Friday, February 27, 2009

Anglers protest outside water firm's HQ

Anglers who have fished Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire for a generation held a protest outside Severn Trent Water’s Headquarters today after the water company refused to back down on its controversial plans to close two thirds of the reservoir to angling due to concerns about health and safety of the public, the anglers themselves and the structural integrity of the dam wall. Afterwards, a meeting was held between Foremark Fly Fishers, the Angling Trust and the Operations Director of Severn Trent.

The Angling Trust and Foremark Fly Fishers will launch a petition this weekend at the Spring Fly Fair in Newark to seek the support of thousands of anglers who are angered by this decision by the privatised utility. The petition will go online next week on the Angling Trust website at

Earlier this week, support for the anglers case came from an unlikely source: the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), whose Strategy Division wrote to the angling club: “there are a great many myths circulating about what ‘health and safety regulations’ require; they are just that – myths. Unfortunately some organisations fall for these myths and act upon them. It does appear that health and safety is being used as a reason to limit the amount of fishing along the banks of the reservoir when the real reason may well be something else altogether.”

The HSE went on to suggest that the anglers ask the company for a copy of the risk assessment which led to the decision being taken. Despite several requests to Severn Trent, a copy has not been forthcoming and at a meeting with Peter Gavin, a Director at Severn Trent, it was confirmed that the document would not be released. This has led anglers to speculate that no such assessment exists.

David Coates, Chairman of Foremark Fly Fishers said: “I felt that the meeting was positive although no firm commitments were made, the dialogue has opened up and the company has agreed to make a ‘response with substance’ in the next two weeks or so.”

Alan Dawes, Secretary Foremark Fly Fishers and Angling Correspondent for the Burton Mail said: “it was good to meet Severn Trent face to face, and although nothing positive came out of the meeting, it was obvious that they listened to our grievances and were prepared to discuss it further in the near future.”

Mark Lloyd Chief Executive, Angling Trust said: “I am appalled by the way Severn Trent has treated their customers. There has been no consultation about this entirely unreasonable decision and no attempt to take on board our members’ suggestions for measures to mitigate any risks which might exist. It is clear that the Health and Safety Executive agrees. We will be calling on all anglers to sign our petition and, if they are shareholders or customers of Severn Trent, to write to the company and complain.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

PAC National Committee Statement re Ireland

The National Committee has read with interest the various views being expressed on internet forums and elsewhere regarding matters pertaining to pike and pike fishing in Ireland. This statement has been prepared reflecting the position of the National Committee.

The Irish Republic

The present geographic remit of the Pike Anglers Club does not currently encompass the Irish Republic. The Club was formerly known as the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain and Ireland but this changed with the formation of the Irish Pike Society in 1993. Sadly the IPS was adversely affected by the untimely death of the IPS Chairman David Overy.

The current position of the PAC is not to reincorporate the Irish Republic into the club. We are aware of the potential formation of a Conservation Orientated organisation there with similar objectives and principles to PAC. Clearly the existing organisation representing pike anglers in the Republic namely the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs has shown itself to be more concerned with running pike matches than in pike care and conservation per se and hence do not fulfil the necessary role that PAC fulfils in the UK.

We hope in time to see the emergence of an Irish led pike welfare organisation in the Irish Republic and will both watch and support developments to that end closely. In the event this does not transpire the National Committee will review matters in conjunction with its membership in Ireland and also represent the interests of the many GB based pike anglers who fish in Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is well served by PAC members with circa 100 members of the club residing there. This level of activity to our mind reflects both the level of interest in pike fishing in this part of the UK as well as the threats increasingly posed to it from various sources.

Originally there was a single PAC Region in Northern Ireland but following the 2008 AGM of Region 43 this region has since closed and a new Region 111 started up.

The PAC’s officers in Northern Ireland are George Higgins as Liaison Officer and Robbie Marsh as Regional Organiser RA 111. We have confidence and faith in these two members to look after PAC interests in the North and are in regular contact with them.

No other individuals are authorised by the National Committee to deal with authorities and other bodies on behalf of the PAC in Northern Ireland.

For avoidance of doubt the PAC do not support the Erne Classic Pike event.

Furthermore we have appointed two members of the National Committee to deal with related matters in Ireland these being John Cahill for the North and Phil Wakeford for the Republic. They will of course work closely together.


The strong following for pike matches throughout the island of Ireland has resulted in the perceived need to retain live pike for later "weighing in" and verification of the catch by "permitted methods" by match officials to prevent false claims being made. This is particularly relevant when considering the large value prizes that some of the open matches offer.

The PAC of GB would like to make it publicly known that we are in total opposition to the practice of retaining pike in barrels.Where the club has engaged with match organisers we have been unable to date to change their minds in relation to the use of barrels. We would much prefer alternative methods were adopted such as trusting anglers to report catches correctly, retention in suitable 'carp sacks' for as short a time period as in necessary or adoption of methods used elsewhere such as photographic evidence alongside approved measuring tapes/sticks.

Despite our opposition, if barrels are still to be adopted in a particular match then the welfare of the pike must be aided by considerations such as size of barrel, freshness and volume of water, temperature of water/air plus levels of dissolved oxygen (DO). The use of undersize aeration devices clearly will be next to useless in increasing the DO within a large volume of water i.e. 100 litres and we criticise quasi scientific reports promoted by bodies seeking to validate the use of barrels.

We also have reservations whilst angling afloat with a barrel of water. We leave the organisers to confirm to participants that this practice is Health and Safety compliant for insurance purposes.

Gill Netting

PAC continues to be adamantly opposed to the so-called "management of pike stocks" as has been practiced in certain Irish waters by Regional Fisheries Boards such as on the Great Western Loughs. We are particularly critical of the use of gill nets in which not only fish suffer (they are also indiscriminate in species selection) but also birds and in some cases otters.

Illegal Fish Removal

We sympathise greatly with anglers and fishing clubs in Ireland whose local waters are being targeted by poachers using a variety of capture methods including nets and long lines.

The current Byelaw 809 (2006) in the Republic provides the following:

1) A bag limit of one pike in any one day

2) Prohibits the killing of more than one pike greater than 50 cm in any one day

3) Makes it illegal to be in the possession of more than one Pike <> 0.75 kg of Pike flesh

We would welcome tougher enforcement of existing laws by the authorities. Recent successful prosecutions give us cause for some hope in this area.

The upcoming review of the Marine Bill in the UK is hoped to have a similar outcome with regard to protection of dwindling pike stocks but the key to success will as ever be with enforcement of the law often in adverse circumstances, in remote places and often at night.

Enquiries in relation to this announcement can be directed to:

Phil Wakeford, PACGB President re matters relating the the Irish Republic

John Cahill, PACGB Membership Secretary re matters relating to Northern Ireland

Chris Bishop - Press enquiries..

Mark Green at RA 88

Date : Tuesday 3rd March

Time : 8.00pm

Venue : Hollingworth Conservative club , Hollingworth , Hyde ,Cheshire , SK14 8HY

Cost : £5 which includes buffet.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eeeek... Andy's caught a crab

CRABBY: An alien visitor to the Fens

Mittens aren't only what pike anglers use to keep their fingers warm in the winter if you fish in the Fens these days, as PAC member Andy Webster discovered when he fished a drain in Lincolnshire.

For when something munched on his deadbait, it wasn't a pike but a Chinese mitten crab.

"I reeled in the float fished sprat and felt a bit of weight on the end but it fell off," Andy said on his blog tonight.

"The sprat had been shredded and I didn't have a clue what could have caused it. I decided to put it back in the same spot and after ten minutes I carefully reeled in again. The crab was wrapped in the trebles."

Mittens first hit the headlines when they turned up in the tidal Thames two decades ago. Oringinally believed to have travelled to London's docks in the ballast of cargo ships from the Far East, scientists believe frequent drought years and increased abstraction reduced river flows and created ideal conditions for the interlopers to breed.

Since then, they have spread around our shores, taking upwards of 20 years to walk around
our coastline to The Wash, from where they are believed to have entered the Tidal Ouse.

One turned up in a fish trap at Denver two years back and anglers were urged to report captures to the Environment Agency.

Another specimen ws caught recently on the Yorkshire Ouse - click here for local paper report.

As well as having a nasty nip mittens - so called because their claws grow fur during the breeding season - have another habit which doesn't go down well in low-lying, climate-change threatened areas like the Fens.

They burrow into the mud, digging large holes which can cause river banks to erode.

Environmentalists are now investigating whether the crabs could be commercially harvested for food as a way of controlling their numbers. But there are concerns over the level of toxins present in their flesh.

Lincolnshire lads clean up at Ecton Lakes

T-SHIRT WEATHER: Steve Rudkin with an Ecton double.

A Glorious day, weather-wise but little in the way of action for most of those taking part in today's PAC Event at Ecton Lakes, in Northants.

But Steve Rudkin and Andy Blunt's long trip down from Lincolnshire was made worthwhile when they found pike in frenzied mood on the nearby River Nene.

They banked three apiece in the space of barely half an hour, the best scaling 15lbs. Andy suffered a cut hand when a pike did a pirouette and to add insult to injury a sizeable pike showed itself when it lunged at an eight pounder he was playing.

Thanks again to the management and bailiffs at Ecton for their hospitality. It might take some getting to down that track, but it's a beautiful fishery when you arrive.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Graham Slater speaks in Co Durham

Pike Angler of the Year Graham Slater will be speaking to the Darlington, Teeside and Durham region of the Pike Anglers Club on Tuesday, march 3.

He'll he appearing at Coxhoe Working Mens Club, High Street, Coxhoe, Co. Durham; from 8pm.

Bar, buffet, raffle and tackle sales available.

Tickets £2 (PAC members) or £3 (non members) on the door.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Labour's 'Angling Minister' Martin Salter stands down

Reading West MP Martin Salter is standing down at the next election, reports his local paper the Reading Evening Post.

In 10 years as an MP Salter - who famously once bought a house because it had a decent barbel swim in its back garden - has been a leading member of the Commons All-party Angling Group, which he currently chairs.

Thaw, she's a-comin'

BRRR: Brass monkeys all-round

Believe it or not, there's meant to be a thaw on the way over the next few days, or so Metcheck reckons.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter Raffle - time's running out!

Don't forget to get your Winter Raffle Tickets in to Mike Kelly as soon as possible.

The draw takes place at the AMM in May and prizes have so far been donated by:

Martin Walker, Neville Fickling, Mark Barrett, Dave Lumb, Friendly Fisherman, The Pike Shop, PAC shop, Sovereign Superbaits and there are two Golden Menteith tickets available too.

Remember, more tickets are available by sending a SAE to Mike and the more tickets you have the better your chances of winning.

Good Luck.

New blog for RA24

PAC Region 24 South East Northumberland (SENPAC)now has a blog.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Graham Slater's talk CANCELLED

Graham Slater's talk for the Cheshire PAC RA9 scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) evening is the latest cancellation due to the weather predictions.

Contact Andy Bates for more info:mobile 07834999129 e-mail

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Council investigates jet skis on Norfolk pike fishery

An investigation is under way into moves to open up a Norfolk pike fishery for jet skiing.

Jet skiers have been using a nature reserve at Pentney Lakes, near King's Lynn.

Planning agreements in place at the beauty spot state Bird Lake should be kept as a nature reserve and used only for windsurfing and fishing.

Jet skiers were supposed to be confined to a smaller, neighbouring lake on the complex.

But a channel has been dug connecting it to Bird Lake and estate agents are advertising jet skiing as being available for people buying chalets at Pentney.

Anglers are allowed on limited areas on Bird Lake outside the breeding season for rare species like terns.

The restriction means the lake is only accessible during the winter months, when its only visitors tend to be pike anglers.

"Those of us who fish the place are happy to co-operate with the restrictions because we recognise we have to co-exist with the wildlife," one said.

"But if we go along with the rules and only fish when are where we're supposed to, it seems unfair if jet skiers can use the lake when birds are fledging.

"There's also the question of what damage they could potentially do with their wake and disturbance, which is why water skiing was not permitted on Bird Lake in the first place, and why the only water borne activities permitted are angling and wind surfing."

A planning agreement drawn up between the lakes' owners, the council and conservation group the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, divides the site into a number of zones.

They include a "buffer zone" where there should be "reduced levels of activity". But two-storey holiday homes have been built close to the zone, which includes an area frequented by otters.

Now the owners of one property have applied for planning permission to live in it all-year-round, while a hot tub and decking have been built alongside one of the lakes.

Pentney Lakes declined to comment. The council said an investigation was under way, with a view to a "more robust" management plan being drawn up.

It added: "These recommendations may or may not include formal enforcement action."

Ward councillor Janet Murphy said: "The intention is to get a more robust management plan to make sure that the wildlife is protected. We need to protect our countryside."

Monday, February 02, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: EA sets out fisheries reforms

Fines for illegal fish movements will increase to up to £50,000, close seasons will be set for eel, smelt and lamprey fisheries, while so called fish-thieves will see the maximum penalty for removing fish from Britain's rivers increased from £100 to £5,000.

The PAC was today passed a copy of the Environment Agency's take on the Marine and Coastal Access Bill currently before Parliament.

Entitled Reforming fisheries law for the 21st Century, the document spells out for the first time how the EA plans to "modernise fisheries regulation in England and Wales", and address recommendations made in the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries review.

"There will soon be major changes to the rules governing freshwater and migratory fisheries," the document says.

"These changes will help to conserve fish stocks, allowing people to continue to enjoy and make a living from fishing.

"Legislation to make these changes will go through Parliament over the next year or two.

"At the Environment Agency, we are working with Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure new regulations will meet current and future challenges.

"And to make the regulations as effective as possible, we will also work closely with other organisations, including angling governing bodies and conservation agencies."

At present, the EA is responsible for regulating salmon, trout, coarse and eel fisheries.

"This leaves fisheries for other migratory species unregulated, including rare and threatened species," the report adds.

"The Marine Bill will extend our regulatory responsibilities to river and sea lamprey, and smelt."

The bill will give the EA powers to make and enforce byelaws to meet European targets for protecting all three species. It is also seeking to regulate fishing for twaite and allis shad, which it says are also threatened.

New licence and authorisation schemes for smelt and lamprey will come into force in January 2010. Both species are a staple of the frozen deadbait trade.

New measure to protect the eel, whose population is believed to have declined by up to 70 per cent in recent decades, are included. The EA intends to regulate fishing, improve habitats and relocate elvers into "suitable upstream areas".

A faster mechanism for setting byelaws is included in the Marine Bill, along with powers to set close seasons for smelt, eel and lamprey.

The maximum penalty for byelaw breaches will be increased from £2,500 to £50,000.

"The marine Bill will reform how we regulate fish removal," the EA document says. "As well as giving us greater byelaw-making powers to control fish removal, the bill will change the Theft Act by removing the disticntion between day and night fishing, and increasing the maximum penalty for fish theft from £100 to £5,000.

A new scheme governing fish introductions and removals is also proposed. This is likely to impact on pike culls, by requiring nyone wishing to remove fish to obtain a long-term poermit lasting for between three and 10 years.

"Thanks to these measures, it will be much more difficult to move fish illegally without being detected, as only authorised suppliers will be allowed to move fish, and only to or from waters which have a long-term permit," the EA adds.

"The maximum penalty for illegal fish movements will also increase from £2,500 to £50,000, creating a much greater deterrent to breaking the law."

Anyone who wishes to comment on the proposals can e-mail

Club mourns death of "a smashing lad"

The PAC was tonight mourning the loss of a young Scottish member who died yesterday after a road accident.

Daryl Turley, 13, suffered serious head injuries when was hit by a motorcycle as he crossed a road at Hamilton on Saturday night. He lost his fight for life on Sunday night in Glasgow's Southern General Hospital.

Tonight PAC secretary Mark Barrett said the club sent out its condolences to young Daryl's family at this difficult time.

"We were all deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of Daryl Turley the son of Davy Turley, who were both PAC members from Scotland.

"From a personal point of view I got to meet Daryl on the visits to RA93 and he came across as a smashing lad that loved his fishing and the entire committee would like to pass on their condolences to all the Turley family at this sad time."