Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Renew early!

Renewals for 30th September membership expiry are now being taken by our membership secretary in order to spread the workload at our busy renewal season.

Fees are again frozen until 2009 and members can renew by downloading a form here, using the renewal form in the imminent Pikelines, or on-line via PayPal

If you are planning to enter the Mick Brown Competition by recruiting a new member please find details here - the competition closes on 8th September.

Don't forget. Piking 2008 will be upon us sooner than you think. See you all at Stoneleigh on Saturday September 27th!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

North-West Teach in Region 31 South Lancashire

Region 31 South Lancashire will be holding a teach-in for new and inexperienced pikers again this year. The venue will be Carmill Dam (thanks to St. Helens AA) and the date will be Sunday 21st September 10:00-14:00

Regional Organiser Jon Neafcy, who is a qualified Angling Coach, said:

"Last year Region 31 ran an angling coaching session aimed at showing youngsters and newcomers to the sport some of the basic methods to catch and pike welfare. This year we aim to built on this and make the event more interactive. Last years event was very well attended and everyone enjoyed it. We hope that we can repeat this success this year"

Any PAC members who would be so kind as to offer their assistance or wish to donate tackle items to help with this event please contact Regional Organiser Jon Neafcy directly at roregion31@blueyonder.co.uk

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PAC launches pike fly forum

PAC members who enjoy the challenge of fly fishing for pike have a new web forum.

The Pike Anglers Club has added a fly fishing section to its forum where newcomers can ask the experts for advice and seasoned fliers can swop patterns and tackle tips.

If you're a member and you haven' visited for a while, why not log in and take a look by following the link at www.pacgb.com.

Pikelines features Eric on rivers

Rods pointing skywards and a float you can steer across the current... Welcome to Eric Edwards's ground-breaking approach to fishing rivers using a planer you can knock up from the odds and ends most pikers have rattling around in their rucksacks and tackle boxes.
All is revealed in Pikelines, the quarterly magazine of the Pike Anglers Club. Members will be receiving the autumn issue in just over a week's time.
As well as Eric's off-beat take on running water, it includes up to date details of this year's PAC Convention, application forms for club events on waters including Menteith and Rutland, plus all the usual news and views including the inside story of how a campaign to safeguard the Norfolk Broads, kick started by the PAC, led to a ministerial pledge to protect some of Britain's most historic pike fisheries.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lodes safe for now, says Gordon Brown

Cambridgeshire's Fen lodes are safe for the time being, says Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office.

The Pike Anglers Club joined parish councils in a campaign to safeguard historic waterways, after an EA report said levels could be lowered and bank maintenance stopped.

Nearly 1,000 people signed an online petition, while the PAC helped generate considerable coverage in local media.

Gordon Brown's office has now issued the following response:

"The consultation document gave everyone the chance to comment on the options for maintenance of the Lodes.

"The option preferred by the Environment Agency and most of those who responded to the consultation, is to maintain the Lodes at their present level and undertake repairs as and when required."

Click here to read it in full.

EA plans future for Great Ouse

Environment Agency scientists are drawing up plans to deal with the impacts of climate change on Fenland's main artery.

Problems posed by changing weather patterns and siltation were unveiled in a new discussion paper, during open days at Denver Sluice.

Pike anglers in the Fens wonder whether restoring Denver Sluice will mean an end to the harsh flows and fluctuating levels scientists believe have led to poor spawning years for pike and prey fish being swept out to sea by heavy flows in the Relief Channel.

Click here for a newspaper report by Chris Bishop.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PAC hits back over "barbarous" claim

Predator anglers have hit back at claims their tackle is "barbarous" after a newspaper columnist said being caught causes pike to "bleed to death".

It came after veteran Norfolk angling columnist Roy Webster claimed a 36lbs Broads pike had died as a result of mis-handling.

"And once again the barbarous snap tackle that can often carry three separate sets of barbed treble hooks have been identified as one of the main reasons why pike are wounded in the gills and bleed to death as a result," he wrote in the Eastern Daily Press.

Tonight Phil Wakeford, president of the 2800-strong Pike Anglers Club, dismissed the allegations as "ill-informed nonsense".

He said: "Pike anglers have been using the so called snap tackle - which is a rig made up up from two hooks, not three - since its invention more than 100 years ago.

"While there are still plenty of pike around today, standards of fish-handling and anglers' care for their welfare has come a long way, particularly over the last 30 years.

"We'd be interested to hear exactly who suggests pike are routinely wounded in the gills and bleed to death, as the reality both in Norfolk and elsewhere is very different .

"We note this mystery expert did not go on record, and was not quoted in the piece. And no-one in the pike angling community was given the opportunity to comment on these ludicrous claims. As ever, we ask where's the proof..?"

The PAC, which has campaigned to preserve the pike and pike fishing for the last three decades, recommends anglers use tackle suitable for landing the species as quickly as possible, effective bite indication and prompt striking.

"Pike, like all fish, feed with their mouths and this is where anglers' hooks generally end up if they are fishing with their quarry's welfare in mind," Phil Wakeford said.

"We do ask anglers to think carefully before pike fishing during the summer. While pike are vulnerable to poor handling at any time of the year, we know problems can occur when they are played on inadequate tackle when oxygen levels are low."

He added anglers seeking more information on rigs, pike care and summer fishing could consult the PAC website - click here.

The website includes specific information about fishing for pike during the warmer months - click here.

Barrie Rickards' tribute to Eric Hodson

Oh dear! Another good man gone, and not a better one anywhere in angling. In all my years of angling and all the time I knew Eric, I cannot remember meeting a more helpful and friendly man. Being with him at meetings, which was often, and fishing with him was a real pleasure, always. On one of my first angling trips with Eric I was complaining about the lack of decent rod rests for specimen fishing; a few weeks later I received a superb set from him that were made form tank aerials, which I still use to this day.

Eric was never, I think, renowned as a big fish man himself, though he did well enough at times as I shall tell you. However, he was quickly involved in the burgeoning specimen hunting movements of the late 1950’s and was a member of the Northern Specimen Group based in Sheffield. Along with Ray Webb, Ron Clay, Don Savage, Dick Clegg (later of match-fishing fame!) and others. Eric saw the potential of combining all the specimen groups under one banner to get the big fish movements exchanging information, but also, to increase their political clout too. So the National Association of Specimen Groups
(NASG) was formed and for years was very successful. Dick Walker has often been attributed in the media with the founding of the movement, but this is quite wrong. Dick inspired the concept of specimen hunting, but it was Eric who was responsible for the conception and setting up of the NASG. In his later years Eric resented this put- down and the media were loathed to correct the error. The answer by the NASG and it’s successors was to honour Eric properly which pleased him greatly.

Again, Eric was instrumental in the founding of the Pike Society of which Fred Buller was the first President, and me, the second. The paperwork was done by Eric. This leads me naturally to the only downside to Eric; he was not an efficient man at times! I discussed this with him often, and there were very good reasons why handling the considerable correspondence for the Society (and for NASG) was difficult for him. For a start he was fully employed as an engineer, with his own company at times. All his angling work was not only in his ‘spare’ time, but at his own expense entirely. I never knew him to claim a single penny in expenses for angling and he must have spent thousands of pounds on behalf of angling. The problem was that in those days, before email, letters from officials tended to be typed, so they piled up, and potential members were lost. In consequence, the Pike Society, rarely with much more than 100 members faded away.

Then Eric, recognising all this, asked Hugh Reynolds and I to take over, which we did, fully realising what we’d be letting ourselves in for! We changed it to PAC of course, and by sheer hard work all went well. Eric was ecstatic at the result; it was what he wanted. He had the grasp of what was needed, the dream, the idea, and then he needed workhorses to move it on a bit. It was the same when he was running NASG; in the end it became a little too much for him and younger people took over. I didn’t think he was pleased to step aside at the time, but he was later pleased to see how his ‘baby’ had grown, and I do remember his last visit to the Specialist Anglers’ Alliance meeting where he seemed staggered at the achievements.

Eric had an amazing recall of specimen hunting activities from the earliest days and talked often of writing up all this in a book with anecdotes. Martin Gay and I tried hard to encourage him, even providing him with a chapter plan at one stage, but eventually it became clear that it would never happen. A great loss I think. I have a huge pack of correspondence from him, all beautifully written, (and he said he couldn’t write!) and had he written a book in the style of the letters it would have been a lovely read. However, of course, all this passing of information was done verbally because he was always excellent at communicating with anglers, and with helping them too.

One of my most cherished times with Eric was tench fishing some lakes up near Selby. He kindly got me a permit to fish a water producing plenty of 5lb-plus fish, quite something then. Eric had it down to a fine art, crouched behind a low green mesh screen he caught big tench right under his rod tip. Terry Coulson used to come up from the smoke too, so we had a good time and good fish. Certainly the tench catches he made were as good as anyone was getting anywhere, even in Ireland. I forget the biggest, but it was over 7 pounds.

He was a pioneer in other areas too. I recall he was one of the first Brit’s to go barbel fishing in S. Europe, for example, and in general had his eye open for new and unlikely venues. All his ‘political’ work for angling sometimes prevented him doing what he really liked best of all, namely sitting at the water fishing, having a good yarn with a fellow angler. I think that is how I shall remember him best of all; a good friend, excellent company and a man of some vision in many matters to do with angling.

Barrie Rickards, July 2008.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Farewell to PAC founder Eric Hodson

PAC founding father Eric Hodson's funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Monday, July 21, at Brimington Crematorium, Chesterfield, Derbys.

A gathering to celebrate Eric's life will be held afterwards at the Lockoford Inn, Lockford Lane, Tapton, Chesterfield, S41 0TQ.

Eric's friend Ron Clay has written an obituary on FISHINGmagic - click here to read it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: New life for 70s hotspot

Thirty or more years ago, it was one of the country's top pike waters, delivering large numbers of fish to over 20lbs.

Once frequented by the likes of Neville Fickling, Barrie Rickards and Bill Chillingworth, pike packed on weight as coarse fish populations colonised the Great Ouse Relief Channel and predator anglers flocked to fish it.

In more recent years, the 'channel - which runs from Denver Sluice to King's Lynn - has fallen from favour with pikers, while scientists believe harsh winter run-offs and fluctuating water levels around spawning time haven't done predators or their prey fish any favours.

For nearly a decade, water from the Ouse system has been run off through the Relief Channel because the sluices at Denver, from where the river once flowed into the tidal Ouse, have been silted up.

Now officials are set to reveal that work is going ahead to restore the sluices. The EA's plans for the Relief Channel are set to be revaled to anglers at a workshop at Denver later this week.

Thurne pike deaths not prymnesium

EA scientists have ruled out the dreaded prymnesium as the cause of recent pike deaths on Norfolk's River Thurne.

Tests were carried out at Hickling, Horsey and Martham after a number of fish to 17lbs were found dead.

But EA spokesman Steve Lane said prymnesium cell readings were well below the danger levels when the algae can explode into a massive bloom to produce a lethal toxin when it dies off.

“We have the results of the latest water tests back from the laboratory and the prymnesium cell count in the River Thurne was 1,400 per ml and only between 200 and 300 per ml in Hickling Broad.

"These numbers are well below the threshold accepted as danger levels but we would urge all anglers to keep their eyes peeled for any more distressed, dying or dead fish and ring our emergency line 0800 80 70 60 immediately if they spot any trouble."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pike fishing mourns a founding father

One of the PAC's founding fathers has passed away after a long illness, at the age of 84.

Eric Hodson helped launch the National Association of Specimen Groups, which went on to become the modern-day Specialist Anglers Alliance.

He also founded the Pike Society, which later became the Pike Anglers Club.

We're sure all PAC members will join anglers from many branches of the sport tonight in mourning his loss. Our thoughts are with his family and many, many friends.

A fuller obituary and details of Eric's funeral will follow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

EA probes pike deaths on Thurne

Environment Agency scientists are investigating pike deaths on Norfolk's River Thurne.

It comes just days after Floods Minister Phil Woolas pledged £100m to maintain sea defences protecting the river and its broads from coastal flooding for another 50 years.

Click here for more.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Minister's pledge to protect the Broads

Strong hints that some of Britain's finest pike fisheries could be saved for future generations came today, as Floods Minister Phil Woolas visited Norfolk.
Anger erupted in March when proposals to allow the Upper Thurne and its broads to be flooded by the North Sea became public.

They emerged in a leaked report from Government conservation quango Natural England, which said sea defences protecting Horsey Mere, Hickling Broad, the Martham broads and Heigham Sound should be abandoned.

Whole villages would be lost under the plan, while thousands of acres of farmland would be turned into salt marsh.

But as he toured the area today, Mr Woolas said the so-called Option Four, which officials said would send out the right message to the public about the affects of climate change, was "as likely as Oldham Athletic winning the European Cup".
Mr Woolas said Natural England had been asked to provide different "scenarios" outlining different responses to rising sea levels.

He told BBC radio Norfolk: " I have asked the Environment Agency to provide reports on what can be done for a 50 to 100 year period because it is no-one's intention to allow this area to flood.

"Of course we value this beautiful area. This is people's livelihoods as well. This is where they have lived with their families for many, many generations and the government's duty is to protect it and that is what we are going to do."

Two-thousand people have signed an online petition on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's 10 Downing Street website. Thousands have also signed petitions launched by parish councils in some of the villages threatened by the proposals.

North-East Norfolk Coastal Parishes Group, said Mr Woolas's announcement was "extraordinarily good news". The group is now calling for clarification over whether sea defences will be maintained for longer than the 50 years the Environment Agency believes it can sustain them.

The Upper Thurne is protected by a narrow strip of sand and shingle beaches between Eccles and Winterton. Mr Woolas said £100m would be committed over the next 50 years to help maintain them.

Three record pike, each over 40lbs, were landed from the Thurne system, inspiring generations of pike anglers to visit Norfolk.

Pike fishing remains an important revenue earner for the county, along with bird watching and other forms of water-based tourism.

To sign the PAC's online petition, click here.

For more on today's visit click here.