp show.

Otter devastation on Suffolk gravel pits today published a bailiff's first-hand account of the damage otters are doing his fishery, along with some graphic pictures.

Click here to read it.

Plenty of trout to Chew on

Pike in Chew Valley Reservoir won't be going hungry this winter.

Management at the Somerset trout fishery reckon they've stocked it with 85,000 browns and rainbows this year. So far only 35,000 have been caught.

Flood warnings for the Severn and Wye

Flood warnings have been issued for the rivers Severn and Wye after heavy downpours are predicted.

Click here to see full weather warning story.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Broads pikers warned after vandals strike

Anglers fishing the River Thurne around Martham in Norfolk are being warned after wheel nuts were loosened on a trailer with potentially deadly consequences.

A wheel came off the trailer after it had been left at Cess Road, Martham, for the day.

Luckily in bounced into someone's garden off the Martham - Acle road. Had it come adrift on the A47, it's no exaggeration to say someone could have been killed.

"Imagine if that had come off at 60mph and gone through someone's windscreen," a PAC spokesman said.

"Or a boat and trailer had broken loose in front of a lorry or a bus-load of school children."

The incident is not the first to have happened in the area. Anglers cars had nails pushed into their tyres last week. A camper van has also been damaged in a separate attack.

Tonight the PAC advised all members to secure vehicles and trailers, and leave them at attended boatyards and slipways until the culprit or culprits are caught.

"We are working with pike anglers in Norfolk tonight to ensure that they are - before someone is seriously injured or worse," a spokesman said.

Raffle tickets and membership forms on way

Tickets for the PAC's Winter Mega raffle are now in the post, with membership forms you can use to enter our special promotion where everyone who recruits a new member gets entered in the draw to win a brand new boat.#

There are more than 100 prizes in the raffle. They include everything to a guided catfish holiday, rods, lures and other sundries.

You are automcatically entered for the draw for the boat every time someone you introduced joins the club.

To make sure you don't miss out, there's a special box on the leaflets to add your name and PAC number to, so we know whose name goes in the hat.

Do your bit to support the club this winter and you could walk away with a great prize. Watch out for the postman...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Glossop meeting change tonight

While the Glossop meeting is going ahead tonight - Tuesday, December 5 - at Hadfield Conservative Club, Luremania can't make it.

An alternative speaker has been arranged.

Gary Knowles in Stoke on Trent, Tuesday night

Staffs Predator Angling Group are hosting Gary Knowles for a slide show at 8pm tonight (Tuesday, Dec 5...) at the Pioneer Club, Chetwynd Street, Smallthorne, Stoke on Trent. Buffet and raffle, non-members welcolme.

For directions click here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

PAC forums hit new milestone

We're just about to break through the 10,000 posts barrier, stats from our hosts say tonight.

Chairman Colin drops in to Wakefield

PAC chairman Colin Goodge is travelling to Wakefield to do a talk on Tuesday, December 12.

It starts at 8pm at Henry Boon's in Westgate, Wakefield. All welcome.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Scots launch Fish For Jordan appeal

Pikers in Scotland are raising cash to send a terminally-ill boy and his family on holiday.

The PAC's North Lanarkshire region has stepped in to help send Jordan Hall, who has cancer at the age of just five, to Disneyland,Florida.

They're holding a fish-in on Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe, on Sunday, December 17.

It's a tenner to take part, there'll be a raffle on the day and all monies raised will go to the Jordan Hall Fund.

Meeting time is 7.30am at the car park area, on the castle side of the loch. Fishing 8am - 3.30pm.

Anyone who can't make it can send any donations payable to Sandy Mackie, 2 Raeburn Walk, Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, ML4 1LH, cheques payable to RA93 North Lanarkshire.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rolling membership now in force

For decades, the PAC has had a membership year which ran from October to October.

Rolling membership, which was one of the initiatives put in place by the current committee has now kicked in.

That means if you're joining the club for the first time, your membership runs for a year from the date you join - not until next October.

Membership secretary John Cahill said: "Given the volume of new applications received during September to November they have an expiry in line with the clubs traditional date of 30 September.

With effect from December new members get 12 months from the date they join - commencing the first of the month in which they join- and will recieve four issues of Pikelines.

Renewals will still run October 1, 2006; to September 30, 2007. A member will still get four issues of Pikelines within that period.

Don't forget every member can enter the draw to win a purpose-built pike fishing boat every time the introduce someone to the PAC.

For more details on this exciting promotion click here.

Who was that masked man..?

Pike anglers on the Broads have taken to wearing masks to disguise their identities, reports Keith Elliott - angling correspondent of the Independent.

More here.

PAC forums going from strength to strength

More than 350 anglers now belong to the PAC members' forums, which got more than 130,000 hits in November, webmaster Dave Lumb told the committee today.

Fens club set for "crisis meeting"

One of the biggest clubs in the Fens is in turmoil, members learned today.
Ely Beet Club, which controls around three miles of the Great Ouse downstream of the city, as well as former record zander water Roswell Pits, is holding what is being described as a crisis meeting on Friday, December 15.
In a letter to members, secretary Elaine Pullar writes: "Your fishing section committee is made up of three volunteers and could possibly collapse due to Paul Verdon stepping down.
"We need you to come along and listen to what is being proposed by the fishing committee and the management committee. This will be your opportunity to be aware of what is being proposed.
"If the fishing committee does not get support on the evening then the management committee will have to make decisions based upon a financial impact which could affect the amount of waters being made available."
Uncertainty has surrounded the future of Roswell since it was sold to a property developer by the charity which owned it earlier this year.
Speculation is rife that parts of the pits could be transformed into a marina and the new owner has not so far commented on whether fishing has future on the water, which has produced record zander and pike nudging 30lbs in the past.