Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chew Valley - a retrospective

Venue regulars Pete Climo and Bob Jones look back over some of the incredible sport enjoyed by pike anglers on Chew Valley Reservoir, in an article in Bristol Water's latest fishery magazine.

In 2001, the company allowed pikers to fish the reservoir on a limited number of dates for the first time. After an explosive start with fish to 38lbs boated, the lake has continued to throw up some outstanding captures each season.

"Credit must be given to Bob Handford and his team for skilful management of this valuable resource," the article says. "The pike population breeds and sustains itself naturally and would be too easy to over-exploit.

"Thankfully for both the angler and the viability of the fishery, Bob and his team have got the mix just about right."

The article askes whether Chew will produce a 40lbs-plus fish - something it has come close to doing but not yet managed - in 2008.

"Some of us believe it is possible," it goes on. "Who can tell..? It comes so close every year, perhaps 2008 is the one.

"beyond doubt though, Chew claims its rightful place among Britain's premier pike fisheries year on year."

For more information on dates, rules and prices, click here.

Ferry strike cancels Fad event

This weekend's PAC access event on Loch Fad has been cancelled due to a strike by dock workers. Pier hands are staging a walk-out in a dispute over pay. Operator Caledonian MacBrayne says it will be unable to berth ferries safely.

Events organiser Mark Skinner said: "It's a shame that due to the impending industrial action, this event has had to be cancelled.

"With problems arranging an alternative date, with regards to members getting time off etc, it has been decided to not arrange another weekend and for those that have been booked on for the coming weekend a full refund will be posted out.

"Thanks to Scott Davidson for all the work that he has put in leading up to this event."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Paul beats best four times, with new 38 PB

PAC member Paul King landed a brace of 30lbs pike and beat his PB four times in two brief sessions on a Norfolk stillwater.

The haul was topped by a 38lbs specimen (left), which struck as he worked a rubber Castaic lure on his first trip to the un-named water.

Witnessed and photographed by his son and fellow pike angler Bob, he followed it with a 22lbs 8oz sample after losing another large pike during the same stint.

The following day, a short afternoon session produced fish of 31lbs and 24lbs - again to lures.

Swaffham-based Paul, whose previous best was 20lbs 8oz, admits he is not a regular lure angler, making four fish for a combined weight of more than 115lbs an even more exceptional haul.

"I'd sat there until 2pm deadbaiting without a thing and and I thought shall I go," he said.

"I decided to chuck a lure about and I had the 38 first. I felt a couple of bumps then the rod went right over and I knew it was a very big fish.

"It just took off really deep and it took ages to get it up to the top. Ten minutes later I had a 22lbs 8oz from the same swim.

"I went again the next day and had a 31lbs (below) and a 24lbs within an hour, so I'd beaten my PB four times in a weekend."
Paul's next two sorties brought him back to earth with a bump, as he suffered a pair of runless blanks. But he remains philosophical.

"The 38 was the fish of a lifetime but I'd like to think I can beat it," he said.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

PAC president to speak in Somerset

PAC president Phil Wakeford will be speaking in Somerset on Thursday, January 24.

Venue is the Swan Inn at North Petherton, just off the M5 at Junction 24. Start time 7:30 for 8:00.
This show is open to anyone, free to regional PAC members, £3 to non regional members and £2 for under 16's.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

PAC launches Sussex cull probe

The Pike Anglers Club is investigating calls for a pike cull on Sussex's River Arun.

We have contacted the Environment Agency over a local newspaper article, in which an angling club official stated pike should be removed from its stretch of the river.

It said:

Some ten years ago the Newbridge stretch of the River Arun was electro fished to remove pike. Billingshurst club competitions secretary Peter Stockwood, who helped in the operation, recalls that 99 pike were removed.

The two biggest went to Brighton Aquarium and the remainder were put into Weir Wood reservoir.

Billingshurst thought that was the end of pike spoiling their quest for other fish in the river. But they are back – and bigger than ever with many in the 30lb region.

When pike are moving in swims during competitions the catches are very small. Stockwood said: “In a recent match every swim upstream had a pike in it and with the water crystal-clear the other fish were too busy avoiding being made a meal of to think about feeding.”

The club is now preparing to talk to the Environment Agency about another cull of the pike. The roach and perch stocks are badly affected by the feeding pike."

In a letter to the environment agency's regional head of fisheries, the PAC said: "As stakeholders in the River Arun fishery, we would urge you to refuse calls for a pike cull for a number of reasons.

"Notwithstanding the impact this will have on our members' enjoyment of this river, the collected body of scientific evidence concludes quite unanimously that such exercises are a complete waste of time.

All they achieve is an explosion in small pike, which increase predation and cause yet more problems. The evidence for this is well-documented and in the public domain."

Calls for a cull on the Arun come just weeks after more than 500 fishery managers and club officials were sent a copy of Pike In Your Waters with the winter edition of the National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultative's winter newsletter.

The magazine also included an article outlining why culls don't work.

Click here to read it.

A touch of Frost for Sussex Region

Norfolk piker Andy Frost will be the special guest at a Sussex Region meeting on Tuesday, February 12.

He'll be talking about a lifetime of fishing the Broads and tidal rivers of his home county, including fish up to the magical 30lbs mark.

RO Jon Cook said: "This is Andy's first talk and a night not to be missed. I would urge any angler who has visited Norfolk to make this date available in his diary.

"Norfolk is often seen as England pike fishing Mecca, so who better to talk about his fishing exploits than one of Norfolk's Finest."

The venue is the Kings Head at East Hoathley, with doors open 7.30 for 8pm. Admission £2.50 for PAC members & £3.00 for non members.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 PAC Convention date confirmed

Get set for Piking 2008... This year's PAC Convention will be held at Stoneleigh, Warks, on Saturday, September 27.

We'll be using a larger theatre for this year's event. Speakers are still being finalised. We're also working on improving the catering and ensuring there are bar facilities on-site.

More details soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PAC in new bid to tackle fish theft

A Crimestoppers-style telephone line is being launched for anglers to report information about fish thefts.

Environment Agency fisheries officers have teamed up with the Pike Anglers Club and King's Lynn Angling Association to trial an initiative in East Anglia.
They hope intelligence they receive will help them target patrols in areas where they will be most effective and start making inroads into the problem.
EA enforcement officer Richard Ingham said: "Incidents requiring an immediate response should be reported using the incident hotline 0800 80 70 60, this additional number is for anyone to provide information direct to fisheries enforcement officers.
"The information received will be used as intelligence to allow for targeted operations and patrols to be conducted."
Anglers are being urged to carry a pen and paper with them to note down details of incidents including times and descriptions of anglers behaving suspiciously and their vehicles, including registration numbers.
Both clubs will be promoting the number to their members and urging them to use it. Many PAC members enjoy fishing in the Fens, while visiting predator anglers bring vital revenue to clubs and businesses in the area.
PAC chairman Colin Goodge said: "This is a way all anglers can be the eyes and ears of the Environment Agency and ensure that the information goes directly to the people who can make use of it.
"We urge anyone to report details of fish being removed to help the EA build up a better picture of where it's going on and who's doing it."
The move comes after both PAC members and bailiffs from the 800-strong King's Lynn Angling Association (KLAA) witnessed a number of incidents of fish being killed and taken from waters including the Great Ouse and Relief Channel this season.
KLAA secretary Ashley Brown said: "We need anglers to be out eyes on the bank. Please report anything, no matter how trivial you may think it is, when it happens not a day or week later so we can target the problem areas.
"The long-term future of KLAA fisheries needs protecting , so we can all enjoy the rivers and drains for years to come."
The number to call with any information is 01480 483023. While the line covers East Anglia for now, a similar initiative may be rolled out nationwide if it proves successful.
Please include as much information as you can in your message and a contact number so an officer can call you back.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Phil Kirk and Lee Norbury hit Cheshire Region

Cheshire PAC is hosting Phil Kirk and Lee Norbury from Nottingham, sharing their lifetime experience on pike fishing on Monday 14th January 2008 at the Whipping Stocks, Little Peover, Nr.Knutsford. Meeting to start at 8.00 p.m. £3.00 for PAC Members and £4.00 for non-members.

If anyone is interested in attending, could they contact Mark Mark Johnson to give him an idea on numbers attending.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Look out Corby - here comes Mad Mick

West Midlands liaison officer "Mad" Mick Bowen will be in the chair for an evening's pike-related entertainment for the Corby region of the PAC next week.

Intriguingly entitled "Something Silly" , the fun starts at 7pm on Wednesday, January 9 , at the Old Three Cocks Inn, Brigstock, near Kettering.

All welcome, admission is £2.50.

Fancy sneaking off to warmer climes..?

Bet plenty will be dreaming of warmer climes as the temperatures take a nose dive over the next day or two.

So how about a week's catfish holiday in Spain..? Once again that's the top prize in the Pike Aanglers Club's appropriately-named Winter Raffle.

Almost everything's included bar your flight out there. Click here for more info.

Or how about a top-notch bivvy to shelter you from the elements..? Of £150 to spend on thermal clothing to keep out the cold..?

There are a host of other prizes, ranging from lures to a day's guiding with our very own Mark Barrett.

And you don't even have to be in the PAC to enter. Every member was sent raffle tickets with their winter edition of Pikelines magazine.

So keep an eye out for them at meetings or even next time you're out on the bank.

Eric Edwards talks in South Lancs tonight

Eric Edwards is presenting his legendary slideshow tonight (Wednesday 2nd January) to the South Lancashire region of the PAC.

The venue is the Caledonian pub, Bolton Rd, Ashton in Makerfield (next to Tesco garage).

Entry is free for Region 31 members and £2 for non-members.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Neville talks to Thames Gateway PAC

Former record holder Neville Fickling will be taking to the floor for a talk and slide show at Thames Gateway's first gathering of 2008, on Tuesday, January 8.

It will be at their usual watering hole, the Papermaker's Arms in Dartford (7.30pm).

Neville has amassed an almost unequalled tally of big pike from all four corners of the British Isles and it's sure to be an interesting evening.

Admission is £2.50 members, £3 non-members, all welcome.

For googlemap of venue, click here.

***For more on Thames Gateway Region, click here to see their blog...

Lincoln hosts fly ace Nigel

Anglian Water trout reservoir warden Nigel Savage has caught some stonking pike on the fly.

He's doing one of his rare talks and slide shows at Lincoln PAC's first meeting of the New Year, on Monday, January 7.

RO Chico Winterton said: "Nigel's talk will be a revelation to most of us, Pike on the fly is something that the majority have not even contemplated let alone tried but that's even more reason to come and see him.

"Fantastic fish from Trout waters and rivers/drains on a very exciting method from the most prolific fly fishing piker in the land."

It's being held at the Turk's Head in Newport, Lincoln, at 7.30pm.

Admission is £2.50 members, £3 non-members, all welcome.

***For more information on the Lincoln Region, click here.

Boffins ask for Bassenthwaite pike stats

Pike anglers in the Lake District are being asked for catch reports, to help scientists work out whether pike are getting smaller.

Once a noted big fish water, Bassenthwaite rarely now produces anything over low doubles.

Scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology want to study anglers logs, to compare catches with those from a few years back.

Paul Burnell, from the Lake District National Park Authority, said: "Because pike are top of the food chain, they're a good indicator of the health of the lake.

"If changes are taking place it is essential we find out more.

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

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

Letters have gone out to the lake’s 150 permit holders appealing for help.

Information can also be submitted online here

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

He added if catch returns indicated a problem with the lake's fish populations, they would enable funds to be raise for a scientific study.

Pete's a very, very fine fellow

Long-standing Wakefield RO and PAC stalwart Peter Green has been made a senior fellow of the club.

The honour has only been accorded on a handful of occasions, to those who have given outstanding service to pike fishing and the PAC.

After a spell as membership secretary from 2003 - 06, Peter returned to assist his successor John Cahill.

He has run the Wakefield region for longer than anyone cares to remember and brought many members to the club.

Chairman Colin Goodge said: "He just won't ever lay down and give up. The committee wishes they could have a few more Peter Greens sometimes."

Brrrrrrrrr - here comes the winter

Hands up who's been moaning it's been too mild and we need a proper cold snap to get things moving..?

Well you're going to get your way this week, as temperatures take a nose dive.

Weathermen reckon it could get as cold as minus 17 in the Midlands by Thursday, as the wind turns to the east sucking Arctic air over much of the country.

After an unseasonally warm spell, the rest of January is set to be much colder, with temperatures struggling to get much above freezing.