Monday, December 31, 2007
In his New Year message to members, PAC president Phil Wakeford said many would remember 2007 for the 30th anniversary convention and increased numbers of events, with the capture of a 39lbs 8oz pike on one of them.
More members than ever before beat their PBs and enjoyed the social side away from the water, as two 30lbs plus pike and more than 35 twenties were caught by members on fish-ins arranged by the club.
But catching fish is just one side of the coin, as the PAC steps up its fight to preserve the pike and pike fishing.
Phil Wakeford said: "There has also been a lot going on behind the scenes and we think we are finally making progress with regard to fish being taken from our waters in numbers for food and the minority of clubs and fishery owners who still insist they need to cull pike.
"We will shortly be announcing a new intelligence hotline which is being set up as a pilot scheme by the Environment Agency after some months of negotiation by the PAC and King's Lynn Angling Association.
"Information received will be used to target patrols more effectively. We will be urging all anglers to use it to report concerns and help to identify problem areas.
"On the culls front, we have just sent 500 fishery managers and owners a copy of Pike In Your Waters and the respected journal of the national Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) carries an article summarising the arguments against culling. Rest assured, we will be keeping up the pressure this year."
Membership of the club looks set to smash through the 3,000 barrier by the end of the current committee's term in May 2009.
"Between 20 and 30 people are joining a week at the moment - that's a tremendous vote of confidence in the club," said Phil.
"If you've just joined welcome aboard, we hope you'll agree today's PAC has a lot to offer whether you're new to pike fishing or a seasoned hand . Please help to increase membership by spreading the word.
"The bigger we get, the stronger the voice that defends the pike and pike fishing becomes."
Last year saw a number of successes such as victory in the campaign to save Cambridgeshire's ancient Lodes from being lowered.
In Ireland, organisers of a major pike fishing tournament did not abandon the use of barrels to retain fish but the PAC has won concessions and will be looking to achieve more this year.
PAC30 - the 2007 Convention - was the club's biggest-ever, as anglers from all corners of the British Isles and further afield gathered for an unforgettable event.
Arrangements for Piking 2008 are still being finalised The PAC committee wish all the club’s members a happy and prosperous New Year with a few pike thrown in.
For more information on the work of the PAC or to join up, go online to www.pacgb.com .
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The cost of this will be £7.50 adult and £5 OAP, disabled and kids with 95% going to the charity.
All welcome to come and represent either Yorkshire (yes) or Lancashire (I know Glossop is not in Lancashire but we don’t have a battle of Yorkshire and Derbyshire yet Kosh).
This is open to the 1st 60 anglers so if you want to feel good for just one day then come and help us out. Cancer touches us all in some part of our life’s so lets try and give a little back to those that we turn to in our hours of need. For further information maps and tickets please contact Pete Green.
Tel: 01924 782705
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
The venue is the Caledonian pub, Bolton Rd, Ashton in Makerfield (next to Tesco garage).
Entry is free for Region 31 members and £2 for non-members.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
It's now appealing to anglers and angling clubs to send in information to help its survey, to provide more ammunition with which it can lobby the aothorities.
NAFAC National Council member Steve Hellen said: ‘The information we received initially has confirmed how serious a problem fish theft is, and how little is being done by the authorities to tackle it.
"We hope others, not previously involved, will take advantage of this opportunity to comment."
For more information or two take part, click here.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Members had the run of three gravel pits, a mile and a half of river and a weirpool on the Northamptonshire syndicate complex.
Four doubles and a dozen or so jacks were banked on a windy day when it rained solidly from the off.
Best of the bunch was a 13lbs 8oz pike to Andy MacDonnell, who also had an 11lbs 8oz, while Mart Batten and Steve Rudkin also had scraper doubles.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The internet can be a great place. Out of copyright publications can be read by anyone. Two ancient tomes that mention pike fishing are now available in cyberspace.
The first, A treatyse of fysshynge wyth an Angle by Dame Juliana Berners. was published in 1496 and is reputed to contain the first mention of deadbaiting for pike.
"Take a roche or a fresh hering, & a wyre with a hoke in the ende & put it in at the mouth, & on by the taile down by the ridge of the fresh herying, & than put your lyne of your hoke in after, and draw the hoke into the cheke of the fresh hering, than put a plumbe of lead vpon your lyne a yerde long from your hooke and a flote in mydway betwene, and cast it in a pyt where the pyke vse, and this is the best and moste surest craft to take the pyke. And three maner of taking him there is. Take a frosshe & put it on your hoke at the necke betweene the skin and the body, on the back half, & put on a flote a yerd there in, and cast it where the pike haunteth, & ye shall haue hym."
The second we have found is Izzac Walton's classic, The Compleat Angler. You can skip straight to the pike fishing chapter here.
"And for your dead-baits for a pike, for that you may be taught by one day's going a-fishing with me, or any other body that fishes for him; for the baiting your hook with a dead Gudgeon or a Roach, and moving it up and down the water, is too easy a thing to take up any time to direct you to do it: and yet, because I cut you short in that, I will commute for it by telling you that that was told me for a secret. It is this:
Dissolve gum of ivy in oil of spike, and therewith anoint your dead-bait for a pike; and then cast it into a likely place, and when it has lain in a short time at the bottom, draw it towards the top of the water and so up the stream: and it is more than likely that you have a pike follow with more than common eagerness."
Who said flavoured deadbaits were new?
Monday, December 03, 2007
It's at Coxhoe & District Working Mens Club in Blackgate East, Coxhoe, County Durham DH6 4AA.
There'll be a buffet, raffle and ET original tackle stand. Admission £2 members, £3 non-members.
Wednesday 5th December
8pm upstairs at the Caledonian pub Bolton Rd Ashton in Makerfield
Top raffle prizes including Fox jerkbaits
Non-members of region 31 £2 on the door, region members free
Contact Jon Neafcy R/O for more info
Mark Barrett is doing a presentation to Cheshire PAC on Monday 10th December, at The Whipping Stocks, Little Peover, Nr.Knutsford, Cheshire.
Entrance - £3.00 for members and £4.00 for non-members.
Meeting starts at 8 p.m. - anyone welcome, but could you please contact Mark Johnson (Assistant RO Cheshire PAC) to give an idea of numbers.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Five hundred of them are being sent a booklet called Pike In Your Waters, which sets out the scientific case against culls.
The report was compiled by the Pike Anglers Club, which has campaigned to preserve the pike and pike fishing for 30 years.
It explains the vital role pike play in a vibrant, balanced fishery and why all culls usually achieve is an explosion of small pike and an even bigger problem.
Copies are being sent to every member of NAFAC - the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives - with their Winter Newsletter, which also features an article on pike conservation.
The club stepped up its campaign after details of a number of pike culls emerged.
"We're sorry to find that even in this day and age pike are still being killed because they are a conventient scapegoat," said chairman Colin Goodge.
"We're hoping fishery managers will read the booklet, weigh up the evidence for themselves and think twice before culling."
The PAC is meeting with Hadlow College, the Kent Fisheries Consultative and the Environment Agency to seek a more positive outcome for the River Darent, where a cull was carried out this season.
The action has won the backing of the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) and NAFAC.
SAA secretary Michael Heylin said: “SAA and PAC have worked together for many years to protect pike in our waters. The natural balance of waters is disturbed by man’s intervention, generally to the detriment of ecological balance.
"There is little point in all of us working towards stopping the illegal removal of fish from rivers when fishery managers themselves take short sighted views on predator populations and the results are then widely published on websites.”
NAFAC executive chairman Martin Read said: ‘Fisheries management activities are difficult to carry out in isolation, particularly on river systems.
"Hopefully a dialogue between all the interested will go a long way to achieve a better understanding and outcome in future."
Copies of Pike In Your Waters can be downloaded for free from the PAC website. Just click here to get a copy.
For as well as the 30th anniversary of the Pike Anglers Club and a record-breaking convention, it was the PAC's most successful year ever for catches on its events.
Two 30lbs fish - topped by a 39lbs 8oz monster - and more than 35 twenties were caught by members on fish-ins arranged by the club.
Events organiser Mark Skinner said: "Members told us they enjoyed events so we've done our best to put on more of them.
"We can't guarantee the fish, of course, but it's been an exceptional year for us, in which an awful lot of members have caught new PBs.
"Many more have enjoyed the chance to fish some special waters, renew aquaintances and forge new friendships with pike anglers from all over."
Those catching new PBs included Lyn Baker, whose 39lbs 8oz Lake of Menteith pike is the biggest ever caught by a female angler.
PAC events also upped PBs for Dave Ross, with a 30lbs 2oz, Jack Culpin, 28lbs, and disabled angler Darren Bragg, 18lbs 8oz.
Thirty-six twenties and well over 100 doubles were also caught.
Mark said that total could rise this weekend, as more than 30 members target an East Midlands syndicate complex.
Next year, the club has even more events on offer and any member of the PAC can apply to fish them.
For more information on events and the work of the club, go to www.pacgb.com .
Friday, November 30, 2007
John Roberts, from the Shropshire Angling Federation, told the BBC the removal of the fish had become a major problem.
He said he caught three Polish men with pike and a mallard in separate incidents last week.
The signs, sponsored by the Angling Trades Association, have the backing of the Pike Anglers Club and many angling and conservation groups.
They use simple pictograms to illustrate fish should not be killed and removed for the table.
Then please note the last posting date to ensure Christmas delivery is Friday, December 14.
Go here to order online by credit card or PayPal.
It comes after a dog had to be anaesthetised to remove a baited rig it picked up at Beccles Quay, on Suffolk's River Waveney.
To be fair, it's not clear from local newspaper reports whether the trace was being used by an angler or a nightline had been left in the water.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
That's the message from membership secretary John Cahill as he prepares to send out reminders to those whose membership has lapsed.
"I'd like to remind those forgetful souls who have yet to renew that Winter Pikelines awaits them," he said.
"We are ahead on renewal numbers this year with over 70 per cent of the membership back in the fold within eight weeks of year end."
Monday, November 26, 2007
The boards of the Anglers’ Conservation Association, National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives, National Federation of Anglers, and Salmon and Trout Association have agreed to their Chairmen signing a letter of intent committing them to the development of the new body.
The full membership of each organisation will be consulted before final agreement. The National Federation of Sea Anglers has been fully involved and will formally consider joining next Spring. Other fisheries organisations will also be welcome.
The development has been led by FACT, the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust, which already acts as an umbrella body for angling. FACT Chairman Jim Glasspool said:
“This is a major step forward towards a unified organisation which will be able to provide an improved range of services to millions of anglers and be an effective voice for them. Much remains to be done but there is an enthusiasm and commitment from everyone to achieve that goal.”
Michael Heylin, secretary of SAA and a board member of FACT, said, "The SAA, as a member of FACT, has been fully supportive of these moves towards a single unified body. We look forward to working as part of the new structure and representing specialist anglers during its
"For a long time angling and anglers have needed a single body to represent the sport professionally, at last it looks as if we have it within our grasp. SAA would like to congratulate those who have made the commitment to the future for their farsightedness and
determination to succeed in these delicate discussions."
Sunday, November 25, 2007
That was the view from Scottish LO Scott Davidson after the PAC's first event on Loch Fad.
Thirty-nine pike, with the best a 23lbs 8oz fish to David Towle, were caught during a two day bash on the Isle of Bute. Scott and Jeff Adams - who made the long trip up from Oxford - also boated twenties.
"We did OK with the weather changing all the time," said Scott. "There were 39 pike caught but you can't grumble when one in 15 is a twenty."
David Towle went home a bottle of scotch to the better and was also awarded a free day's fishing by the management for the biggest fish.
Other visitors collected bottles of champagne, while the home made pea and ham soup which was dished out at the end of the day went down a storm.
"I had about four mugs of it," said Scott. "What was good was everyone really enjoyed the day and the management really enjoyed having us on there."
It's no secret Fad's done fish to 42lbs in recent seasons. PAC members have another chance at it on Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3. See Pikelines for details.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Well it's hook 'em and cook 'em as far as the inhabitants of a place called Portola, in America are concerned.
"Folks gathered at a local hang out north of town, the Grizzly Store, to enjoy some beer, BBQ and beans," reports this blog.
"Nothing unusual about that, but as dusk arrived, things took a turn towards the dark arts, as they doused and torched a giant wooden sculpture of a northern pike, chanting “Death to Pike!!”
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Click here to read it.
But there's a rare chance to catch him talking about his latest book The Pike of Broadland, along with the recent history of pike fishing on the Broads at an Ely and Fenland PAC meeting next week.
It takes place on Wednesday, November 28, at Sutton British Legion, at Sutton, near Ely, Cambs, at 7.30pm. Open to all anglers, entry is £3 for PAC members and £4 for non members.
Also available will be copies of Steve's book and PAC30.
For further info, click here.
Conservation groups have launched a new campaign to stop fish being taken from Britain's lakes and rivers for food.
Foreign migrants from Eastern European countries are feared to be removing large numbers of pike, carp and other species from our waterways.
Many anglers fear lack of enforcement and differing bylaws in different regions have helped a free-for-all to flourish, with little being done to educate foreign anglers about the tradition of returning most fish alive.
Now the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust has launched signs with pictures warning fish should not be stolen, killed or cooked. They are similar to signs already being displayed at waters run by CEMEX Angling.
FACT chairman Jim Glasspool said: “We hope that these simple, new, signs will be used by clubs and fisheries as part of the ongoing education of recent arrivals to this country about our angling tradition of returning coarse fish."
Similar signs warn of the dangers of disposing of unwanted plants or non-native species, such as aquarium or pond fish which have outgrown their surroundings.
The first 5,000 posters have been sponsored by the Angling Trades Association (ATA).
Its chairman Sean O’Driscoll said: “I hope that these posters will educate those that are threatening our fish, fisheries and future.”
The campaign is being launched in time for Christmas, when Poles eat a traditional dinner called wigilia, which includes pike and carp dishes.
It has the backing of more than 20 leading angling bodies, representing both game and coarse anglers. They include the PAC, which is making copies available to download on its website.
For more information or to download copies of the posters, click here.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Eric Edwards puts this year's pike trials in perspective on his blog, with the tale of a 22lbs 2oz pike and some hard, hard fishing.
Click here for more.
Click here for more.
Not so long ago it was pike anglers translocating livebaits who were blamed for rare species' decline.
Coarse live and deadbaits were banned on waters like Windermere five years ago, after scientists claimed species like ruffe and roach had been spread.
Now delegates at fifth AGM of the Lake District Still Waters Partnership have been told that the lakes were set to change as a result of higher temperatures and warmer, wetter, windier winters.
Click here for more.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Preston-based lure angler Dave nailed her on a chrome Lucky Lizard spoon worked through a shallow area of the lake.
The fish came on a day when 16 twenties, 42 doubles and around 150 smaller fish were caught on lures and deadbaits.
Dave's previous best was a 26lbs 8oz pike, which was also caught on a PAC event on Menteith.
For more information on the Pike Anglers Club and members' events, click here.
Friday, November 16, 2007
It starts at 8pm, admission price of £5 includes a buffet.
Look at the table at the bottom of the BBC report - click here - and you'll see last October, November and December had unusually high rainfall.
Rob Shallcroft makes some interesting observations about the importance of rain to river anglers in an article in the current edition of Pikelines. was last season so good on our rivers because we had so much rain early on, he asks...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
But did you know if you've got a wife, kids or even both, you can upgrade your PAC membership to family and get an entry in the draw for every family member you include...
All you need to do is pay £5 to upgrade to family membership and send the name(s) of any family members to membership towers with your cheque.
NB only immediate family members are eligible. Great Uncle Frank and your 14 cousins in Australia aren't. Click here for more.
It was an 18lbs 8oz pike caught by Darren Bragg, who took to the water on board the fishery's disabled boat, with his mate Ross Greaves.
Wheelchair-bound Darren thought his fishing days were over back in 1994, when he broke his neck in an accident at work that left him almost paralised.
He even gave his fishing tackle away, not thinking he'd ever use it again. But as he came to terms with things, he got a whip and caught some roach on his local ponds.
He was back into barbel fishing by the time he bumped into Ross four years ago. Since then, he's upped his barbel PB to 13lbs 4oz.
Darren lives in Doncaster. Ross comes from Newcastle. But they became good fishing mates and started knocking about and catching a few fish on their travels, like you do.
They booked Menteith's specially-adapted disabled boat on last Saturday's PAC event, and it wasn't long before Darren was away.
"I've been stuck on seventeen and a half for a few years and I didn't think I was going to beat that," he said.
"This one was ripping line off my reel, I've always had trouble on boats before with the anchor ropes because I can't just pass the rod round them."
Landed and sorted, that eighteen pounder speaks volumes about what PAC events are all about.
"I met Ross four years ago and he's helped me a lot," said Darren. "I live in Doncaster but he still comes all the way down from Newcastle to fish with me."
PAC events organiser Mark Skinner said: "We're thrilled to bits for Darren on his new PB and so pleased members have been able to make use of the disabled boat.
"We're also proud of Ross - what a truly great fishing mate."
Monday, November 12, 2007
His son Jack's just managed it in style at the age of 13, with this cracking 28lbs Menteith monster.
Father and son made the 400-mile trip from their home in Cambridgeshire to fish Saturday's PAC event on the Lake of Dreams.
Jack had already upped his lure-caught PB to 14lbs, when something twice the size took a shine to his mackerel deadbait.
"It fought like stink, my arms were aching," he said. "I was fighting it for nearly 15 minutes, I just couldn't get its head up.
"I kept getting the float up out of the water but it just kept diving - it was an amazing pike."
The Culpins have a bit of a thing for Menteith. Dad Dick caught his PB of 28lbs 8oz on the lake in March. "I'm catching my old man up now," said Jack, whose pevious PB was 16lbs 4oz.
Dick said: "It took me years to catch my first twenty, I was 40 before I managed it."
A thirty, 16 other twenties, more than 40 doubles and around 150 single-figure fish were caught during Saturday's PAC event.
Places have already been drawn for a return visit in March. But the club has a growing callender of events on waters stretching from Surrey to Scotland between now and the end of the season.
Two thirties, topped by a 39lbs 8oz pike, along with almost 40 other 20lbs-plus pike have been caught on PAC events in 2007. Any member can apply to fish them.
For more information, click here.
But while five fish over the magical mark graced their net, the day didn't go entirely to plan.
Just 10 minutes before Ms 99 came along, a rod went over the side, Lincolnshire-based Graham told PAC News.
"I wound the braid back onto the spool and re-cast a sardine and this took it almost straight away."
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Pike anglers across the UK signed an online petition after the PAC joined retired councillor Geoffrey Woolard's campaign to stop Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes being lowered, when it emerged their future was under review.
There were fears the National Trust's plans to buy up farmland to extend its Wicken Fen reserve, north of Cambridge, would have dire consequences for Reach, Burwell and Swaffham lodes, which are believed to date back to Roman times.
Many pike anglers learned their craft on these ancient waterways, like Ian Moules, pictured above with a fine lodes twenty. The lodes remain popular with a wide range of anglers , along with dog walkers, boaters and bird watchers.
The PAC set about publicising the issues as widely as possible. As the campaign was taken up by the local and regional press, the trust held a briefing for journalists at which it insisted its Wicken Vision did not require the lodes to be lowered.
Anger erupted after Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office responded to the online petition, saying the trust's plans would dictate the way the lodes were managed after all.
But the trust hit back, saying the statement from 10 Downing Street was "unhelpful at best".
Then the PAC was leaked documents confirming that the Environment Agency intended to maintain the lodes because of the outcry over the threats some of the options on the table posed to them.
Today EA Lodes project manager Jonathan Fearnley said: "'We have investigated a number of possible options for the future of the Lodes, and have taken into account the views of all interested parties including parish, district and county council, other key stakeholders and the public.
"There were eight options considered, and each was subject to a full technical, economic and environmental assessment.
"The preferred option is to maintain the lodes at their current levels, providing maintenance as and when it is required. However, if changes in land use alter the risk of embankment failure, it will be necessary to consider other options, such as carrying out advance works to the banks to reduce their risk of failure."
The lodes are artificial river channels that carry water across the low lying fens to the north of Cambridge to the River Cam. Centuries of drainage has caused the land surrounding them to sink.
As the land has sunk, the lodes have been retained at their original level by bank raising so they can continue to drain into the River Cam and be used for navigation. The water level in the lodes is now up to 3m above the surrounding ground level in places.
Mr Fearnley added: "One of the benefits of our preferred option is that it provides a cost-effective and flexible approach, which can take into account future land use changes in the area, and should not have any significant environmental effects.
"For now, reactive maintenance is the best maintenance option for the Lodes, but we will review the strategy every five years to make sure that the most appropriate management regime is being followed."
What you can do...
I you haven't already signed the petition, please add your name in support by clicking here.
A copy of the EA's final consultation document is available if you click here.
Comments can be sent to: Jonathan Fearnley, Project Manager, Environment Agency, Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdon PE28 4NA.
Check the magazine to see if you've won. But even if you didn't come up trumps, you're still in with a chance of stocking up for next season.
Baitbox are also awarding £150-worth of bait to the biggest pike caught on one of their baits this winter.
Just send a picture of your catch, details of two witnesses and your PAC membership number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fish just have been caught on a Baitbox deadbait and the closing date is March 1.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
From catch returns so far received the top fish was a 30lbs pike to David Ross, from Preston.
It topped a bill which included 16 twenties, 42 doubles and nearly 150 smaller fish.
Nige Grassby boated a 28lbs 8oz pike, while 13-year-old junior member Jack Culpin, from Cambridge, almost doubled his previous PB with a 28lbs.
Graham Slater and boat partner Howard Thomas shared a haul including pike of 25lbs 12oz, 24lbs 12oz, 21lbs 12oz, 20lbs 4oz and 20lbs 2oz - not to mention another five doubles.
Tonight PAC events organiser Mark Skinner said: "We're delighted for every one who caught especially young Jack and disabled member Darren Bragg who caught an 18lbs pike on board the fishery's disabled boat.
"In March we had one large 30 and 12 twenties. Today we've seen a thirty and 16 twenties, which shows the water's as good as it's ever been."
With fish to 39lbs 8oz caught by PAC members in recent seasons, it was no surprise the event was over-subscribed, with four anglers applying for every place.
Places are already drawn for our next event on Menteith in March.
But the winter edition of Pikelines, which is now on its way to members, features details of nine more events between Christmas and the end of the season, along with application slips.
That's the prize in a brand new PAC membership promotion that's easy to enter and both members and non-members of the club can take part in.
All you have to do is either join the club or recruit a new member to be entered into the draw to win a day for you and a friend with Mick.
The PAC will also make a contribution towards your travel and accommodation costs.
Having seen membership increase from 1,830 in May 2006 to 2,500 by September's PAC30 Convention, the committee has set an ambition target of 3,000 members by September 2008.
Mick said: "If you care about your pike fishing, there's never been a better time to join the PAC.
"It's been sticking up for the pike and pike fishing for 30 years - that's why I'm a member."
Please note terms and conditions apply...
The closing date is September 8, 2008 and the winner will be drawn at the PAC's 2008 Convention.
Applications are eligible in any format but must have the words Mick Brown Comp written on the application form.
Click here to download a form.
PayPal entries require a separate e-mail to email@example.com requesting entry into the draw.
Prize draw entries will be confirmed to the new member (please allow 28 days...).
One entry to the draw per application received. In the event of any dispute, the chairman's decision is final.
If an existing member recruits a new member they need to ensure their own membership number is detailed on the application form.
The existing and new member will be entered into the draw and can fish the day as a pair if successful.
Existing members can recruit as many members as they wish and receive a separate entry into the draw for each.
New members can gain extra entries in the same fashion once they are a member.
Timing and venue for the day will be at Mick Brown's discretion. A maximum of two anglers will be invited at attend.
He'll be talking about some of his own pike fishing experiences and the rich history of the Fens, a unique landscape steeped in piking folklore.
It's being held at Bagster House, Walton Lane. Shepperton Middx, from 8pm.
All PAC members and non members welcome. Admission £2.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes as a North Sea storm surge sparked flood warnings around the East Coast.
While most parts of the region escaped disaster by inches - as the highest tides for 50 years lashed the coastline - the surge had forced salt water far inland by Friday lunchtime.
The RSPB said "large numbers" of fish had died as saltwater inundated its Strumpshaw Fen reserve, of the Yare between Rockland Broad and Brundall.
The damage is likely to become clear over the weekend, as anglers return to the Yare, Rockland, the Waveney and Oulton Broad.
This month we have an exciting talk by Di and Steve Crook members of the Walton on Thames PAC region. They will be talking about their adventures in Canada fishing for Northern Pike through holes in the ice.
The meeting will begin at 8pm.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The Yare and Waveney, along with their broads, were expected to bear the brunt of flooding, with this morning's high tides sending salt water upstream.
Flood watches were also in place along the Thurne system, whose northern broads are among the most at risk from the sea, with budget cuts meaning maintenance of coastal defences is being scaled back.
The Environment Agency said there were "extreme risks to life and property" from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft and along the coasts of Essex and Kent.
Thousands were being evacuated from their homes along the Suffolk coast, with many spending the night at leisure centres in Lowestoft and Leiston, and Beccles Town Hall.
Experts said improved sea defences, weather forecasting and communications would avert a repeat of the 1953 floods, where hundreds died in what was dubbed Britain's worst natural disaster.
But thousands of low-lying homes were feared to be at risk, as emergency services across eastern England prepared to deal with the aftermath.
Chilling scenario - see graphics and commentary on the BBC website.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is chairing a meeting of the Government's COBRA emergency committee as the Environment Agency warned of "extreme danger to life and property" in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, while part of Kent, East Yorkshire and :incolnshire are also under flood alert.
Earlier, Environment Minister Hilary Benn told MPs: "A tidal surge of up to 3m [10ft] is making its way down the North Sea which could coincide with peak high tides.
"There is a risk of flood defences being over-topped on the coast and in tidal rivers, especially in East Anglia, particularly the Norfolk Broads and the coast south of Great Yarmouth including Lowestoft, and areas south of this as far as the coast of Kent."Experts said the surge was almost as high as the one which caused the 1953 floods in which more than 300 people died.
It is caused by a combination of north-westerly gales, low air pressure and high tides. Homes are being evacuated tonight in areas which are expected to be worst-hit.
High tide is expected around 7am in Norfolk.
High winds and a low pressure system are expected to create a tidal surge which could see localised flooding from Wells-next-Sea in North Norfolk to Essex and the Thames Estuary.
The most severe flooding is expected around Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and parts of the Broads.
If the forecast surge materialises, rivers could rise higher than normal on Friday's flood tide - which is expected to peak around 7 - 8am. As the tide turns and ebbs later in the morning, rivers could be subject to heavier flows than normal.
Flood watch warnings are tonight in place on the rivers Yare, Waveney, Ant, Bure and Thurne, along with parts of the Fens including the tidal Ouse.
The Environment Agency said the expected storm surge building in the North Sea was just 30cm (around a foot...) lower than that which caused the floods of 1953 - Britain's greatest natural disaster, which killed more than 300.
EA Flood Watch
1953 floods - special report
Officials are expecting high tides and localised flooding tomorrow morning (Friday, November 9) on areas such as Brundall riverside, downstream from Norwich.
Warnings in place are currently Flood Watch - the lowest category. To monitor the situation, click here to see the current status.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
After receiving a number of queries and suggestions regarding the use of gags, we are re-transmitting the PAC's Pike Handling Code, which has been endorsed and adopted by conservation group FACT.
For more tips and information, please see our website www.pacgb.com
PAC PIKE HANDLING CODE
1 Tackle Requirements
Probably more than any other branch of coarse fishing, pike fishing requires some specialised tackle. However, there are a few fundamentals that you might have already.
Always ensure that you have the correct tackle necessary before starting to fish for pike, especially a large micromesh landing net, unhooking mat, forceps, strong wire cutters, small bolt croppers, wire traces, scales and weigh sling.
Wire traces are absolutely essential for pike fishing - even small pike have razor sharp teeth that will cut though ordinary line. For the safety of the pike your trace should be at least 15 inches (40cm) in length irrespective of whether you are bait or lure fishing. With the ultra-thin trace wires that are available today there is no need to drop below 28lb breaking strain.
The use of semi-barbless or crushed barbed hooks, doubles or trebles, no larger than a size 6, is preferable to barbed - you will not lose fish, but unhooking will be easier and quicker, which aids pike conservation. Semi-barbless hooks are not an excuse for allowing a pike to swallow the bait.
Line strength needs careful consideration and it is better to opt stronger rather than lighter line. A main line of at least 15lb recommended if using nylon monofilament, or 30lb if using braided line.
Pike rods usually have a test curve of 2.5lb or more for bait fishing. Floats and/or bite indicators will also be needed.
Other than a reliable reel that holds at least 100 metres of your chosen line you will also require a large landing net with at least 36 inch arms if triangular in shape, or with a diameter of at least 30 inches if round framed.
For unhooking pike you will need one pair (better still two pairs in case one is lost) of strong, long-handled forceps. A sufficiently large weigh sling and unhooking mat, or a sling/mat combo, complete the basics.
When live or deadbait fishing it is important to correctly place the hooks in the bait in order to effectively hook the pike but also, importantly, to minimise the chances of deep hooking pike. For most livebaiting the top hook goes in the dorsal and the other behind the pectoral. For legered deadbaits the top one goes in the tail root and the other one no further forward than the dorsal fin.
3 Bite Indication
To ensure that pike do not swallow your baits deeply, bite indication must be reliable. Floats are perfect, but they must be watched all the time. If fishing without a float the drop-off indicator must be set to indicate a pike moving away or towards you with the bait. To achieve this a weighted indicator may be required. Audible alarms can be used but should not be relied on as the primary indicator.
Never wait for a second run. Strike as soon as you are sure that the pike has the bait in its jaws - if the float is moving, or the line is running out if fishing without a float. Always assume that the pike is of reasonable size and strike sooner rather than later. A pike missed is preferable to a deep-hooked one.
Remember, deeply-hooked pike not only suffer damage from the hooks but also from the extra time it takes to get them returned to the water.
Striking a pike run is not like striking other fish. First, engage your reel, then point the rod at the fish and begin to wind in smoothly and quickly, until you feel the weight of the fish. When you feel the weight of the fish pull the rod firmly back to set the hooks. Maintain the pressure on the rod at all times - the pike is likely to become hooked when it relaxes its grip on the bait. Do not snatch at this or you might pull the bait (and the hooks) out of the pike's mouth.
With the pike hooked keep the line tight to the fish by keeping a good bend in your rod. Pike are one of the few coarse fish that will leap from the water in an attempt to shed the hooks. If it does try to do this (you will feel the fish rising in the water) try to keep the fish under the water by putting the rod low to the water while keeping pressure on the fish.
You may see experienced pike anglers land fish by hand, but until you have the confidence to handle pike it is best to use your landing net. Never attempt to 'beach' a pike as its scales and protective slime will be removed. Use wet hands to handle the fish at all times.
Handle all pike with the utmost care. On landing lay it in the landing net, grass or an unhooking mat. Never lay a pike on uncovered hard ground. When boat fishing always take carpet underlay, foam rubber sheet or an unhooking mat to cover the bottom boards. Prevent the pike from jumping around when it might damage itself, especially the vulnerable eyes, by holding it firmly against the padding.
Never use a pike gag when unhooking; use the 'forceps-and-hand' technique. Laying the pike on its back and, firmly holding open its jaw (by sliding fingers inserted under the gill cover, avoiding the gill rakers) with one hand in order to open the pike's mouth so you can remove the hooks with the other. Always be especially careful when you find it necessary to insert the forceps behind the gill covers. At all times make sure the fish is held firmly.
You may find that a purpose designed unhooking glove or thick 'Marigold' type rubber glove protects your hand from being grazed and cut when unhooking pike, but take care not to damage the delicate gill rakers.
Weighing should be carried out using a weighing sling or soft net - not with the balance hook under the pike's chin. Weigh slings should be wetted before the pike is put in them in order to protect the pike's coating of slime.
If you want to photograph a pike always hold it above your unhooking mat while kneeling. Try not to stand up for photographs as it means the pike has further to fall should you lose your hold on it. Pike can be held with a grip under the chin as used for unhooking, but the other hand should be used to support the fish along its belly. Lifting pike vertically with a chin grip may cause damage to the pike in a number of ways and is best avoided.
10 Returning Pike
If you have to, retain pike in a specially designed pike tube or retention sack, but do so only for the minimum period of time necessary for photographs, etc. Always fully sink the tube or sack and leave alone once in position. Do not tow fish behind boats in tubes or sacks (it is dangerous to the fish to do this) or transport pike long distances in boats. In warm weather in particular, pike can easily die from this mistreatment.
All pike should be returned to the water as soon as possible and, in all circumstances, do not retain pike just for the sake of it. Total time out of the water should not exceed one to two minutes.
Pike are far more fragile than their aggressive appearance suggests. On returning a pike you must ensure that it can keep itself upright before you allow it to swim away. If necessary support the fish in an upright position until it swims away strongly. This is of particular importance on rivers as a fish which floats on the water when returned could actually die from drowning.
NOTES ON LURE FISHING
When lure fishing the same basic principle as outlined above apply. However, as lures are usually fitted with larger and thicker wire hooks than are used for bait fishing a standard pair of forceps might not be sufficient to unhook lure caught pike. A pair of fine nosed pliers, maybe with long handles, is better, and a tool called a HookOut is also recommended. These give you better leverage on the hook and keep your hands clear of both the pike's teeth and any free hooks.
Should you experience difficulty in removing a treble hook with your pliers, it is quicker if you cut up the hook and remove it in two or more pieces. A strong pair of side cutters or small bolt croppers make perfect tools for this job. Close your eyes when cutting the hook just in case the point of the hook flies in your direction. If the cut portion of the hook remains in the pike's mouth remove it with your pliers.
A wire trace is just as essential when lure fishing for pike as when bait fishing. So long as it is fifteen inches or longer it will be fine. Make sure it has a strong swivel at one end and a strong snap link at the other, of a design that will not open up accidentally when fishing.
Line of at least 15lb and trace wire of 28lb are suggested for lures of an ounce or so, but it is a good idea to use stronger line and trace wire than you might for bait fishing as the repeated casting involved in lure fishing will place additional stress on these items. Many lure anglers are now using braided lines of higher breaking strains as these also offer greater sensitivity than nylon monofilament while being no thicker. For techniques such as jerkbait fishing specialised tackle is required and even 20lb line is not sufficiently strong.
Periodically, check the last few feet of line. If you feel any abrasions or cuts, remove the lure and trace, cut off the damaged line and retie the trace and lure. The waste line should be cut into very short lengths with scissors and retained for safe disposal later.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
We hope to preserve all existing pages in order that links to specific pages will remain unbroken although those that are copied to their new locations will not be updated.
Most of you won't notice the changes - which is the idea, but in future you will be able to use simpler addresses to pass on to people to locate sections of the website such as www.pacgb.co.uk/gallery for the main gallery page.
The blog will be unaffected by all of this.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
After the killing happened on the River Darrent, one student boasted on a taxidermy fans' website: "Was skinning out pike till 2am...."
The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain said: "Pike culls in rivers are invariably ill-conceived and needless.
"All the scientific evidence says so. These are supposed to be trainee fisheries scientists, we're shocked and horrified by the relish these students seem to have taken in killing pike."
The PAC will be speaking to Hadlow College tomorrow. Click here to see the pictures.
But Chas White reminds us there are plenty of challenges ahead in a President's Shield interview.
"We need a strong PAC to face them," he says.
"Issues like the removal of fish for the table, increased access to rivers by canoeists, attacks on our right to livebait to name but a few will continue to arise and without a strong PAC the future would be indeed bleak."
Rob Shallcroft's got plenty to say about river fishing, in an article called Queens, Blind Spots & Leopard's Eyes.
"Once you are tuned into the vibe of your river, constant groundwork will be covered; access routes, paths and walkways, the look and the feel will become a frequency and a buzz," he says.
"Covering water, looking for signs, acting on hunches and snippets of information. Left and right turns, and the occasional swerve when piecing it all together becomes an all-consuming winter journey."
Stephen Harper's got a few words to the wise when it comes to growing older.
"I think that often, as you get older, the less important the big fish become, and the more important are the friends and enjoyment. I suppose that applies to me as much as anyone."
Talking of which, Chris Donovan's got a few thoughts on the origins of some of the rigs we take for granted these days: "John Bickerdyke details a pike paternoster rig which he describes as "a most deadly piece of tackle’. The illustration shows not only an Arlesey bomb but also an up-trace.
"Well that’s a turn up for the books, all these years we modern pikers have been under the illusion that Walker and Sidley were the great inventors and all along it was standard tackle in the 30’s on the Thames and most probably before!"
Elsewhere you can win a day's fishing with Mick Brown, a freezer full of deadbaits or one of the latest creations from Zoota Lures in one of our great competitions.
There's also an update on our growing callender of PAC events and booking forms for Quays Gravel Pit, Loch Fad, Cobbinshaw Reservoir, Ecton Lakes and Hykeham Gravel Pit - not to mention all the usual news, reviews and updates from the PAC
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Our Region is going from strength to strength with new members coming
along to each meeting making a total of 24 which is most encouraging.
Last April was our Annual Award presentation night with prizes and
congratulations going to the following;
Heaviest Pike: 30lbs 13oz. Bill King.
Best Piker: Nick Radcliffe (decided by Club fish-ins)
Outstanding Achievement: Howard Buffrey (new PB 23lbs.)
Best Photograph: Andrew Parkinson. (being a new award which need not
necessarily include pike and was in fact a landscape this time)
We have been successful in booking several excellent speakers for
this new season. These presentations are open to anyone wishing to
attend at our venue which can cater for large numbers
VENUE: Sunnybank Social Club, Helmshore Road, Helmshore (opposite
'The Station' pub), Rossendale BB4 4LQ. Please park on the road.
Meetings commence at 8.00pm, dates as follows:
November 14th. Neville Fickling.
December 12th. Club christmas bash.
January 9th. Steve Ormrod: 'Heaven & Hell'; 10 years of piking on
February 13th. Geoff Parkinson: catfish, pike and zander in Holland.
March 12th. Club night.
April 9th. Mark Barrett: Fenland Piking and club presentation night.
July 9th. Dave Lumb: 'Life after piking' (fishing for barbel, tench,
perch etc). This is a special summer treat not to be missed.
See you there with a big welcome, Howard Buffrey.
To avoid disappointment please order anything intended to go under the tree in time for the Royal Mail's December 14 parcel posting deadline.
And don't forget you can order all PAC products from our online shop. Click here to visit.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
The evening - organised by Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association (NACA) - starts at 7.30pm with merchandise stands including NACA and the Pike Anglers Club.
Copies of Eddie and Jason's new book will also be available for purchase.
A raffle and licensed bar will be provided.
Admission charges apply – NACA members £3.00, non members £5.00.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Special events organiser Mark Skinner found another use for his binoculars as a procession of female waterskiers past his swim.
Elsewhere Russ Manning kept his mind on the job and banked a mid double and lost a better sample on the 75-acre Surrey gravel pit, which has not been pike fished for several seasons.
A number of smaller pike were caught and all were fin-perfect, short and stocky.
Thirteen members fished today, while eight are staying overnight for another bash tomorrow.
Friday, October 26, 2007
He goes underwater with award winning cameraman Dean Burman, who has filmed the private life of pike in a Leicestershire quarry.
Trailers for the programme say it feature's the pike's courtship behaviour for the first time.
It's being screened on BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesday. More here.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Some believe the move would help match anglers see them as less of a nuisance species. Others are less convinced.
It starts around 7.15pm at the Papermaker's Arms, Dartford, and will include the usual buffet and raffle. Copies of PAC30 will also be on sale.
Admission is £2.50 members/£3.50 non members. Click here for more details on meetings and other happenings.
Monday, October 22, 2007
To ensure your copy arrives early don't forget to renew either by cheque or paypal - see the main website for details here.
"Renewals received after this week will still get Pikelines but it will be delayed as it is sent out manually," John said.
He added backlog from the recent postal strike was still delaying both renewals and our response to members in some parts of the UK.
Thousands of dead Turkish crays have been seen in the river and broad over the weekend.
Environment Agency spokesman Amanda Elliott said tests had confirmed an outbreak of Aphanomyces astaci, commonly known as crayfish plague.
Measures are now being put in place to try to prevent any spread, particularly to rivers populated by the British white-clawed crayfish, such as the upper Waveney and the nearby Yare and Wensum.
Ms Elliott said: ``The affected animals are Turkish crayfish. What we most concerned about is preventing the disease spreading to another river system.
``Luckily, there are no British white-clawed crayfish recorded in the River Waveney.''
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Nearly 1,000 of them signed an online petition to save the ancient waterways, when it emerged their future was under review.
Options being considered included lowering water levels, which would have destroyed important pike fisheries and rendered Bottisham, Burwell and Reach lodes un-navigable.
Today leaked documents revealed the Environment Agency’s consultation paper, due to be published next month, recommends continuing to repair the lodes and maintaining water levels.
It says the decision should be reviewed every five years.
Pike Anglers Club anglian liaison officer Dennis Moules said: "It's good news, it gives us a reprieve for five years at least and had this come out at the beginning a lot of cost could have been avoided."
Retired county councillor Geoffrey Woolard, who launched the petition, said: “It looks like we’ve won a five year reprieve, which vindicates our friends and supporters and shows they were right.
“The petition system has proved to be marvellous for us, we’ve been able to get the word out quickly to people about the threat.”
The EA paper says: “Many responses received from local people during the initial phase of the consultation indicated that they were averse to doing anything other than maintaining the lodes as they are at present.
“The preferred option is therefore expected to be strongly supported by the local interest groups and parish council representatives.”
Last weekend, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s office responded to the Save Our Lodes petition in a statement on the
It said the National Trust’s plan to extend its Wicken Fen nature reserve, between
But trust spokesman Nick Champion said: “We were extremely disappointed to see the Government’s response to the ‘Save our Lodes’ e-petition on behalf of the Environment Agency on the No 10 Downing street website.
"What they said was unhelpful at best and implied that the Wicken Fen Vision is a justification for the Agency to cease funding the maintenance of the Lodes."
Monday, October 15, 2007
There are 200acres of water to go at on the Cemex-controlled Hykeham and we have the pit over the weekend of Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24.
Application slips and more details will be enclosed in the winter Pikelines, which will shortly be at the printer's.
It will also include details of return trips to Quays Pit, in Surrey, and Loch Fad, on the Isle of Bute.
Mark said we have also obtained a number of boats on Cobbinshaws Reservoir, Scotland, for Sunday, March 2.
Watch the mag for more details.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
"The Cambridgeshire Lodes carry water across the low lying fens into the River Cam. The Lode embankments have failed in a number of places in recent years because of seepage and the nature of the soils on which they are constructed. As a result the Environment Agency (EA) have undertaken costly emergency repairs.
"The EA is currently in the process of developing a strategy for the future maintenance of the Lodes and their embankments. This will have to take into consideration the National Trust's long term plan to extend Wicken Fen. Wicken Future Fen aims to create a huge new wetland nature reserve over much of the area through which the Lodes flow. This is going to change the land-use in the area and increase groundwater levels.
"The EA currently justifies funding for maintaining the Lodes embankments on the grounds of providing flood protection to a few properties and the surrounding fen agricultural land. However, as the National Trust changes the agricultural land to wetland the EA believes it will be increasingly difficult to justify this expenditure. In addition the higher groundwater levels are likely to increase the risk of embankment failures.
"As the Wicken Fen project is still in development, the strategy the EA is developing cannot yet set out detailed recommendations for the future maintenance of the Lodes. The EA recognises the high amenity value of these lodes and has consulted widely on a broad range of preliminary options to give interested parties the opportunity to present their views. The EA's initial study is due to be completed by the end of this year and further consultations will take place before any conclusions are reached."
Monday, October 08, 2007
Events start at 7.30pm for an 8pm start and anglers should note they will be taking place at a new venue: The British Legion at Sutton, near Ely.
Wednesday, October 24 - Return of Mega Pike co-author Eddie Turner.
Wednesday, November 28 - Stephen Harper on the Pike of Broadland.
Wednesday, December 12 - Quiz Night
Wednesday, January 16 - John Synnuck, the PAC's well-travelled treasurer.
Wednesday, February 20 - Midlands lure aces Lee Norbury and Phil Kirk
Digital CCTV technology is being used by the Environment Agency to monitor migrating fish numbers in the River Nene.
It monitors all fish which pass through Dog in a Doublet sluice, near Peterborough.
Data is then recorded and hours of footage can be downloaded from the computer on site.
EA scientists then have the laborious task of watching the footage and noting down each fish that goes past.
Some of the fish that have already been caught on candid camera include roach, eel and some large specimens of pike.
Technical specialist Chris Randall said: "This new technology helps us to get a picture of the species and number of fish using the pass, an indicator of the quality of the health of the river.
"It also makes monitoring more efficient, as our staff no longer have to spend time going to and from Dog in a Doublet to empty the fish traps. This means that we can use our limited resources to improve fisheries elsewhere in the region.
‘This is the first time the Environment Agency in Anglian Region has made use of this CCTV technology to monitor fish numbers and if successful we will consider using it where other more traditional techniques are not available."
Sunday, October 07, 2007
A PAC member fishing a land drain near Downham Market, Norfolk, saw three men arrive in a marroon Citroen Zsara Picasso as he was packing up after a morning session.
"They pulled a up a few yards from me and started fishing, as soon as they stopped one jumped out with a telescopic rod and started spinning," he said.
"I saw him hook one straight away, he had it on the bank flapping about and my first thought was does he want a hand with that.
"Then I saw him take it around the back of the car wrapped in a rag and shove it in the boot."
Almost immediately, one of the man's friends hooked another pike. It was dragged up the bank and unhooked with the aid of a boot on its head.
By now, the PAC member had called the club bailiff, who lives near the drain. When he arrived minutes later, they went up to confront the men.
"The bailiff got his card out and said this is a private water and you're trespassing and poaching. I'm going to call the police," the PAC man said.
"They said: 'We no speak English, no understand - we just fish.
"The bailiff said they had been seen putting pike in the boot of their car. They pleaded ignorant but as they were putting their gear in I could clearly see the outline of a pike in a plastic bag.
"When I pointed at it, they pushed me out of the way, shut the boot and drove off. There was nothing we could do - we couldn't physically stop them."
Police arrived soon after. One officer said he would have reported the men for trespass and poaching had they got there in time.
As is usual in rural Norfolk, there were just a few police on duty, with a large area to cover.
Police were given the number of the car and descriptions of the men. The PAC will also be passing details of the vehicle to club bailiffs in the area.
PAC chairman Colin Goodge said: "We'd urge people to phone the EA and police prior to approaching them. If you can hold a conversation with them and keep them there, the more chance there is of catching them."
A number of other incidents have been reported across the Fens this weekend, hours after ministers announced immigrants would be given welcome packs advising them on cultural differences, including a warning not to take fish for food.
If it wasn't true then, it sure is today, with the internet helping all kinds of hoaxes to flourish.
Remember Ewout Blom's massive Dutch pike, which was variously claimed to have been caught in both America and Canada..?
Yet another hoax is doing the rounds about it, so we've added the story to the PAC website.
Click here for more.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
The move follows police warnings that migrants from Eastern Europe with "different standards" are driving while over the legal limit and taking fish such as carp, which are a delicacy in Poland.
The leaflets are part of the Government's £50million response to a damning report from the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, which said existing methods of promoting better race relations weren't working.
More than 700,000 migrants came to Britain last year, according to official figures.
It's at the Swan Inn at North Petherton, just off the M5 at Junction 24. Start time 7:30 for 8:00. This show is open to anyone, free to regional PAC members, £3 to non regional members and £2 for under 16's.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Emergency measures were put into place in the Delph, on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border, after anglers reported fish gasping for oxygen on the surface.
Officials said the problem had been caused by stale water which had been standing on Welney Washes all summer entering the river.
“We were concerned this could impact on water quality,” said EA senior environment officer Greg Oakes. “We were getting very low oxygen levels and we have an action plan for when levels fall.”
Aerators were installed to boost oxygen levels and supplies of hydrogen peroxide – which can be added to river water in extreme emergencies to provide a rapid oxygen boost – were placed at strategic points, as anglers and scientists expected a major fish kill.
But Mr Oakes said while a few had died in isolated pockets, the measures had largely worked.
“Oxygen levels have steadily gone up over the last few weeks at all key points,” he said.
“A lot of fish are carrying fungus, which is a sign of long-term stress, but we’ve not seen any major mortality – just small pockets.
“There is always an element of luck with all these things but we have spent large amounts of resource going up there nearly every day sampling.”
In recent weeks, pike anglers have noticed the water has an unusual dark tinge in several areas. The EA does not yet know what has caused it but does not believe it to be harmful to fish stocks.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Now a meeting has agreed an ambitious plan to restock and revitalise the Thames tributary.
Thames Water admitted responsibility for the pollution, which happened on September 17. It apologised unreservedly to everyone concerned at the meeting, which was co-ordinated by the Anglers’ Conservation Association.
It was attended by the local angling clubs, the Wandle Trust, the Chief Executive of Thames Water, two of the company’s senior directors, fisheries staff from the Environment Agency and was hosted by the National Trust.
David Owens, Chief Executive of Thames Water, said: "We accept full responsibility for this incident and apologise to the many people who have been affected. We know that rehabilitation will be a long process, and that significant costs will be involved, but we want to get started as soon as possible.
"The first step is to commission an independent survey of the river to assess the damage and identify what work is required. We are committed to working openly and co-operatively with the Environment Agency, the ACA, angling clubs, the Wandle Trust and the local community on a plan that will not just restore the river but - in the longer term - improve it, for the benefit of people and wildlife."
Mark Lloyd, Executive Director of the Anglers’ Conservation Association said: “While everyone regrets that this incident ever happened, we are delighted that Thames Water has responded not only by accepting responsibility and promising to compensate those affected but they have also agreed to go the extra mile and commit to core funding the long term improvement of the river.
"This is a very welcome change from a company that the ACA has previously had to fight through the courts. We hope that this sets a precedent for any future pollution events not only by Thames Water, but by the rest of the water industry.”
Theo Pike, Trustee of the Wandle Trust and Senior Vice President of the Wandle Piscators said: ”we are delighted to have been assured of Thames Water’s commitment to working with the local community to mitigate the effects of this environmental disaster, and provide real partnership in restoring the Wandle to its rightful status as the best urban chalkstream in the world”.
Zoe Colbeck, Property Manager for the National Trust’s Morden Hall Park, said: “The River Wandle is an incredibly import resource for the local community and for wildlife. Over a number of years we have been working with the Environment Agency and other partners to improve the water quality and associated habitat. We are delighted that Thames Water have decided to contribute to this process and we are looking forward to working in partnership with them over the coming years. We hope this experience will also help us work more closely with Thames Water across the whole of the SE region.”
Charles Rangeley-Wilson, presenter of the BBC’s Accidental Angler series, said: “Catching and releasing a two and a half pound trout from the River Wandle this August was probably the most significant moment in my fishing career.
"I'd dreamt about doing this for a decade. It meant a lot to me that this urban river was recovering from centuries of pollution. That trout was an old warhorse of a fish and to think that it had endured for so long only to die in this recent, disastrous pollution was very depressing.
"Despite my despair at that news I'm now really delighted to see that the ACA has worked so quickly with Thames Water and the local community to develop an ambitious plan to get the river back on its upward curve of recovery as soon as possible.”