Monday, 31 January 2011

Pike tips for rivers and cold weather in new mag

No prizes for guessing the theme of the next edition of Pikelines - magazine of the Pike Anglers Club.

Cold comes high on the agenda after the recent Arctic weather put paid to fishing for weeks in some areas.

Yet some rivers remain ice free in all but the worst that the weather throws out way. And Bill Winship's penned us an interesting article on fishing them in extreme conditions, entitled Pike Below Zero.

Talking of rivers, Rob Shallcroft's the man behind a spell-binding insight into his approach to tackling moving water.

You'll also find all the latest news and views from the pike fishing world, reviews, fish-in reports and updates from PAC regions up and down the country and further afield.

+++It's at the printer's now.... In the post February 7....

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Micky Jones confirmed for PAC Convention

Micky Jones from Inverness is the first speaker to be confirmed for this year's Pike Anglers Club Convention.

"It was a bit of a shock to be asked to be honest," he said today. "But when I thought about it I also thought it was big honour and one that I hope I can do justice."

Micky's best-known for his catches up in Scotland, which will feature in his presentation.

"My talk will cover piking in the Highlands, a bit from my travels and some of the great friendships I have made through piking and being involved with the PAC," he said.

Those sitting in the front few rows need to be warned he may well take to the stage wearing a kilt. Other speakers will be announced soon.

Saturday, October 1 is the big day, Kettering Conference Centre is the venue. Click here for directions and a bit more info.

+++Micky's also going to be speaking at the Northumbrian Piper in Fawdon, Newcastle NE3 2AH, on Friday, February 25 (8pm). Admission £2.

Neville Fickling talk at Billericay

Former record holder and captor of more than 400 20lbs-plus pike Neville Fickling is speaking at the Nag's Head in Ramsden Heath, nr Billericay CM11 4HS, on Tuesday, February 9 (7.30pm).

Admission is £4 PAC members/£5 non-members, which includes trough.

Phil Kirk talk in Dartford

Former PAC Committee member and long-serving RO Phil Kirk will be giving a talk on his piking life to the Thames Gateway Region on Tuesday, February 1.

It's at the Papermakers Arms in Hawley Road, Hawley, Dartford DA2 7RB (7pm).

PAC members £3/non-members £4, raffle and buffet.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pike trials announced on Farmoor

Farmoor reservoirs in Oxfordshire are opening up for pike trials, it emerged today.

"Both Farmoor I and II are well known for their quality trout fishing, but there are also massive pike present, albeit few and far between," reports the Oxford Mail.

"Previous pike trials have produced just the odd fish, but with a constant diet of rainbow and brown trout, pike of 30lb-plus will be present."

Sixty bank and nboat fishing places are up for grabs on two Saturdays - February 19 and 26.

All methods will be allowed, with trout for sale on site. Details/bookings on 07747 640707.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

PAC Convention speaker update

Hoots mon... We're close to sealing the deal with one of the headline speakers at this year's Convention....

We're trying to get a word with the man as we speak but understand he might turn up wearing something like this.

Saturday, October 1 is the big day, Kettering Conference Centre is the venue. Click here for directions and a bit more info.

Eel be in Lancs for a talk next week, will Barry

Eel supremo Barry McConnell will be giving the S Lancs Region of the Pike Anglers Club a talk on some of his anguilla fishing exploits next week.

Eel be at the Caledonian in Bolton Rd, Ashton in Makerfield, on Wednesday, February 2 (8pm).

Barry's travelled the globe (literally...) in search of eels. More on his website here.

Click here for map and more on South Lancs goings-on.

Thanks for remembering James Holgate

A TRUE GREAT: James Holgate (right)

The family of former Pike & Predators editor James Holgate, who died last June after a short illness, have thanked the PAC and predator angling community for honouring his achievements.

James was posthumously awarded the President's Shield for his contribution to pike angling at last year's PAC Convention.

In an e-mail to the club, his sister Helen Sutton writes: "My mother and I are very proud of James' achievements during his life and that he has been honoured in this way by the Club. My mother has recently moved to a residential home and the wonderful picture of the pike has pride of place on her wall.

"We have received a great many tributes from the angling community since James passed away. As anyone who knew James will be aware, he was never one to shout about his achievements so, although we always thought he was great, we were quite surprised at how well he was known and respected within the angling world.

"The expressions of sympathy and very kind words we have received since his death have given us a great deal of comfort. I should be grateful if you would pass on our thanks to the club as a

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Cormorants - new hope for our waters..?

There was fresh hope for Britain's cormorant-ravaged rivers and stillwaters tonight as the government announced a review of cormorant control.

Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon announced the move after lobbying by the Angling Trust and fishery owners.

The Trust said it would be pressing for "rapid progress" on the issue. It said the review should take account of:

Angling's £3.5bn contribution to the economy;

The impact of cormorant predation on endangered eel stocks, estimated by Defra to be up to 43 tonnes a year during the breeding season. Eels have declined in number by 95pc in the past two decades;

The impact of avian predation on already threatened salmon stocks – which on some rivers removes half of the juvenile fish leaving the river before going to sea as smolts;

The cost to taxpayers of the current licensing regime, which involves significant bureaucracy and expensive site visits from Natural England staff;

The fact that fisheries which are successful in applying for a licence are normally only allowed to shoot two or three cormorants; many have twenty times this number present on their fisheries;

The lack of accurate data on cormorant, goosander and merganser numbers and the impact of local controls on national populations;

The need for a review of the effectiveness of other methods of control – many of which are required to be tried before licences are granted – such as bird scarers, fish refuges and scarecrows and to consider providing funding to support their deployment by stillwater fisheries;

In a statement today, the Trust said it would be inviting members to provide examples of the impact of cormorants, mergansers and goosanders and how their angling and fish stocks have been damaged, and to report their experience of the current licensing regime by post or to

"The Angling Trust will continue to campaign for urgent action to tackle problems with fish populations caused by pollution, over-abstraction, habitat damage and barriers to migration," it said.

"Many of these problems make cormorant and other avian predation much worse by reducing natural fish population growth and making it harder for fish to escape predation.

"Weirs, for example, often force fish to move up and downstream through very narrow channels, which make them very vulnerable to being eaten at these points.

"Similarly, many flood defence works remove overhanging vegetation and other cover from rivers, under which fish would naturally hide."

As the apex predatory fish in most waters, pike have often suffered from the knock-on effects of cormorant predation - as have other fish-eating birds such as kingfishers and grey herons.

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: “Anglers are conservationists at heart and do more than any other group to protect our rivers and lakes by providing funding and voluntary labour to conservation and restoration initiatives and by reporting pollution incidents.

"However, until our rivers and coastal fish populations are restored to good health, we must be allowed greater freedom to control local populations of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers where they are impacting on fish stocks."

While anglers from all walks of the sport will hope their voice will be heard, not everyone shares their enthusiasm.

The RSPB's conservation director Mark Avery claimed enough powers were already in place to control cormorants, in a blog post which accused some anglers of being "a bit bonkers".

"Fisheries and almost-everything-else Minister, Richard Benyon, is coming under pressure from fellow fishermen to allow culling of cormorants in their breeding season," he wrote.

"We work closely with fishermen on a range of issues such as the Severn Barrage, river pollution and the Water Framework Directive but some of them are a bit bonkers.

"No you don't need extra powers to cull cormorants - you have plenty of unnecessary scope already. We hope that in his busy job, Mr Benyon has time to be sensible on this issue."

Mr Benyon told the Express: “As a keen fisherman I understand the concerns of the angling community but these must be balanced with protecting the birds’ conservation status.”

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sir Peter & Son speak at Royston Vasey

Peter "Sir Peter" Green (left) and son Mark - ROs for Wakefield and Selby respectively - will be venturing to deepest Royston Vasey on Tuesday, February 1, to deliver a magic lantern show on their pike fishing experiences over the last three decades.

Regions often say a speaker or speakers are not to be missed. This particular evening could well live up to that, plus you get tatty hash, whatever that is, for your fiver on the door.

The fun starts at Hollingworth Conservative Club, 113 Market St, Hollingworth, Hyde, SK14 8HY, at 7pm-ish.

Pike angler asks are trebles getting smaller..?

Probably one of the more surreal questions which has ever found its way into the pages of Pikelines, acclaimed members' magazine of the Pike Anglers Club.

But in an article set to feature in the forthcoming winter edition, Neville Fickling asks whether treble hooks are getting smaller.

Some companies' sizes have always seemed smaller than others - ie size four Partridge hooks were more like sixes from other firms.

Neville says: "Today's size eights are definitely 10s and unless you are fishing for micro zander are utterly useless. For most of my deadbait fishing I'm on size fours these days."

Neville adds his current hook choice - Gamakatsu G-Points - aren't available in larger sizes. So bigger baits mean a switch to size two Owners.

Owners are sharp, strong hooks. No argument there. Buy size fours - more like size sixes of yore - and you end up with seven. Still enough for three and a half traces in old money.

Catch and release has its enemies, too

Back you go - unless you're a pike from Alaska.

As catch and release fishing catches on around the globe, they don't like them pesky pikes in Alaska. No siree, Bob, if this local paper article from over there's anything to go by..

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Tough old world if you're a baby pike

It's not every day you go to net a pike and find two in your landing net.

This double had already been on the munch before it picked up a PAC member's mackerel tail. It coughed up this perfectly-formed pikelet from last year's spawning.

Left alone nature's not too shabby when it comes to maintaining a balance in our waters. But the maths is pretty mind-boggling.

A 20lbs female pike can shed up to 200,000 eggs. Yet one study showed that from 1.25m eggs - don't ask us how they counted 'em - just 180 pike lived to a year of age, 50 to two years, 39 to three years, 20 to four years and just nine survived to the age of five.

Pike-on-pike predation can account for nearly 80pc of fatalities. Stats like this put pike conservation into perspective, when you weigh up how great the odds are stacked against a pike surviving to reach double figures - like the greedy biatch that munched this mini-jack.

Pike fishing with Al Rawlings two videos

Three twenties in a day afloat in Ireland:

And more fun afloat - note footballer-esque celebrations when they catch one...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Will pike anglers turn to latest US gadget...?

How often have you sat there wondering if there's a pike in the vicinity, or your baits are sitting in water devoid of predators...

So will 2011 be the year that underwater cameras catch on with pike anglers in the UK..?

Primitive echo sounders which told you the depth if you could understand them have given rise to hi-tech fishfinders imported from the US. Few anglers now go afloat without some kind of finder.

Over in America, the technology's moved on, with increasingly-sophisticated cameras now available that show what's happening under the water.

They're becoming popular with both Great Lakes trollers, who mount them on their downriggers to watch for fish tracking their lures, to ice fishermen who use them to take a peek what's happening down below.

The gizmos have their critics, as this local paper article from Minnesota reports.

But judging by the boom in everything from fishfinders to new lure techniques from across the Atlantic, it can only be a matter of time before specialist anglers here turn to the cameras.

As well as helping locate the pike, would cameras help us catch them - it can only be a matter of time before a cast-able camera comes along - in the same way fishfinders have spawned a compact bank fishing version with a transducer you can attach a spare rod to retrieve through a swim.

So will 2011 be the year that fishcams scan UK pike waters for the first time. .?

Quint lands in Kent - may need a bigger boat

You'd know about it if one of these picked up your mackerel tail...

And one who knows more about them than most is pike angler Dennis Smith - who believe it or not has also landed great white sharks weighing up to 3,500lbs.

Thames Gateway region are offering a rare chance to enjoy a talk by Dennis, covering his experiences of fishing for these incredible creatures and some incredible underwater video.

It's at the Papermakers Arms at Hawley, near Dartford, Kent, on Tuesday night (7pm). Admission is £3 PAC members, £4 non-members.

More on the Thames Gateway blog here.

Pike fishing in Ireland - three videos

Three videos on pike fishing afloat in Ireland from

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year from the Pike Anglers Club

A big - and slightly belated - Happy New Year to pike anglers everywhere. Lets hope 2011 brings us a few more sights like this.

2010 won't go down as a vintage year on the fishing front for many, with the prolonged cold snap keeping many off the banks for weeks. Will our poll, in which 85pc of respondents said they thought pike fishing has become harder, end up being one of the most telling comments on the outgoing year..?

The thaw hasn't seen them crawling up the rods in most parts of the UK either, if early reports are anything to go by.

One thing 2010 did bring was new legislation banning the taking of coarse fish from rivers. The Pike Anglers Club campaigned to keep livebaiting exempt and won this battle, thanks to support from other branches of angling.

One pike of 65cms or below can be taken a day - something our members have mixed opinions on.

Sadly people are still targetting pike and removing them for the table using illegal and indiscriminate methods, such as the Lincolnshire set liner whose work we highlighted recently.

On a brighter note, the PAC enters 2011 in good health and ready for whatever battles lie ahead.

We also wish those campaigning in other countries for pike to be treated with the respect they deserve every success this year.

2010 bows out with one or two changes on the committee front.

Matt Jahans has stood down as treasurer, due to pressures of work. Matt made his mark with his competent, professional approach to what is an important role behind the scenes.

His successor is Giles Hill, who we're sure will carry on Matt's good work. Mike Kelly has also rejoined the committee as advertising manager, a role he carried out with considerable success on the previous committee.

One of the undoubted successes of 2010 for the club was the Convention, which was held at Kettering Conference Centre in late September.

Piking 2011 will be held at the same venue, following positive feedback from both attendees and traders - the date to diary is Saturday, October 1.

Have a great New Year - and hopefully some kinder weather so you can wet a line and enjoy a tail walk or two soon.

Tim Kelly, John Synnuck, Graham Slater, Giles Hill, Mark Skinner, Mike Skipper, Mike Kelly, Mick Crisp, Steve Ormrod, Chico Winterton, Colin Goodge, Chris Bishop.

And a vodka for me pike there too landlord

Still flavouring your baits with stinky old mackerel oil or worse..?

Well Irish pike guide Dave Mason reckon's vodka's just the tipple to tempt 'em - and he claims his results back up the boozy boast.

He's just told Angling Times the alcoholic edge has helped him nail a string of 30s. Story here.

Before you dismiss this one as a (hair of the...) shaggy dog story, it's not the first time we've heard this one at PAC towers.

A few years back, another well-known pike angler - who also hailed from Ireland - reckoned dosing baits with spirits helped disperse the oils in sea deads like herrings.


December coldest for more than a century

With pike fishing curtailed - sometimes for weeks - in most areas of the UK, here's confirmation of what many anglers suspected.

December was the coldest for more than 100 years.