Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Proper pike fishing weather's coming

Brrrrr... There's going to be a seriously Siberian feel to the weather over New Year.

So if you're one of those people who thinks pike fishing's better in the cold, you're going to be in your element.

Forecasters reckon temperatures could dip to nearly minus 10 over the next few days.

Click here for one of many weather stories.

Pike Anglers Club events update

Get out your diaries... There are still some places available on a number of PAC access events between now and the end of the season.

They include the Warping Drain (Lincs) on Saturday, February 7; Hykeham Pit (Lincs) on the weekend of February 14/15; Ecton Jigsaw Lake (Northants) on Saturday, Fenruary 21 and Saturday, March 14; and Quays Pit (Surrey) over the weekend of March 21/22.

Application slips with details of ticket prices were included in the last Pikelines.

Events organiser Mark Skinner said: "If you have lost your slips for these events, all you need to do is write your name, address on a sheet of paper include your PAC number the event you are applying for and a cheque payable to the PAC for the number of tickets required and an A5 stamped address envelope."

Scientists seek answers over eel decline

A £2.5m European study is under way in a bid to find our more about the breeding habits of the eel and why the species is in sharp decline.

Click here for more.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Membership Reminder

All September, November and December 2008 expiring memberships have received reminders.

If you have forgotten to renew please click on this link and rejoin, we need your support.


John Cahill
Membership Secretary

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MPs to be lobbied over fish baits loophole

While plans to outlaw the killing of coarse fish for food were included in the Marine Bill set to become law next year, the use of fish as bait by anglers seeking predatory species was excluded.

Today the Eastern Daily Press reports an as-yet un-named individual or group is set to lobby MPs in the new year - presumably to prhobit the use of fish for bait.

EA by-laws currently allow anglers to use fish up to 10cm long in most regions provided they are caught from the venue on the day.

Fishing for Big Pike - the return

Barrie Rickards has re-written 70s classic Fishing for Big Pike, which he famously co-authored with the late Ray Webb.

Cambridgeshire-based Barrie, a founder member of the PAC, revolutionised the sport when he first penned his theories about hotspots on Fen drains and the effects of air pressure on pike fishing.

Medlar Press are tipped to publish the book next autumn.

Merry Christmas from all at the PAC

Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year - and may your next run be a monster if you're lucky enough to be out pike fishing over the holidays.

Looking back over a busy year for the club, 2009 already looks to be another one.

Please do all you can to help us spread the word. We've made some real strides over the last 30 years or so, but there's plenty more to be done when it comes to safeguarding the pike and pike fishing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

EU set to impose quotas on sea anglers

Some pike anglers buy their sea deadbaits, others catch their own, while many more enjoy the odd sea fishing trip.

Today it emerged the European Union wants to impose catch quotas and ban anglers from selling their catches.

EU officials believe sea angling is now so popular that anglers could have an impact on species like cod and ling.

Defra has confirmed it plans to hold talks with angling organisations next month, today's Sunday Times reports.

Click here to read the report in full.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sign up and help the RNLI

Sea angling friends have asked us to pass this on - please spare a second or two to sign their petition.

Lifeboat crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate.

The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year, currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fundraising.

Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: "It's a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins. We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount.

"The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it. Ofcom has set out plans to bring 'market forces' into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing.

"£250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough about this, please sign the petition below."

Click here to sign it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deesox - a different kind of pike blog

Meet Deesox - aka Dave Edwards, a thinking man's kind of fishing blogger from Cheshire, with some interesting observations on fly fishing for pike and other species.

More and more PAC members are blogging these days and you can keep in touch with all of them if you set up an RSS feed reader on your computer.

Make sure you add Dave and the some of the other bloggers we come across, or save them to your favourites for those slow Friday afternoons at work.

Click here to go to Deesox.

Pike and Predators - new issue out

January's Pike and Predators has hit the news stands. And we've been sent a sneak preview.

Simon Everett explores a new way of getting afloat for pike

Phil Blakey tackles the thorny issue of the best conditions for catching pike with lures

Mike Kelly explains some of the tactics he uses to place the odds more firmly in his favour

Neville Fickling reports on the latest happenings on the trout-water pike scene and tries to put the problems with Irish piking into perspective

George Higgins is interviewed about his long and successful pike fishing career

James Holgate suggests you throw away the rule book when it comes to catching pike on lures in the colder months

Graham Booth delves into the history books to ask why pike have exerted such a fascination on so many anglers

Plus, we ask whether your life jacket would really save your life?

Government pledges £1.56m to angling

Press Release from the Angling Development Board

Angling has received a £1.56 million boost this week as Sport England announced its plans to support the Governing Body to deliver angling opportunities for all over the next four years.

Last summer the Angling Development Board (ADB) was invited by Sport England to demonstrate how angling could contribute to government targets of increasing participation in active sport, especially through encouraging young people and retaining them as active participants as they grow older. Sport England also wanted to develop the talent pool of anglers trying to compete at international level and proposals to improve anglers’ satisfaction with the management of their sport: a process already underway with the formation of the Angling Trust.

David Moore, Chairman of the ADB explained. ‘The ADB responded to Sport England’s challenge with a package of proposals to grow and sustain the sport of angling. Our Plan is based on a vast amount of market research, much of it from the Environment Agency’s data from millions of rod licences and information held by Sport England right back to an NOP survey 40 years ago.

‘The first area identified was the problem of young people who are introduced to the sport but are not converted into long-term anglers. Other sports have much better links between schools, coaches, clubs and facilities whereas these are widely fragmented in angling. The funding package from Sport England will help start a regional development network which can access local and regional funding and bring schools, clubs, coaches and facilities together.

“After six months’ hard work by the ADB team, the timing of this announcement coincides perfectly with the transition of the ADB into the newly constituted Angling Trust during 2009. We are already making good progress in achieving Sport England’s recognition of The Angling Trust as the Governing Body for angling in England.’

The ADB plans to start recruiting Regional Development Officers and details will be available on our website during February.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hear, hear - US site on pike lure sounds

We've all heard of buzzbaits and lures which are designed to kick out vibes to attract the pike.

Now Mepps have put some audio clips on their website, to give you an idea of how different lures make different noises.

"It's pretty easy to see the flash of a Mepps spinner blade as it's pulled through the water, but hearing just what it sounds like has been a well kept secret up until now," the site says.

"It took us a while, but we've managed to digitally capture the sound of several Mepps spinners as they are retrieved. And, what we recorded even managed to surprise us.

"Remember, what you are about to hear are the actual sounds produced by Mepps spinners as they are retrieved. These sounds have not been enhanced or altered in any way. We make no claim as to how fish interpret these sounds, but fish do hear them."

Of its Aglia "Musky Killer" spinner, it adds: "The sound of the #5 Aglia blade is steady and deep with a rapid repetitive thump. The Magnum Musky Killer blade sounds similar, but, the thump is deeper and slower.

"Both sound like a slow moving locomotive, and both are very easy to hear underwater."

Click here to go to the sound clips, then just roll you cursor over each spinner to hear what it sounds like.

PAC forums - are you missing out..?

Bite indication on the Ouse when it's pushing through, should gags be outlawed and the best kind of life jacket or flotation device for fishing afloat.

These were three of the most-debated topics on the PAC's Members Forums tonight, as membership neared the 700 mark and we checked our stats and found we'd had more than 2.6m page views.

All kinds of bait, lure and even fly fishing are covered. The forums also provide members with a quick and easy way to interact with the club's regional organisers and committee.

Members ask why we don't do more to promote the forums. They've got a point.

So if you're a member of the club and you haven't already signed up, why not join and have a look at what you're missing.

Just click on the Message Board link on the main PAC website and follow the instructions to register - NB you need to use your full name as your sign-in and include your PAC membership number, which we need to check before confirming your account.

Eel come to your meeting and do a talk

One stall that drew plenty of interest at this year's Pike Anglers Club Convention was the National Anguilla Club.

Now they're offering to bring their roadshow along to any PAC region looking for an evening's eel fishing-themed entertainment

Travel might be an issue in more far-flung areas, but the NAC's Dave Smith says get in touch to see if they can arrange attendance.

They're not looking to charge - though a few quid towards the fuel bill would probably be welcome.

Founded in 1962, the NAC is one of the few predator angling groups which are even older than the PAC.

If you're looking to find out more about fishing for one of this most mysterious of fish, click here to check out their website.

To invite the roadshow, e-mail Dave Smith at .

ET Roadshow rolls into King's Lynn

Eddie Turner will be bringing the ET Roadshow to King's Lynn on Saturday, for a day of demos at Steve Younger's Specialist Angling Supplies.

There'll be tackle displays, book signings and even a barbecue. Steve will also be offering a 20% discount on tackle in his shop all day.

It's being held at Unit 15, Hamburg Way, on the North Lynn Industrial Estate, Kings Lynn PE30 2ND.

Click here for map and more info.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The best pike fishery in all England..?

Bristol Water today published an end of year round-up for its trout waters, including pike catches from Chew Valley Reservoir.

"A total of 21 fish weighing over 30 pounds were captured, the biggest being a huge fish of 36.12 landed by Shaun Hoskins," it said.

"And another 127 twenty pounders were also landed perhaps confirming what many think - that Chew Valley is the best pike fishery in England."

Dates for boat and bank fishing for next year, together with booking details are included in local paper the Weston Mercury.

Click here for more details.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pike filmed in its element

More and more video clips of pike filmed in their element are appearing on Youtube these days.

Click here to see a pike back pedal slowly as two divers approach it, before it slinks off and sulks almost motionless on the bottom as a shoal of prey swim past seemingly oblivious to its presence.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Matching the hatch lures pit 20 for Matt

Matt Hayes lands a 23lbs pike from an Oxfordshire gravel pit on a drifted rudd bait in this video clip from YouTube.

Click here to view it.

Big pike pictures on French blog

This French catch and release blog has pictures of some seriously big pike from all corners of Europe.

Check out this fish - with a claimed weight of 21.5kg (just under 47lbs 6oz...) making it higher than the current 46lbs 13oz British record. Not sure what the gnome on the end's doing.

Click here to see the blog, which today features PAC member and acclaimed UK pike hinter Mick Brown..

Former Pike Anglers Club RO slams trebles

Suffolk's former Pike Anglers Club organiser Bob Copping has come out of the closet in favour of the use of the single hook and actually encourages all predator hunters to take his advice and follow his example in order to eliminate what he regards as a serious risk of killing a pike during the unhooking process, reports the Norwich Evening News.

Click here for more.

PAC's online shop gears up for Xmas

December 18 is the last guaranteed posting day before Christmas. So don't forget to order by then if you're thinking of treating someone - or even yourself - to a little present from the Pike Anglers Club's online products shop.

We'll still be taking orders after that. We just can't promise they'll make it onto Santa's sleigh.

Click here to visit the PAC's online shop.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New pike fishing permit for Horsey Mere

A new permit system will be run on a trial basis when Norfolk's Horsey Mere opens up in March for the last two weeks of season.

Instead of buying a day ticket from the bailiff's boat, two week permits will be issued in advance at a cost of £30 per boat.

Today the Thurne Fisheries website said: "The purpose of this is to facilitate both easier access and reduce the need to visit each boat and collect permit fees, this often risking the disturbance of the areas being fished and causing friction with the anglers. The plan is to issue a 14 day period permit at a fee of £30.00 per boat.

"This will allow the preregistered boat to fish without the inconvenience of a bailiff cruising through the fishing areas disturbing the swim, to collect permit fees. To see this work effectively it would require the prior registration of the boat to be used and for the registration number/name of the boat to be clearly displayed whilst fishing. Boats using this system will immediately be recognisable and will not be subject to a visit from the bailiff.

"If all users would make use of this system it will ensure that the whole broad is allowed to settle once everyone is fishing and optimise the chance of picking up a fish."

Click here for more information and to download an application form.

Only limited access to the Horsey is permitted during the winter months to avoid disturbance to over-wintering wildfowl.

There was friction earlier this year, when anglers were accused of fishing areas set aside as wildfowl refuges by Natural England.

But shortly after threatened prosecutions made the papers, it emerged Natural England and the broads Authority - which was so quick to condemn anglers for disturbing the birds - had already discussed secret plans to abandon the Upper Thurne system to the sea, robbing the birds of their habitat forever.

As anger erupted over plans to allow the sea to flood Horsey, Hickling Broad, the Martham Broads and Heigham Sound, anglers were told no further action would be taken.

Smart tip for colouring pike spoons

Here's a tip we haven't seen before - use an indelible pen to colour up a plain silver spoon.

Or Click here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pike hits a lure in slow motion

Watch this fish hit a hook-less Canadian Wiggler lure - then stay tune for the action replay in slow motion.

Or Click here to see it.

Neville heads to Northern Ireland

Neville Fickling is set to share some of the ups and downs of his incredible pike fishing career with RA111 over in Northern Ireland in the new year. You can catch up with him at Armagh Community Centre on Thursday, January 8.

See flyer for more details of what promises to be a well-attended evening's entertainment.

Billy's Backbiters launch new drop-off

Billy's Backbiters are well on their way to becoming one of those cult products for what their inventor Steve Bown calls "pukka pikers".

As well as a offering a modified arm with ball clip and adjustable weight fitted to his own alarms, Steve - aka Billy Two Fish - is now offering the arms on their own, for those who still prefer a front alarm with a drop-off attached to the rear rest.

Follow this link and scroll down. Then scroll down a bit more because they're quite near the bottom, under all the other options and modifications now on offer following feedback from his growing band of customers.

Pike fly fishing - great blog

Here's a great pike fly fishing blog which turned up in a google alert the other day. It's got plenty of fly patterns, reviews and a host of links top fellow enthusiasts' online writings.

Click here for a gander.

All go for Angling Unity - press release

Angling groups due to join forces in a single unified governing body today issued the following press release:

Last Pieces of Unity Jigsaw in Place

All the organisations participating in the creation of the Angling Trust have now undertaken the necessary constitutional steps to wind up their existing operations and form the Angling Trust on 5 January 2009.

The National Federation of Anglers (NFA) held an Extraordinary General Meeting at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham on Saturday 6 December to approve the dissolution of the NFA and the transfer of its assets and staff to the Angling Trust. The meeting was attended both by individual and club members who voted 30 to 2 for the resolution.

The National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) held an EGM at Buckfastleigh in Devon on Saturday 6th December at which the membership approved the proposals to allow the winding up of the NFSA and the transfer of its assets to Angling Trust. Including proxy votes, the membership supported the 3 proposals by a margin of 418 to1, 418 to 1 and 412 to 8 respectively.

The Anglers' Conservation Association (ACA) held its EGM in Birmingham on Monday 8 December and agreed to change its name to Fish Legal and to become a part of the Angling Trust with a proxy vote of 1,484 in favour to 67 against the change.

The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) and the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) had both approved the merger with their respective memberships earlier in the year and therefore there are now no constitutional reasons for the merger not to go ahead as planned at the start of 2009.

All the organisations are now writing to their existing individual, club, riparian and fishery owner members with information about the benefits on offer from the Angling Trust. These include free public liability insurance for individual members, along with the innovative Fish For Free scheme which can earn Angling Trust members more than the cost of their subscription in cashback on fishing tackle and the annual rod licence. For angling clubs and riparian and fishery owners, there is a new discounted insurance package on offer which will offer savings of hundreds of pounds on existing cover.

Terry Fell, Chairman of the NFA commented, "This is a very historic occasion both for the NFA and the sport of angling as a whole. The NFA has been in existence since 1903 and has a wealth of history; however the board believes that now is the right time to bring together all of angling's assets and create one Governing Body for the sport. There is a huge wealth of expertise and experience in the Angling Trust and we are all looking forward to working with the other parties involved. The success of the Angling Trust will rely upon the support of the angling community and I would urge anyone who has an interest in the sport to join up and support The Voice of Angling: the Angling Trust."

Richard Ferré, Chairman of the NFSA said, "The NFSA is proud to be a part of the formation of the Angling Trust. Sea anglers share an interest in many issues with their freshwater counterparts and we will be much stronger if we pool our resources. The new Angling Trust will build on the work we have undertaken for many years, lobbying for greater protection for marine fish stocks and running national and international competitions on and off shore."

Stephen Marsh-Smith, Chairman of the ACA said, "The ACA's unrivalled record of taking polluters and others to task will be continued by the Angling Trust under a new brand: Fish Legal. All clubs, fisheries and riparian owners in England should join the Angling Trust and Fish Legal to benefit from this unique legal protection. Now that we are one organisation, we will be able to link the legal work with proactive campaigns to change policy and practice and to stop damage to fisheries happening in the first place."

Mike Heylin, Secretary of SAA said, "We have finally achieved the dream of a united front for angling with Angling Trust. Now we have to do the hard work of delivering for the nation's anglers and the fisheries they enjoy. I urge all anglers to join as soon as they can. It takes money to defend angling from national as well as European policymakers."

Martin Read, Executive Chairman of NAFAC said, "It has been a long time coming, but now the talking is over its time for action."

Trevor Johnson, Chairman of Milton Keynes Angling Association, commented, "One body - speaking with one voice for England's anglers - is now the only way forward if our sport is to survive and prosper. But let no-one think that it is all done and dusted...that all we have to do now is go fishing. If this is going to work anglers have to put their hands in their pockets and give Angling Trust their support - whether they fish for bass off Cornwall, carp in Milton Keynes or trout in a northern beck. Old rivalries and narrow interests are going to have to be put aside and everyone, at all levels, must work for the common good of our sport. That will not be easy for some...but it has to done."

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Angling Trust commented, "the Angling Trust will not only continue the work of all these bodies, but it will also do much more. We will now be able to represent all anglers much more efficiently and effectively. All the staff of the organisations involved are working flat out to make sure that everything is in place for the launch in January. We all hope that every angler's New Year resolution will be to join the Angling Trust."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New bill outlaws fish theft

Powers to prohibit the taking of fish caught on line from our rivers are included in the new Marine Bill.

Angling groups including the Pike Anglers Club are still poring over the finer points of the bill, which is expected to become law next summer after its inclusion in the Queen's Speech.

Notes accompanying the bill say it will outlaw the taking of fish caught on rod and line for the pot.

Recent seasons have seen widespread anger among many anglers over the authorities' apparent unwillingness to tackle what has become a widespread problem in many areas of the country, from the River Wissey to the Wye.

Pike often bear the brunt of this because they are prized as a food fish by some cultures. They are also vulnerable to capture by roving anglers travelling light with just a lure rod and a carrier bag to carry your catch in.

Defra's website states: "Whilst the custom in England and Wales is for the catch and release of coarse fish it is not actually a legal requirement on rivers.

"We will remove the current right for fishery owners, and anyone with their permission, to remove freshwater fish by rod and line.

"This undermines any catch and release byelaws the EA may introduce to address fish theft."

Reading West MP Martin Salter, the Labour Government's spokesman on angling issues, said: “It has been a long campaign but we have finally got the chance to do something to protect our fisheries, to give the police and the Environment Agency real powers to clamp down on those who remove fish for either the pot or for private gain.

"The current hotch potch of fishery by-laws are unintelligible and unenforceable and I know for a fact that the EA are starting work on a national catch and release by-law which I want to see implemented as soon as possible.

"Catch and release must become the norm in freshwater with exceptions available in clearly defined circumstances such as put and take trout fisheries."

Many conservation groups were celebrating after the legislation was included in last Wednesday's Queen's Speech, in which the Government set out its priorities for the next parliamentary session.

The bill signals a new approach to protecting the marine environment that will include conservation zones, a new planning system, reform of fisheries and access to the coasts, along with a new agency to manage the seas around our coasts.

Defra - the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs - said freshwater fisheries would also benefit from the "modernised and more flexible powers" it contains.

A statement on its website adds: "These will give the Environment Agency the tools to better manage fisheries for the benefit of anglers and commercial fishers."

To date there has been one prosecution for taking fish for the pot - the widely-reported case earlier this year, when two migrant workers were ordered to forfeit boats and equipment worth thousands after they were caught catching fish and barbecuing them on the bank during the close season.

Click here to read a court report from our archives.

Click here to read Defra's summary of the Marine Bill's proposals for freshwater fisheries.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Marine Bill could see close season change

Powers to alter the dates of the traditional close season on Britain's rivers to adapt to climate change are contained in the new Marine Bill which now looks set to become law.

Explanatory notes to the bill say: "The draft Bill removes statutory close seasons and close season lengths. The current provisions impose an unnecessary restriction on the EA’s ability to determine appropriate evidence-informed close seasons.

"The draft Bill gives the EA the power to set close seasons through byelaws, and whilst initially we do not envisage signicant changes to the current close seasons, there will be more flexibility to adapt to future challenges such as different spawning times brought about by changes in water temperature due to climate change.

"This will allow the EA to protect fish stocks when they are most vulnerable."

So could we see a situation where pike in our rivers could come under the protection of an extended close season in areas of the country where they are known to begin spawning before March 14..?

Friday, December 05, 2008

FISHINGmagic closure threat

One of the most popular fishing websites faces closure unless a buyer can be found.

The future of FISHINGmagic, which has more than 53,000 members, has been uncertain since editor Graham Marsden retired two months ago.

Today he told the site's forums: "Since I retired, the management at Magicalia have been trying their very best to accommodate FishingMagic in the company’s long term plans.

"We launched the site together 10 years ago and would love dearly to carry it on but sadly we cannot find a way to continue publishing FM.

"So it is with much regret from me and all at Magicalia that I have to announce that the site will close on Friday, December 19, unless a new owner is found."

Site owner Magicalia publishes a series of leading websites covering outdoor pursuits like cycling and canoeing.

Potential buyers are being urged to contact the company to discuss the site's future under new ownership.

Marsden offered members a ray of hope, adding: "FishingMagic is one of the best, if not the best, fishing websites in the UK with over 100,000 users every month and more than 50,000 members.

"It’s a very strong site and I know there are people interested in taking it on so, fingers crossed, FishingMagic may be back."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Winter raffle tickets are on their way

A catfish holiday to Spain and a host of other prizes are up for grabs in the Pike Anglers Club's legendary winter raffle. Tickets are now on their way to members, so make sure you get selling them when they turn up as they're a vital source of funds for the club.

LLyn Brenig pike fishing re-opens in Feb

Pike fishing re-opens in February at the enigmatic Llyn Brenig, says a local paper report which claims two scraper twenties as the best fish recorded during recent trials.

Click here for more.

Beware pike in village ponds

Is the message finally getting through when it comes to some of those shock, horror stories which sometimes make the pages of the mainstream media involving those voracious old pike..?

You might be forgiven for thinking so, if you've ever taken the time to pore over the Daily Telegraph Stylebook.

Required reading for all hacks on the quality daily, the copious online guide to the Queen's English includes the following sage advice when it comes to questioning the facts:

"Aim for common sense and question apparent nonsenses, such as pike in village ponds that swallow small dogs.

"Use your own yardstick as to what is feasible but do check. Good journalism at all levels is largely about the development of judgment."

While the small dogs of Home Counties suburbia sleep safer in their beds, pike anglers fishing village ponds can clearly rest assured that more conventional baits offer the best chance of nailing their quarry.