Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pesticides in rivers on the increase

Pesticide levels in river water have increased despite pressure on farmers to reduce their impact on the environmental, says a shock report out today.
Eight per cent of river samples taken in 2005 exceeded the maximum permitted levels for drinking water.
It compared to just under six per cent in 2004 and was the highest level since monitoring began in 1998.
The figures are included in a report from the Pesticides Forum, which advises the Government.
They are based on Environment Agency routine monitoring of nine different pesticides at an undicslosed number of sites in England and Wales, which shows levels are on the increase despite farmners spending less on chemicals.
Pesticides Forum chairman James Clarke said: ``It is very disappointing."

PAC on hand at Norfolk angling open day

The PAC will be represented at Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association's open day at Bawburgh Lakes, near Norwich, on Sunday, June 10.

Secretary Mark Barrett will be running workshops on trace making and other aspects of pike fishing, alongside other demonstrations including casting, carp fishing, tench fishing and feeder fishing.

Admission to the event, which kicks of at 9.30am, is free. NACA hope lapsed and would-be anglers will attend, as well as members of the public.

Licensed coaches will be on hand to help anyone who fancies a try at fishing for the first time.

There will also be a barbecue.

Access to the event is on New Road between Bawburgh Village and Bowthorpe, approximately 4 miles west of Norwich. Turn off the A47 bypass on to the B1108 Watton road signed ‘Colney and N & N Hospital’ then head towards Watton, taking the first right down Stocks Hill to Bawburgh village. New Road is immediate right turn after the bridge in Bawburgh village, follow the road back under the A47 with the Fishery entrance a further 100 yards on the right. From Bowthorpe, New Road turn is directly off the perimeter Chapel Break Road.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Vigilante anglers target poachers

As the Environment Agency trumpets so-called crackdowns which have netted casual pleasure anglers without rod licences over the Bank Holiday weekend, a different picture emerges from South Wales.

Anglers there are mounting their own patrols, claiming the EA has done nothing to target poaching gangs.

Story here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Menteith date confirmed for November

Management at the Lake of Menteith have confirmed the PAC's first access date for the coming season today.

It will be on Saturday, November 10, when lures and baits will be permitted on the water.

Demand is sure to be sky high, after the water produced its best-ever pike during a PAC event earlier this year.

Lyn Baker, from Newcastle boated a 39lbs 8oz pike - the biggest ever caught by a woman and the biggest ever landed during a club event - in March.

Special events organiser Mark Skinner said application slips for both Mentieth and the other up and coming events would appear in the August edition of Pikelines. A draw for places will be held at the Convention at Stoneleigh, Warks, in September.

Mark said he was waiting for confirmation of an event on another Scottish water the day after the Menteith. He is also in talks with management over a lure fishing event to be held on Menteith in March.

New jet-propelled fishing boat unveiled

Meet the Mokai - a hybrid between a kayak and a boat, which is claimed to be the next big thing in environmentally-friendly fishing craft.

They're propelled by a water jet, a bit like a giant bait boat. This is powered by a 6hp inboard Honda engine which will run for eight hours.

Berkshire-based importer Waterlines claim the new 11ft craft are light enough to travel on a roof rack, but stable enough to fish from.

Click here to see their website.

EA launches "Devon blitz"

Environment Agency officers have been carrying out a blitz on illegal anglers during the bank holiday weekend, local papers report.

They have been visiting a number of sites including Fernworthy Reservoir on Dartmoor and Rackerhayes Ponds, Newton Abbot.

"Money raised from rod licences is vital to the future of fish and other wildlife," said agency spokesman Martin Williams.

"It is put straight back into improving the environment through re-stocking, improving habitats and access to fishing."

Pike anglers in the area are now wondering whether slome of the money raised will be spent on investigating the activities of the illegal tagger disfiguring fish in the Grand Western Canal by festooning them with cable ties.

Rutland Water event update

All members that have applied to fish our Rutland event in September have been successful, PAC events organiser Mark Skinner said today.

"We have just received a set of rules from Anglian water to be distributed to members when fishing the event," Mark said.

"Event packs which include tickets, rules and information sheets for B&Bs etc will be sent out sometime next week.

"There are still some boats available so please get you applications in if you want to join us."

PAC members can fish the Anglian Water reservoir on Monday, September 24 - two weeks before it officially opens for pike fishing.

With 50 boats available, it will be the club's biggest-ever access event.

More details and an application form were included with the recent Pikelines.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New badge celebrates 30 years of PAC

A new cloth badge will be available shortly to mark the PAC's 30th Anniversary later this year.

For more information on PAC products and an order form click here.

An online shop will be opening soon, meaning you'll be able to order the full range from your PC.

A gadget too far or the next big thing...?

Will underwater cameras become as common as fishfinders on pike fishing boats before long - or has technology finally gone too far.

Second generation underwater cameras have a 360 degree field of view, meaning you can keep the area around your bait under surveillance, depending on depth and water clarity.

Will they take all the skill and element of the unknown away from fishing, or will they enable us to increase our knowledge of what goes on beneath the surface.

More here. Underwater footage on the same site shows a pike hitting a bait fish.

Salmon beat for sale - at £10,000 a fish

Fancy a change from pike fishing,..? One of the most exclusive beats on Scotland's River Tay has just come onto the market.

Just £375,000 nets you a week on the Taymount Fishings, in Perthshire. Average catches on the two-mile beat mean each fish costs £10,000 to put on the bank.

Click here for more.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Canadian study shows how temps affect pike

Academic research carried out in Canada, in which almost 3,000 pike were tagged over the space of eight years, reveals one or two interesting things about their wanderings and the effect of warmer weather on their behaviour. Click here to read it.

Scottish livebait ban quietly becomes law

The Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, voted through by the Scottish Parliament on March 1, has received Royal Assent.

While no official announcement has yet been made, it presumably means livebaiting is now illegal in Scotland.

Pike gags have also been banned by the same legislation.

Click here to read the bill in full.

Devon dailies report on tagging mystery

Regional morning newspaper the Western Morning News and Exeter's evening paper the Express & Echo have both taken up the story on pike being tagged with cable ties on the Tiverton Canal.

Click here or here.

Pike blamed for disappearing cygnets

Swans on a lake in Cheltenham, Glos, are being thinned out by a pike - or so the BBC claims.

More here.

Italian angler nails 50lbs pike - claim

Our friends over on have been feasting their eyes on this monster, which was reportedly caught by an Italian angler at 50lbs. More details in this thread.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New war of words over Roswell Pits

The new owner of a famed pike and zander fishery in the Fens is in a legal stand-off over navigation rights to the water.

Jeremy Tyrrell wants to re-open disused moorings on Roswell Pits, on the outskirts of Ely, Cambs, to create a marina for narrowboats.

But Ely Sailing Club has threatened legal action, claiming their lease gives them sole navigation rights to the water.

Where this leaves anglers is anyone's guess. For while boat fishing is permitted on the water, there have been rows over access to the slipway and while powered craft will be able to access the pits from the nearby River Ouse, anglers are only permitted to fish from rowing boats by the controlling Ely Beet Club..

Mixed messages over canal sell-offs

There were mixed messages today over whether Britain's canal network could be broken up and sold off, as British Waterways confirmed a wide-ranging review into how the upkeep of 2,200 miles of inland waterways is funded.

BW said privatisation was an option. DEFRA told the Daily Telegraph it wasn't currently on the agenda.

Predator anglers will be watching to see whether a change in ownership will mean an end to the periodic zander culls carried out on the Midlands canal network.

Ministers have been told a sale could bring up to £1bn to the Treasury. But the powerful Inland Waterways Association said it was opposed to the move.

Boats are selling fast for Rutland bash

Half of the boats booked for the PAC's biggest-ever fish-in have already been taken up, events organiser Mark Skinner said tonight.

The club has 50 boats reserved for a charity pike fishing bash at Rutland Water, on Monday, September 24.

Proceeds from the day will be going to the CLIC Sargent children's cancer charity.

Mark said 25 boats had now gone in a flood of applications following the recent Pikelines.

Places for the event are for PAC members only and will be allotted on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

The PAC has secured access to the reservoir two weeks before it opens for pike fishing. See Pikelines for an application form and more details on the event.

For more details on Anglian Water's pike fishing dates and prices for the forthcoming winter click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Loch Fad dates confirmed for February

PAC members have two more days' fishing reserved on Loch Fad, special events organiser Mark Skinner said tonight.

We've now confirmed access to the water, on the Isle of Bute, over the weekend of Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3; 2008.

Mark said: "Slowly but surely our winter's calendar of events are coming together. We are especailly pleased to be able to offer our members a chance to fish Fad and our Scottish LO Scott Davidson has done a great job in ensuring we will be having two events on there.

"Loch Fad has been producing some very good fish and any members who decide to attend will be in with a chance of a fish of a lifetime."

Fad has produced pike topping 40lbs in recent seasons. Click here for previous stories on this blog.

Mark added places for the PAC's first events of season - access to Rutland Reservoir on Monday, September 24, two weeks before it opens for pike fishing - were selling fast.

"There are still boats available, but applications are coming in daily, so get those applications in now," he said.

Full details of how to apply were included in Pikelines, which PAC members received last week.

More events are likely to be announced soon. We are currently in talks with management at a private gravel pit complex in the East Midlands.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bill Palmer is Pike Angler of the Year

Dimples to Wrinkles author Bill Palmer is Pike Angler of the Year, the PAC said tonight.

Bill's well-earned award was announced at the Annual Members Meeting.

But when club officials tried to contact Bill to let him know, they found he had flown out to Italy to be with his wife Sheila, who had been rushed to hospital for an emergency hip operation.

Bill learned of his award for the first time when he returned to his home in Essex tonight with Sheila, who is now on the mend.

"It's lovely - no, it's a bit of an embarassment," he said. "It's a real bonus, it's an honour. I'm looking forward to coming up to the convention to see everyone."

Bill, 67, had the audience in stitches at last year's event, when he took to the stage to the strains of Victor Meldrew's One Foot in the Grave theme tune.

He soon had them on the edge of their seats with a talk on his Golden Season - the first winter after he retired in which he caught 30 pike over the 20lbs mark.

Bill is one of the PAC's unsung heroes, who clocks up the miles doing talks and slide shows to regions.

Announcing the award at the AMM, PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: "His pike fishing career spans more than my lifetime but he still shows the young 'uns the way home with his catches."

Peter Green was awarded the Angling Development Shield, which has been re-named the President's Shield, in recognition for his unstinting work on behalf of the club.

The late David Overy was posthumously awarded the Colin Dyson Memorial Award, in recognition for all his work on behalf of the pike and pike anglers of his beloved Ireland.

Loch Fad November dates changed

Dates for the PAC's access even on Loch Fad, Isle of Bute, have been changed to Saturday, November 24, and Sunday, November 25. Click here for more.

Media highlights illegal pike taggers

Westcountry pike anglers' concerns at the activities of illegal taggers on the Tiverton Canal have made the papers today. Click here for Tiverton Gazette report.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Reserve a slice of pike fishing history

Anglers are being offered the chance to reserve their copy of a book which will rank among the best ever published on the sport of pike fishing.

PAC30, a quality hardback which commemorates 30 years of the club, will be available from Piking 2007, in late September.

PAC secretary Mark Barrett said: "All the rumours that you have heard have been true, and PAC 30 the celebratory book is now available to pre-order to make sure of your copy.

"PAC 30 is a quality hardback book produced by Pike angler and book designer Stephen Harper, the man responsible for such legendary titles as Neville Fickling's Mammoth Pike, John Watson's Pikers Progress and Stephen's own Broadland Pike.

"All of Stephen's past books have become much sought after editions and are changing hands on on-line auction sites for often ten times the original cover price.

"The book is an out and out story book, in that there are stories of red letter days, record fish, river thirties, reservoir thirties, friends and influences, and is just the way to whet your appetite for the new piking season, as well as being a book to dip into in those moments when inspiration is required."

The book includes chapters by:

Barrie Rickards
Derrick Amies
John Watson
Neville Fickling
Mick Brown
Dave Horton
Roy Lewis
Phil Wakeford
Steve Bown
Graham Slater
Denis Moules
Scott Davidson
Pete Climo
Wayne Thomas
Steve Rogowski
Steve Rodwell
Steve Taylor
Steve Gould
John Synnuck
Mark Barrett
Chris Bishop
Mark Skinner
John Neafcy
Eric Edwards
Chris Donovan
Steve Ormrod
Bill Palmer
James Holgate
and Dave Lumb

PAC 30 is on a limited print run, and the only way to make sure of obtaining a copy is to pre-order one now. Why not save yourself a fiver into the bargain by picking your copy up at the convention on the 22nd September at Stonleigh Park, Warks?

The hardback version of the book costs £25 with postage if required another £5.

There are also a strictly limited number of leatherbound editions available. These retail at £185 + £5 postage. Only 100 of these will be made and are sure to become a classic. (leatherbounds limited to members only and two per person)

Books can be ordered by sending a cheque or postal order made payable to the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain to General Secretary Mark Barrett at:

32 Berristead Close

or order on-line at

Cover picture here.

PAC Raffle: Did your number come up..?

A catfish holiday, guided fishing trips and more rods, reels, lures and other odds and ends of tackle will all shortly be on their way to the 100 lucky prize winners whose numbers came up in the PAC's Winter Raffle.

The draw was made at Saturday's Annual Members Meeting at Sandiacre, Derbys.

If you haven't checked yet, details of all 100 winners are now listed on the PAC Member's Forums.

PAC grows but more work ahead, AMM told

Membership is rising, the bank balance is healthy and exciting things are afoot as the Pike Anglers Club approaches its 30th Birthday, its Annual Members Meeting heard.

But PAC president Phil Wakeford warned against complacency as the committee looked back on its first year in office at the club's AGM.

Member numbers now stand at more than 2,200 - a 20 per cent increase on this time last year.

Events are on the increase, Pikelines is hitting record pagination and the club is about to launch an on-line shop.

"I could sit here and crow about the successes we've had but the club needs to be aware of its weaknesses as well as its successes," Phil told he meeting at Sandiacre, Derbys, yesterday.

"Membership is on the up but it's like the curate's egg - good in parts, less good in others, which shows you can't please everyone all of the time."

Phil said the PAC needed to work harder at building relationships with bodies like the Environment Agency and also uniting different factions within pike fishing.

Apathy and membership turnover were other weaknesses which needed to be addressed.

"We want to get to a situation where all serious pike anglers are members of the PAC," he said.

Secretary Mark Barrett said regions as a whole had become stronger and attendances at meetings were also on the up.

He said the club had re-aligned itself with the Anglers Conservation Association (ACA) and had drawn up rules for its annual series of pike matches.

"We are not promoting pike matches, we are not for or against them," he said. "We had a blank canvas to write the rules for the match."

Mark said the club was also lobbying organisers of the annual Fermanagh Pike Championship, in Ireland to improve fish handling and abandon the practice of retaining fish in barrels prior to weighing.

Mark gave a presentation on PAC30 - a new book being published to coincide with the club's 30th Anniversary celebrations later this year.

Members can pre-order copies of the book for £25 plus p&p, or collect it at the Convention, after which it is expected to go on general sale.

Membership secretary John Cahill said when the committee took office, membership of the club stood at 1830, at the end of September - formerly the traditional renewal period - it stood at 2129, and at the date of the AMM it stood at 2222; an increase of just over 20 per cent.

Increases varied regionally, but the highest were in Scotland and Northern Ireland - where membership has more than doubled.

Special events organiser Mark Skinner said he expected the number of events on offer to members to increase to 12 or 14 this season.

They include new waters for the club, such as Loch Fad, Lyn Brennig and the PAC's first-ever event in Northern Ireland.

Webmaster Dave Lumb said he was building an online shop to sell PAC products, which was expected to go live shortly.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

EA launches TV advertising blitz

The Environment Agency has launched a TV advertising blitz coinciding with the start of the river season, in a bid to deter licence dodgers. More here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

PAC members meet for club's AGM

Pike anglers will be converging on Nottingham on Saturday for the club's AGM.

They'll hear reports from officers on how the current committee's first year in office has gone and have the chance to question them face-to-face, and hear at first hand about plans for next year and further into the future.

Indications are the meeting will be better-attended than it has been for many years. A contingent have set off from Northern Ireland tonight.

EA in new bid to protect Broads fish

The EA has announced a new bid to protect part of the Broads from salt incursion. Click here.

Watch out for set lines in Northern Ireland

PAC members in Northern Ireland are warning anglers to keep an eye out for set lines on the River Bann. Click here to see the NI Blog for more.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kennet "record" claimed on YouTube

Footage of a 33lbs 2oz pike, claimed as a record for Berkshire's River Kennet, has been posted on YouTube.

Rutland applications - please note

Special events organiser Mark Skinner says members applying to fish our Rutland event, who will be fishing with a boat partner, can include the boat partners name and PAC membership number on the same application slip.

Please just ensure that the cheque or cheques sent cover both members' entry fees.

Apologies for not making this clearer on the form.

Cranes return to the Fens

Fen pikers could soon have some spectacular bird life for company. The first cranes to nest in the area for 400 years have settled on a nature reserve near Lakenheath. More here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fill your freezer with deads on us

Want a freezer full of deadbaits to kick off your season..? Check out the exclusive competition in Pikelines.

Our friends at Baitbox are putting up £200 of their freshest, vacuum-packed baits as first prize in an easy-peasy competition in the latest issue of the PAC's member's magazine.

Second prize is £100-worth of bait, third wins £75-worth and there are one or two other prizes on offer - including an £150 freezer-full for the best fish caught on a Baitbox dead next season.

Baitbox were the first major supplier to back the PAC's Pikemark, which assures predator anglers that their baits come from legal and sustainable sources.

We're working with other companies to make it a standard within the industry. The logo came about after the PAC investigated claims that fish were being illegally-netted for the deadbait trade.

We found they weren't true. And what's more pike anglers are among of the most conservation-aware branch of fishing.

Well done to Baitbox, for flying their colours from the mast. Answer a couple of questions in Pikelines, and you could win a freezer-full.

Have we found another Blithfield, asks Eric

Could an untapped welsh trout water be the next Chew or Blithfield..? That's the question Eric Edwards asks in the latest Pikelines, which is dropping onto PAC members' doormats any time now.

Members have been prospecting a trout water called Llyn Brenig, in which pike began appearing less than a decade ago.

They are believed to have defeated a trap set to prevent eggs and fry from entering the lake from a nearby river which holds coarse fish.

Only a handful of anglers have so far fished its 900 acres, including Eric, who describes how the pike are growing rapidly, with fish to 26lbs appearing in 2006.

"I simply can't overstate the how excited I am about the prospects for piking at Brenig," he said.

"In my view, they sky's the limit for these pike as long as it doesn't get too heavily-fished.

"Within five years we will be seeing pike to rival anything Chew or Blithfield can produce. You heard it here first."

Better still is the news that the PAC has now got 15 boats booked for the first two days on the lake, on October 29 and 30.

"It's brilliant news that PAC has managed to secure a number of boats at Brenig," said Eric. "Hopefully we will be able to maintain a presence there for many years to come."

The news comes just days after the PAC revealed it has secured four days on a Scottish loch which has produced pike to 42lbs in recent seasons and its first-ever event in Northern Ireland.

For more details of how to apply or this and other PAC Special Events, see Pikelines.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Illegal tagger targets Devon canal

Pike in Devon are being tagged illegally by having cable ties pushed through their backs.

Anglers on the Grand Western Canal, which stretches from Tiverton to the Somerset border, have caught numbers of small fish festooned with plastic fastenings.

Mystery surrounds why anyone would wish to mutilate fish in this way.

"I've been hearing about this for a while," said Exeter-based lure angler Steve Moore.

"I've only recently started fishing the canal again and we've probably already had eight of them."

Some fish have grown since having the tag inserted an one photograph taken by Steve shows a fish with festering sore.

Steve said the biggest tagged fish he had seen was around the 3lbs mark. The shallow canal, which has suffered water loss through leakage in some sections in recent seasons, is not regarded among the South-west's best pike fisheries.

"My own personal view is that someone's trying to determine what they've caught before," he said. "It's really getting our goat down here."

Tonight the Pike Anglers Club urged anglers who fish the water to remain vigilant and report anyone they see behaving suspiciously. The Environment Agency has been informed.

PAC chairman Colin Goodge said: "This is clearly amateurish and we would urge who ever is doing it to contact us.

"Pike anglers elsewhere identify fish and spot repeat captures by photographing them, since it is widely acknowleged that they all have unique and individual markings, much like human fingerprints.

"This could be a school or college project which has gone wrong for all we know, but whatever the reason we would urge those responsible to stop."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tactics from Canada for 'pressured' pike

Interesting piece on tactics for pressured pike and staying ahead of changing conditions on the In-Fisherman's website tonight. Click here to read it.

Broads should recover from salt tides - EA

Norfolk's pike fishing mecca does not appear to have been harmed by last winter's storm surges, the Environment Agency said today.

Anglers feared the worst as gales lashed the East Coast last November, driving salt tides higher than normal up the rivers Yare and Thurne.

But a report in Angle - the EA's magazine for anglers in East Anglia - says: "The tidal flooding of the Broads last November should have little effect on fish stocks, and anglers can look forward to a good season's sport."

The EA adds the storm surge, on November 1, was the highest since the 1953 floods, which killed more than 40 people as the sea broke through defences.

"It was one of the worst incidents of fish deaths from natural causes in the Norfolk Broads in the last 15 years. Thousands of fish died."

But hundreds of thousands more were saved by flood barriers at Potter Heigham boatyards, which were packed with juvenile silver fish.

Mortality was worst on the Yare, where dead fish were seen upstream of Brundall. While it is difficult to assess how badly pike were affected, few were seen amid the large numbers of silver fish.

The EA's Graham Gamble said: "It was mainly the young fish which were lost and the numbers will be replenished naturally. I don't think anyone will notice any big difference this coming year."

But while a once in 50 year storm tide is not the end of fishing, such tides are predicted to become more common as sea levels rise and our climate changes.

There is already controversy over the way Broadland rivers are managed to contain water, rather than allow it to flood onto marshland as it has for centuries.

EA offers fish survey maps to help anglers

Pike anglers could soon be using Environment Agency survey maps to help them understand the mysteries of prey fish movements.

Finding the prey can often be the key to locating the predator, or so the oft-quoted theory goes.

And EA staff who like to wet a line in their spare time have been using the survey results to plan their own fishing, one of its fisheries scientists has revealed.

The revelation comes in the latest edition of Angle, the EA's magazine for anglers in its East Anglian region.

"Every angler wants to know where are the fish. Well, we have the maps that can tell you," it says.

The article explains how data collected from electronic surveys of rivers is plotted into maps. The piece is illustrated with a map of the Great Ouse between Ten Mile Bank and its confluence with the River Wissey, near Downham Market, in Norfolk.

A large concentration of fish is shown immediately downstream of the infall, which will be of no surprise to anyone in that part of the world.

At the time the survey was carried out last July, the swims shown as having the highest density of fish were producing 100lbs nets of bream and tench.

But EA fisheries scientist Justin Mould goes on: "I'm an angler myself and I can tell you they really do work. I've had some memorable fishing trips using these maps.

"I used the maps to identify where there might be shoals of prey fish and then went fishing for the predators that would be aound them."

Mould said his best catch using this technique was a 14lbs zander.

"Fish move, of course, so the maps are never 100 per cent accurate. But it does show you stretches where the fish are likely to be.

"These maps, once they are made, can be distributed to anglers free of charge. All they have to do is ask."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New group to protect Westcountry rivers

A new partnership has been formed to look after Somerset's three main river systems.

The new organisation, co-ordinated by Somerset County Council, will address issues affecting the Parrett, Axe and Brue and their catchments.

With climate change presenting unprecedented challenges, the partnership will look at all issues impacting on the communities, landscapes, economies and ecologies of the three rivers with a focus on community involvement and participation.

There will now be a series of events for parish councils, the farming community and other interest groups such as anglers to meet with water managers and hear about water-related topics and activities in their local area.

Hazel Prior-Sankey, chair of the new partnership, said: "This partnership will provide a platform for debating issues and striving to seek a consensus on the best way forward to meet the challenges ahead. It will also identify and implement projects that would not otherwise be feasible for single organisations to deliver on their own."

Steve Dury, the council's project manager, said: "According to the latest climate change figures the risk of flooding looks to increase, and there will be other impacts including increased risk of sediment and pollution runoff into watercourses..

"This new partnership aims to manage flood risk and water management in a more sustainable way through partnership and consensus, the pooling of resources and skills, and recognising and maximising opportunities."

For more information about the new partnership, the forthcoming community meetings and how you can get involved, contact Steve Dury on 01823 355170.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Loch Fad added to PAC events calender

A Scottish loch in a unique island setting, which has produced pike to over 40lbs, is set to welcome PAC members.

Special events organiser Mark Skinner said the club had four days booked on Loch Fad, on the Isle of Bute. Two of them will be in November, two in February.

November dates are the weekend of November 17/18, February dates will be announced when confirmed.

"We're very pleased to have negotiated access for the PAC," Mark said. "We are always looking to expand our calender of events, because they are very popular with members."

It's not hard to see why, with fish to 39lbs 8oz caught during club events last season. Lyn Baker's Menteith capture was the biggest pike ever caught by a female angler.

"When a new member comes to her first event and catches a fish like that, it sums up one thing the club's here for," said Mark.

"Any member can apply to fish one of our events and be in with a chance of catching a fish like that."

The Isle of Bute is reached by a car ferry and there is on-site accommodation. Mark said the club was hoping to negotiate a block booking and discount.

Usual PAC event rules will apply. Members can apply for places using the form in Pikelines and there will be a draw if the event is over-subscribed.

We'll be announcing several other waters as soon as details are confirmed.

Click here for more info on the water. Click here for a taste of Fad's pike potential. Click here for a picture of the loch record.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pikers meet in Nottingham for PAC AGM

Pikers meet in Nottingham next week for the Pike Anglers Club AGM.

They'll hear reports from committee members on different aspects of the club's work over an eventful year.

They'll also have the chance to question officers over their roles and the PAC's plans for the coming year and longer-term.

A full agenda has been posted on the PAC Forums tonight, along with more details on the meeting, which is open to all members.

We want action over Beg, say NI pikers

We want answers. And we want action to protect our waters.

That's the message pike anglers in Northern Ireland are sending out to the province's newly-enshrined devolved government today, as they step up their campaign to save Lough Beg.

The massive oil spill which polluted the Co Londonderry nature reserve two weeks ago is the latest in a series of incidents on the water.

Now Pike Anglers Club members are meeting the Countryside Alliance and Friends of the Earth for talks as they compile a dossier to lobby ministers.

"There's been this attitude that no-one's answerable to anyone over here," PAC regional organiser Gordon Nesbitt said. "We're stunned this could happen to such a special water.

"Lough Beg is an SSSI, whose shores are also home to rare species of plants and a diverse range of waterfowl. We are determined to see it accorded the respect it deserves."

Pike anglers regard Beg as an important water in the Lower Bann system - as well as an internationally-renowned nature reserve.

PAC president Phil Wakeford said: "We totally support the principle of the polluter pays. Whoever caused this mess should be prosecuted, made to clear up after themselves and make good any damage."

The dossier compiled by PAC members will be sent to ministers, as the club lobbies for those who have polluted Beg to be prosecuted and for the lake's internationally-important habitats to be protected.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Metric U-turn saves piking tradition

Had any 9.09 kilo's lately - or even enough 13.64kg fish to get on Neville's List..?

The face of pike fishing could change forever without the magic of doubles, twenties and thirties.

We'd still be catching the same fish if we all went metric. But would a 4.545 have the same romance as a double and would whispered rumours of a 13.64 really set the grapevine buzzing in quite the same way..?

While much of life is now weighed up in grammes and kilogrammes, fishing in the UK has stuck resolutely to pounds and ounces when it comes to what we catch.

Eurocrats threatened to change all this in 2010, when Imperial measurements would become phased out altogether.

Now EU commissioners have announced a change of heart, which means pounds, ounces - and the pint you celebrate your new PB with - look set to stay.

Nice one Brussels. And make mine a 0.568l of your finest.

Northern Ireland Region meets in June

Northern Ireland Region's next meeting will be on Thursday, June 7, at Portadown Town Hall (7pm).

RO Gordon Nesbitt said: "There are abundance of new issues to discuss, along with the usual, and as always we would like to see as many members in attendance as possible.

"Letters should be arriving in the post shortly, outlining the evenings agenda. Refreshments will be available, but we would ask a small donation be made by each member towards the costs."

Marina fear over Fens predator haven

A scientist is leading calls to conserve the character of a wildlife haven and predator fishery as work on a new marina begins.

Jalsea Marine plans to make 50 moorings available for narrowboats at Roswell Pits on the outskirts of Ely, Cambs.

In a recent magazine interview, its managing director was reported as suggesting up to 500 moorings could eventually come to the area, the Cambridge Evening News reports tonight.

Dr Andrew Balmford, who works as a conservation scientist at Cambridge University, said he feared the development could harm wildlife and damage a natural resource used by many local people.

"Talk about putting in 500 boats as a long-term plan really frightens me," he told the paper.

"It is an important site for wildlife - one of the most important in Cambridgeshire. It is used by kingfishers and also by rare marsh harriers.

"Roswell Pits are also used by lots of people in Ely - it is the last bit of nature around the city and is used by walkers, joggers and fishermen, who may all have to use cars to get to other sites in the future.

"The whole character of the place will be changed. People use it now because it is tranquil."

Click here for more.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

There's still time to win a boat on us...

With nearly 100 valid entries, there's still time to enter for the chance of winning a brand new Sea Nymph to inject some extra va va voom into next season's pike fishing.

The aluminium craft, imported by long-standing PAC supporters Chris Parry (CP Boats) are more than up to withstanding the rigours of many winters' lure or bait fishing and just the right size for one or two anglers.

All you have to do is sign up a new member to the PAC on one of the special forms you can download from our website. For more details, click here.

Please read the small print carefully and note the closing date is September 8.

Pike to benefit from River Don rescue plan

Pike in Yorkshire's much-maligned River Don will be among the species to benefit from a new recovery plan for the river.

The document has been drawn up by River Don Fisheries Consultative Association, and the Environment Agency, after a serious pollution outbreak in which thousands of fish were killed.

Large barbel, chub, bream, roach, dace and other species perished when sewage entered the river following heavy rainfall last summer.

As a first stage of recovery the Environment Agency have already stocked more than 25,000 roach, dace and chub between Blackburn Meadows and Conisborough, and this week announced that a further £13,000 is to be made available in order to stock mature barbel between Kilnhurst and Mexborough. This will be followed by a staged introduction of a further 6,000 barbel over the next three years.

In addition major habitat improvements are being planned for the river, which, funding available, will see a fish pass being established at Sprotbrough weir, a major obstacle stopping fish movement from Doncaster upstream, and an ‘off river refuge’ to protect fry during times of high flow, below Rotherham.

The plan also includes extensive capital improvements to Yorkshire Water’s Sewage Treatment Works at Blackburn Meadows and Aldwarke.

Martin Read, Chairman of the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives, (NAFAC), said the improvements would benefir all species in the river, including pike.

‘This is excellent news and will go a long way to re-establishing the Don as a fishery in an area with possibly the highest concentration of anglers in the country," he said.

"I am delighted that the Don Consultative, as part of NAFAC, has been able to play such a major role in representing angler’s views and in establishing the current improvements and those planned for the future."

Time running out for the eel, Minister warns

Eels are on the brink of extinction, Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw said today.

The stark warning came after what he described as “disasterous” talks in Brussels at which France, Spain and Italy blocked conservation measures which would have countered illegal catches and given stocks of both eels and tuna a chance to recover.

Mr Bradshaw said stocks of the once-common eel were now believed to have become 99 per cent depleted.

“I am bitterly disappointed that the EU has again failed to take the action needed to protect tuna and eels,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“Eels are on the brink of extinction, bluefin tuna on the verge of collapse. We have been talking about both for several years and marine scientists say only urgent and radical action can save both species.

“This failure seriously damages the credibility of the EU on the environment. It is repeatedly failing to take vital action to tackle the marine environment because of the refusal of a number of member states to do anything except exactly what their fishermen ask.”

There is no practical way of shutting down eel-fishing waters because of their transatlantic migration patterns.

Proposals to make netsmen contribute a proportion of the eels they catch to restocking programmes collapsed after determined opposition from the French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The decline of the eel in the past three decades has been catastrophic and the state of the population is dire.”

Conservationists say a Europe-wide strategy is needed. But netsmen can earn up to £1,000 a night catching elvers or glass eels.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

There's gold in them there lures...

Well, kind of. We're running a second hand lure stall for the first time at this year's Convention and are just fine-tuning the way it's going to work.

To avoid queues and hassles for buyers and sellers on the day, we're knocking up some sheets people can use to register all those old favourites which screamed buy me, but never quite did the business, along with price stickers you can use to avoid confusion or delays on the day.

More on here, once we get it sorted. Why not start rummaging through those boxes for all the Hawg Shuntin' Super Duper Mammy Bammies which didn't quite do the biz for you..?

EA pours cold water on burbot bid

Plans to reintroduce burbot to our rivers aren't going down too well with the Environment Agency, which says fisheries legislation means they can only be stocked in lakes. Um, more here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Burbot set to make a comeback

A fish christened angling’s answer to the dodo is to be reintroduced to Britain’s rivers decades after it died out, scientists revealed today.

The last burbot was caught in the Fens in 1969 and the fish is widely believed to have become extinct since then.

Now fisheries scientists have successfully bred fry in a laboratory and the fish are set to be reintroduced to the Fenland rivers where they once thrived.

The species - likened to a freshwater cod - can reach weights in excess of 30lbs. Click here for more.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

EXCLUSIVE Pikelines sneak preview

The best read in pike fishing will be winging its way to PAC members shortly.

And we can bring you a sneak preview of what's inside issue 116 of Pikelines - the magazine of the Pike Anglers Club.

No surprises who's on the front cover. The papers christened her the Lady of the Lake, as Lyn Baker 's magnificent 39lbs 8oz pike gained the PAC blanket media coverage.

We've got the full story behind the capture of the biggest pike ever caught by a female angler, as told by Lyn and her husband Neil. And as you might expect, it's one hell of a story.

"I could just picture the fish coming adrift and slipping back in front of our eyes," Neil writes of the moment when the great fish surfaced. "I think I'd already prepared myself to dive over the side after it.

"After a hell of a scrap she drew the fish towards the net but it was so big about a third of the fish hung over the side and as I lifted it, the net handle snapped. In slow motion the fish swam off again and the nightmare seemed to be coming true.

"Divorce papers were already being prepared, but luckily the size 4 Owner trebles held firm. The fish was drawn over the broken net for a second time and this time she was safe."

Lyn's capture summed up what the club is all about for many who attend our events for the chance of catching the fish of a lifetime from waters not normally open to pike anglers.

As you'll read in Pikelines, our special events organiser has been hard at work negotiating access to other waters and we'll be announcing an expanded callender of events and giving members the chance to apply for a place to beat the herd and get on an Anglian Water trout reservoir before it opens for pike fishing.

But the club's not just about events. It's about bringing pike anglers together in other ways too.

Unity was a big theme for the tenth committee's first year in office. And with this in mind, we were particularly pleased to bring former secretary and life member John Watson back into the fold.

Watto, as many know him, doesn't pull any punches when he breaks his silence of nearly 20 years in an exclusive interview that's sure to get people talking.

Eric Edwards is another no-nonsense pike angler who tells it like it is. In a piece entitled Big Pike And The Meaning of Life, he lays bare his own philosphy on his fishing - which will strike a chord with many.

"Pikers are often highly tuned to their surroundings. We notice every patch of disturbed water, every bubble that rises from the depths and every fin that cuts the surface," he observes.

"Pikers are naturalists and ecologists with a deep understanding and concern for their environment."

Former PAC president Bill Winship strikes a mellow chord as he reflects on the importance of his fishing friends and companions, as he turns 51.

"George Orwell once said that once a man is over 40 there is not a day that goes by that he
does not consider his own mortality," he poignantly writes.

"I am not one to ponder too much on this kind of thing but we will all be dead and alone for a long long time and that solemn fact makes you want to get the most out of every minute we have."

Dennis "Digger" Moules charts the changing face of Fenland Piking, Jack Dinnewell relaunches our junior section and there are exclusive competitions, details of new events and one or two other gems.

Keep your eye out for the postman. It'll be on your doormat shortly.