Friday, August 31, 2007

Illegal eel nets seized in Kent

An EA fisheries team has seized illegal fyke nets near Camber after a tip-off. More here.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Eric links up with Lincoln PAC

Eric Edwards will be giving one of his unique talks to the Mighty 48, aka Lincoln PAC on Monday, September 3.

All are welcome at the Turk's Head in Newport, Lincoln (8pm).

RO Chico Winterton said: "Eric presents one of the finest talks on the circuit; apart from his plethora of big fish from all over the country, the talk is full of humour, audience participation and so much stuff that makes every piker think about his own approach to piking.

"I saw Eric last year and just had to book him for our region, come along you will be impressed by the man and his piking."

The evening kicks of a varied programme for the growing Lincoln region - click here for more details.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Friendly Fisherman heads to Gateway

Thames Gateway Region are getting their winter programme of meetings under way with a visit from Andy Lush, the globe-trotting boss of the Friendly Fisherman tackle shop.

He'll be at the Papermaker's Arms, in Dartford, on Tuesday, September 4 (7.30pm).

Andy will be covering some of his lure fishing experiences, including pike in UK waters, Dutch zander and predatory barbel in Spain.

Click here to see more details on the Thames Gateway blog.

Record numbers applying for PAC events

We've got a record number of events over the course of the coming winter - and record numbers are applying to fish them.

It's no surprise which of the Pike Anglers Club's privileged access events is so far proving the most popular, with more than 60 pairs applying to fish the Lake of Menteith on Saturday, November 10.

Perhaps the 39lbs 8oz pike caught by a member at a PAC event on the water in March has had something to do with it - click here for picture.

Places for the day are limited to 29 pairs, so there will be a draw at the PAC Convention at Stoneleigh Park, on Saturday, September 22.

An additional date secured on March 1 is also over-subscribed and names will be drawn for this at the convention.

Places are still available at Quays Gravel Pit (Surrey, October 27/28), Llyn Brenig (N Wales, October 29/30), Loch Venacher (Scotland, November 11), Loch Fad (Isle of Bute, November 24/25), and Ecton Lakes (Northants, December 8/9).

These are all being run on a first come, first-served basis and applications are still coming in - so apply now to avoid disappointment.

Events organiser Mark Skinner said those who have already applied up until today - August 29 - have been successful and event packs will be posted out shortly. All events will carry a reserve list.

See Pikelines for full details on how to apply, ticket prices and rules. Click here for more info on Loch Fad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Act soon if you want to win a new boat

Want to be in with a chance of winning a brand new boat..? Then you'd better move fast because time's running out in a special membership promotion being run by the Pike Anglers Club.

Any member who introduces someone new to the club gets entered in the draw to win a brand new Sea Nymph.

The winning ticket will be drawn at Piking 2007 - the PAC's 30th Anniversary Convention at Stoneleigh Park, Warks, on Saturday, September 22.

The prize is a real piker's workhorse which will give many seasons' enjoyment to the lucky winner.

But the closing date for entries is Saturday, September 8 - so if you haven't already enrolled a friend using one of the special forms downloadable from our website, you need to get your skates on.

Make sure you include your details on the form so we know who to enter in the draw. Please note terms and conditions apply.

You can find more details on the promotion and download one of the special membership forms here.


Advance tickets for the event are still available for £10 each. Why not skip the queues and get in early so there's time to shop or grab a coffee before the talks get under way..?

Send cheques payable to PACGB to Mike Kelly, at 47 Yew Tree Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 0BG, remembering to enclose an SAE.

Monday, August 27, 2007

PAC takes lodes campaign to Fenland Fair

PAC members have been flying the flag for the Don't Ditch Our Lodes campaign at the Fenland Country Fair at Stow Cum Quy on Sunday and Monday.

They were using an enormous and specially blown-up version of the 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' campaign picture and were handing out 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' badges and car stickers, kindly provided by local councillor Allen Alderson.

They were also handing out leaflets explaining the the 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' on-line E-Petition, which now has many hundreds of signatures, including 20 members of East Cambridgeshire District Council, 7 Cambridgeshire County Councillors, the Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, many Parish Councillors, the Chairman and several members of the Swaffham Internal Drainage Board, and Member of Parliament, Mr James Paice.

Denis Moules, PAC liaison officer for the Anglian Region, said: "We successfully fought this issue 30 years ago. The Cambridgeshire Lodes hold specimen fish of all species and are ideal waters on which to teach youngsters.

"These small waters have special memories for many of us and must not be destroyed. I urge all anglers to support this cause by signing the 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' on-line E-Petition to No.10 Downing Street."

Campaigner Geoffrey Woollard said: "The Pike Anglers are among our finest supporters and are working extremely hard: we mustn't let them down."

Thousands of people attended the two-day Fenland Country Fair in its 28th year.

The online petition can be found here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cheshire PAC meetings announced

Cheshire PAC meets opn the second Monday of every month (8pm) at The Whipping Stocks, Stocks Lane, Over Peover, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 9EX.

This season's programme includes:

September 10 No speaker booked, but meeting to discuss "fish-in" venues and any regional topics for coming pike season.

October 8 Peter Green on Big Pit Piking.

November 12 Speaker TBC.

December 10 Mark Barrett - PAC General Secretary.

January 14 Phil Kirk and Lee Norbury, from Nottingham, on a Lifetime's Pike Fishing.

February 11 Eric Edwards talking about some of his pike fishing experiences.

March 10 Dennis Moules from The Fens, Pike Angler of the Year 2000 - sharing memories of both his life as a policeman and a pike angler

April 14 AGM - please come early to avoid standing all evening due to over-crowding!

Roswell - MP backs marina plan

The war of words over the future of legendary Fens predator water Roswell Pits is hotting up after local MP Jim Paice said he supports the new owner's plans to develop the water. But conservationists fear the move will damage the lakes' unique habitat. More here.

PAC website clocks up 250,000 hits

The Pike Anglers Club's website clocked its 250,000th hit earlier today. Make sure you add it to your bookmarks or favourites, so you get all the latest news from the club.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Online shop set to smash all records

We had a hunch it was going to prove popular, but the Pike Anglers Club's new online shop has already processed nearly as many orders in the three months since it went live as we did all last year.

This August, it's taken nearly ten times the amount it took during the same month in 2006.

That not only means more people are taking advantage of the convenience of orderdering online. It also means more money being ploughed back into the club and its campaigns to on behalf of the pike and pike fishing.

Items range from a pound or two for a car sticker or badge - including our new limited-edition 20th Anniversary patch - to the chance to order your copy of PAC30, the club's forthcoming book.

The shop also carries details of our full range of products, including our latest T-shirts, sweat shirts and other clothing.

And last but not least if you're not already a member, you can join online too and take advantage of our special summer membershop offer, which means to get five copies of our acclaimed magazine Pikelines for the price of four.

Click here to check it out.

Massive fish kill hits Dorset Stour

More than 15,000 coarse fish including pike have died in a pollution incident on the Dorset Stour.

The Environment Agency launched an investigation after dead and dying fish were reported at Sturminster Mill, upsteam of Hinton St Mary, on Wednesday.

Tonight the agency said it believed farm run-off was the cause of the outbreak. The pollution is believed to have entered the main river via the Caundell Brook and River Lydden.

Officers are trying to trace the source of the spill and have visited several farms on the two tributaries.

Work is under way to recover and dispose of fish which have perished in the outbreak, which include roach, chub, perch and pike.

EA spokesman Andy Martin said: "We are currently focussing on identifying the sources of the pollution and a number of agricultural farms and industrial units are under close inspection.

"Clearly this incident will be of great concern to the angling community as a significant number of fish have died. Over the coming weeks we will be assessing the full impact on the ecology of the river and considering options to enable the river to recover as soon as possible."

Officials aware of fears for lodes

Environment Agency officials are being made aware of the strength of opinion against plans to reduce water levels in Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes.

More than 800 pike anglers, walkers, boaters and conservationists have signed an online petition to save the inique waterways.

It was launched after leaked scoping papers showed consultants were looking at plans to lower levels in the lodes as one of a number of options to help creaste a new wetland at Wicken Fen, north of Cambridge.

Similar plans - which would have destroyed the lodes as fisheries - were defeated 30 years ago.
Today retired county councillor Geoffry Woolard, who fought to preserve the lodes in the late 1970s, received an e-mail from Graham Boakes - a project manager with consultants Halcrow, who are carrying out feasibility studies on behalf of the Environment Agency.

"I can confirm that we are aware of the E-Petition and the overwhelming opinion that the lodes should be maintained as they are at present," he writes.

"This has been taken account of in the first draft of the Strategy Report and Strategic Environmental Appraisal Report both of which will be issued to the Environment Agency today.

"These reports will be reviewed by the Environment Agency over the next few weeks and, following this, the final draft will be prepared to be used for consultation with statutory consultees and local interest groups, including Parish Councils."

******CLICK HERE if you haven't already signerd up...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anger over concessionary licence hike

The National Federation of Anglers is calling on all anglers to object to the Environment Agency's proposal to increase rod licences for disabled and older anglers by more than 30 per cent.

EA fisheries chiefs want to increase the cost of the concessionary Rod Licence from £12.25 to £16.75 a year. saying the extra income would be re-invested in fisheries.

But the NFA claims licence holders have not been given enough time to respond.

Paul Cartwright, NFA regional officer for the disabled, said: “Anglers with disabilities and older adults tend to get less value from their rod licence.

"Access to rivers is poor or non existent and concessionary licence holders tend not to go fishing in the winter when the weather is bad.

"A fifty percent concession on a full licence is about right and I cannot see how an increase is justified”

A petition has been launched. You can sign it be e-mailing, and providing your name and address. Responses will be forwarded to the Environment Agency and Defra.

Convention tickets - get yours now

With a month to go, advance tickets for the PAC Convention are selling well.

All indications are this could well be the club's biggest-ever bash.

Don't forget you can get in earlier if you buy your ticket prior to the event instead of on the door.

All you have to do is a send a cheque for £10 per ticket, payable to PACGB, to Mike Kelly, at 47 Yew Tree Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 0BG.

Admission times are now earlier than those on the flyer and advance ticket holders can get in from 9am.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Anglers up in arms after more trout escape

Yet more trout have escaped from a fish farm, sparking anger from Scottish angling groups.

Livebaiting was banned in Scotland earlier this year, after claims it would prevent the spread of non-native species.

More here.

Northern Ireland region set to meet

RA43 are meeting at Lurgan Town Hall on Thursday, September 13 (7.30pm...).

RO Gordon Nesbitt said a number of important issues would be discused and all members should do their best to attend.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Events are selling fast, says Mark

This year sees more Pike Anglers Club events than ever before.

And they're all looking set to be filled, from the legendary Menteith to Midlands gravel pits - not to mention the water dubbed the next Blithfield.

Special events organiser Mark Skinner said it was no surprise Menteith was over-subscribed and places would be drawn at the PAC Convention.

"No doubt it is Lyn Baker's capture of a 39lb pike on our bait and lure event last year that has fired up members enthusiasm and brought home that it could be their dream that comes true next time," he said.

"It is very noticable that new names are appearing on application slips, which shows how popular this event is.

"But as they say you have to be in it to win it, so send in your application if you haven't already applied, to make sure you're in with a chance of having your name pulled out at Stoneleigh in September."

Applications for Menteith and other PAC events were included in the current edition of the club's magazine Pikelines.

We'll be fishing a number of waters for the first time including Llyn Brenig - a welsh trout water where pike fishing is limited some have dubbed the next Blithfield.

We also have access to gravel pits and syndicate waters for the first time - and are close to clinching our first-ever event in Northern Ireland.

Mark said the social side of events was as successful as the fishing for many members.

"As well as being in with the chance of catching some good fish, you will also have the chance to meet up with old friends and even make some new ones," he said.
"We have a record number of events for members to attend this season, so why not get those application slips filled in and come and enjoy being part of a PAC event."

PAC - keep it in the family

Renewal time is here for we're deluged with people rejoining the PAC. Membership secretary John Cahill is reminding anyone about to send their cheque off that they can upgrade to family membership for another £5 on top of the basic £19.50 annual subs.

Just drop John a list of any additional family members to include, or e-mail if paying by Paypal.

One person who took advantage of this offer last season was Lyn Baker - who paired up with her husband Neil to fish a PAC event on the Lake of Menteith and caught a 39lbs 8oz pike.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Save Our Lodes petition tops 800

More than 800 anglers, boaters and walkers have now signed up to the online petition to save some of Cambridgeshire's historic waterways. The lodes aren't just ancient man-made waterways believed to date back to Roman times. They're also fisheries where generations of Fen anglers cut their teeth.

Click here to sign up.

Litter and setlines - Fen club hits out

Ely Beet Club controls a prime stretch of the Ouse downstream of Cromwell's city and the once legendary Roswell Pits. Officials have told their local paper an irresponsible minority who leave litter or even illegal setlines are ruining their waters for everyone. Click here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pike of Broadland unveiled at Convention

The long-awaited sequel to Stephen Harper's Broadland Pike - the Pike of Broadland - will be unveiled at the Pike Anglers Club's Convention at Stoneleigh next month.

Secretary Mark Barrett said: "Stephen himself will be at the convention on the PAC stand selling signed copies of the book, along of course with the much awaited PAC30 book.

"I have been lucky enough to have a sneak peak at the book and it's just a stunning, more a work of art than a pike fishing book."

Norfolk author Harper's first edition of Broadland Pike has become a much sought-after collector's item, with copies now changing hands for well over £200 - nearly 10 times the orginal price.

The book documents the largest captures from Broadland - largely in their captors' own words.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Membership landslide staggers John

Pike Anglers Club members are renewing in droves and as the deadline nears in our draw to win a boat, we've seen an upsurge in people joining the club for the first time as well.

Membership secretary John Cahill's postbag is bulging like we've never seen it, with more than 50 renewals coming in some days.

"Renewals and new member applications are just staggering," John said tonight. "While we're still some weeks from our traditional October year end, our 2008 membership is already heading for the 1,000 mark."

John said there were just three weeks remaining to enter the draw to win a brand new pike fishing boat.

Everyone who recruits a member using one of the special forms is entered in the draw to win a 12ft Sea Nymph, which is fitted out and ready to fish.

The lucky angler's name will be drawn at the PAC Convention at Stoneleigh Park, on September 22.

So enter soon if you want a chance to win the prize. Your name is entered in the draw every time you sign up a member, as long as your details are on the form they use to join the club.

Click here for more information, or to download one of the special application forms. But don't hang around, as the closing date is Saturday, September 8.

Petition to stop fish being taken

Anglers have launched a petition calling on the government to address the problem of fish being taken for food by migrants. Click here.

Report set lines, EA appeals

Environment Agency officials are calling on anglers who find illegal set lines to report them, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph reports today.

Rita Penman's quote will no doubt cause a few wry wmiles in the Fens.

"It is a very cruel way to fish, and although we have not caught many offenders, we have heard lots of anecdotal evidence of it taking place in rivers across the region," she tells the paper.

And what happened when a journalist and a PAC member who was an ex-police officer caught a pensioner who had placed a number of set lines on the Forty Foot Drain red handed..?

They decided not to prosecute, because it was not considered in the public interest.

Poachers stealing carp to eat, claims club

Poachers are stealing fish for food from club waters in Hertfordshire, the Herts Advertiser reports today. Verulam Angling Club says it has had 18 incidents in two years, while its fishery manager told the paper he fears organised gangs are at work. More here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Convention trials big screen TV link

A TV link is being set up so talks at his year's Pike Anglers Club Convention can be screened live in the main hall, PAC chairman Colin Goodge said today.

That means those manning stalls won't miss out on the speakers, while anglers visiting the event won't have to spend all day in the lecture theatre if they want to take time out to shop and socialise.

"We'll be trialling this so people can shop for tackle and spend time on the stalls without missing out on the talks, as there's a very busy programme lined up for Stoneleigh and people will want to catch as much as they can," Colin said.

Entrance timings are also being brought forward, to give people a chance to browse the stalls and grab a coffee or a bite to eat before the speakers get under way at 10.30am.

Doors open for advance ticket holders from 9am, while tickets will be available on the door from 9.30 - both times subject to confirmation.

Blueys set to be next bait sensation

Get set for the biggest thing since the smelt...

Blueys look like a cross between a garfish and a mackerel - and they're reckoned to be twice as oily as deadbaiter's staple the faithful mackerel tail.

Baitbox - who are running a competition to win hundreds of pounds' worth of baits with Pikelines - have got 'em.

Click here to read more.

Cut close season, says EA expert

A more flexible close season of just 21 days instead of the current 93 could be brought in to coincide with different species spawning, according to newspaper reports today. Buit opponents say the move would result in a package of close seasons for anglers to observe and would be unenforceable.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Important note RE events

Gremlins in our system mean the wrong address went in Pikelines for the return of application slips for PAC events. These should be returned to 41 Brook Street, Polegate, East Sussex BN26 6BH - NOT 14 Brook Street.

We apologise for any confusion caused. All slips sent to number 14 - around 25 in all - have been collected safely, but if in doubt e-mail Mark Skinner at

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cambridge PAC's winter programme

Cambridge ROs Rik Wesley and Andy Blazey are the latest to announce their winter programme of meetings, which be held at their normal venue of Bottisham British Legion.

September 5th 2007 Rob Christen
Rob talks about some fantastic captures he has had from the Fens, including Fenland Pike in excess of thirty pounds.

October 3rd Matt Rand
Our very own Regional member and Fox Consultant Matt Rand, explains how he uses modern technology, to track down new waters. Being an all rounder, expect to see large fish of different speices in this talk.

November 7th Graham Slater
Better known to some for his Carp fishing antics, Graham has had some fantastic captures of Pike over the years. A regular contributer to Pikelines and Pike and Predator. Graham tells how he goes about his Pike fishing.

December 5th 2007 Jason Davies
Jason is about to reveal some fantastic catches he has kept quiet over the last few years in a new book written with Eddie Turner entitled Megapike The Return. If you miss him at the Piking 2007 Conference or wish to see him again , now is your chance. Dispel the rumors and listen to Jason's own account of the catches first hand.

January 9th 2008 James Gardner
James talks about his very successful Catfishing captures on the Continent.

February 6th 2008 Tim Kelly
Tim needs no introduction as a lure angler, listen to him as he accounts a trip he took to North America in search of Muskie.

March 5th 2008 Mick Bowen
I am told LO Mick Bowen gives an hilarious slideshow, your chance to see it now at Cambs PAC!

April 2nd 2008 Quiz night and Mega Raffle.
Join us for a quiz night as our very own Dennis 'Bamber' Moules takes the chair as quiz master. If funds are healthy then some will be put back into a Mega Raffle later in the night.

Rik and Andy have sent us a report on last season, when their meetings were attended by up to 70 people.

"We have completed our first year as RO's for Cambridge PAC and what a great year it has been too," they write.

"We were very fortunate to take on a very strong region from Dick Culpin and were able to build on that. Piking friends, old and new rallied round and gave their time to give some excellent talks during our monthly regional meetings.

"In September Mike Green came and gave an excellent talk on Fly fishing for Pike coupled with a section on Jerkbaits. He showed us some big fish he had caught and introduced many to a new section of our sport that is growing rapidly.

"Andy Lush of The Friendly Fisherman was our speaker in October talking about his trips to Spain to fish for Barbel on the fly/Lures, Andy is a real 'thinking angler'and very thought provoking when you listen to him, an excellent talk.

"Gary Knowles combined a fishing trip joining a group from Cambs PAC on the Anglian Reservoirs with an excellent talk in November. The Reservoir fished poorly so Andrew Blazey took him out on the Ouse and the inevitable happened, Gary boated a 21lb Pike within minutes of setting off! Good work Fella!

"Eric Edwards came and gave his superb new talk on Big water Pike fishing in December, Very different from the Fens! It was my turn to guide a speaker for a spot of Fenland fun and afloat in Gale force conditions we braved a Drain and River in search of a Lure caught Zander for Eric, the inevitable happened and Eric Caught Pike while I caught Zeds!

"January saw a informal members night with David Wesley and Andrew Blazey taking the limelight with half hour slots of thier given subjects. The rest of the night was spent talking with plenty of banter thrown in.

"It was back to Fly fishing for Predators in February as Nigel Savage took the stage and gave us an excellent insight into 'fluff chucking' for Zander and Pike. What Nigel does not know about this subject probably ain't worth knowing. With years of experience and some very big fish under his belt he amazed us, showing just what you can do with Feather,EP,Glue and Whipping!

"The PAC Committee arrived in March in what has become quite a tradition over the years for us.They discussed their first year of term and how they felt it had gone, what, also they hoped to achieve. Excellent work guys, keep it up.

"Finally in April, Derek Macdonald came and gave a rare appearance to a packed venue of Pikers. With some of the finest Pikers in the country present, Derek gave us a glimpse into his Piking styles, his section on lures was quite fascinating attracting our biggest turn out of the year of 70 people.

"Average attendances of the year went to around 40 people a night.A big thank you to all speakers and anyone involved in making these evenings the fun they were from all at Cambs PAC."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ouse re-opens to boats after train crash

The Ouse upstream of Ely has re-opened to boats after dredging to remove hundreds of tonnes of gravel which fell into the river after a goods train overturned on a bridge.

It was closed to navigation after the crash happened between Ely and Soham, on June 21.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lincoln Region's winter meetings

Lincoln Region - aka the Mighty 48 - have just unveiled their programme of winter meetings with a great crop of speakers from all over the British Isles.

They meet up on the first Monday of every month at the Turk's Head in Newport, Lincoln - dates below. More details on their blog, click here.

Sept. 3rd.-Eric Edwards.

Oct. 1st.-Jason Davis.

Nov. 5th.-Graham Slater.

Dec. 3rd.-Alex Prouse.

Jan. 7th.-Nigel Savage.

Feb. 4th.-Phil Wakeford.

May. 3rd.-John Synnuck & Spike Gould.

Apr. 7th.- Dave Horton.

Great escape shows ban was pointless

Remember when they banned livebaiting in Scotland over claims it would prevent illegal fish transfers..?

Well the fish farming industry has again showed it's no slouch when it comes to spreading species, after an estimated 30,000 rainbow trout escaped from a fish farm.

Otters are being blamed for cutting holes in fish cages on Loch Earn, The Scotsman reports today.

The incident is the latest in a string of escapes from fish farms.

More here.

Fish stocks under pressure, says BBC

Stocks in many stillwaters are under pressure from extreme weather conditions and an increase in fish being taken for the table, the BBC reports today. Story here.

Gordon Brown signs Save Our Lodes

Okay, we've no way of knowing for sure whether it's the Gordon Brown or another one.

But either way he's the 755th person to sign the online petition to save these unique waterways - and you can join him if you click here and sign up today.

NI Region response over Erne pike match

The PAC's Northern Ireland Region has responded to claims made by the organisers of the Erne Classic pike competition.

It comes as two letters are circulated to the media which purport to be from anglers who claim to have fished the event and been happy with standards of fish casre.

Brendan Downey,

Department of Culture,

Arts and Leisure,


20-24, York St.,


Co. Antrim,

BT15 1AQ.

Dear Brendan,


Thank you for your reply of 03/08/07. I have digested the contents of your letter, and I have to say that I'm disappointed with some the responses to the individual issues raised, especially as they mirror similar/ identical letters sent to my colleagues, despite the comprehensive range of issues I articulated.

I would like to clarify, firstly, that I was present for the boat event days at last

year's event, as a concerned observer and stakeholder, and witnessed many instances of poor handling, retention, stewarding methods, and release.

Some of this has been attached as photographic evidence of the points raised here for further clarification, other anecdotal instances can be given in written statement form, on request.

Please contact me at the above address or, if you want me to forward the photos via e-mail.

I wish to raise a number of issues in response, and would be interested in your considered opinion on the same:

1. With regard to dismissing the comparisons between transporting and retaining pike in a competition, I fail to understand how the two events are not comparable? Both involve handling and retaining pike in a stressful situation, resulting in an oxygen debt, build-up of lactic acid in the pike's muscles, changes to body chemistry, etc.

Indeed, retention of fish after being hooked, played, landed, unhooked etc would be evidentially More stressful than fish retained in aerated tanks, with low light, adequate oxygen, clean water, controlled retention conditions, and minimum handling by experienced aqua-culturists or fisheries scientists.

In comparison, competition fish are retained in un-aerated barrels, undergo variable hooking, landing and handling abilities, variable, uncontrolled media for retention (dirty water, no/ depleted oxygen levels, excessive organic debris, uncontrolled ph, faeces, blood, etc.) for indeterminate lengths of time prior to weighing and release, with an accrued, unresolved oxygen debt.

As you know, pike are a "sprint" predator, not designed for protracted chases or fights. As such, after catching, they will have incurred a disproportionate oxygen debt and stress levels, in comparison to those incurred during transportation.

I would welcome your further comments on the veracity of the scenario and comparisons I have drawn above, and would also like to ascertain how you came to your initial conclusions that the two situations are not similar.

With further reference to the above scenario, as custodians of the Public Angling Estate, DCAL fisheries managers and scientists must have surely conducted, or have in their possession, rigorously tested scientific studies to back this hypothesis up (ie use of barrels as suitable for pike retention?) I'm sure you are aware, as a scientist, that this sort of scientific rigour, based on the Null Hypothesis principle, would ascertain whether the barrels were a suitable environment for retaining Pike; certainly in comparison to the controlled conditions created by your staff when transporting fish.

Again, I would welcome your further comment on this issue; perhaps you could furnish me with a copy of such data, should it exist.

2. With regard to you comment "while the Department assisted the organisers in running the competition, We have NO DIRECT RESPONSIBLITY for the measures employed," I would request further clarification on this statement, in view of the Department's role as guardian and custodian of the Public Angling Estate.

As the Fishery owner, on behalf of the Public in N.I., I would have thought it incumbent upon DCAL to ensure all methods of pike welfare and handling employed were rigorously vetted and sanctioned prior to the commencement of this event, especially due to its size and nature, and the potential widespread impact on pike stocks. Or am I to assume that the organisers were allowed to apply their own rules, without consultation with DCAL on appropriate retention methods.

In addition, can you clarify if DCAL employees also vetted both the stewards and competitors, to ensure competence of marshals, rigorous adherence to the competition rules, and monitoring to establish if appropriate tackle and retention facilities were provided by the organisers, who have in principle hired this venue from the Public Estate for this competition.

Were "Duty of Care" principles enforced on the organisers to ensure reasonable protection of stocks, by enforcement of their own rules.

I would draw your attention to some of the photos attached regarding the use of barrels by the competitors; these clearly show an inappropriate volume and cleanliness of retention water, as well as evidence of de-scaling, when fish were being removed. Barrels of this size are also too small to retain pike of double figures or above, common weight/length ratio data shows that mid-double figure fish can easily exceed 38-40 inches in length- these barrels are no more than 36-37 inches in length (industry standard 200l polyprop. barrels.)

This, as you know, will deplete or reduce oxygen levels below the threshold for pike to recover without undue stress or further complications, which can occur up to 2-3 days after release. Again, are you aware of inappropriate storage conditions being challenged by DCAL staff

monitoring this event? I observed similar low barrel water levels and deteriorated water condition over both days of the event; no competitors were challenged by stewards, who seemed unaware of the implications of these factors.

From the photos supplied, you can see that the barrels were often only a third to a quarter full, which equates to approx. max. 50-70 litres of water in each barrel (as you know, 1kg water= 1litre water.) The use of barrels, in my opinion, is dangerous in itself, especially during rough

conditions. 50-70kg of water sloshing about in a barrel on a boat of maybe 14ft. long can become dangerous in rough weather- two outcomes are possible:

a) The boat becomes dangerous to competitors; fish inside the barrels are also stressed by additional movement.

b) Tendency for competitors to under fill barrels to counter this issue, leading to inappropriate water levels for retention.

These facts can be corroborated by other observers and competitors who entered the competition, and also raised concerns at the time.

Again, I am aware of a number of competitors willing to make statements to this effect, which can be supplied on request.

3. I'm also concerned by your statement "we understand that all fish were returned alive, and the methods employed seem to have worked." What factual evidence is this statement based upon? Did DCAL staff comprehensively monitor the event, and the welfare methods employed? If so, I presume review minutes/ data are extant, and are they available?

If no review took place, in whose opinion were the methods a success, and what factual evidence was submitted as verification? Was verification based solely on DCAL staff watching a DVD of the event, as you allude to in your letter? Who produced this DVD- the organisers/ Sky TV? How long was this DVD, bearing in mind the course for the boat event was 8 miles long, held over 2 days, and approximately 16 angling hours? Was there independent verification of these issues?

As you know, the effects of stress and oxygen deprivation may occur up to a couple of days post event, so I'm confused about your assertion that all fish survived the experience. Without labouring the point, on what evidence is this official DCAL position based?

At the time of the inaugural event, (which I stress, I attended over the 2 days of the boat event,) a number of observers and competitors, including myself, witnessed substandard handling and release by stewards. There was a strong flow on the Erne at that time, and I personally witnessed fish dropped straight from a weigh sling, from a height of 6 feet or more at Carrybridge slipway/jetty, back into the main flow, without recovery, on more than one occasion. These issues were pointed out to the organisers publicly and privately at the time, and indeed after the event.

Again, there are witnesses available willing to testify to these and similar examples in writing, on request. Furthermore, you ask for evidence of fish mortalities - I would like to challenge that it is incumbent on those organising and managing the event to prove that their methods have not caused mortalities.

Visible signs of fish in distress, or lack of it, are not a substitute for proper scientific method, and reeks rather of shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. Again, I refer you to the heavy flow on the Erne that day, and the fact that all fish, morbid or otherwise, were carried away quickly. I witnessed this for myself at Carrybridge.

Were there any follow-up checks conducted on the water by DCAL staff to check for mortalities, after the event?

Finally, I categorically welcome the fact that DCAL will review the methods employed, and will research alternatives to those employed.

I would re-iterate that both the PAC and myself are not against the running of this event. (The bank event was well organised, as were aspects of the boat event.) We do believe that some of the critical welfare/ retention methods employed can be markedly improved to reduce fish stress, excessive handling, and potential for mortality during or after the event.

As the PAC is one of the largest single species clubs in the UK, with extensive experience of pike handling and conservation methods, (noted Fisheries Biologists such as Bruno Broughton, Neville Fickling, Barry Rickards, etc. are senior members,) our suggestions to help improve this competition have been submitted to the organisers before, during and after the inaugural event, to no avail.

However, I'm happy to offer a brief precis for reference:

a) Replace barrels with adequate numbers of floating marshals- mobile marshals every 250-500m along the event course, with either walkie-talkie, or visible flag indication of a fish being landed.

Mobile marshals then TRAVEL TO THE COMPETITOR'S BOAT, to preclude retention of fish in a barrel. Fish can then be quickly weighed, recorded, recovered, and returned, reducing undue stress, and recovering oxygen debt.

The added bonus is that experienced stewards are on hand to help inexperienced anglers, should they encounter any handling difficulties.

No fish need to be moved in barrels to weigh stations.

b) Employ pike tubes to allow fish to recover after handling, by suspending off STATIC, anchored boats, during and after the weighing by mobile stewards. This ensures the fish recovers in its own environment, with clean, fully oxygenated water, under the supervision of the stewards present.

This will also enable morbid/ deep hooked fish to be disqualified as per Event rules. Another benefit is that the increased levels of marshalling also enable stringent observation of the event rules, to ensure that pike welfare is paramount. This again protects Public Angling Estate pike stocks.

Additional supplementary methods have also been proposed, and I know the PAC would certainly be willing to discuss them further with DCAL should an inclusive public review occur. I trust that any public review will enable any interested stakeholder such as the PAC to formally submit proposals for improvement?

If so, please indicate when this review will take place. Also, please bear in mind that the PAC has established its Code of Conduct for pike competitions successfully on the largest pike competition in Europe, the ACA/Angling Times yearly event, to the benefit of all stakeholders, including the Pike, so the PAC is experienced in helping conduct large scale predator events.

In conclusion, removal of the use of barrels, and replacement with more practical fish retention methods can only mean a Win-Win scenario - sustainable pike stocks for ALL to enjoy, and a successful event based upon enlightened, modern methods of fish welfare.

As a result, tourism in both Fermanagh and N.I. generally can only benefit.

As ever, I look forward to your prompt reply addressing the issues raised above. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require clarification or any further information.

Yours Sincerely,

Neil Todd,

Region 43, Northern Ireland,

Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Greenie's the latest pike blogger

Lancashire-based lure maker and pike angler Dave Greenwood is the latest to launch a blog. Check it out here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Times reports on fish theft problem

Eastern Europeans taking fish from our waters for the pot is discussed in an article in The Times. More here.

EA urges anglers to report illegal setlines

Anglers are being urged to report illegal setlines by the Environment Agency. Pike are often the target of those who put them out. More here.

Lake closed after pike attacks swimmer

A lake in Austria has been closed to swimmers after claims a large pike attacked a woman paddling. More here.

Thames Gateway unveils winter programme

RO Steve Gould has unveiled the Thames Gateway Region's winter programme of speakers.

"We kick off next month (4th Sept) with Andy Lush, all round predator and lure angler, and proprietor of the Friendly Fisherman tackle shop.

"Andy will be talking about all his lure fishing exploits from pike and zander to predatory barbel in Spain.

"Other big names aquired for your entertainment are Steve Rodwell the Fenland Maestro, Ken Crow, accomplished pike angler and fishery manager of the famous Bough Beech reservoir.

"We've also got James "the Doc" Gardner, the Trout Reservoir Trollmeister, Neville Fickling,
Jason Davies, whose incredible catches are set to be unveiled at the PAC Convention, and
local superstars Marc Barnett and Phil Cheriton, who'll be giving an insight into their very successful years of fishing in the Emerald Isle."

All of the Thames Gateway meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month (except Jan 2008 coz thats New Years Day, so it will be the 2nd tuesday) at the Papermakers Arms in Dartford, Kent

For more details and directions click here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

PAC Convention set for pike tacklefest

All the latest rods, reels, lures - even bespoke fishing boats will be on display at this year's Pike Anglers Club Convention.

One of the most impressive line-ups of predator tackle ever seen will be yours to browse and buy at Piking 2007 - the PAC's 30th birthday bash.

Whether you're window shopping for a new boat, looking to re-stock your tackle box for the coming season, track down a rare book or snag some bargains on our second-hand stalls, the event will boast an unrivalled selection of traders.

Event organiser Mike Kelly, the PAC's advertising and promotions manager, said: "It's great so many people have come on board for what promises to be a great event."

Mike said alongside an unrivalled line-up of speakers, trade exhibitors so far confirmed for the event at Stoneleigh, Warks, on Saturday, September 22, include:


The Friendly Fisherman

Fosters of Birmingham

CP Boats

Seastrike Boats

ET Tackle

Catfish Pro


Catmaster Tackle

The Pike Shop

Zoota Lures

Fishing Pool

The Tackle Shop, Gainsborough

Dave Lumb Specialist Tackle

Pike and Predators Magazine

Coch-y-Bonddhu Books

The Anglers Conservation Association

The Specialist Anglers Alliance

The Catfish Conservation Group

The Pike Fly Fishing Association

The Lure Anglers Society

Book launches including PAC30, the Return of Mega Pike (Eddie Turner and Jason Davis) and Broadland Pike (Stephen Harper).

Last but not least, there will be a PAC products stall, along with raffles and other on the spot promotions.

For more information the event, details of ticket sales etc, click here.

Have you sponsored Robbie's Run..?

Pike Anglers Club member Robbie Marsh is running the Dublin Marathon in October.

He's raising funds for RA43 - the PAC's rapidly-growing Northen Ireland region - and children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

If you'd like to sponsor Robbie, members can download a form from a special secure area of the PAC website - please see the PAC Forums for details on how.

We're happy to send forms out to any non-members, please e-mail your address and a contact number to, putting Robbie's Run in the subject line of your e-mail.

Please forward sponsorship collection to R.Marsh, 21 Springdale Cresent, Kilkeel, Co.Down, BT34 4XY. All Cheques or Postal Orders to be made to Region 43, PAC.

Thank you for supporting this event.

Click here for more on Robbie's Run.

Stay safe when you go afloat

The deaths of two men whose boat overturned in Ireland at the weekend (BBC story here) serves as a tragic reminder that you can never be too careful when going afloat - no matter how experienced you might be.

The bodies of Declan Swift, 47, and Martin Steele, 48, were recovered from Lough Erne on Sunday.

Both had been missing since their 16ft boat overturned on the lough, near Enniskillen, the previous day.

Witnesses said the vessel capsized during a sharp turn and it appeared its 30hp engine was not properly secured.

Neither man was wearing a life jacket when their bodies were located by divers.

There is a boat safety advice page available on the PAC site, along with other tips for boat owners, that should help your boat fishing experiences run smoothly and, most importantly, safely.

Postal strikes hold up Pikelines

A fresh round of postal strikes is going to delay distribution of Pikelines by a day or two. Copies of the Autumn 2007 edition have now been printed and addressed.

But a series of strikes at sorting offices and delivery depots up and down the country is slowing up the mail.

Murder hunt police appeal to anglers

Predator anglers who fished Norfolk's Great Ouse Relief Channel in February could have vital information in a murder enquiry.

Danny Hathaway, who was in his 40s, was last seen on a travellers’ site in Corby, Northants, six months ago.

Police divers were today searching the channel near to Saddlebow and the Tail Sluice, where detectives believe his body may have been dumped.

Few people apart from pike and zander anglers and the occasional dog walker visit the remote spot in the depths of winter.

A Northamptonshire police spokesman said: “On February 7 a new age traveller Danny Hathaway went missing and we launched a murder inquiry because this was out of character. Today’s search is part of that police investigation.

“A 56-year-old man has today been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with our investigation into the disappearance of Danny Hathaway.

“The man was arrested in Rothwell, Northants, and police have seized a lorry and a caravan.”

Police would not reveal what had led them to a stretch of the relief channel close to the Tail Sluice and the confluence with the tidal Ouse.

Today Det Chief Insp Katie Elliott, who is leading the investigation, said that the search was looking for anything that gives further information as to what happened to Danny and where he is now.

DCI Elliott is appealing for information from anyone who used the area around the flood channel and Tail Sluice at the sailing club during February.

"I particularly need to hear from walkers, dog walkers or anyone else who was in the area of the flood channel at the sailing club or nearby farmland on February 7 or 8 this year.

"I would like anyone who saw suspicious activity involving people or vehicles to get in touch with our incident room."

Northamptonshire Police incident room can be contacted on 08453 700700.

Spinnerbaits - the Rolls Royce..?

Check out this American lure builder's site for some amazing spinnerbaits and tips on how to work them. Linky.

Monday, August 06, 2007

PAC Convention - accommodation list

There's limited on-site accommodation but plenty of places to stay within a couple of miles of Stoneleigh Park, where the PAC's 30th Anniversary Convention is being held on Saturday, September 22.

We're hoping to arrange a venue where we can meet up for a social the night before.

Click here for a list of hotels and B&Bs. For more information on the event, click here.

PAC30 on its way to the printers

Here's a sneak preview of the dustjacket of PAC30, which is now on its way to the printers. This limited edition commemorative book celebrates 30 years of the PAC with contributions from 30 pike anglers.

You can reserve your copy now from our online shop and save a fiver on postage if you collect your copy a the Convention next month. Click here to order.

Look out for Pikelines - which will be dropping through your door any day now - for a report on how the project came together from PAC secretary Mark Barrett.

There's also a bit more about the book, including a list of contributors here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Save Our Lodes petition tops 700

An online petition to save Cambridgeshire's historic lodes chalked up its 700th signature today.

Leaked EA documents contain plans to lower water levels as part of proposals to create a new wetland.

But pike anglers, walkers, boaters and conservationists are opposing the scheme.

Retired county councillor Geoffrey Woolard, who fought a succesful campaign against similar plans 30 years ago, is set to meet the National Trust, which is behind the latest move to change the face of thse ancient waterways.

Today he said: "The signature list for the 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' on-line E-Petition has made another major milestone with a total of over 700.

"This is further strong evidence of widespread support for maintaining The Cambridgeshire Lodes as they are.

"If you know of others who might like to sign the on-line E-Petition, please copy or forward this message to them."

To add your voice, click here.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cultural differences lie behind fish thefts

The opening of European borders and the subsequent influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe is said to have led to a significant rise in the number of fish thefts from commercial coarse fisheries in England and Wales, according to a new survey carried out by The Professional Coarse Fisheries Association (PCFA).

According to the survey of 60 commercial coarse fishery owners, the first of its kind to be carried out in the UK, over half of those questioned said they believed they suffer from the theft of fish from their waters. The majority of these are believed to be as a result of an increase in the number of anglers from Eastern European countries, where it is common practice to eat coarse fish such as carp.

Pike are not as popular but are still being taken, the Fisheries and Angling Conservation trust (FACT) says.

More from FACT here.

Posters in polish go up in Northants

Posters in polish have been placed around a lake in Northamptonshire after claims ecess numbers of fish are being taken illegally for the pot.

But one councillor has already rounded on angling club officials, and told a local paper they don;t have the right tio display them.

Click here for more.

Meanwhile a dog being taken for a walk along a river in Surrey neded to be operated on aftger swallowing an illegal set line. More here.

Sheffield Region launches website

The PAC's Sheffield nd Rotherham Region now has a website with details of their programme of meetings, which start on October 1.

Click here for more details.

Act soon if you want to win a boat

The clock's ticking and there's just over a month remaining in the PAC's special membership promotion which gives you the chance to win a brand new boat.

Every member who signs someone up to the club using one of the special membership forms gets entered in the draw to win a Sea Nymph.

But you need to get those forms downloaded and start working on your mates soon, because the draw closes on September 8 and the winner will be drawn at the PAC Convention at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, on September 22.

The aluminium boats are a favoured pike angler's workhorse up and down the land and the 12ft model up for grabs is ideal for lure or bait fishing.

For more details on the promotion, click here. Please note terms and conditions apply.

To download one of the special membership forms, click here.

Make sure you include your own details and PAC membership number in the space provided.

Anyone joining the club now can take advantage of our special extended membership offer and be eligible to fish many of this winter's calender of privileged access events.

There's never been a better time to join.

Countryside braced for foot and mouth

Britain's countryside was poised to go into shutdown mode tonight after foot and mouth disease was confirmed in livestock at a farm in Surrey.

Anglers were barred from crossing farmland in many areas of the country at the height of the last outbreak of the disease, in 2001.

Sixty animals have been destroyed at the farm near Guildford where the disease was discovered two days ago.

A ban has been imposed on all livestock movements and restrictions on access to areas of the countryside near farm stock are almost certain to follow.

Many rural footpaths and rights of way were closed during the last outbreak.

More on the latest here.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ayrshire welcomes Graham Slater

Ayrshire PAC are hosting Lincolnshire-based piker Graham Slater for an evening covering several aspects of his diverse predator fishing career next month.

Graham will be speaking on his experiences of fishing everywhere from the drains and rivers of the Fens to the Irish loughs and not least, the lochs of Scotland.

All are welcome at the St Andrew's Hotel in Prestwick Road, Ayr, on Tuesday, September 11 (7.30pm).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Paper features Save Our Lodes campaign

The Save Our Lodes campaign is featured today by the Newmarket Journal newspaper. Click here to read it.

Meanwhile, the online petition calling for these historic waterways to be preserved today stood at 629 signatures. Click here to sign it if you haven't already added your name.