Tuesday, July 31, 2007

EA on the trail of spear fisher Simeon

A self-styled river keeper is under investigation by the Environment Agency after telling a local paper he used a spear gun to try and kill a pike in a Hampshire chalk stream.

Simeon Hay missed when he drew a bead on a fish dubbed the Itchen Monster. But he went back with a lure rod and removed all 14lbs of it from the river.

"I was cutting weeds and this thing scared the living whatsits out of me," he told thisishampshire.net.

PAC members complained to the Environment Agency after the article appeared.

They received the following response: "You are absolutely right regarding the legality of the use of a spear gun to catch, or attempt to catch fish in inland waters.

"We will be taking enforcement action. Thank you again for bringing this issue to our attention."

Click here to read the local paper story.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Save our lodes campaigners to meet trust

Campaigners fighting to save Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes are set to meet the National Trust to 'talk through the issues'.

The trust wants to buy up thousands of acres of farmland to create a new wetland north of Cambridge.

But a scoping document from the Environment Agency says water levels in a number of lodes may need to be lowered.

This would transform the lodes into little more than ditches, destroying the unique character of historically-important fisheries.

Almost 600 people have now signed a petition to save them. They include pike anglers, walkers, boaters, councillors and an MP.

Campaigner Geoofrey Woolard said today: "It is also clear that the E-Petition is being noticed by others, as I have received an invitation to meet representatives of The National Trust on August 7 to talk through the issues.

"I have accepted the invitation and shall attend at Wicken at 5 p.m. on that day."

Show you care.... Add your name to the petition.... Click here

Flooding will become common - claim

Floods like those which have devastated parts of the Midlands, Thames Valley, Yorkshire and Humberside over the last two weeks will become more common, claims a hard-hitting newspaper report.

"Climate scientists predict that by the end of the century storms like those that have swept across England this summer will hit Britain far more frequently," the Daily Telegraph reports.

"National average rainfall will increase by around 20 per cent, and much of that will fall in extreme, torrential downpours bringing a month's worth of rain in a single day."

Click here to read it in full.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

All change for pike anglers on Thirlmere

One of the North West’s largest fisheries has recently come under new management following United Utilities decision to lease the fishing rights on Thirlmere Reservoir in Cumbria.

Thirlmere will now be managed by the local club, Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association (WADAA) but day permits will continue to be readily available for visiting anglers.

While anglers must now pay to fish what was a free fishery, the association believes the fishery will improve as a result of tighter control.

“Thirlmere is unique as a wild fishery and one of the few remaining large lakes in England where the water quality is holding its own”, says Neil Birkinshaw, WADAA’s Association Manager.

“In particular we are keen to ensure that the existing stock of wild brown trout is protected from previous levels of exploitation and that the fishery has the opportunity to develop its undoubted potential as a premier natural trout water.

"A sensible bag limit and restricted methods will help us to achieve that – as will a responsible approach from anglers who visit the fishery”.

Thirlmere, which is three miles long and up to 160ft deep in places, contains brown trout, ferox, pike and perch. Pike tend to be numerous, but on the small side.

Day permits are £8.00 for trout fishing or £6.00 for pike and perch with age concessions. Juniors under 12 can fish for free with an adult permit holder.

Visitors may launch their own boats from Armboth car park but engines, including electric motors, are not permitted. Both trout and coarse permits also cover fishing on a number of other WADAA fisheries in the area.

Thirlmere is a large and very scenic lake alongside the A591 between Grasmere and Keswick. Helvellyn towers over the eastern shore while to the west conifer plantations dominate the fells.

It supplies most of Manchester's water – with the result that water levels can drop dramatically over a dry summer.

However at normal levels the lake is a spectacular wild fishery and for most of the year quiet and undisturbed.

More details on Thirlmere can be found here.

Piking 2007 - advance tickets go on sale

Advance tickets for Piking 2007, the PAC's 30th anniversary convention, are now on sale.

They offer entry to the event from 10am, rather than 10.30 when doors open to the public, meaning you get longer to browse the stalls before the speakers take to the stage.

They are available for £10 each - cheques payable to PACGB - from Mike Kelly, 47 Yew Tree Road
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 0BG.

Please enclose an SAE and note closing date is September 14.

Tip of the day for July 29, 2007

Mike Kelly soaks cork balls in fish oils before using them to pop up deadbaits, giving them a bit of added scent trail as well as bouyancy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trust slammed over threat to lodes

A campaigner fighting to save Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes says the National Trust is threatening their survival, the Cambridge Evening News reports today.

Retired councillor Geoofrey Woolard told the paper: "If it had not been for the National Trust's plans to buy up and partially flood some 10,000 acres of rich fen land in the Swaffham Internal Drainage Board's area, this issue would not be causing so much concern to so many people."

More here.

Nearly 600 people have now signed an e-petition to save the lodes, which are a histoically important pike fishery as well as being unique waterways dating back to Roman times.

To add your voice, click here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pikers e-mail spear fisher Simeon

A Hampshire game fishing guide boasts of killing a so-called monster pike after several attempts - including trying to shoot it with a spear gun.

Simeon Hay told a local paper the 14lbs fish "scared the living whatsits off him", before a rubber lure sent it on a one-way trip to his freezer.

PAC members have e-mailed a few home truths to Mr Hay, who apparently works as a river keeper.

More here.

PAC birthday bash set to be biggest yet

Get set for Piking 2007 - the Pike Anglers Club's biggest-ever convention.

An unrivalled line-up of guest speakers are topping the bill at the PAC's 30th birthday bash at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on Saturday, September 22.

Mick Brown, Jason Davis, Colin Goodge, Eddie Turner and John Watson will all be appearing on stage at an event no pike angler will want to miss.

The day will be compered by Barrie Rickards, one of the 2,500-strong club's founding fathers.

PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: "We're extending an invitation to all pike anglers to come and help us celebrate our 30th anniversary.

"We'll be doing that in exceptional style with the line-up of speakers we've got and all the other attractions lined up for the day."

Trade stands at the event will include some of the top names in the sport, including Fox, ET, the Friendly Fisherman, The Tackle Shop (Gainsborough), DLST, Zoota Lures, The Pike Shop, Sovereign Superbaits and CP Boats.

There will also be two book launches. PAC30, a book with chapters by 30 pike anglers commemorating three decades of the club will be on sale, along with Mega Pike - The Return; by Eddie Turner and Jason Davis.

Other attractions include the famous mega raffle, the draw for a brand new Sea Nymph boat and places to fish Lake of Menteith - not to mention the chance to renew aquaintances with pike anglers from all over the British Isles and further afield.

And as well as the bring and buy stall where you can sell unwanted tackle and maybe pick up a bargain, this year's event will have a second-hand lure stall for the first time.

Last but not least there will be awards presentations and Neville Fickling's Pike Panel, where audience members can quiz some of the sport's top names.

Many predator fans view the convention as one of the highlights of their year and the start of the traditional piking season.

This year's event comes after 18 months in which the club has seen record numbers joining, a 39lbs 8oz pike landed at a members' event and a far higher media profile as it steps up the campaign to preserve the pike and pike fishing.

Tickets cost £10 members, £12 non-members including parking. Up to two juniors admited free with a paying adult.

Doors open 10.30am. PAC members with advance tickets get priority admission from 10am.

For more information on the event and the work of the PAC, go to www.pacgb.com .

The club has an extended membership offer in operation in the run-up to event and members can enter a draw to win a boat by recruiting a friend using the special forms which can be downloaded from the website. Click here for more on this special promotion, including terms and conditions

EA launches online boat owners survey

Environment Agency navigation chiefs are launching an online survey to find out boat owners' priorities when it comes to spending cash on our waterways.

The EA is the navigation authority for the non-tidal Thames, the rivers Wye and Medway and six East Anglian waterway systems including the Great Ouse and Nene catchments .

"In August we are running an online survey to gain views on how our navigable waterways are used and what boaters consider and what boaters consider as the priorities for operations and services," says a letter to boat owners from National Navigation Manager Stuart Taylor.

"These responses will help inform and be fed into a national funding strategy. To help inform our decisions, we want to hear yyour views on what we do, what you value and what you may feel we do too much of."

Survey results, which will be gathered anonymously by an independent survey company, will be presented to the board of the EA in November and published afterwards.

Tip of the day for July 27, 2007

Gloucestershire based piker Rob Shallcroft says: "With Health and Safety at work ever increasing, there are firms who will make plastic drip trays to any size for industrial enviroments to collect oil and chemical drips and spills.

"Measure up the back of your car/van/bling mobile and get one made, they are tougher and much cheaper than the flimsy moulded ones made by the car companies. Handy for the Piker with the odd wet wintery thing in the back of the car."

Save our lodes petition tops 500

More than 500 people have now singed the electronic petition to save Cambridgeshire's historic lodes - click here to add your voice to the fight to save these historic waterways.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cased pike prices tailwalk

An upper double caught near Devizes, Wilts, 50 years ago has sold at auction for £2,160. The 17lbs 4oz fish won a pike match on the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1955. Its captor Brian Hill paid £17 to have it set up by legendary taxidermist Coopers, at a time when the average weekly wage was just £11, local paper the Gazette & Herald reports today. Click here for more.

Council backs save lodes campaign

East Cambridgeshire District Council has voted to back the campaign to save the county's historic lodes.

Anger erupted after plans emerged to lower the levels of the ancient waterways, as part of a massive wetland creation scheme.

But East Cambs councillors have agreed the ancient waterways are "an important historical and recreation feature" and they're calling on the Environment Agency to maintain them in their present form.

More here.

More than 400 people have now signed an online petition - including South East Cambs MP James Paice. You can sign it here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't ditch our lodes, say Cambs pikers

Pike anglers are at the forefront of the fight to save Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes.

The historic waterways, which date back to the Romans, are in a "new" plan by the National Trust to extend the Wetlands of Wicken Fen. This will involve transforming them into internal drainage ditches.

Pike Anglers Club liaison officer Dennis Moules said: "We successfully fought this issue 30 years ago. This is completely unacceptable for all anglers.

"The Lodes hold specimen fish of all species and are ideal waters on which to teach youngsters.

"I urge all anglers to support this cause by signing the online Don't Ditch Our Lodes petition to No.10 Downing Street, by clicking here."

One of those for whom the lodes hold special memories is Ian Moules, who learned to fish on their banks, He is pictured above with a 22lbs pike caught from one of them .

The petition reads simply: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that the Cambridgeshire lodes don't get ditched!"

Dennis added: "Geoffrey Woollard, a retired county and district councillor, is coordinating opposition to this plan, but we need help from as many anglers as possible.

"The Lower Great Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Consultative Committee, on which I serve, are to oppose this at the highest level."

Mr Woolard writes in his introduction: "Some 30 years ago, a successful campaign was waged to save The Cambridgeshire Lodes, ancient canals of probable Roman origin - principally Bottisham, Swaffham Bulbeck, Reach, Burwell and Wicken Lodes - which were threatened by the then authorities.

"A decision was made to maintain and to preserve The Lodes. Such is the situation today: The Lodes have been maintained and preserved.

"But new documents indicate that The Environment Agency has commissioned a ‘scoping report’ costing some £200,000 and that it is looking critically at The Lodes, an option again being that of converting all or some of them into ditches.

"The old campaign slogan - ‘Don’t Ditch Our Lodes!’ - is just as relevant now as it was in the 1970s.

"A new factor is the National Trust’s plans to buy up and partially to flood some 10,000 acres of rich fen land and the Trust says that ‘lowering’ some of The Lodes would be ‘acceptable.’

"Lowering is much the same as ditching. The Swaffham Internal Drainage Board and Swaffham Prior Parish Council support the Lodes being maintained.

"But the Philistines could be triumphant if their opponents are inactive. So, this is a call to those with influence to use it!"

Be Inspired, says Autumn Pikelines

Be inspired, it says on the cover. And if Ewout Blom's story of the capture of a massive dutch pike doesn't inspire you nothing will.

We tracked down Ewout for the real story behind a capture which became the subject of internet hoaxes.

"This is the pike of a lifetime I said, after releasing a shout of happiness over the water. When Michel positioned the boat back on the drop off, we both sat in the boat still fishing but not believing what had just happened."

Closer to home Darron Nixon asks how aggressive pike really are, after encountering some feisty critters on his travels.

Wayne Gorringe from the British Pike Squad charts some of this bizarre band's adventures in Ireland, while Graham Barstow has some down to earth advice on boat fishing.

"I hired a boat and engine with a couple of friends on a large Scottish loch, the prop hit a rock and the sheer-pin broke," he says.

"We were miles from anywhere so we unhitched the engine and carried it for miles over bog and field to the van. We drove back to the boat rental office where the proprietor removed the engine cover to reveal spare sheer-pins."

Alastair Smith, Steve Rogowski and Steve Rodwell have in-depth pieces on the Lake of Menteith, writing a pike fishing book and what makes a Fen piker tick.

There's all this plus all the regular news. views and reviews - along with updates on the PAC's growing calender of members' events.

Keep your eye out for the postman.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Close season fishing does no harm - NFA

A survey carried out by the National Federation of Anglers (NFA) shows more than 70 per cent of anglers believe fishing during April and May is not detrimental to the environment, it emerged today.

Hundreds of anglers were quizzed in tackle shops for their views on the annual three-month break, which first became law in 1878 and still exists on most of Britain's rivers.

"Today the argument for the retention of the close season tends to focus on the protection of spawning fish, environmental concerns and the effect on other forms of wildlife," says an article in the NFA's free newspaper, due to arrive in tackle shops next week.

"Whilst these arguments have their supporters they have begun to lose weight as the opening up of the close season on stillwaters and canals has not poved to be the environmental disaster that was first predicted."

Yet the NFA has stopped short of an outright call to overturn the so-called Mundella Act which led to the close season, saying instead the Environment Agency should review the issue.

John Williams, secretary of the Birmingham Anglers Association, said: "The problem I find with any debate about the close season is that you get very vociferous comments from a small minority of people who hold strong opinions on either side, however you never get the views of the silent majority of anglers who just want to go fishing.

"Perhaps this NFA survey has managed to tap into this core of sensible and reasonable anglers and that their opinion is at last going to be heard above the rhetoric of the militants."

Fisheries scientist Dr Keith Hendry said: "Clearly the current situation is nonsensical and cannot be logically dfended or sustained.

"With fish spawning ourside the close season, the current shut-down cannot achieve the objective of protecting spawning fish, even if it was scientifally proven to be necessary."

Dafydd Evans, the EA's head of fisheries, said survey results could have been slewed by the way the poll was carried out.

"The fact that it was undertaken through tackle shops in the close season demonstrates it could easily be biased towards those who are actively fishing in this period."

Emails spark hint of rethink on barrels

Pike anglers are urging Irish fisheries officials to investigate alternatives to using barrels to retain pike in fishing competitions.

The call comes after an official from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) responded to a flood of e-mails about the Erne International Pike Fishing Festival.

Brendan Downey, from DCALs fisheries department, said: "While the Department assisted the organisers in running the competition we have no direct responsibility for the measures employed.

"As I stated we understand that all fish were returned alive at the last competition and so the methods employed appear to have worked.

"However we will investigate what alternative measures could be used and if these are acceptable we will suggest that the organisers use such methods in future competitions."

After months of trying to negotiate with organisers of the event, which is sponsored by Fermanagh District Council and Waterways Ireland, the PAC has said it will have no alternative but urge pike anglers to back calls for a boycott of the event if progress can not be made.

Reports from Ireland suggest numbers of fish have died after being retained in barrels in competitions staged in recent weeks.

PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: "We still remained puzzled as to why the organisers do not reconsider their position, particularly in light of recent tragedies at other events.

"It would be a crying shame if the Pike and the future of piking tourism in Fermanagh were to pay the price of ignorance and pride"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Floods devastate Severn and Avon

Just weeks ago, the predator fishing grapevine was buzzing with news Britain's first 20lbs-plus zander had been caught from the Severn.

Over the weekend, the river has been ravaged by the worst floods in more than 50 years.

Fish stocks are certain to be devastated by storm surges which have seen the river burst its banks from Upton downstream to Tewkesbury.

Aerial pictures showing the Gloucestershire market town almost completely submerged
appeared on the front pages of many of today's newspapers.

See the BBC for the latest - click here.

Game Fair cancelled because of rain

The CLA Game fair, due to be held at Harewood House, near Leeds next weekend has been cancelled due to adverse weather, organisers said today. More here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mega pike set to net £6,000 at auction

A cased Norfolk 30 from 50 years ago is expected to make £6,000 when it comes under the hammer this week, the BBC reports. Donald Tate, from Hertfordshire, had the fish set up after he caught it on Hickling Broad, in 1956.

It's believed to be the last pike ever set up by legendary taxidermist Cooper & Sons of Hounslow.

It comes complete with newspaper cuttings from the time, in which Tate says the fish frightened him when he realised its size.

"It came straight out of the water and crashed back with the noie of a ton of coal being emptied," he said.

More here.

Tip of the day for July 22, 2007

Ryan Fawcett's got a simple tip for anyone who cares about the state of their fisheries.

He says: "If you want to help look after your fisheries you should add the pollution hotline number (0800 807060) to your phone in case you should come across any instances of pollution. Report any pollution incident immediately as the sooner it gets reported the sooner the clean up operation can begin."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Eel be gone soon, scientists say

Pike anglers asked for further information after we reported eels had been accorded endangered status.

Here are some links to reports by the European Union and other bodies:

EU working document

EU Inland Fisheries Commission Report

Greenpeace Report

Pikers urged to pen protest letters

PAC secretary Mark Barrett is urging pike anglers to put pen to paper, to let sponsors of a controversial pike fishing competition know why it's wrong to retain pike in barely enough water to cover their backs.

The club has tried negotiating with organisers of the Erne International Pike Fishing Festival.

But talks broke down when they refused to budge over the way fish were retained prior to weighing and stewarding arrangements at the event.

Since then organisers have said a respected fisheries scientist told them retaining pike in unearated barrels would not harm them.

But both of the event's main sponsors said they did not have a copy of this advice after the PAC mounted a legal bid to obtain documents using the Freedom Of Information Act.

Tonight Mark Barrett said pike anglers should write to the following to make their opinions known.

dcalangling@dcalni.gov.uk - the Department for Culture Arts and leisure

keith.collen@fermanagh.gov.uk - Organiser for Fermanagh District council

info@nitb.com - the Northern Ireland Tourist Board

Please copy you e-mail to secretary@pacgb.co.uk - and please forward any reply to the same address.

Fish kill reported in Northern Ireland

Irish media are today reporting a fish kill in the Castletown River, in Co Louth. More here.

Tip of the day for July 21, 2007

Andy "Kosh" Kershaw, of the rag tag band known as the Glossop region, saves a fortune on lures by fishing with Simon Crump.

He makes a mental note of where Crumpy snags his lures on the other bank, then drives round at the end of the day to collect some freebies.

"Save debloons on fox lures by fishing twith thee crump ..!!!!! , just popp a mem of ry to where he snaggs onto tother bank !!!!!! and at of day drive round and collect hey prest of O , a few foxy bits of sh**te for nowt "

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hunt stepped up for missing scientist

Pike anglers are leading the hunt for a missing scientist, it emerged tonight.

Pike Anglers Club insiders admit the search is being hampered by the fact little is known about the mystery boffin - not even their name.

All we can be sure of so far is that reports say they are "a respected fisheries scientist". They are also believed to have a soft spot for using unaerated barrels to retain pike.

When questioned over the use of barrels in the Erne International Pike Fishing Festival, sponsor Fermanagh District Council said: "The issue of barrels has been an organising committee's decision based on consultations with DCAL and other suitably qualified individuals and agencies."

But when the PAC launched a legal bid for further information under the Freedom Of Information Act, asking the council for a copy of any correspondence on the subject, it said:

"There is no correspondence relating to this."

Co-sponsor Waterways Ireland has also said it has not been party to any scientific advice.

"We are clearly dealing with an elusive scientist," a PAC spokesman said.

Documents passed to the club, which apear to be hand-written notes of an organisers' meeting, make no reference to barrels - or scientists, come to that.

Talks between the PAC and organisers of the event broke down in April. The club has warned it will back calls for a boycott of the event if organisers do not return to the negotiating table.

Since then disturbing evidence has emerged that large numbers of pike have died after being retained in barrels during competitions in recent weeks.

The PAC has renewed its call for match organisers to stop using barrels.

Local newspaper the Fermanagh Impartial Reporter picked up the story in this week's edition.

It reported the PAC had “serious welfare concerns both over the use of the barrels and the lack of stewarding at the event, meaning pike would be retained for long periods or transported some distance to be weighed.”

But it added: "The organisers refute the claim, pointing out that the barrel system was adopted after consultation with a respected fisheries scientist."

The paper also stated the match had the support of what it called the Pike Federation of Ireland.

Like the mystery scientist, the PAC has been unable to contact the Pike Federation of Ireland, which does not seem to exist.

But John Chambers, chairman of the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs (IFPAC), posted this clarification on its internet forums:

"One of the organisers Richard Turner phoned me yesterday afternoon to let me know what was printed in the paper and stressed to me that at no time during the interview was it said that I.F.P.A.C. supported the competition.

"The reporter was told that the competition has been supported by many members of clubs affiliated to I.F.P.A.C.. That said the Federation do not oppose the competition. At present the Federation do not oppose the use of barrels when used properly ie to hold pike while being brought to a weigh station.

"As I posted recently on another thread a meeting is being arranged with the P.A.C. to tease out the problem of the speedy weighing of pike on boat competitions."

Tonight a PAC spokesman said: "While we are no nearer to tracking down the elusive scientist, the PAC remains hopeful a meeting might help move things forward - particularly were IFPAC to clarify its stance on an issue which has now the biggest talking point in pike fishing.

"In the meantime we will continue to seek answers and get to the bottom of things in the hope organisers will rethink their ideas when it comes to retaining pike."

Tip of the day for July 20, 2007

Mega Pike and Return of Mega Pike author Eddie Turner's all for doing something out of the ordinary - even something daft.

"During a days pike fishing do something "stupid". Surface fishing......small bait.....big bait........margins......mates swim.....upside down bait...any thing different from the norm.......it works for me..."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We've got science on our side, claim

Organisers of the controversial Erne International pike fishing match claim "a respected fisheries scientist" told them barrels without any aeration were the best way of retaining pike prior to the weigh-in at the event.

Today's Fermanagh Impartial Reporter newspaper states: "The barrel system was adopted after consultation with a respected fisheries scientist."

The Pike Anglers Club is using Freedom Of Information laws to find out a little more about this scientist and the advice supposedly given, as to date match organisers have not provided any more information.

Tip of the day for July 19, 2007

Teeside piker Darron Nixon has some tips for loading multiplier reels with braid.

"When loading a multiplier reel with braid make sure it goes on really tight," he says. "That way the loaded braid won't bed in to the spool. It makes casting much easier and helps prevent tangles and overruns.

"Before loading the spool attach it by tying on then adding a small piece of tape. Now the non stretch braid won't spin on the spool making you think the clutch is wrongly set.

"This does not happen with nylon monofilament as the line stetches and clings to the spool, making slips less likely."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pike matches over a barrel after fish die

The Pike Anglers Club is calling for pike match organisers to stop using barrels to retain fish after claims pike died in poorly-stewarded competitions after being kept for long periods without oxygenation.

The latest scandal centres on events held on loughs in Ireland.

It comes after the 2,500-strong PAC called on the organisers of Ireland's most prestigious pike fishing competition to abandon the use of barrels over "serious welfare concerns", amid growing calls to boycott the event.

One PAC member who witnessed an event last weekend said pike which had been retained in barrels during a match were transferred to a holding tank.

He claims fish deaths were witnessed by a named fisheries officer, who the club is now trying to contact.

PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: "We are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened but if the accounts of an eyewitness are correct a substantial number of fish died.

"Barrels appear to be growing in popularity as a method of retaining pike prior to weighing in competitions held in Ireland.

"If reports are true - and we have no doubt the basic facts are - they clearly illustrate barrels are not a suitable means of retaining pike and anglers should avoid their use and events where this is encouraged."

The PAC has an eyewitness willing to go public. The club is also now in a position to release pictures of barrels used at last year's Erne International Pike Fishing Classic, which clearly show the containers are not aerated and fish would be retained in shallow water, on board a boat.

Talks between the PAC and organisers of the Fermanagh-based competition broke down in April.

The PAC said it had serious welfare concerns both over the use of the barrels and the lack of stewarding at the event, meaning pike would be retained for long periods or transported some distance to be weighed.

The club fears fish will be deprived of oxygen and pike stocks already under pressure could be further depleted. But organisers refused to budge.

The Erne International Pike Fishing Classic is being backed by a group of organisations dedicated to promoting tourism in Northern Ireland, including Fermanagh District Council and the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Hundreds of anglers from across Europe are expected to take part, from October 19 – 21.

Tip of the day for July 18, 2007

Lincolnshire-based pike angler Graham Slater says: "I always take a lure rod with me, in addition to my bait rods, no matter where I'm going.

"If it's a long walk I might only take a couple of lures with me but it's amazing the amount of bonus fish this has produced over the last few years, worth a try on any water."

Many bait anglers also swear by working a lure around their baits. As well as giving you something to do, there are those who believe the twin-pronged approach could attract a fish into your swim which might then decide to pick up a dead, even if it's not in the mood to smash a lure.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tip of the day for Tuesday, July 17

Paul Williams says: "Never neglect the margins, there seems to be an obsession with casting 100+ yards these days,keep things quiet and you might find the fish of your dreams could well be right under your feet..."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

NI members report canal pollution

PAC members in Northen Ireland reported a diesel spill from a sinking boat on the Portna Canal today. Prompt action stopped the oil escaping into the nearby River Bann. See the RA43 Blog for the latest and pictures.

Piking 2007 - second hand stalls update

The second-hand tackle stall has always been a popular part of the annual PAC Convention.
There will be a few changes at this year's event at Stoneleigh, Warks, on Saturday, September 22.
One of the main ones is we'll be having a dedicated stall for lures for the first time, alongside the normal second-hand tackle stall.

Special Events Organiser Mark Skinner will be overseeing both and he's asking for sellers to help things run smoothly.

Mark said: "By its nature it is one of the busiest and most energetic stalls at the convention and booking members items in can be a lengthy and time consuming affair, we are therefore asking members that wish to sell items to send me a stamped address envelope to which they will receive tackle/lure booking-in forms and a sheet of stickers to pre-log any items they wish to sell.

"This will save time standing around filling these forms in on the day, we can then quickly check them through which will save a lot of time and hassle for us prior to opening the stalls it will also ensure your items are booked in quickly enabling you to carry on and enjoy the convention."

Please read the following guidelines from Mark if you're thinking of bringing along items to sell on the day.

In general...
We will with in reason accept any items for sale, obviously we would not be too happy if a member turned up with a boat in tow, but you could bring details and photographs if you wanted to put them on the stall for members to look at.

As mentioned we will be having two stalls this year with one being for the normal everyday tackle and the other being a dedicated lure stall. The idea behind this being that it will give members more space to look at items, be less crowded and will defiantly give those running the stalls more time and space to offer a good selling service.

Our dedicated second-hand lure stall will I am sure will be a magnet for our members looking for those usual conference bargains.

But to aid those selling lures please take into account that when labelling lures please do so clearly with any relevant info added.

Putting on the sticker whether the lure is a sinking lure, floating lure etc will help members looking at lures and may be the difference to that lure being sold.

If you are selling lures in batches, again please label clearly what is contained in the batch. This can be done by packing lures in clear plastic bags, which will give members a chance to look at the lures without taking them out.

If you are selling lures in batches please ensure that you label each lure and the bag they are contained in, so if one lure is taken out of the bag for any reason and isn’t put back we will know what batch/bag it has been taken from.

I am pleased to say Chico Winterton R/O for the Lincoln region will be running this stall with some region members who have kindly offered to give there time up.

Selling Fees
Because of the time effort and work that goes into selling members items, we are this year increasing the percentage of selling members items from 10% to 20% of the total items sold. This means 20% of the total of members' items sold will be retained for the PAC club funds. This will be on top of the £2.00 charge for putting your items onto the PAC stall. This has been changed to reflect the work that goes into selling members items.

Seller's Forms
For those members wishing to sell items on this years second hand stall, please send A5 stamped addressed envelope to Mark Skinner at 41 Brook Street, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 6BH, stating how many forms and stickers you will require.

An initial Selling fee of £2.00 will be collected on the day, when selling forms have been checked agreed and logged in.

Thanks for your co-operation and I look forward to seeing you at Stoneleigh.
Mark Skinner
PAC Special Events Organiser

Salmon farms admit to great escape

Remember when they banned livebaiting in Scotland over fears pike anglers transporting baits could spread disease to salmon populations..?

Well the salmon industry isn't doing too badly itself when it comes to illegally introductions of fish, if figures from the Scottish Salmon Producers Association are anything to go by.

The SSPA has started publishing figures for the number of fish which escape from farm cages. The total so far this year is 30,173.

More here.

Tip of the day for July 14, 2007

Jimmy Minors from Norwich has a neat little nudge for people who use the popular Salmo Slider jerk baits and find the top treble tangles with the trace either on the cast or with certain retrieves.

"Thread a small,thin elastic band through the rear hook hanger & attach the ends to two of the belly treble prongs.

"If you squeeze these prongs together a little,reducing the angle between them the remaining prong is promoted a little further from the lure's body. I like the idea of having a prong in this semi fixed position."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Illegal eel netters in court

Hot on the heels of fresh fears over declining eel populations, three illegal netsmen from Somerset have been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £2,500 after EA bailiffs caught them netting elvers.

More here.

Elsewhere, in the Fenland city named after the eel, the last licensed netters say they are only fishing to keep traditions alive, as catches collapse.

More here.

PAC secures access event in Northants

The PAC has secured privileged access to a complex of private lakes in Northamptonshire, along with a stretch of the River Nene.

There are three lakes of 38, 18 and 5.5 acres, along with 1.5 miles of river, events organiser Mark Skinner said today.
"For the first event in December, we will have the whole complex which is set in 100 acres of land. The second event in early March will be on the 18 acre lake.
"It will be 3 -rods, live baits allowed if caught on site, no other bait bans and no other restrictions.

"Secure parking and in some swims members are allowed to park behind there swims and there is also good disabled access."

Members will be allowed to bivvy up and might even be allowed to arrive on the Friday night, in readiness for the weekend.

For more details see the forthcoming Pikelines.

Tip of the day for July 13, 2007

Broadland boat angler Andy frost says: "Boat anglers who rely on petrol outboards should ALWAYS carry a few tools with you, most importantly a spanner that removes your recoil starter, and a length of spare starter cord.

"It is then possible to manually start your motor should the rope or spring fail."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wetland conservation saves US pike

Yet another example of conservation in practice from across the pond. Keeping ditches open not only preserves pike spawning habitat. It helps flood prevention too.

Isn't it time a similar approach was adopted by the powers-that-be over here..?

Click here for newspaper report.

Waterskiing to continue on Norfolk Broads

Waterskiing is set to continue on parts of Norfolk's rivers, the Broads Authority has agreed.

A review group claimed no complaints had been received from anglers concerning skiiers or the newly-arrived sport of wakeboarding.

But not one angling group was included on the so-called stakeholder group tasked with deciding whether either sport was suitable for the Broads.

Both British Water Ski and the Eastern Rivers Ski Club were represented on the panel, whose members were invited to submit evidence.

With no angling body represented, there was no evidence submitted on behalf of angling - despite the fact most of the 10 designated ski zones, where speed limits are relaxed to allow water skiing at certain times - are popular with pike anglers.

The RSPB and Broads Society reported irritation from noise but produced no evidence to suggest any wildlife disturbance and only a low number of complaints were received.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association reported conflict with boats towing and a variety of measures have been proposed to address these concerns.

In 1997 an independent review panel concluded waterskiing should be banned on the grounds that it was unsafe and too intrusive for the Broads. But when no alternative areas could be found the Authority allowed it to continue.

In 2000 the Port Marine Safety Code’s Formal Risk Assessment identified the waterskiing status as 'intolerable'.

But the Broads Authority resolved to develop a voluntary waterskiing management regime, which included increased signage of waterski zones, a restriction on the number of ski permits and a requirement for all waterskiers and drivers to be members of the Eastern Rivers Ski Club.

Trudi Wakelin, Director of Waterways, said: “The voluntary waterskiing management regime has worked so well that waterskiing is now classified as a hazard in the 'as low as is reasonably practicable' category.

"There has been a significant decline in waterskiing on the Broads and we are looking at ways to further minimise its effect.

"We have developed a number of specific recommendations which will come into force on royal assent of the Broads Bill.”

The Authority has undertaken a further survey to determine the pattern of use of waterski zones which it will use to help it to amend times and zones to minimise this conflict.

The independent chairman, Ian White, said: “This had been a very wide ranging review. I commend the members of the panel for the professional and diligent way in which their evidence was put and the conclusions arrived at.

"We had to take a very objective and evidence based approach and while I expect that our conclusions and recommendations will be tested and challenged I have every confidence that they will be well received.

“It is a credit to Eastern Rivers Ski Club that they have conducted themselves so well and complied with the management regime to the letter. In three years there have been no accidents and very few complaints.”

Julian Barnwell, Chairman, Eastern Rivers Water Ski Club, said: “British Water Ski and Eastern Rivers Water Ski Club are very pleased with how the review panel has worked together in a mature fashion where facts have been examined and not perceptions.

"However we understand that our sport needs to develop its public relations and we will continue to work with our members, the Broads Authority and the other members of the Waterski Panel to improve these as well as the management of waterskiing on the Broads rivers.”

The Broads Authority has agreed that wakeboarding should be permitted under careful management on the Broads for a one year trial period after which it will be reviewed to test the effectiveness of management measures.

Trudi Wakelin said: ”We have given careful and detailed consideration to wakeboarding and have undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment, taking into account quiet enjoyment of the Broads, wash, conflict with other users and safety.”

The Navigation committee next meets on Thursday, September 6, at Reedham Village Hall (9.30am).

For the full waterskiing review, including days and times when waterskiing is permitted and permitted zones, click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New fears eels could become extinct

East Anglia's eels are among the most threatened in Britain, says the Environment Agency. It warns populations are around five per cent of 1980s levels and says it is implementing new measures to save them - before they become extinct.

More here and here.

Tip of the day for July 11, 2007

Lincs-based piker Graham Slater on the advantages of travelling light:

"Do you really need to carry all of those leads, spare floats, trace making stuff etc. ? Lightening the load makes it far easier, and thus more appealing, to move and will result in more fish.

"Leave a box of spares in the car and just take the essentials on the bank with you."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cameraman wins award for film on pike

Underwater cameraman Dean Burman has won an award with a film on the pike which inhabit a flooded quarry in Leicestershire, where divers train.

His documentary Lair of the Waterwolf won the Amateur DVD Award at the keenly-contested British Underwater Image Festival, which had around 1,000 entries.

Click here for a preview, on the BBC. We're hoping to feature Dean and his work in a future edition of Pikelines.

PAC members have been compiling questions for Dean about aspects of pike behaviour he has witnessed, via our members forums.

He made more than 80 dives to complete his project, which includes footage of pike mating and fighting.

Scottish livebait ban is law on August 1

The blanket ban on livebaiting debated at length by the Scottish Parliament becomes law on August 1.

Background here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

So long to Sea Nymph importer Chris

CP Boats boss Chris Parry is retiring from importing aluminium boats to concentrate on fishing, the PAC can reveal tonight.

Thanking his customers for their loyal support, the Bolton-based firm said: "After a very busy seven years of selling the Sea Nymph aluminium boat, Chris has decided to retire in order to pursue his life long love of pike fishing and his newly found interest in tope fishing.

"Chris will be supporting the PAC conference with his stand for the last time this coming September."

PAC advertising manager Mike Kelly said Chris had been a long-term supporter of the PAC and Pikelines Magazine.

"You still have the chance to win one of the Last Sea Nymphs by entering our Membership Competition," he said. "Don't forget - the winner's name will be drawn at this years Convention."

Anyone recruiting a new member can enter the competition, which gives you an entry in the draw to win a Sea Nymph every time you introduce a member to the club.

For more information, click here.

Work to re-open Ely Ouse begins

Engineers have started work on replacing a railway bridge damaged by a derailed train.

Eleven wagons overturned when a freight train carrying ballast overturned on the bridge acros the river south of Ely on June 22.

The river has been closed to navigation because around 50 tonnes of gravel and other debris were dumped in the channel.

A new road is being built so a 100-tonne crane can reach the scene of the crash. Network Rail says the work could take months.

Booms have been put across the river to trap oil and brake fluid from the wagons.

Tip of the day for July 9, 2007

Drifting's the way to lure fish from a boat on large waters, writes dave Lumb. It's certainly a way to cover some water.

"And it creates far less disturbance than does trolling - even using an electric outboard," he says. "If the wind gets too strong and the drift becomes too fast, you can always put a drogue out to slow the boat down. Casting lures ahead of a slowly drifting boat catches a lot of pike."

Click here for the article.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tip of the day for July 8, 2007

"You can never be sure how pike are going to behave, and you should try to be prepared for every eventuality," says Dave Lumb in an excellent article on river fishing.

"Just because conditions look like one method will score, it ain't necessarily so. This applies to just about any pike water, but is especially applicable to the moody waters that are our rivers."

Click here to read it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Vidar strikes silver on return home

PAC member Vidar Thomassen caught this 23lbs salmon when he took a break from pike fishing on the Thames and Norfolk Broads and made return trip to his native Norway.

He caught two salmon over 20lbs from the Stryns Elva - a river in the West of the country.

"The biggest one being a female fish of no less than 10.5kg or 23Ib in English money," Vidar said. "The fish was 40 inch long female looking like a bar of silver because it was freshly run.

"It was super fit and put up one hell of a scrap in a river that was carrying a lot more water than normal for early July. It's safe to say I'm walking on air at the moment."

Wall of foam causes fish kill on Thames

A wall of what is believed to be firefighting foam has been carried down the River Thames today, killing hundreds of fish in the upper reaches of the river.

The Environment Agency says it entered the river via a brook at Fairford, from which it was carried into the Colne and then the Thames upstream of Lechlade, Glos.

Dead fish have been reported in Lechlade Wierpool - the highest on the river - and downstream at Buscot and Radcot.

Pictures show the foam several feet high outside the Trout Inn, at Lechlade.

While the EA has declined to reveal the source of the foam, it is believed to have come from the USAF base at Fairford, where flying tankers and other American military aircraft are based.

Click here for BBC report.

Tip of the day for July 6, 2007

Purpose-designed pike tubes are the safest way to retain pike for short periods, either to allow a fish which is in distress to recover, or to perhaps retain a pike prior to weighing or being photographed.

Either way, the tube should be staked out so it can not collapse on the fish and it should be inspected regularly and retained for the minimum possible time.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PAC launches Erne FOI requests

The Pike Anglers Club is using Freedom of Information laws to investigate an international pike fishing competition in which fish are retained in barrels.

The move comes after talks broke down with organisers of the Erne International Pike Fishing Classic.

The PAC yesterday said it had "serious welfare concerns" over the running of the event.

These centre on the methods used to retain pike and stewarding arrangements.

"We have been told by an organiser that they were advised by fisheries scientists that barrels without aeration were the safest way to retain pike during this competition," a spokesman said.

"We have been given no more information on who these scientists are, what qualifications they possess or what advice was given, so we are now using the FOI Act to obtain this information, before deciding our next move."

Requests have been submitted under the FOI Act to Fermanagh District Council, Waterways Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Talks between the PAC and organisers broke down in April after a meeting at Enniskillen Town Hall ended in acrimony.

The PAC says it is willing to return to the negotiating table if organisers are prepared to commit to change.

But it has warned it will have no alternative but back calls for a boycott of the event if progress can not be made.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Zander record smashed with first twenty

Britain's first documented 20lbs-plus zander has been caught on a pellet hookbait intended for bream. James Benfield smashed the 19lbs 5oz record with a 21lbs 5oz fish from the River Severn, Angling Times reports.

Click here for picture.

PAC urges Irish event to abandon barrels

The organisers of Ireland’s most prestigious pike fishing match are being urged to address “serious welfare concerns”, amid growing calls for a boycott of the event.

Pike Anglers Club officials met organisers of the Fermanagh-based Erne International Pike Fishing Classic back in April, calling for them to abandon the use of barrels to retain fish.

The PAC said it had serious welfare concerns both over the use of the barrels and the lack of stewarding at the event, meaning pike would be retained for long periods or transported some distance to be weighed.

The club fears fish will be deprived of oxygen and pike stocks already under pressure could be further depleted.

PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: “We met with Richard Turner, Keith Collen and Mark Lichtenburg, the main organisers for the match.

“Many aspects of the match were spoken about during this meeting, the central issues being the retention of Pike in barrels and the poor stewarding in the boat section of the match.”

But talks broke down with the organisers refusing to budge over the way this year’s event will be run.

“To say the organisers were unresponsive would not be far off the mark,” said Mark Barrett.

“Mark Lichtenburg walked out of the meeting claiming he could spare a few minutes, despite knowing for several weeks that the meeting was going to take place, with Gordon Nesbitt travelling from Londonderry and myself flying over from England.”

Gordon informed organisers that the PAC’s Northern Ireland region would be happy to supply 14 boats and 28 marshalls, walkie talkies and pike tubes, but this was rejected.

Since that point further negotiations have been briefly carried out, after organisers called the PAC offering to look again at the issue of barrels and stewarding.

But again no real concessions were on the table and Richard Turner, who had recently joined the PAC, was expelled from the club for refusing to modify his stance over the issue of fish being retained in barrels.

The Erne International Pike Fishing Classic is being backed by a group of organisations dedicated to promoting tourism in Northern Ireland, including Fermanagh District Council and the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Hundreds of anglers from across Europe are expected to take part, from October 19 – 21.

“It’s unfortunate that an event designed to promote Ireland’s pike fishing as a tourist attraction is now having the opposite affect,” said Mark Barrett.

“We have today been made aware of calls to boycott the Erne International. The door remains open and we are willing for now to return to the table for talks on improving the welfare standards of this event, but unless we see real progress soon, we will have no alternative but to support the boycott and urge our 2,500 members to do the same.

"If it's a premier league pike match, it should have premiership standards of fish handling.

Piker's next run is for two good causes

Robbie Marsh's first run of the winter will be in the name of two good causes.

The Northern Ireland-based piker is taking part in the Dublin Marathon on October 29, to raise funds for the PAC and our featured charity CLIC Sargent, which supports children with cancer and their families.

Robbie, 31, said: "A friend of mine has run several marathons and raised thousands of pounds for charity, I was impressed by his commitment and by the support he recevied from the general public.

"As I was looking for a way to get fit I thought that there was an opportunity to raise money for a good cause."

Finding the time to train isn't always easy with a young family. But Robbie reckons to be up at least four times a week at 6.30am to pound the pavements - before he goes to work.

"I entered the relay during the Belfast Marathon in May to prepare for Dublin," he said. "And I managed to run the first two legs, which were 9.5 miles.

"I couldn't have run another step but it gave me confidence that with the right exercise plan and weight loss that I would have the ability to complete a full marathon."

Cardiff-born Robbie moved to Kilkeel, Co.Down, at the age of 12. When he's not running, working or fishing, he has 15-month-old daughter lauren to keep him occupied - and his wife Evelyn is expecting another additoon to the family in November.

"CLIC is the PAC's chosen charity, as I have children of my own this charity would be as close to me as any," he said.

"I'd like to be able to support both the PAC charity and Region 43 to help fund the good work that goes on.

"Gordon and the remainder of the comittee have impressed me with the amount of work they have done to protect our environment and pike fishing in general, unfortunately this work requires funding which at present has been self funded by the comittee members.

"Funds are a valuble asset, they would help use to push back on environmental issues as well as help to promote the PAC in Northern Ireland - after all the more members we have on board the bigger the voice.

"I see our Region as more than a bunch of pikers but as a bunch of guys that want to protect our environment and pike fishing so that we can continue to enjoy the sport we love."

The PAC is going from strength to strength in Northern Ireland, which is the club's fastest-growing region.

"This is my first year as a PAC member and I have been fortunate to meet some real genuine pike anglers both home and across the water," Robbis said.

"The majority of my pike fishing is done off the beaten track with not another angler in sight, I am spoilt for choice in Ireland and even though the pike fishing in most places is in decline there are still a few waters producing excellent catches.

"My PB is 24.5lb, last season I managed 14 fish over 17lb, four of which were over 20lb. The best day this year resulted in 5 doubles 13lb, 17lb, 17.25lb, 17.5lb & 23lb all falling to ledgered herring.

"I don't really have a favourite method as I believe variety is the key to success, if you focus to much on the one method you will find that you're missing out.

"I've only started lure fishing over the last 12 months and have found this to be a breath of fresh air, it can be an exciting method that keeps you active all day and on its day it can be hard to beat.

"I've yet to catch a twenty on a lure and envy all pikers that have reached this milestone but I believe its only a matter of time."

***Watch this space for details of how to sponsor Robbie's Run...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tip of the day for July 3, 2007

Ever wondered how to get those hooks on lures sticky sharp..? Click here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Save a fiver when you pre-order PAC30

You can save a fiver if you fancy a copy of PAC30 - the club's forthcoming commorative book - and are attending the Convention.

We're now taking advance orders for the limited-edition book, so people can ensure they get a copy.

And you can save on the £5 postage and packing charge if you collect it at Piking 2007.

More here.

Think out of the box, says US writer

Rubber worms are a killer bait, says US guide Kolt Ringer. Thought-provoking stuff here.

Tip of the day for July 2, 2007

Spinnerbaits in a mess..? Then get one of those plastic document wallets next time you're near a staionery shop and hey presto..? More here.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fish feel pain claim surfaces in paper

The do fish feel pain debate surfaced again in a Sunday newspaper today.

The Sunday Times reports species used in laboratory experiments are to be given a bill of rights.

Victoria Braithwaite, of Edinburgh University’s institute of evolutionary biology, who has helped draw up the guidelines, said there was growing evidence that fish had greater intellectual capacity than previously thought.

More here.

Wee trick makes fish grow faster

Wee in the river or over the side of the boat with a clear conscience next time you're caught short.

For scientists in India reckon human urine could nourish the plankton used as food on fish farms.

Plankton grown in diluted urine breed faster and grow more quickly than those given other nitrogen-rich materials,
experts at the University of Kalyani found when they mixed ground water with human urine from the university's loos.

Two anglers rescued from Norfolk river

Two anglers have been rescued from the River Wensum in Norwich, police in Norfolk said today. The pair - believed to be a father and daughter - were fishing at New Mills, near the city centre, when the woman fell in and was swept downstream by flood water.

The man went into the river to rescue her as emergency services were called. Police found him clinging to the bank nearby, while the woman was safely pulled from the water at Duke Street Bridge about half a mile away.

Anglers have been warned to take extra care fishing Britain's swollen rivers, many of which have been in flood since the season began on June 16.

Tip of the day for July 1, 2007

Every sensible pike angler carries a small first aid kit to sort out those inevitable cuts and grazes, or the odd occasion you hook youtrself insteasd of a fish. Another sensible precaution is a bottle of hand-cleaning gel to clean yourself up after handling fish or bait - recommended before eating to avoid the runs of the non-pike variety.