Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Warning over rod licence website

ROD LICENCE: Dont't get ripped off when you buy yours

Anglers are today being warned today not to buy their rod licences from a commercial website.

The website adds a £14 charge for "checking" applications.

The Angling Trust said the service was of no benefit to anglers because the Environment Agency (EA) does not require applications to be checked before submission.

As well as the extra charge, anglers buying their licences from the web site will not be able to go fishing until they receive their licence in the post.

The EA site offers a receipt and reference number which does allow people to fish while they are waiting for the licence to arrive.

The Angling Trust strongly recommends that all freshwater anglers buy their licence direct from the Environment Agency over the phone or via its website
here, or from Post Offices and clearly authorised outlets.

The AT is raising the matter with Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP and Charles Walker, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: "This site offers no real extra service, but demands a 50pc surcharge on top of the rod licence fee and we urge all anglers to spread the word.

"We would encourage members who have concerns about this website to contact Consumer Direct and their MP.

"Any unsuspecting new anglers trying to buy their first licence might be put off by the inflated price and decide not to take up fishing."

Tonight the Environment Agency said: "The Environment Agency has no connection with this website, nor does it endorse its services.

"The service appears to be legal, however, we would like to point out that the Environment Agency does not require this check when someone buys their licence through the Agency’s website, over the counter at the Post Office or over the phone. An angler only has to give their name, age, proof of concession where necessary, and post-code and house number – a quick address search completes the rest."

Sunday, 17 April 2011

British Waterways pledges to stop killing pike

FOI: Part of the paper trail over the BW pike cull

British Waterways has promised to stop killing pike on the canals it controls in the Midlands.

It comes amid revelations more than 100 fish were killed, after fears that one waterway had been illegally stocked with pike sent officials into a panic.

Rumours of a pike cull on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal began circulating in January. More than 100 fish to 18lbs were said to have been removed from the Minworth stretch by electro-fishing.

Alerted by local anglers, we decided to take a look. Documents obtained by the PAC using Freedom of Information (FOI) laws confirmed nine electro fishing operations had been carried out since February 2010.

A spreadsheet supplied by British Waterways showed that in March 2010, 150 pike totalling 350kg in weight were removed from the Birimingham & Fazeley.

The same document showed that some 100 pike were removed from Chasewater and transferred to Tarddebigge Reservoir in April 2010, while a further 90 pike were removed from the Birmingham & Fazeley and relocated to Cudmore in January 2011.

FOI is a powerful tool when it comes to investigating the actions of the public bodies which control our waters. When requested, they are obliged to release internal correspondence and other papers.

Sometimes they are reluctant to do this. Documents released to the PAC showed local anglers who rightly wanted to know what was going on behind closed doors were fobbed off.

Senior officials tried to wriggle off the hook. First they didn't have the information to hand. Then it would cost "thousands" to collate it.

But when a complaint landed on the desk of the Waterways Ombudsman, British Waterways soon caved in.

In an e-mail dated February 24, 2011, Carl Nicholls, BW's fisheries and angling manager, confirmed the details of the cull carried out in March 2010.

"British Waterways was contacted by two angling clubs on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal between Minworth and Curdworth with reports of large numbers of pike suddenly appearing in this stretch of canal," he wrote.

"Both clubs are long-standing on this water and other waters beyond this length and had never reported problems with pike. A number of rumours were also going around at the same time of a significant number of pike being illegally dumped into a Birmingham canal.

"In March 2010 we carried out an electro fishing survey to see if there was any truth in these rumours and the angling club's concerns. It was immediately clear that there were significant numbers of pike present in this two mile pound [pound = stretch of canal....].

"Due to the problem these pike were causing to both the angling club members and present silver fish stocks we decided immediate action should be taken.

"Having no health check or Section 30, it would have been illegal to have moved them to another water. We removed 150 pike for 350kg which were taken to Billingsgate."

Mr Nicholls's note adds that last October, 30 pike were removed from the same stretch of canal for a health check, which came back clear. In January 2011, a further 90 pike were removed - but this time, the fish were transferred alive to another water.

Questioned over the possible source of the pike which had suddenly appeared in the canal, Mr Nicholls said: "We never found out where the water was from where these pike were supposed to have come from. It was all rumours and hear say, but what was certain was the total number and sizes of the pike were not natural for a canal.

"The fish were very pale in colour, stumpy and their markings were not typical of canal pike, but of fish that hunted more in open waters."

This story has a happy ending - as they sometimes do, when pike anglers stand up for their fishing and refuse to be fobbed off.

The complaint to the ombudsman found its way up the food chain to John Ellis, BW's national fisheries manager. In his response, he stated had officials known how many pike they were likely to find when they elctro-fished the canal, they would have carried out a health check so they could relocate the fish elsewhere.

"You will be pleased to know that since then, British Waterways have come to an arrangement with a private fishery whereby they are willing to accept any pike in the event of there being a need to relocate them," said Mr Ellis. "As a result please be assured that British Waterways will no longer have to kill any pike."

Three top speakers for PAC Convention

Three top speakers and some new attractions are lined up for this year's Pike Anglers Club Convention.

Once again, we're heading for Kettering Conference Centre for the bash, on Saturday, October 1.

To start the ball rolling on stage we have Dave Horton, Dave has been a member of PAC for 27 years and is known throughout the pike fishing world as the author of Ultimate Pike.

Dave' talk is entitled “ 25 years of Piking the Highlights” so he will be taking usback down memory lane and what a trip that promises to be.

Next up on the oche is a Micky Jones, from Inverness. Micky`s talk is entitled “Setting the Heather Alight” his talk will cover his adventures of fishing throughout the Highlands, the final frontier in UK piking, with its relatively light angling pressure and untapped potential.

Last but not least is Stephen Harper, who over the years has not only landed many notable fishb from the Norfolk broads, but has also written two sought-after books on Broadland Pike.

Stephen's talk is entitled “Broadland; Past; Present; Future” It chronicles some of the changes Stephen has seen over 40 years on Broadland – both good and bad. His talk looks back on the illustrious past of Broadland and its pike fishing, how it was, and how it is, and how it should be.

This year we have tried to cater for the for the keen young Pike Anglers. Eric Edwards has kindly offered his services to set up a separate room for coaching which will include tackle and rig set ups, plus slides with a number of other top coaches on hand to helpanswer questions and give top class advice, those attending will each receive a goody bag.

Also this year the RNLI will be attending to give top advice on boat safety plus those attending an take along their boat floatation suites and life jackets for advice on their suitability for boatfishing, this is not to be confused with life jacket service.

There's free parking and entrance prices remain the same at £10 members/£15 non members with £5 back if you join the club on the day.

There'll also be stands large and small from all the big names in pike tackle, with all the latest gear on show; our second hand lure and gear stalls, bar, food and the chance to meet friends old and new at the country's biggest predator fishing event.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Poisson d'Avril carrot lure for pike fishing

Yep, we know what day it is.... But all you need to catch a pike is a carrot, according to this video clip.

Believe it or not, carrots were apparently wobbled in the Fens in times gone by. Along with parsnips, in coloured water.