Wednesday, February 28, 2007

PAC president Phil hits Bristol tonight

Pike Anglers Club president Phil Wakeford will be speaking about his varied pike fishing career at a Bristol PAC meeting tonight (Wednesday, February 28...).

It's being held at the Langley Arms in Dibden Lane, Emerson's Green, Bristol, from 7.30pm.

More than 160 twenties from waters all over the British Isles, including eight thirties make for an interesting evening from the former Pike Angler of the Year (2004...).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

North Essex Meeting Cancelled

The next North Essex meeting scheduled for Monday March 5th has been cancelled.

Hopefully this is just a hiccup. Anyone wanting more info can contact John Harthill at:

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cambridge hosts PAC Committee panel

A panel from the PAC Committee will be taking to the stage at Cambridge PAC's meeting on Wednesday, March 7.

President Phil Wakeford, chairman Colin Goodge, secretary Mark Barrett, products manager Mick Hastings and press officer Chris Bishop are lined up to attend the meeting at the British Legion in Downing Close, Bottisham, near Cambridge (7.30pm).

It's your chance to meet committee members, hear how the first year of the PAC's 10th committee is going and put your questions about any aspect of pike fishing and the work of the club to some of the people in the driving seat.

For more details of meetings and other activities in and around Cambridge, click here.

Rob Christen visits Lincoln PAC

Pike Angler of the Year Rob Christen will be making a rare appearence at Lincoln PAC's meeting on Monday, March 5.

All are welcome at the Turk's Head in Cecil Street, Newport, Lincoln, from 7pm.

Captor of a near-40lbs Fen drain fish which re-wrote the history books, Rob has a unique and dedicated approach to his pike fishing.

A original angler, who very much does his own thing, it's an evening not to be missed.

For more details of meetings and other activities in Lincolnshire, check out the Lincoln Blog.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cased Broads 30 set to fetch £6,000

A cased 30lbs pike, caught from the broads in 1956, is expected to fetch £6,000 when it comes under the hammer this summer. More here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Menteith changes rules on nets and mats

Anglers taking part in the future pike fishing events on the Lake of Menteith can no longer take their own landing nets, unhooking mats and weigh slings onto the water.

Management will provide 42-inch nets, beanie mats and slings for each boat. The rule change has been brought in to reduce the risk of disease or parasite transfer.

It will apply from the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland's event on Saturday, March 3, and the PAC's final date of the season on Saturday, March 10.

A £20 charge will be made for lost gear.

All spaces for the March event are booked and there is a waiting list in operation.

For more information on PAC special events,click here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Last orders for a wrinkly'un in Sussex...

Bill Palmer, pike fishing raconteur and author of Dimples to Wrinkles will be doing a talk at the Black Lion in Halland, Sussex, tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb 21) night. More here.

New website launched by FACT

A new website was launched today by FACT - the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust.

It features the work of the trust and its member groups, useful contacts including MPs and other useful bodies both within and outside angling, and gives anglers the opportunity to communicate directkly with the FACT board.

FACT was formed two years ago to represent the interests of all anglers. At present, it is supported by subscription from its member organisations.

But as the organisation develops into the planned single body to represent all of angling the board hopes to establish closer contact with anglers, who will, in time, be able to become individual members of FACT.

The trust sees its website as a step towards this, as it gives all anglers an opportunity to participate directly in the workings and future development of FACT.

Jim Glasspool, chairman of FACT, said: “We hope that anglers will take the opportunity the new website presents to tell us of their concerns and to express support or otherwise of the campaigns which FACT is involved in.

"We aim for FACT to be truly representative in time and this website is one of the first steps to that future.”

For more information, click here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chew Valley fish is 'best for three years'

Paul Weston's 36lbs 12oz brute from Chew is the best pike from the 1,200-acre trout reservoir for three years. Click here for local paper report.

Don't miss the PAC at Go Fishing

The PAC will be attending throughout the three days of Go Fishing - Britain's biggest fishing show of the year - which is being staged at the NEC in Birmingham from Friday, March 16 until Sunday, March 18.

Make sure you pop in and see us if you're going to the event. For more on the show, click here.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Scottish livebait ban - decision day nears

New Scottish fisheries legislation which includes a blanket ban on livebaiting will be debated for the final time on Thursday, March 1.

The Scottish federation for Coarse Angling has made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Environment Minister Sarah Boyack that evidence considered in the closing stages of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill's passage through parliament was incomplete and flawed. Story here.

The only hope now lies in whether MPs will back a last minute ammendment calling for the ban to be replaced by similar legislation to that which currently exists in England and Wales.

The final date for ammendments to be submitted is Friday, February 23 - after which the face of Scottish pike fishing could well be changed forever.

STOP PRESS.... There's still time to e-mail Scottish MPs if you haven't already... For their e-mail addresses and more information click here.

More on transatlantic pike confusion

Anyone seen the picture of the huge fish caught (allegedly) in Holland which managed to migrate across the Atlantic..?

Big fish, wherever it came from - see here.

Meanwhile, down in Belize...

Chris and Sue Harris were well-known among the UK pike fishing fraternity when they ran Harris Angling - the Norfolk-based mail order lure company they started on their kitchen table.

Now they're running a fishing resort in Belize and blogging their experiences.

Click here for more.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

National anglers' union launched

A National Union of British Anglers has been launched in a bid to unite the broad church which covers coarse, sea and game angling in all its forms across the UK.

Founder Alan Suttie said: "Angling's fatal weakness lies in factionalism, complacency and a traditional expectation that others will fight our battles for us.

"The time has now come for individual sea, coarse and game anglers to act in concert as one body that properly reflects our potential to influence the vote getting propensity of relevant legislators.

"We must demand to be automatically involved and represented within all future consultative procedure directly affecting any form of angling.

"At present, we are so easily sidelined and perceived as a mere irritant. Without provable strength of numbers politicians will continue to ignore us with relative impunity.

"Our sheer numbers as a united body could and should be our greatest strength."

More here and here.

Consultation begins on Ouse Washes

Plans to create 1,000 hectares of new wetland habitat have been revealed in the Fens.

The Government has told the Environment Agency to improve conditions for migrating birds along the Ouse Washes - a man-made flood plain comprising thousands of acres of low-lying land between the Delph and tidal Ouse, on the Cambridgeshire/Norfolk border.

It has published consultation papers setting out its strategy and the PAC is now waiting to obtain copies of the document before considering its response.

The biggest questions are what affect the plan will have on the Delph - a popular Fenland pike fishery - and the neighbouring Old Bedford River.

Copies of the consultation papers can be ordered on CD by e-mailing All responses must be sent in by Friday, March 23.

The proposal is the latest in a number of schemes which are likely to drastically alter the face of parts of the Fens, as conservation groups attempt to protect internationally-important bird reserves from the effects of rising sea levels and climate change.

More on this as soon as we have it.

Bristol PAC joins blogging set

Bristol is the latest PAC region to set up a blog containing details of forthcoming events and activities. Click here for more.

Friday, February 16, 2007

More video clips added to PAC TV

More video clips have now been added to PAC TV - the pike fishing channel set up by the club on Youtube. Click here to view them.

Rapala launches bleeding lures

Red hooks are the next big thing in lure fishing, apparently. And Finnish lure giant Rapala is tooling up some of its lures with them and also launching a range of "bleeding patterned" lures.

Canoeists' access petition launched

Canoeists have launched an online petition in their bid for free access to Britain's rivers, canals and waterways.

An article on the website of the british Canoe Union (BCU) says: "The BCU’s Rivers Access Campaign is calling for legislation similar to the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003.

"The Act establishes and codifies a statutory right of responsible access to land and inland water for recreation and education purposes; to protect the environment, rights and activities of all canoeists, anglers, other outdoor users and landowners in relation to access. Everyone is required to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code that supports the Act. The Act has been successfully implemented in Scotland and could be adapted to apply to England and Wales.

"Canoe and kayaking is the fastest growing watersport for the fifth year running and access to waterways would help us achieve our and the government’s objectives in many areas. Increased access would provide more recreational and sporting canoe and kayaking activities, helping the country get healthier and fitter, it also gives people of all ages and abilities opportunities to learn a skill.

"With the London 2012 Games in the not too distant future, this is the time to be opening up rivers, to give us the same prospects that Europe and the rest of the world have.

"Canoe and kayaking does not harm the environment, the canoe leaves no trace, no footprints, no noise. In fact it does quite the opposite; paddlers tend to respect and want to preserve nature. Furthermore, studies have proven that canoe and kayaking does not disturb fishing (Effects of Canoeing on Fish Stocks and Angling – Research and Development Technical Report by the Environment Agency W266).

More here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

PAC president Phil set for Bristol talk

PAC president Phil Wakeford will be speaking about a lifetime of pike fishing at a Bristol PAC meeting on Wednesday, February 28 (7.30pm).

Venue is the Langley Arms, Dibden Lane, Emersons Green, Bristol BS16 7GA.

PAC membership tops 2,000

Membership of the PAC went through the 2,000 mark today.

Thanks to everyone for all their efforts to promote the club and all it stands for.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sussex presents Dimples to Wrinkles Bill

Dimples to Wrinkles author Bill Palmer will be entertaining the PAC's Sussex Region with some of the highlihts of his incredible pike fishing career next week.

He'll be appearing at the Black lion on the A22 at Halland, between Uckfield and Hailsham, on Wednesday, February 21.

Doors will be opening at 7.30pm, with the talk starting at 8.30pm. Admission is £2.50 members/£3 non-members.

"Serial offender" banned from the bank

An illegal angler with a string of rod licence offences has been banned from fishing for two and a half years.

Khan Marshall, 21, was fined £200 for leaving a rod unattended and a further £200 for fishing with three rods but only holding a single licence when he appeared before Woking Magistrates on February 9.

He was also ordered to pay the maximum £70 costs to the Environment Agency for both cases.

In a rare move Marhsall, of Staines, Middx, was banned by the court from holding a rod licence for the next two and a half years after JPs heard he had previous convictions dating back to 2002.

Marshall left a rod unattended at Twynersh Fishing Complex in Chertsey, Surrey, on July 10, the court was told.

A month later, EA bailiffs found him at the same fishery, using three rods but with only a single rod licence.

After the hearing, fisheries enforcement officer Graham Haynes, said: "Mr Marshall has a long history of flouting the laws of fishing in this country.

"From his first warning letter in 2002 he has appeared before magistrates three times for failing to hold a £24 rod licence and giving false names and addresses to officers, racking up a total of £650 in fines and costs.

"It is very rare for an angler to be banned from holding a rod licence, but this extreme measure was taken because of Mr Marshall’s persistent offending.

"If he is caught fishing within those two and a half years he can not only expect his equipment to be confiscated but he will also find himself with another day in court."

Rods of the future could be carrot fibre

A scottish company is about to unveil a new range of fly rods made from a revolutionary new material - carrot fibre. Click here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ice fish mate... Piking Swedish style

FISHINGmagic's running a great piece on pike fishing through the ice by Swedish piker Christer Sjaunja, which features the capture of a near 30lbs specimen. See it here.

Watch out for the postman on Wednesday

Er, no folks - not because it's Valentine's Day either. All any pike angler wants the postman to bring him or her on February 14 is the latest edition of Pikelines, which should arrive then-abouts, depending whereabouts in the world you are.

As well as all the usual news, views and features from the world of pike fishing, look out for a few waters we've lined up privileged access days on to finish off the season.

PAC TV goes live on Youtube

It's still being tweaked and tested but the PAC's fledgling online TV channel can now be viewed on Youtube.

We'll be investing time and energy into getting this right , as the club exploits new media to show good pike fishing practice.

Check it out here.

Evidence for Scottish ban "incomplete"

Incomplete evidence and misunderstandings on key issues have led Scotland to the brink of a livebaiting ban, the Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling said today.

In a letter to Deputy Environment Minister Sarah Boyack, who has played a leading role in steering the proposed Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill through the Scottish Parliament, the SFCA has requested an urgent meeting with Ms Boyack before the bill becomes law.

The letter and proposed meeting have the full backing of the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland and Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain. Both groups have put up a united front in support of the SFCA.

The bill as orginally laid down before Scottish MPs contained powers for livebaiting to be banned in so-called sensitive areas, whose ecology could be threatened by the introduction of alien species.

But just before Christmas, this was ammended to a blanket ban on live baiting north of the Border. The move was backed by MPs during the second reading of the bill.

In the SFCA's letter to Minister, its policy officer Ron Woods said coarse and predator anglers had not been given the chance to make reprsentations on this major change.

"When the Bill was presented to Parliament there was no proposal for a ban to be part of primary legislation," he said.

"Stakeholders were explicitly given to believe that any measure of that kind would come by way of secondary legislation, on which we therefore expected a separate debate that would provide the opportunity to make representations as to our point of view.

"There was no invitation to give written evidence to the Committee on this subject - though we took it upon ourselves to refer to it briefly in our submission - and the Committee did not take oral evidence on the matter when speaking to representatives of angling organisations."

Mr Woods said coarse anglers deeply questioned the argument that livebaiting led to the translocation of fish.

He added: "To support this you mention the presence of ruffe in Loch Lomond. This example is often quoted, but in fact it is misleading and ambiguous.

"It is most unlikely that ruffe would ever have been brought to Loch Lomond as live bait - for the very good reason that they are almost never used for bait at all, being too small for the purpose and comparatively difficult to obtain as they are uncommon in other parts of GB.

"This species has spread elsewhere by other means - for instance, to the Great Lakes in North America through ship’s ballast water - and could have reached Loch Lomond by any of a number of routes unrelated to angling.

"In any event, ruffe are not a new introduction to Loch Lomond. They were first detected in sampling exercises in the early eighties and are likely to have been present for some years prior to that.

"All that a ban will achieve is to penalise today’s responsible anglers for the irresponsibility of unknown individuals more than a generation ago."

Mr Woods added the risks translocation paused to native species in Scotland had been "overstated".

"In reality, there is no firm evidence that ruffe or any other species allegedly introduced as live baits have actually caused harm to populations of any native species in Loch Lomond, or indeed anywhere else in Scotland," he said.

The SFCA and other groups have argued all along the line that the use of livebaits should be restricted to fish taken during the same fishing session, from the water in which they are being used.

Officials claim the code of conduct endorsed by groups such as the PAAS, PAC and Specialist Anglers Alliance was not raised during the debate.

Mr Woods said the code was first raised in 2001. "Our position on this matter has also been reiterated in oral discussions with officials over the years," he said.

"In several meetings of the Steering Group and Fisheries Forum in 2004 and 2005. We have consistently expressed willingness to work closely with the Executive on restricting the use of live baits to those caught from the water being fished, underpinned by a combination of statutory controls over fish movements and a strong voluntary Code of Practice supported by all the bodies representing pike anglers in GB."

In response to Ms Boyack's observation that the ban was "not a big issue", Mr Woods concluded: "I have to point out that you are mistaken. This one measure has overshadowed the whole Bill for coarse anglers.

"Instead of justifiably being welcomed as the first step ever towards legislative recognition for our sport in Scotland, it has simply become known by most coarse anglers as the “Livebaiting Bill”.

"This is all the more unfortunate as we have played an active part in the very comprehensive Forum and Steering Group process that led to the Bill and believe the great majority of the proposals in it are positive.

"You were kind enough to suggest that you and your officials would be happy to talk about the issue with the pike angling community. We welcome that offer and would like to take it up. We would ask that such discussion takes place before the Stage 3 debate."

Anglers on both sides of the border now hope to be given the chance to plead their case direct to the Minister, in a way they have not previously been permitted the opportunity to do so - before the face of pike fishing on some of the UK's most historic waters changes forever.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

PAC commercial launched on Youtube

The PAC is working hard to capture video footage of people fishing sensibly for pike, and unhooking and handling them correctly.

As a stop-gap with put a quick commercial on Youtube - to see it, click here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

PAC TV launched

Look out Rupert Murdoch... The PAC is trialling pike fishing video clips on its members forums to test one or two things out before we launch them on the unsuspecting public.

Webmaster Dave Lumb said: "Back in 1993 the PAC produced a pike fishing video called Piking in the '90s. At the time there wasn't the plethora of videos and TV programmes that there is today and it proved very popular.

"While certain attitudes, practices and tackle have changed since the making of the video we have decided to share clips with members of the PAC via the forum.

"There is stuff that will be of help to new pikers, and older members will no doubt find some nostalgic interest too."

This is a work in progress, we're still ironing out the bugs and trying to up the image quality.

If you're a member, log in for some pike fishing nostalgia.

Reading region meets on Monday

PAC president Phil Wakeford will be giving a slide show featuring some of the highlights of his varied pike fishing career when the re-launched Reading region meets on Monday night.
It's all happening at the Kings Tavern in Kings Road, Reading, from 7.30pm.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Record zander rumoured

Rumoured being the operative word but today's Lynn News reports tales of a record-breaking 20lb zander doing the banks in Norfolk.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Anglian Water announces 2007 pike dates

Anglian Water has announced pike fishing dates on its reservoirs for the coming season.

Fly anglers can target pike on Grafham, Pitsford and Rutland from the start of the traditional season on June 16 with a special predator permi costing £14, on top of normal boat fees.

Lures over 18cm can be used at Pitsford from Mondays to Fridays on alternate weeks commencing June 18; ie weeks commencing July 2, 16 and 30; August 13 and 27; and September 10 and 24.

Boat fishing dates with lures and deads - seabaits over 18cm, excluding lamprey - are as follows:

Pitsford: October 1 - November 25;

Rutland: October 8 - October 31;

Grafham: October 15 - November 25;

Ravensthorpe: October 29 - November 25;

Ardleigh: May 1 - February 28, 2008.

Pitsford can be fished from the bank with lures and deads from November 1 - December 31, while Hollowell, Alton and Costessey are open all year round.

More details are included in Anglian Water's fishing magazine Hooked 2007 - for more details, e-mail .

Don't miss Rodders in Brum

The Birmingham region of the P.A.C. are having a talk courtesy of Steve Rodwell AKA "Rodders", on Tuesday, February 13.

Norfolk's finest export has been going down a storm on the talks circuit this season, with his repertoire of big pike and even bigger laughs.

The venue is The Hill Social Club, 33A Dugdale Crescent, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B75 7EY.
Car parking is available.

Steve's talk starts at 8.00pm and will be about his pike fishing exploits on a range of different venues - including trout waters, the Fens, the Broads and more.

A licensed bar is available and there will be a raffle. Admission is £2.00 for members and £3.50 for non-members.

Otters on the increase, survey says

Improvements to river quality have helped otters to increase, a survey carried out in Bedfordshire says. More here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chew pike dates latest

Fish of the year from Chew Valley Reservoir was a 34lbs 7oz cracker captured by Rob Watts.

Boat and bank dates for this year are February 3 - 9 and 17 - 23; October 15 - 20 and October 25 - 30; and November 4 - 9.

There will also be bank-only days from November 14 - 19 and November 25 - 30.

Places are limited so booking is essential. For details call 01275 332339.

Heaviest snow of the winter on its way

The heaviest snows of the winter are set to fall on much of the UK overnight, forecasters say. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings. More here.

Work begins on new Fens pumping station

Work has started on Britain's biggest pumping station which will protect tens of thousands of homes in the fens from flooding.

When it becomes operational in 2010, the new station on the Middle Level Drain at St Germans, near King's Lynn, will also increase run-offs on the entire Middle Level system, which stretches inland as far as March and Chatteris.

The existing Pumping Station, built in 1934, is a familiar landmark for pike and zander anglers.

The horn signalling its pumps are about to start up is soon followed by the drain shivering and then picking up flow, before water levels begin to visibly drop.

Its six existing pumps can shift 70 tonnes of water a second, but the Middle Level Commissioners say global warming, rising sea levels the age of the current station mean its operating life is coming to an end.

In April 1998, the station was pushed to its limits after heavy rains inland were followed by high tides and a north easterly gale.

It was forced to operate non-stop for 50 hours and if one of its pumps had failed a flood would have occurred with disasterous consequences.

The new station will have a 40% increased capacity giving it the ability to pump 100 tonnes.

Building work is now in progress on the massive coffer dam needed to protect the site before work on the new station, downstream of the present plant, can begin.

For more information click here.

North Lanarks host Eddie T

Eddie Turner will be speaking about his pike fishing experiences at a North Lanarkshire PAC meeting on Friday, March 9 (7pm).

Venue is the Joker Bar in Calder Road, Mossend ,Bellshill. Admission £2 for RA93 members, £5.00 non-members.

There will be a light buffet and raffles on the evening for an Abu lure rod, Daiwa Baitrunners, Harris lures, Kelly Storm Kettle, a hospitality day for two at the Famous Grouse Expereince, and assorted bottles.

For information on meetings and other activities in North Lanarkshire, see the RA93 Blog.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bill Palmer at Thames Gateway on Tuesday

Bill Palmer will be speaking at the launch of the PAC's new Thames Gateway region tonight (Tuesday, February 6...).

Venue is the Papermakers Arms in Hawley Road, Dartford, Kent, from 7.30pm.

Bill's talk was one of the highlights of last year's convention in Leeds and he's been going down a storm with pike anglers up and down the country this season.

Visit the Thames Gateway blog - click here for more information on events down that way.

Fen Drayton to become new RSPB reserve

The Pike Anglers Club is contacting the RSPB over its future plans for fishing on the Fen Drayton gravel pit complex in Cambridgeshire.

The East of England development Agency has put up the money to buy the lakes and turn them into a nature reserve. More here.

New fly tips added to PAC website

Information on the basics of choosing safe tackle for fly fishing for pike has just been added to the PAC website. Click here.

Pike anglers raise alarm after oil spill

An investigation was under way today after pike anglers spotted a diesel spill on a Suffolk river.

Around 200 lites of fuel is believed to have leaked into the River Gipping in Stowmarket and spread downstream as far as Needham Market.

The spillage, which is is thought to have come from malt firm Muntons, was reported to EA by lure anglers fishing the river on Sunday afternoon.

The EnvironmentAgency praised how the firm handled the leak, adding it will not affect fish.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Membership nudging record high

Around 30 people now joining the Pike Anglers Club every week. Isn't it time you joined them..?

And if you needed another excuse, how would a brand-new boat help next winter's campaign..?

If you're a PAC member, all you have to do is recuit a member using one of our new leaflets. And make sure you put your details in the space for who referred them.

Every time someone joins using a form with your details on, you get entered in the draw to win a Sea Nymph.

They're popular with pike anglers all over for one or two good reasons - they're built like tanks but they're stable and dead easy for even a beginner to handle.

They cost just over a grand to buy new. But we're giving one away for free, in our 2007 membership promotion, which will be drawn in September at the PAC Convention.

To make it even easier, you can download and print off forms online if you just click here.

For more details on how to win the boat, click here.

Scottish livebait ban latest

Pike anglers are passionate about retaining livebating, but the majority of fishing groups want it banned, Scottish MPs were told during the latest debate on the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill.

Conservatives and Scottish National Party members tried to introduce ammendments which would have allowed livebaits caught on the day, on the same water to be used.

But Scotland's deputy environment minister Sarah Boyack said: "After many stakeholders voiced concern about the risk of adverse effects on biodiversity in our inland waters as a result of unused live bait, we decided to include the provision in the bill, to make the policy clear.

"I acknowledge that pike anglers in particular, who represent a minority of anglers, have passionately expressed the view that the use of live vertebrates as bait should continue."

The Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling, the Pike Anglers Alliance and the Pike Anglers Club had all defended the method.

But Ms Boyack went on: ""I want to scotch a few myths that have arisen. The first is that this is a late Executive amendment, which we are trying to sneak through. It is not. The genesis of the proposal that is contained in the amendment was in the Executive's green paper,

"The second myth is that the ban is a welfare issue and that perhaps the next step would be to ban maggots or worms, if not fishing itself.

"I want to make our position clear and put it on the record. The Executive has been consistent on the issue from day one. The issue here is one of biodiversity. Introduced fish can compete with, predate on, give parasites to and spread disease among native fish. The Executive is totally supportive of angling as a sport and a recreation. That needs to be said, given some of the rumours that have been flying around.

"The third myth is that using live vertebrates as bait is not a problem. We do not agree with that view. The use of live vertebrates as bait has resulted in the translocation of live fish. That can happen when live fish used as bait are brought in from other sources and at the end of the day are discarded into the water being fished if they are not used."

Ms Boyack said the presence of Ruffe in Loch Lomond was proof that anglers translocating livebaits had caused alien species to be introduced to waters.

"Loch Lomond now supports a number of fish species that are new to the loch," she said. "One of those species, the ruff, is now the most common in the loch and is thought to pose a major threat to the loch's indigenous powan, which is an internationally renowned species of freshwater fish found in Loch Lomond and Loch Eck. The powan is listed in annex V of the habitats directive, so it is a fish that we want to protect.

It is the Executive's strong view that the use of lures and dead fish, often marine species such as sprat or mackerel, gives anglers a range of different methods that provide a perfectly acceptable alternative to the use of live fish.

"There is no need to put biodiversity at risk. I remind the committee that support for the use of live vertebrates is a minority view. It is a powerful view and it is held with passion, but support for a ban was and continues to be widespread.

"I believe that the case for prohibition is compelling. Support for prohibition is clearly the view of the substantial majority of anglers."

The bill will now go to a final reading, at a date to be fixed. Pike anglers on both sides of the border are lobbying for the amendments to be reinstated when it does.

For the debate in full click here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

PAC boosts profile at Angling Ireland

PAC members from Region 43 did us proud at the Angling Ireland Exhibition held in Belfast last weekend, running a stall on behalf of the club.

RO Gordon Nesbitt said they were surprised at the level of interest. More here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pikers asked to help with Cumbria survey

Anglers pike fishing on Bassenthwaite are are being asked to share details of their catches with the Lake District National Park Authority.

"Fishermen and women are catching good numbers of pike, but say they now rarely get large ones weighing over twelve pounds," said Lake District National Park Authority ranger manager and Bassenthwaite Lake Restoration Programme member Shirley Muir.

"Some of the most significant differences seem to have been among pike stocks. As pike are top of the fish food chain, they are a good indicator of the health of the lake and, if changes are taking place, it is essential we find out more."

Shirley said the Lancaster-based Centre of Ecology and Hydrology had already done a lot of research into Bassenthwaite and was keen to investigate further.

"The centre wants to compare fish caught in 2007 with previous hauls to see if there are any significant changes in fish populations.

"We want to know what's happening to our freshwater species and why. We are asking anglers to send us catch returns throughout 2007 and we are very keen to contact people who have kept their previous years' records."

Letters have gone out to the all the lake's angling season permit holders appealing for help.

"We want to work closely with our fishing fraternity and now have two angling representatives on the Bassenthwaite Forum, which brings together conservation and recreation groups to advise on the lake's management," added Shirley.

For more information on the survey, click here.

Broads Bill blocked after MPs object

The controversial broads Bill has been blocked in Parliament after objections by two MPs.

That means it will now be subject to a full debate, and the concerns of many Broads boaters will have to be taken into account.

Norfolk Tory MPs Keith Simpson and Richard Bacon said they wanted to see more scrutiny and transparency as the bill went through the legislative processs, after complaints and petitions.

Some feel the extra safety measures create unnecessary bureaucracy, while pike anglers are wary of new powers to designate areas boats can and can't use.

More here.

TV reporter joins the club

We're experiencing a surge in membership at the moment, especially in Northern Ireland thanks to the sterling efforts of PAC members over there.

One of our recent recruits is Darryl Grimason, a BBC Northern Ireland reporter and presenter, who's an avid pike angler in his spare time.