Friday, November 30, 2007

Migrants told don't cook our river fish

Signs have been put up along the River Severn warning foreign anglers not to remove fish.

John Roberts, from the Shropshire Angling Federation, told the BBC the removal of the fish had become a major problem.

He said he caught three Polish men with pike and a mallard in separate incidents last week.

The signs, sponsored by the Angling Trades Association, have the backing of the Pike Anglers Club and many angling and conservation groups.

They use simple pictograms to illustrate fish should not be killed and removed for the table.

Click here for more on the story. Copies of the signs can be downloaded by going here to the main PAC website.

Last posting date for PAC goods

Got your eye on a copy of PAC30 or some new merchandise from the Pike Anglers Club's online shop for Christmas..?

Then please note the last posting date to ensure Christmas delivery is Friday, December 14.

Go here to order online by credit card or PayPal.

Pikers urged to take care with traces

Pike anglers are being urged not to leave traces where they could harm dogs and other animals at the waterside.

It comes after a dog had to be anaesthetised to remove a baited rig it picked up at Beccles Quay, on Suffolk's River Waveney.

To be fair, it's not clear from local newspaper reports whether the trace was being used by an angler or a nightline had been left in the water.

More here

Website back

The PAC website and shop are fit and working again.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's renewal time says John

Nearly three-quarters of members have renewed for next year and you'll have to join them if you want your winter Pikelines.

That's the message from membership secretary John Cahill as he prepares to send out reminders to those whose membership has lapsed.

"I'd like to remind those forgetful souls who have yet to renew that Winter Pikelines awaits them," he said.

"We are ahead on renewal numbers this year with over 70 per cent of the membership back in the fold within eight weeks of year end."

Server problems

We apologise for the lack of main website and webshop at present. The server seems to be down.

However, the members forums are still operational.

As soon as the problem is cleared up we'll let you know.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Angling's Big Bang moves a step closer

Britain's millions of anglers came a step closer to having one organisation to represent all their interests today, as a merger between some of the sport's leading bodies looked certain to go ahead.

The boards of the Anglers’ Conservation Association, National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives, National Federation of Anglers, and Salmon and Trout Association have agreed to their Chairmen signing a letter of intent committing them to the development of the new body.

The full membership of each organisation will be consulted before final agreement. The National Federation of Sea Anglers has been fully involved and will formally consider joining next Spring. Other fisheries organisations will also be welcome.

The development has been led by FACT, the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust, which already acts as an umbrella body for angling. FACT Chairman Jim Glasspool said:

“This is a major step forward towards a unified organisation which will be able to provide an improved range of services to millions of anglers and be an effective voice for them. Much remains to be done but there is an enthusiasm and commitment from everyone to achieve that goal.”

Michael Heylin, secretary of SAA and a board member of FACT, said, "The SAA, as a member of FACT, has been fully supportive of these moves towards a single unified body. We look forward to working as part of the new structure and representing specialist anglers during its

"For a long time angling and anglers have needed a single body to represent the sport professionally, at last it looks as if we have it within our grasp. SAA would like to congratulate those who have made the commitment to the future for their farsightedness and
determination to succeed in these delicate discussions."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Scottish event was no passing Fad

Anything could happen on here in February. It really has incredible potential, it could do something really special.

That was the view from Scottish LO Scott Davidson after the PAC's first event on Loch Fad.

Thirty-nine pike, with the best a 23lbs 8oz fish to David Towle, were caught during a two day bash on the Isle of Bute. Scott and Jeff Adams - who made the long trip up from Oxford - also boated twenties.

"We did OK with the weather changing all the time," said Scott. "There were 39 pike caught but you can't grumble when one in 15 is a twenty."

David Towle went home a bottle of scotch to the better and was also awarded a free day's fishing by the management for the biggest fish.

Other visitors collected bottles of champagne, while the home made pea and ham soup which was dished out at the end of the day went down a storm.

"I had about four mugs of it," said Scott. "What was good was everyone really enjoyed the day and the management really enjoyed having us on there."

It's no secret Fad's done fish to 42lbs in recent seasons. PAC members have another chance at it on Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3. See Pikelines for details.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Efigy of pike burned as villagers wage war

Think we're up against it sometimes over here when it comes to seeing pike respected for the role they play in our waters and as a sporting fish..?

Well it's hook 'em and cook 'em as far as the inhabitants of a place called Portola, in America are concerned.

"Folks gathered at a local hang out north of town, the Grizzly Store, to enjoy some beer, BBQ and beans," reports this blog.

"Nothing unusual about that, but as dusk arrived, things took a turn towards the dark arts, as they doused and torched a giant wooden sculpture of a northern pike, chanting “Death to Pike!!”

Plenty to Chew on at Westcountry res

Ten fish over 30lbs and 60 twenties were caught during this season's pike dates at Chew Valley Reservoir. Next year's dates will be announced in Mid December, says Bristol Water.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fish theft warning in Express

The Daily Express has covered the new signs warning foreign anglers against taking fish for the table today. More here.

FISHINGmagic hits 40,000 mark

Our friends at FISHINGmagic are celebrating today after signing up the 40,000th member to their forums.

Check them out here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Daily Mail reports on fish theft campaign

Today's Daily Mail carries a story on the warning posters being distributed by the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust in a bid to educate foreign anglers not to remove fish for the table.

Click here to read it.

Ely set for Pike of Broadland talk

Acclaimed Norfolk author Stephen Harper isn't a regular on pike fishing's speaker circuit.

But there's a rare chance to catch him talking about his latest book The Pike of Broadland, along with the recent history of pike fishing on the Broads at an Ely and Fenland PAC meeting next week.

It takes place on Wednesday, November 28, at Sutton British Legion, at Sutton, near Ely, Cambs, at 7.30pm. Open to all anglers, entry is £3 for PAC members and £4 for non members.

Also available will be copies of Steve's book and PAC30.

For further info, click here.

New campaign to warn off fish thieves

Conservation groups have launched a new campaign to stop fish being taken from Britain's lakes and rivers for food.

Foreign migrants from Eastern European countries are feared to be removing large numbers of pike, carp and other species from our waterways.

Many anglers fear lack of enforcement and differing bylaws in different regions have helped a free-for-all to flourish, with little being done to educate foreign anglers about the tradition of returning most fish alive.

Now the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust has launched signs with pictures warning fish should not be stolen, killed or cooked. They are similar to signs already being displayed at waters run by CEMEX Angling.

FACT chairman Jim Glasspool said: “We hope that these simple, new, signs will be used by clubs and fisheries as part of the ongoing education of recent arrivals to this country about our angling tradition of returning coarse fish."

Similar signs warn of the dangers of disposing of unwanted plants or non-native species, such as aquarium or pond fish which have outgrown their surroundings.

The first 5,000 posters have been sponsored by the Angling Trades Association (ATA).

Its chairman Sean O’Driscoll said: “I hope that these posters will educate those that are threatening our fish, fisheries and future.”

The campaign is being launched in time for Christmas, when Poles eat a traditional dinner called wigilia, which includes pike and carp dishes.

It has the backing of more than 20 leading angling bodies, representing both game and coarse anglers. They include the PAC, which is making copies available to download on its website.

For more information or to download copies of the posters, click here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A twenty for Eric from ball breaking Brenig

Lyn Brenig, 1,200ft above sea level in the Welsh mountains, is one of several new waters the PAC has organised events on this season.

Eric Edwards puts this year's pike trials in perspective on his blog, with the tale of a 22lbs 2oz pike and some hard, hard fishing.

Click here for more.

Extra rod for lad nets angler £100 fine

A Yorkshire angler who set an extra rod up to teach a friend's 11-year-old son to fish was fined £100 after being prosecuted by the Environment Agency, the York Press reports today.

Click here for more.

Climate change is threat to Lakes' fish

Fish species like the char and vendace could disappear from the Lake District because of climate change, an environmental conference heard.

Not so long ago it was pike anglers translocating livebaits who were blamed for rare species' decline.

Coarse live and deadbaits were banned on waters like Windermere five years ago, after scientists claimed species like ruffe and roach had been spread.

Now delegates at fifth AGM of the Lake District Still Waters Partnership have been told that the lakes were set to change as a result of higher temperatures and warmer, wetter, windier winters.

Click here for more.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scaling open until end of November

Scaling Dam Reservoir, up in Northumbria, is offering bank fishing for pike until the end of November for £10 a day. For more details call ranger Derek Gill on (01287) 644032.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Menteith thirty for PAC member Dave

Here's Dave Ross with the 30lbs 2oz lump he caught at last weekend's Pike Anglers Club event on the Lake of Menteith.

Preston-based lure angler Dave nailed her on a chrome Lucky Lizard spoon worked through a shallow area of the lake.

The fish came on a day when 16 twenties, 42 doubles and around 150 smaller fish were caught on lures and deadbaits.

Dave's previous best was a 26lbs 8oz pike, which was also caught on a PAC event on Menteith.

For more information on the Pike Anglers Club and members' events, click here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Catch Graham Slater in Cheshire

Well-travelled piker Graham Slater will be doing a talk and slide show at Hollingworth Conservative Club in Market Street, Hollingworth, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 8HY, on Tuesday, December 4.

It starts at 8pm, admission price of £5 includes a buffet.

PAC webmaster interviewed in Mail

Dave Lumb, webmaster and independent rod builder, is interviewed by Angler's Mail. Click here to read it.

Wettest summer since records began

As pike anglers who look to start their season on the drains and rivers bemoan the lack of rain, Met Office figures say 2007 had the wettest summer since records began.

Look at the table at the bottom of the BBC report - click here - and you'll see last October, November and December had unusually high rainfall.

Rob Shallcroft makes some interesting observations about the importance of rain to river anglers in an article in the current edition of Pikelines. was last season so good on our rivers because we had so much rain early on, he asks...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Enrol the family and win a day with Mick

Entries are already coming in for this year's membership promotion, which offers you the chance to win a day's pike fishing with Mick Brown.

But did you know if you've got a wife, kids or even both, you can upgrade your PAC membership to family and get an entry in the draw for every family member you include...

All you need to do is pay £5 to upgrade to family membership and send the name(s) of any family members to membership towers with your cheque.

NB only immediate family members are eligible. Great Uncle Frank and your 14 cousins in Australia aren't. Click here for more.

PAC Forum update...

Having problems logging on to the PAC Forum..? It could be because your membership has elapsed. As soon as you renew, you can rejoin. For a quick and easy way, log onto the main website and click to renew using PayPal.

Darren's new PB just says it all

Among all the PBs that fell last weekend, as PAC members made their twice-yearly pilgrimmage to Menteith, there's one that stands out above all the rest.

It was an 18lbs 8oz pike caught by Darren Bragg, who took to the water on board the fishery's disabled boat, with his mate Ross Greaves.

Wheelchair-bound Darren thought his fishing days were over back in 1994, when he broke his neck in an accident at work that left him almost paralised.

He even gave his fishing tackle away, not thinking he'd ever use it again. But as he came to terms with things, he got a whip and caught some roach on his local ponds.

He was back into barbel fishing by the time he bumped into Ross four years ago. Since then, he's upped his barbel PB to 13lbs 4oz.

Darren lives in Doncaster. Ross comes from Newcastle. But they became good fishing mates and started knocking about and catching a few fish on their travels, like you do.

They booked Menteith's specially-adapted disabled boat on last Saturday's PAC event, and it wasn't long before Darren was away.

"I've been stuck on seventeen and a half for a few years and I didn't think I was going to beat that," he said.

"This one was ripping line off my reel, I've always had trouble on boats before with the anchor ropes because I can't just pass the rod round them."

Landed and sorted, that eighteen pounder speaks volumes about what PAC events are all about.

"I met Ross four years ago and he's helped me a lot," said Darren. "I live in Doncaster but he still comes all the way down from Newcastle to fish with me."

PAC events organiser Mark Skinner said: "We're thrilled to bits for Darren on his new PB and so pleased members have been able to make use of the disabled boat.

"We're also proud of Ross - what a truly great fishing mate."

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm only half a pound behind my dad now

Dick Culpin reached the ripe old age of 40 before he caught his first 20lbs pike.

His son Jack's just managed it in style at the age of 13, with this cracking 28lbs Menteith monster.

Father and son made the 400-mile trip from their home in Cambridgeshire to fish Saturday's PAC event on the Lake of Dreams.

Jack had already upped his lure-caught PB to 14lbs, when something twice the size took a shine to his mackerel deadbait.

"It fought like stink, my arms were aching," he said. "I was fighting it for nearly 15 minutes, I just couldn't get its head up.

"I kept getting the float up out of the water but it just kept diving - it was an amazing pike."

The Culpins have a bit of a thing for Menteith. Dad Dick caught his PB of 28lbs 8oz on the lake in March. "I'm catching my old man up now," said Jack, whose pevious PB was 16lbs 4oz.

Dick said: "It took me years to catch my first twenty, I was 40 before I managed it."

A thirty, 16 other twenties, more than 40 doubles and around 150 single-figure fish were caught during Saturday's PAC event.

Places have already been drawn for a return visit in March. But the club has a growing callender of events on waters stretching from Surrey to Scotland between now and the end of the season.

Two thirties, topped by a 39lbs 8oz pike, along with almost 40 other 20lbs-plus pike have been caught on PAC events in 2007. Any member can apply to fish them.

For more information, click here.

Zander record stands

Britain's zander record now stands at 21lbs 5oz after James Benfield's River Severn fish was ratified by the British Record Fish Committee.

Graham celebrates 99th twenty in style

Graham Slater caught his 99th twenty amid an impressive haul he shared with his boat partner Howard Thomas on the PAC's Menteith event on Saturday.

But while five fish over the magical mark graced their net, the day didn't go entirely to plan.

Just 10 minutes before Ms 99 came along, a rod went over the side, Lincolnshire-based Graham told PAC News.

"I caught the braid with a dawg, handlined it in til I came to the spool knot and got it back," he said.

"I wound the braid back onto the spool and re-cast a sardine and this took it almost straight away."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lodes - more good news from the EA

Campaigners fighting to save historic Fenland pike fisheries received a fresh boost today when the Environment Agency declared: "We won't abandon the Lodes..."

Pike anglers across the UK signed an online petition after the PAC joined retired councillor Geoffrey Woolard's campaign to stop Cambridgeshire's ancient lodes being lowered, when it emerged their future was under review.

There were fears the National Trust's plans to buy up farmland to extend its Wicken Fen reserve, north of Cambridge, would have dire consequences for Reach, Burwell and Swaffham lodes, which are believed to date back to Roman times.

Many pike anglers learned their craft on these ancient waterways, like Ian Moules, pictured above with a fine lodes twenty. The lodes remain popular with a wide range of anglers , along with dog walkers, boaters and bird watchers.

The PAC set about publicising the issues as widely as possible. As the campaign was taken up by the local and regional press, the trust held a briefing for journalists at which it insisted its Wicken Vision did not require the lodes to be lowered.

Anger erupted after Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office responded to the online petition, saying the trust's plans would dictate the way the lodes were managed after all.

But the trust hit back, saying the statement from 10 Downing Street was "unhelpful at best".

Then the PAC was leaked documents confirming that the Environment Agency intended to maintain the lodes because of the outcry over the threats some of the options on the table posed to them.

Today EA Lodes project manager Jonathan Fearnley said: "'We have investigated a number of possible options for the future of the Lodes, and have taken into account the views of all interested parties including parish, district and county council, other key stakeholders and the public.

"There were eight options considered, and each was subject to a full technical, economic and environmental assessment.

"The preferred option is to maintain the lodes at their current levels, providing maintenance as and when it is required. However, if changes in land use alter the risk of embankment failure, it will be necessary to consider other options, such as carrying out advance works to the banks to reduce their risk of failure."

The lodes are artificial river channels that carry water across the low lying fens to the north of Cambridge to the River Cam. Centuries of drainage has caused the land surrounding them to sink.

As the land has sunk, the lodes have been retained at their original level by bank raising so they can continue to drain into the River Cam and be used for navigation. The water level in the lodes is now up to 3m above the surrounding ground level in places.

Mr Fearnley added: "One of the benefits of our preferred option is that it provides a cost-effective and flexible approach, which can take into account future land use changes in the area, and should not have any significant environmental effects.

"For now, reactive maintenance is the best maintenance option for the Lodes, but we will review the strategy every five years to make sure that the most appropriate management regime is being followed."

What you can do...

I you haven't already signed the petition, please add your name in support by clicking here.

A copy of the EA's final consultation document is available if you click here.

Comments can be sent to: Jonathan Fearnley, Project Manager, Environment Agency, Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdon PE28 4NA.

Win a freezer full for season's best pic

Four lucky PAC members are set to share more then £400-worth of deadbaits and flavourings, thanks to our friends at Baitbox, who sponsored a competition in Pikelines.

Check the magazine to see if you've won. But even if you didn't come up trumps, you're still in with a chance of stocking up for next season.

Baitbox are also awarding £150-worth of bait to the biggest pike caught on one of their baits this winter.

Just send a picture of your catch, details of two witnesses and your PAC membership number to

The fish just have been caught on a Baitbox deadbait and the closing date is March 1.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Menteith comes up trumps again

More than 200 pike were caught on today's PAC access event on the Lake of Menteith.

From catch returns so far received the top fish was a 30lbs pike to David Ross, from Preston.

It topped a bill which included 16 twenties, 42 doubles and nearly 150 smaller fish.

Nige Grassby boated a 28lbs 8oz pike, while 13-year-old junior member Jack Culpin, from Cambridge, almost doubled his previous PB with a 28lbs.

Graham Slater and boat partner Howard Thomas shared a haul including pike of 25lbs 12oz, 24lbs 12oz, 21lbs 12oz, 20lbs 4oz and 20lbs 2oz - not to mention another five doubles.

Tonight PAC events organiser Mark Skinner said: "We're delighted for every one who caught especially young Jack and disabled member Darren Bragg who caught an 18lbs pike on board the fishery's disabled boat.

"In March we had one large 30 and 12 twenties. Today we've seen a thirty and 16 twenties, which shows the water's as good as it's ever been."

With fish to 39lbs 8oz caught by PAC members in recent seasons, it was no surprise the event was over-subscribed, with four anglers applying for every place.

Places are already drawn for our next event on Menteith in March.

But the winter edition of Pikelines, which is now on its way to members, features details of nine more events between Christmas and the end of the season, along with application slips.

Win a day's pike fishing with Mick Brown

Fancy a day's pike fishing with predator ace Mick Brown..?

That's the prize in a brand new PAC membership promotion that's easy to enter and both members and non-members of the club can take part in.

All you have to do is either join the club or recruit a new member to be entered into the draw to win a day for you and a friend with Mick.

The PAC will also make a contribution towards your travel and accommodation costs.

Having seen membership increase from 1,830 in May 2006 to 2,500 by September's PAC30 Convention, the committee has set an ambition target of 3,000 members by September 2008.

Mick said: "If you care about your pike fishing, there's never been a better time to join the PAC.

"It's been sticking up for the pike and pike fishing for 30 years - that's why I'm a member."

Please note terms and conditions apply...

The closing date is September 8, 2008 and the winner will be drawn at the PAC's 2008 Convention.

Applications are eligible in any format but must have the words Mick Brown Comp written on the application form.

Click here to download a form.

PayPal entries require a separate e-mail to requesting entry into the draw.

Prize draw entries will be confirmed to the new member (please allow 28 days...).

One entry to the draw per application received. In the event of any dispute, the chairman's decision is final.

If an existing member recruits a new member they need to ensure their own membership number is detailed on the application form.

The existing and new member will be entered into the draw and can fish the day as a pair if successful.

Existing members can recruit as many members as they wish and receive a separate entry into the draw for each.

New members can gain extra entries in the same fashion once they are a member.

Timing and venue for the day will be at Mick Brown's discretion. A maximum of two anglers will be invited at attend.

Good Luck...

Digger heads for Surrey

Dennis Moules, PAC liaison officer for the Fens, will be guest speaker at Walton on Thames Region's meeting on Monday night (November 12...).

He'll be talking about some of his own pike fishing experiences and the rich history of the Fens, a unique landscape steeped in piking folklore.

It's being held at Bagster House, Walton Lane. Shepperton Middx, from 8pm.
All PAC members and non members welcome. Admission £2.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Anxious wait for Broads pike anglers

Pike anglers across East Anglia are bracing themselves for the worst as they wait for the scale of damage salt tides have done to the rivers Yare and Waveney to become clear.

Hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes as a North Sea storm surge sparked flood warnings around the East Coast.

While most parts of the region escaped disaster by inches - as the highest tides for 50 years lashed the coastline - the surge had forced salt water far inland by Friday lunchtime.

The RSPB said "large numbers" of fish had died as saltwater inundated its Strumpshaw Fen reserve, of the Yare between Rockland Broad and Brundall.

The damage is likely to become clear over the weekend, as anglers return to the Yare, Rockland, the Waveney and Oulton Broad.

Pikelines is in the post

PAC members will soon be getting their copies of the club magazine Pikelines.

The latest edition went in today's post hot off the press.

Reading Region - meeting 19th November

Reading PAC Region 14 are holding their November meeting at the Kings Tavern, 252-256 Kings Road, Reading, RG1 4HP on Monday 19th November 2007.

This month we have an exciting talk by Di and Steve Crook members of the Walton on Thames PAC region. They will be talking about their adventures in Canada fishing for Northern Pike through holes in the ice.

The meeting will begin at 8pm.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Broads braced for storm tide floods

Severe flood warnings were in place across the Broads last night as a combination of strong north-westerly winds, low air pressure and high tides triggered a 10ft storm surge in the North Sea.

The Yare and Waveney, along with their broads, were expected to bear the brunt of flooding, with this morning's high tides sending salt water upstream.

Flood watches were also in place along the Thurne system, whose northern broads are among the most at risk from the sea, with budget cuts meaning maintenance of coastal defences is being scaled back.

The Environment Agency said there were "extreme risks to life and property" from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft and along the coasts of Essex and Kent.

Thousands were being evacuated from their homes along the Suffolk coast, with many spending the night at leisure centres in Lowestoft and Leiston, and Beccles Town Hall.

Experts said improved sea defences, weather forecasting and communications would avert a repeat of the 1953 floods, where hundreds died in what was dubbed Britain's worst natural disaster.

But thousands of low-lying homes were feared to be at risk, as emergency services across eastern England prepared to deal with the aftermath.

Chilling scenario - see graphics and commentary on the BBC website.

Severe flood warnings on Waveney, Yare

The Environment Agency has tonight issued a severe flood warning on the tidal Waveney below Ellingham and the Yare below Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, as the East Coast prepared itself fo the worst floods in more than half a century.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is chairing a meeting of the Government's COBRA emergency committee as the Environment Agency warned of "extreme danger to life and property" in parts of Norfolk and Suffolk, while part of Kent, East Yorkshire and :incolnshire are also under flood alert.

Earlier, Environment Minister Hilary Benn told MPs:
"A tidal surge of up to 3m [10ft] is making its way down the North Sea which could coincide with peak high tides.

"There is a risk of flood defences being over-topped on the coast and in tidal rivers, especially in East Anglia, particularly the Norfolk Broads and the coast south of Great Yarmouth including Lowestoft, and areas south of this as far as the coast of Kent."

Experts said the surge was almost as high as the one which caused the 1953 floods in which more than 300 people died.

It is caused by a combination of north-westerly gales, low air pressure and high tides. Homes are being evacuated tonight in areas which are expected to be worst-hit.

High tide is expected around 7am in Norfolk.

Broadland flood warnings - 5pm update

Pike anglers fishing the tidal rivers and broads of Norfolk and Suffolk are being urged to take extreme care on Friday and over the weekend, after the Environment Agency issued Severe Flood Warnings for much of the East Coast.

High winds and a low pressure system are expected to create a tidal surge which could see localised flooding from Wells-next-Sea in North Norfolk to Essex and the Thames Estuary.

The most severe flooding is expected around Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and parts of the Broads.

If the forecast surge materialises, rivers could rise higher than normal on Friday's flood tide - which is expected to peak around 7 - 8am. As the tide turns and ebbs later in the morning, rivers could be subject to heavier flows than normal.

Flood watch warnings are tonight in place on the rivers Yare, Waveney, Ant, Bure and Thurne, along with parts of the Fens including the tidal Ouse.

The Environment Agency said the expected storm surge building in the North Sea was just 30cm (around a foot...) lower than that which caused the floods of 1953 - Britain's greatest natural disaster, which killed more than 300.

EA Flood Watch

BBC report

1953 floods - special report

Flood warnings for Broadland rivers

The Environment Agency is today issuing warnings for East Anglia's tidal rivers including the Bure, Ant, Thurne, Yare and Waveney.

Officials are expecting high tides and localised flooding tomorrow morning (Friday, November 9) on areas such as Brundall riverside, downstream from Norwich.

Warnings in place are currently Flood Watch - the lowest category. To monitor the situation, click here to see the current status.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

PAC Pike Handling Code

After receiving a number of queries and suggestions regarding the use of gags, we are re-transmitting the PAC's Pike Handling Code, which has been endorsed and adopted by conservation group FACT.

For more tips and information, please see our website


1 Tackle Requirements

Probably more than any other branch of coarse fishing, pike fishing requires some specialised tackle. However, there are a few fundamentals that you might have already.

Always ensure that you have the correct tackle necessary before starting to fish for pike, especially a large micromesh landing net, unhooking mat, forceps, strong wire cutters, small bolt croppers, wire traces, scales and weigh sling.

Wire traces are absolutely essential for pike fishing - even small pike have razor sharp teeth that will cut though ordinary line. For the safety of the pike your trace should be at least 15 inches (40cm) in length irrespective of whether you are bait or lure fishing. With the ultra-thin trace wires that are available today there is no need to drop below 28lb breaking strain.

The use of semi-barbless or crushed barbed hooks, doubles or trebles, no larger than a size 6, is preferable to barbed - you will not lose fish, but unhooking will be easier and quicker, which aids pike conservation. Semi-barbless hooks are not an excuse for allowing a pike to swallow the bait.

Line strength needs careful consideration and it is better to opt stronger rather than lighter line. A main line of at least 15lb recommended if using nylon monofilament, or 30lb if using braided line.

Pike rods usually have a test curve of 2.5lb or more for bait fishing. Floats and/or bite indicators will also be needed.

Other than a reliable reel that holds at least 100 metres of your chosen line you will also require a large landing net with at least 36 inch arms if triangular in shape, or with a diameter of at least 30 inches if round framed.

For unhooking pike you will need one pair (better still two pairs in case one is lost) of strong, long-handled forceps. A sufficiently large weigh sling and unhooking mat, or a sling/mat combo, complete the basics.

2 Rigs

When live or deadbait fishing it is important to correctly place the hooks in the bait in order to effectively hook the pike but also, importantly, to minimise the chances of deep hooking pike. For most livebaiting the top hook goes in the dorsal and the other behind the pectoral. For legered deadbaits the top one goes in the tail root and the other one no further forward than the dorsal fin.

3 Bite Indication

To ensure that pike do not swallow your baits deeply, bite indication must be reliable. Floats are perfect, but they must be watched all the time. If fishing without a float the drop-off indicator must be set to indicate a pike moving away or towards you with the bait. To achieve this a weighted indicator may be required. Audible alarms can be used but should not be relied on as the primary indicator.

4 Striking

Never wait for a second run. Strike as soon as you are sure that the pike has the bait in its jaws - if the float is moving, or the line is running out if fishing without a float. Always assume that the pike is of reasonable size and strike sooner rather than later. A pike missed is preferable to a deep-hooked one.

Remember, deeply-hooked pike not only suffer damage from the hooks but also from the extra time it takes to get them returned to the water.

Striking a pike run is not like striking other fish. First, engage your reel, then point the rod at the fish and begin to wind in smoothly and quickly, until you feel the weight of the fish. When you feel the weight of the fish pull the rod firmly back to set the hooks. Maintain the pressure on the rod at all times - the pike is likely to become hooked when it relaxes its grip on the bait. Do not snatch at this or you might pull the bait (and the hooks) out of the pike's mouth.

5 Playing

With the pike hooked keep the line tight to the fish by keeping a good bend in your rod. Pike are one of the few coarse fish that will leap from the water in an attempt to shed the hooks. If it does try to do this (you will feel the fish rising in the water) try to keep the fish under the water by putting the rod low to the water while keeping pressure on the fish.

6 Landing

You may see experienced pike anglers land fish by hand, but until you have the confidence to handle pike it is best to use your landing net. Never attempt to 'beach' a pike as its scales and protective slime will be removed. Use wet hands to handle the fish at all times.

7 Unhooking

Handle all pike with the utmost care. On landing lay it in the landing net, grass or an unhooking mat. Never lay a pike on uncovered hard ground. When boat fishing always take carpet underlay, foam rubber sheet or an unhooking mat to cover the bottom boards. Prevent the pike from jumping around when it might damage itself, especially the vulnerable eyes, by holding it firmly against the padding.

Never use a pike gag when unhooking; use the 'forceps-and-hand' technique. Laying the pike on its back and, firmly holding open its jaw (by sliding fingers inserted under the gill cover, avoiding the gill rakers) with one hand in order to open the pike's mouth so you can remove the hooks with the other. Always be especially careful when you find it necessary to insert the forceps behind the gill covers. At all times make sure the fish is held firmly.

You may find that a purpose designed unhooking glove or thick 'Marigold' type rubber glove protects your hand from being grazed and cut when unhooking pike, but take care not to damage the delicate gill rakers.

8 Weighing

Weighing should be carried out using a weighing sling or soft net - not with the balance hook under the pike's chin. Weigh slings should be wetted before the pike is put in them in order to protect the pike's coating of slime.

9 Photographing

If you want to photograph a pike always hold it above your unhooking mat while kneeling. Try not to stand up for photographs as it means the pike has further to fall should you lose your hold on it. Pike can be held with a grip under the chin as used for unhooking, but the other hand should be used to support the fish along its belly. Lifting pike vertically with a chin grip may cause damage to the pike in a number of ways and is best avoided.

10 Returning Pike

If you have to, retain pike in a specially designed pike tube or retention sack, but do so only for the minimum period of time necessary for photographs, etc. Always fully sink the tube or sack and leave alone once in position. Do not tow fish behind boats in tubes or sacks (it is dangerous to the fish to do this) or transport pike long distances in boats. In warm weather in particular, pike can easily die from this mistreatment.

All pike should be returned to the water as soon as possible and, in all circumstances, do not retain pike just for the sake of it. Total time out of the water should not exceed one to two minutes.

Pike are far more fragile than their aggressive appearance suggests. On returning a pike you must ensure that it can keep itself upright before you allow it to swim away. If necessary support the fish in an upright position until it swims away strongly. This is of particular importance on rivers as a fish which floats on the water when returned could actually die from drowning.


When lure fishing the same basic principle as outlined above apply. However, as lures are usually fitted with larger and thicker wire hooks than are used for bait fishing a standard pair of forceps might not be sufficient to unhook lure caught pike. A pair of fine nosed pliers, maybe with long handles, is better, and a tool called a HookOut is also recommended. These give you better leverage on the hook and keep your hands clear of both the pike's teeth and any free hooks.

Should you experience difficulty in removing a treble hook with your pliers, it is quicker if you cut up the hook and remove it in two or more pieces. A strong pair of side cutters or small bolt croppers make perfect tools for this job. Close your eyes when cutting the hook just in case the point of the hook flies in your direction. If the cut portion of the hook remains in the pike's mouth remove it with your pliers.

A wire trace is just as essential when lure fishing for pike as when bait fishing. So long as it is fifteen inches or longer it will be fine. Make sure it has a strong swivel at one end and a strong snap link at the other, of a design that will not open up accidentally when fishing.

Line of at least 15lb and trace wire of 28lb are suggested for lures of an ounce or so, but it is a good idea to use stronger line and trace wire than you might for bait fishing as the repeated casting involved in lure fishing will place additional stress on these items. Many lure anglers are now using braided lines of higher breaking strains as these also offer greater sensitivity than nylon monofilament while being no thicker. For techniques such as jerkbait fishing specialised tackle is required and even 20lb line is not sufficiently strong.

Periodically, check the last few feet of line. If you feel any abrasions or cuts, remove the lure and trace, cut off the damaged line and retie the trace and lure. The waste line should be cut into very short lengths with scissors and retained for safe disposal later.

PAC30 on sale at Menteith

Copies of PAC30 will be on sale at Saturday's privileged access event on the Lake of Menteith. Secretary Mark Barrett will be bringing some up from the Fens.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Website update

The update to the website should now be complete. We think it is all there and working properly!

If you find any broken links or missing images please contact

Monday, November 05, 2007

Website disruption

In order to make the management and use of the main PAC website simpler it is being reorganised. This process may result in some pages being temporarily unavailable and some links being broken for a short period over the coming week.

We hope to preserve all existing pages in order that links to specific pages will remain unbroken although those that are copied to their new locations will not be updated.

Most of you won't notice the changes - which is the idea, but in future you will be able to use simpler addresses to pass on to people to locate sections of the website such as for the main gallery page.

The blog will be unaffected by all of this.

PAC man's marathon challenge

PAC member Robbie Marsh has completed the Dublin Marathon, raising more than £1500 for the PAC and our adopted charity Clic. Here's his story in his own words.

The PAC has given alot to its members and I felt that it was about time to give something back, a friend had recently run Belfast marathon and raised considerable funds for charity so in moment of madness I thought I could something similar for the PAC.
I didn't really realise at the time the magnitude of the challenge and when I started training I couldn't even run 2 miles let alone 26.2, as I had gone public with the idea there was no turning back and the support started pouring in from the Region and across the water. I then found out about CLIC Sargent the PAC's chosen charity and thought that it would be good to support such a worthy cause as well as the PAC.
I started training five months before the marathon and quickly started building up miles, its surprising how quickly your stamina builds when you put the effort in. Not only did I have to train but I also had to adjust my life style, wild nights out were knocked on the head and my eating habits had to be adjusted to provide the right balance for my training.
About a month before the marathon I started hitting big enough miles and run a 16.5miler during a training session, unfortunately my left trainer gave up half way round the circuit which resulted in a knee injury this prevented me from doing any more training, I had seen a physio who gave me a few streches to hopefully cure the knee in time but I was just going to have to wait until the day.
The day before the marathon I decided to take a quick 4 mile jog but ended up walking home, it wasn't looking good for the big day. With so much effort put in there was no way I wasn't going to at least attempt the marathon especially when I had received so much support. I started off well and was able to run 13 miles before my knee packed in followed shortley by my legs but I perserverd with a whimper of a jog, not breaking any records I made it over the finish line and achieved what I had set out to do and in the mean time with the help of the Region raised a staggering £1,500.
I intend entering next year so that I can keep my fitness level up and record a good time, with a bit of luck I might be able to do a little good along the way.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

PAC calls for answers over student pike cull

Pike anglers are calling for answers today after fishery students were allowed to carry out a cull on a tributary of the Thames.

After the killing happened on the River Darrent, one student boasted on a taxidermy fans' website: "Was skinning out pike till 2am...."

The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain said: "Pike culls in rivers are invariably ill-conceived and needless.

"All the scientific evidence says so. These are supposed to be trainee fisheries scientists, we're shocked and horrified by the relish these students seem to have taken in killing pike."

The PAC will be speaking to Hadlow College tomorrow. Click here to see the pictures.

Strongest Ever PAC - Pikelines 118

Strongest Ever is the theme as Pikelines goes to the printers and we look back on the PAC's monumental 30th birthday bash.

But Chas White reminds us there are plenty of challenges ahead in a President's Shield interview.

"We need a strong PAC to face them," he says.

"Issues like the removal of fish for the table, increased access to rivers by canoeists, attacks on our right to livebait to name but a few will continue to arise and without a strong PAC the future would be indeed bleak."

Rob Shallcroft's got plenty to say about river fishing, in an article called Queens, Blind Spots & Leopard's Eyes.

"Once you are tuned into the vibe of your river, constant groundwork will be covered; access routes, paths and walkways, the look and the feel will become a frequency and a buzz," he says.

"Covering water, looking for signs, acting on hunches and snippets of information. Left and right turns, and the occasional swerve when piecing it all together becomes an all-consuming winter journey."

Stephen Harper's got a few words to the wise when it comes to growing older.

"I think that often, as you get older, the less important the big fish become, and the more important are the friends and enjoyment. I suppose that applies to me as much as anyone."

Talking of which, Chris Donovan's got a few thoughts on the origins of some of the rigs we take for granted these days: "John Bickerdyke details a pike paternoster rig which he describes as "a most deadly piece of tackle’. The illustration shows not only an Arlesey bomb but also an up-trace.

"Well that’s a turn up for the books, all these years we modern pikers have been under the illusion that Walker and Sidley were the great inventors and all along it was standard tackle in the 30’s on the Thames and most probably before!"

Elsewhere you can win a day's fishing with Mick Brown, a freezer full of deadbaits or one of the latest creations from Zoota Lures in one of our great competitions.

There's also an update on our growing callender of PAC events and booking forms for Quays Gravel Pit, Loch Fad, Cobbinshaw Reservoir, Ecton Lakes and Hykeham Gravel Pit - not to mention all the usual news, reviews and updates from the PAC

My Piking Life in Nottingham

Phil Kirk will be speaking about My Piking Life at the Test Match Hotel in West Bridgford, Nottingham, on Thursday night (7.45pm...). Admission £3.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Manchester regional update

Manchester RO Howard Buffrey's just sent us an update on how things are going up in the North-west.

Our Region is going from strength to strength with new members coming
along to each meeting making a total of 24 which is most encouraging.
Last April was our Annual Award presentation night with prizes and
congratulations going to the following;

Heaviest Pike: 30lbs 13oz. Bill King.
Best Piker: Nick Radcliffe (decided by Club fish-ins)
Outstanding Achievement: Howard Buffrey (new PB 23lbs.)
Best Photograph: Andrew Parkinson. (being a new award which need not
necessarily include pike and was in fact a landscape this time)

We have been successful in booking several excellent speakers for
this new season. These presentations are open to anyone wishing to
attend at our venue which can cater for large numbers

VENUE: Sunnybank Social Club, Helmshore Road, Helmshore (opposite
'The Station' pub), Rossendale BB4 4LQ. Please park on the road.

Meetings commence at 8.00pm, dates as follows:

November 14th. Neville Fickling.

December 12th. Club christmas bash.

January 9th. Steve Ormrod: 'Heaven & Hell'; 10 years of piking on
Wayoh reservoir.

February 13th. Geoff Parkinson: catfish, pike and zander in Holland.

March 12th. Club night.

April 9th. Mark Barrett: Fenland Piking and club presentation night.

July 9th. Dave Lumb: 'Life after piking' (fishing for barbel, tench,
perch etc). This is a special summer treat not to be missed.

See you there with a big welcome, Howard Buffrey.

Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming and we're expecting a run on copies of the club's new book, clothing and other merchandise.

To avoid disappointment please order anything intended to go under the tree in time for the Royal Mail's December 14 parcel posting deadline.

And don't forget you can order all PAC products from our online shop. Click here to visit.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mega Pike roadshow rolls into Norfolk

Mega Pike The Roadshow rolls into Norfolk for a talk and slide show. Co-authors Eddie Turner and Jason Davis, who unveiled some incredible catches at this year's PAC Convention, will be at Bawburgh Village Hall at Bawburgh, near Norwich, on Thursday, November 15.

The evening - organised by Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association (NACA) - starts at 7.30pm with merchandise stands including NACA and the Pike Anglers Club.

Copies of Eddie and Jason's new book will also be available for purchase.

A raffle and licensed bar will be provided.

Admission charges apply – NACA members £3.00, non members £5.00.