Saturday, 18 December 2010

A growing list of pike fishing tips

With much of the country in the grip of ice and blizzards, the closest a lot of us are going to come to pike fishing this weekend is reading about it.

Pike fishing tips is one of the top predator-related search strings on Google. It's clearly why a lot of people come to sites like this.

And they're not just beginners, or people turning to pike fishing from other branches of angling. There are plenty of experienced hands out there who go online in search of inspiration when their fishing goes slow.

We're constantly adding links to articles on all kids of ways to catch pike. You'll find them if you scroll down on the right.

Here are some of the latest additions, ranging from basic rigs and fish handling, to more advanced stuff.

If you're new to pike fishing, we've got all you need to know on the basics. Our information library covers all the basics - from rigs to safe fish handling - here.

There's also a good beginner's guide here - hat tip Improve Your Coarse Fishing.

Dave Lumb's put together a slightly more advanced series of articles, which detail his thoughts on rigs and cover things like resistance, setting up alarms, the pros and cons of free-running vs fixed leads etc - click here for the first one, from which you should be able to follow links to the rest.

Bait's something newcomers often ask about - ie what's the best bait for pike on (insert type of water/time of year here...). Bait dealer Neville Fickling's written a guide to different deadbaits you can find here. Click here for Andy Wilson's thoughts on bait choice.

Which wire to use and how to make traces are two subjects which frequently crop up on forums. Neville's done a guide to wires here. We've got a guide to making traces here.

How to make a start on different types of water is another subject which sometimes vexes seasoned pike anglers - let alone beginners.

Here are some basic guides to pike location on the Fens, small drains, gravel pits and rivers.

Why not check out the rest of our links - there's stacks more, including a whole section devoted to lure fishing.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

What the weather holds in store for anglers

It's not looking good out there weather-wise, as far as this weekend goes.

They reckon most of the country's going to get snow over the next couple of days - with some of us looking at several inches of it.

Check on the right for the weather latest where you are - there's a Metcheck weather widget you can use to get a tailored forecast for your area; plus links to the Met Office website and severe weather warnings.

Cold, hungry..? Try some hot water...

Eat your heart out Delia - and move over Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Hugh Fearnley Whittingwotsit.

McFluffchucker's just published his gourmet guide to bankside eats for pike anglers. For a simple hors d'oeuvre. take a flask of boiling water, so you can brew up some instant noodles.

For the main course, check out Dave's tinned meat surprise. Pre-prepped the night before you go out fishing, the dish is simplicity itself.

"All you need to do is pour on your hot water at the backside and youve got a really satisfying meal and it does make all the difference on a cold day..."

Hot water poured onto said part of the anatomy would probably make a difference to anyone's day....

Sharp hooks catch more pike

Look sharp chaps... If the weather's kept you off the bank, how about checking the hooks on your lures to up your chances of connecting with a fish or two next time you do get out..? There's a great guide to how to sharpen your hooks on Dave Lumb's blog here.

"If there is one thing you can buy which will increase your lure fishing success when using lures with large hooks it is a hook file," writes Dave.

"A few quid spent on one of these simple pieces of kit will put more pike in your net than any expensive lures or rods ever will."

It doesn't just hold true for lure fishing, either. Keep the hooks sharp on your bait fishing traces and you'll cut the number of takes you miss, or fish which seem to fall off as soon as you bend into them.

Pike Fly Fishing Association's new blog

The Pike Fly Fishing Association's back with a new blog. There seem to be more blogs dedicated to fly fishing for pike than any other method these days. And some of them put the rest of us to shame with the standard of their photography - not to mention the enthusiasm they have for their chosen method of pursuing pike.

Check out the PFFA blog here. If fluff-chucking's your thing, have a look at some of the fly tying videos - not to mention their great blog roll.

Weather's been getting otter for pike angler Eric

Pike angler Eric Edwards found some added competition when he tried a new stretch of river in the shape of a family of otters.

As first the dog otter then its kits came out to play on the icy margins, he realised he'd pitched up close to their holt and moved on. There's little chance he'd have found a pike nearby.

But the sighting still made for a memorable day, as Eric observes.

"I was truly thrilled to see those otters and absolutely delighted to get pictures of them," he writes on his blog.

"There are those in the angling world who would have otters done away with but not me, they are a predator, just like the pike I want to catch and for too long predators have been persecuted. Better to make room for them and enjoy their presence in my view."

Eric's uploaded a film clip of the otters on his blog - click here to see it.

Set lines found on top Devon pike water

The Exeter Canal is the latest water to be targeted with illegal set lines to catch and kill pike.

Devon PAC report the gear was found near the Double Locks on the Westcountry waterway, which has produced the largest pike caught in the county. More here.

There are few pike waters in Devon, with just the Exeter Canal, River Exe, Grand Western Canal and Trenchford Reservoir holding the species.

Devon PAC blog goes on: "Anybody who fishes the canal should be on the lookout for anything/anyone suspicious.

"If you do see anything untoward then please gather as much info as you can. Numbers of people, descriptions etc and report it as soon as possible."

The EA's 24hr hotline is 0800 807060 (add to your mobile...). Controlling club Exeter DAA 07967 251443.

The latest find was clearly aimed at pike, as lines were baited with dead roach on snap tackles. The EA is now investigating.

It comes after a number of pike were found dead on a Lincolnshire Drain two weeks ago, like the one pictured above. More on that here and here.

+++How to spot the pike killers' handiwork and what you can do here.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Seal eating pike on River Severn

There's widepsread concern at the state of pike stocks in the Severn - well there's one less now...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Wheelchair places going at Bluebell fish-in

Places are now almost all taken up for our event at Bluebell Lakes, Northants, on Sunday, February 27.

The lakes have all-round vehicle access, parking next to swims and decked areas, so we've reserved a couple of spots for wheelchair users. These are still open.

Contact events organiser Mick Crisp, via the events bit of our website, if you'd like to bag 'em.

Zandavan launch new bite alarms

PAC Convention regulars might remember Barry McConnell demonstrating his Zandavan rollover bite indicators.

Now he's back with another new alarm - a drop-off with a mercury tilt switch, which clips to the rod and will set you back less than a tenner.

Most predator anglers are sold on similar bite indication, whether they use a front alarm coupled with a rear drop-off or one of the rear alarms which do both jobs.

What's slightly different about these new arrivals is you don't need banksticks. Boat anglers take note. Pike anglers who like to travel light might also find this of interest.

Barry's blurb says: "The alarm was originally designed to go on the rod. It has a bracket that is clamped to the rod with the rubber ‘o’ rings provided.

"The adjustable line-clip is attached to the line in such a position where the tilt switch, which is next to the line clip near the end of the flex, is raised above horizontal.

"Then, when the line is pulled out of the clip, the flex drops down to activate the tilt switch. The indicator tucks neatly out of the way beneath the rod where the flex doesn’t get in the way when casting or winding in.

Click here for more and how to order.

Barry's also teamed up with Steve Bown, of Billy's Backbiters, to produce a new version of his Rollover indicator. More in the clip below:

Rod licence numbers down, shock

A lot of pike anglers won't be surprised by the news that rod licence sales have taken a dive.

Sales in some categories are down by 10pc, according to a story in this week's Angling Times. But does that really mean less people are going fishing..?

Tony Bridgefoot, boss of Northants fishery Bluebell Lakes, probably hits the nail on the head as to why:

“Lower rod licence sales might indicate that more guys are risking fishing without one - after all, no one seems to check them, do they," he tells the paper.

The truth is that in many areas of the country, you probably stand more chance of getting struck by lightning than having your licence checked.

Spring bank holidays usually see a flurry of checks on day ticket fisheries, coupled with prosecutions in magistrates courts up and down the country a few weeks later. That's usually more or less it for the season in most areas.

So is it any wonder if people are risking it in the current recession - or just buying one licence, instead of their normal two.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A 30lbs pike caught through the ice

Bet you didn't know IKEA made weigh slings either. Maybe ET will start doing self-assembly furniture next.

You've got to love the celebrations worthy of any footballer when this guy catches a 30 through the ice in - we assume - Sweden. They're hardy chaps, wherever they are - running around barefoot in the snow.

Stripes on flies for pike fishing - why not..?

Stripes work on lures - so why not flies..? Simon Graham's blog is as much a work of art as his flies. He's ex-pat South African, who lives on an island in Finland and takes both tying and photographing his creations to new heights.

Definitely one the fluff chuckers will savour. Click here for more.

Can't get a run..? Dive in and chin one out...

This guy takes the biscuit when it comes to cold weather fishing. When he can't get a bite, he strips down to his budgie smugglers, dives in and chins one out. Hat tip Pike Fly-Fishing Articles.

Something fishy going on in the drains

Local paper in Boston follows up story on pike being killed on the Lincs drains.

Click here for background on this story.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Is your local river right for pike fishing..?

COLOURED UP: The Ouse at Ten Mile Bank, last winter

Hat tip Phil Heaton on the PAC Members' Forum for this link to the EA's flood warning website, which lets you check the state some of our rivers are in.

Useful aid if you're planning a pike fishing trip on the waterways featured. Click your region on the map, click on the river and if there's a green dot, there's a flood monitoring station which gives data on the river level.

"Apart from that you will catch nothing at home so get out and give it a go," Phil, who's RO for Rotherham and Sheffield, told the forum.

What's best for pike fishing - braid or mono

Great video from Martin Bowler here on pike fishing on the River Wye. But some will doubtless question the old adage that mono's more resistant to abrasion than braid.

So we thought we'd have a poll, so see what people prefer. Most pike anglers we know now use braid as their main line for most bait fishing, as well as when they're using lures.

Over on the right you can tell us which line you prefer - mono or braid. Leave a comment if you have any thoughts you'd like to share with our readers.

Martin Bowler pike fishing on the River Wye

Braid or mono - which do you prefer..? Is it the flow or the line stretching that's making it hard work playing the fish..?

More here.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Rod licence lotto - have you won £500..?

Stacks of prizes in a Rod Licence lottery promotion being run by Angling Times. Click here to see if your number's come up.

Brief thaw on the way - but will the pike feed..?

FROZEN: Ice from bank to bank on the Relief Channel, in Norfolk

This weekend could see a respite from the cold for parts of the UK, with forecasters predicting milder conditions for a few days.

That means the first chance to wet a line for many pike anglers, with hopes the fish will feed if the ice clears from their local waters.

Tonight the Met Office said daytime temperatures could reach highs of 8C in some places, which will allow a slow thaw of lying snow. But Arctic conditions are expected to return through the new working week.

Met Office chief forecaster Andy Page said: "The UK is not out of the woods as far as the cold weather is concerned.

"There is a risk of widespread icy conditions tonight and tomorrow, especially across northern parts of the British Isles.

"Although there is a brief recovery of temperatures over the coming days, cold north easterly winds are expected to bring a return to the cold conditions next week with the risk of snow, especially in the north and east."

Click here for latest forecasts.

Pike fishing with Mick Brown

Great video clips from a few years back. It was cold then too...

Crane driver dies in frozen Fen drain

An Environment Agency crane driver died today after his machine fell into a frozen drain.

Firefighters and police fought to free the man from the Old Bedford River, near Mepal, Cambs, but he was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident this lunchtime.

The tragedy highlights the dangers of frozen banks, after several nights of sub-zero temperatures in the Fens. More here.

Police appeal for information on boat

Police are appealing for information about a boat, engines and fishfinder.

Officers in Norfolk are trying to trace a grey and blue Sea Eagle 12.6 inflatable boat, a Honda 5HP outboard, a Demo Torpedo 1003 electric outboard and a Garmin 400C fishfinder.

Detectives have not revealed why they want to locate the items. A spokesman for the Norfolk force said: "It is believed that these items are currently being used as an angling boat in the East Anglia area.

"Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have seen these items in use, or have any information relating to them."

Anyone with information should call DC Claire Cox, at Thetford police station, on 0845 456 4567.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ice, ice baby as cold snap tightens grip

FROZEN: The Relief Channel near King's Lynn, Norfolk, today

With many stillwaters iced over, temperatures in Scotland and the north dropping to minus-10 or below, it's no surprise many fish-ins and events are going to be cancelled this weekend.

Glossop PAC have called off their meet on Fairburn Ings this Sunday.

Inverness Region latest here. For other events or meetings over the next few days, please check before travelling. See the latest on our blog roll, by scrolling down on the right.

Organisers, please post updates via comments or the PAC forum.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Holt sweet home for otters in the Fens

Otters have moved into an artificial holt just months after it was built on the banks of a Fen drain, local paper the Cambs Times reports. Click here for story and video.

But what's it mean for pike fishing..? Otters have also colonised a complex of gravel pits popular with pike anglers near King's Lynn.

While no pike carcases have been found, the animals have been seen by anglers in swims which regularly produced fish in recent seasons but now appear devoid of both prey fish and pike.

We're clearly going to have to live with these creatures, which have now successfully fought their way back from the brink of extinction in many areas.

Pesticides and hunting almost wiped them out in the 1970s. Since then chemicals like DDT have been banned, and our rivers have become far cleaner.

While the captive breeding and release programme has now been halted, their numbers are increasing in many areas.

Vast numbers of sand and gravel pits have been dug in many of our major river catchments over the last 30 years, to provide the raw materials for new roads and homes.

Once worked out, they're usually stocked with fish which provide the otters with a ready larder. When the rivers are coloured-up or out of sorts, Tarka turns to the clear stillwaters and their torpid carp, bream and tench.

How they'll impact longer-term on pike fishing remains to be seen. But there's no denying one thing - they're a truly incredible sight in the wild, which makes for a memorable day.

Are circle hooks any good for pike fishing..?

Circle hooks have quietly won a few devotees, while debate has raged over trebles vs singles for pike fishing. But are they any good..?

Mike Ladle's sure they are - more here.

Sometimes, a net's kinder on the fish says Eric

Eric Edwards has some thoughts on pike handling in his latest blog post. As usual for Eric, it's interesting stuff.

Pike anglers differ over whether nets are better than hand-landing or vice versa in different circumstances.

Where the fish is hooked and what with - ie bank or boat, bait or lure - and how big it is determines how many opt to land them.

"There are times when hand landing a pike is the right thing to do but by and large a net is kinder to the fish," writes Eric.

"If people have to land a fish by hand they should put down the rod as soon as the fish is secured and take both hands to it. This is to prevent the fish from thrashing around - that's when the damage is done."

Click here for the rest of an excellent post. And scroll down the right hand side for more advice and pike fishing tips.

Legered deads - fine tune your pike fishing

LEGERING: Do we really understand what's going on when we get a run..?

Legering a deadbait must be the most popular form of bait fishing by far. But how good's your bite indication - and do you really understand what's going on under the surface, when your alarm goes..?

Click here for a thought-provoking article from our links bar, by Dave Lumb. There's more on Dave's approach to rigs here, here and here.

Steve Younger heads to Essex for talk

Globe trotter Steve Younger (left) will be giving a talk at the Nag's Head in Ramsden Heath, Billericay, on Wednesday, December 15 (7.30pm).

Admission £4 PAC members, £5 non-members. For more on Essex goings-on, click here.

+++Talk by Neville Fickling has been postponed until February 9...

Weather might just look up for pike fishing

Forecast might not be looking too cracky for today, with more snow on the way for many. Click here for latest.

But things might just start looking up next week - and we all know what that means, as the lid comes off waters which have been frozen over.

Yorks pike could beat the record - claim

The biggest pike of the season so far - a specimen nudging 40lbs caught by 17-year-old fishery student Jake Finnegan on a lure from a day ticket water near Scarborough - could grow on to beat the record, it is claimed. More here.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Welcome to pike fishing's top blog

A big welcome to all our new readers. Our web stats show we're getting a lot more traffic these days, and a lot of people are visiting this blog for the first time.

Perhaps it's stories like our exclusive report on the Lincolnshire pike killers, which was followed up by the newspapers - click here, if you missed it or our advice on how to spot set lines.

We also published Bristol Water's candid response in full, bringing you the facts about the future of pike fishing at Chew Valley - click here, to read that.

Behind the news, we bring you some of the best when it comes to pike fishing blogs and what's going on around the regions. Just scroll down the sidebar on the right to see all the latest posts.

We've also got a growing collection of links to pike fishing tips, ranging from beginner's guides to bait or lure fishing, to more advanced stuff.

Did you know you can subscribe and get our content in a daily e-mail..? Scroll down the right (again...) to sign up - NB you have to click on the link our feed provider sends to activate your subscription.

You can alkso find us here on Facebook, and here on Twitter.

Watch out - killer shrimps about

An alert to all anglers has been issued about so-called killer shrimps.

Trouties found a new invasive species crawling up their waders at Graffham Water, Cambs, in September. Now scientists say they've spread to Wales.

The shrimp, or Dikerogammarus villosus, is an invasive and aggressive species from eastern Europe, which kills the young of native fish.

Anyone who spots one is being urged to call the Environment Agency. Anglers are also being urged to ensure nets and other gear are dried out between trips

Mark Lloyd from the Angling Trust said: "The future of the £3.5 billion angling industry is at stake, along with the beloved pastime of millions of anglers and the country's aquatic biodiversity.

"We must all take rigorous steps to ensure that this pest is not allowed to spread any further and wreak havoc on the nation's water environment."

Click here for more on the menace.

Dear Serb, cracking pike pictures

If your pike fishing's been curtailed by the weather lately, feast your eyes on these beautifully-marked specimens from Serbia.

They're truly a joy to behold, no weights given but one or two look like decent kippers.

More here. Hat tip pikeflyfishingarticles, from our blog roll.

Removing pike from Chew 'the only answer'

Removing pike from Chew is the only answer, according to Angling Times columnist Steve Partner. Click here to read what he's got to say.

And click here for Chew Valley boss Bob Handford's response to Pike Anglers Club president Tim Kelly on the subject.

At least someone's still catching pike

Here's Mark Green with a nice fish caught just before the snow hit.

Have a look at our gallery -->

Better still, send us a picture if you've nailed a decent pike lately - it might cheer those confined to base by the cold snap up a bit...

Relief Channel freezes bank to bank

CHILL: The Relief Channel ices over

It's been a while since a cold snap like this descended on the Fens. The Relief Channel was still frozen from bank to bank yesterday afternoon.

The Middle Level and all the land drains were also sheets of ice. Skaters were on the Welney Washes yesterday afternoon.

There were also sheets of ice coming down the tidal Ouse, as temperatures refused to budge above the freezing mark.

Weathermen say things might improve slightly from Thursday onwards. But the Met Office is warning there's more snow on the way today.

Click here for the latest severe weather warnings. And if you do go out, go careful out there.

Friday, 3 December 2010

No gill nets planned for Chew Valley pike

CHEW: No gill nets, says Bristol Water

Pike at Chew Valley reservoir are not set to be culled by gill netting, it has emerged. But some fish will be removed using seine nets and re-located to other waters, the PAC has been told.

Club president Tim Kelly contacted fishery boss Bob Handford over claims a cull was imminent on the Westcountry water, after complaints from trout anglers.

While the lake has produced a string of 30lbs-plus pike so far this winter, there are fears trout fishing is suffering.

In his reply to Tim, Mr Handford said: "We have made no secret of the fact that we are going to be carrying out some seine netting in the near future and that if we manage to catch pike, some of these will be removed to other waters. At present I have requests from five other fisheries for pike though it is doubtful that we will catch enough to supply them all.

"Initially we were planning to remove fish of ten pounds or below but several anglers have suggested leaving some smaller fish and taking slightly larger fish in case we remove all males. We will not be removing any pike weighing above twelve pounds or do any netting other than seine at present."

Mr Handford said utility firm Bristol Water, which runs the reservoir, was aware of its importance as a pike fishery.

"The pike fishing is now an important part of Bristol Water Fisheries," he said. "We realise what a remarkable facility we have here and would not wish to do anything drastic that would affect future pike fishing.

"But our main business is still trout fishing and we must ensure that Chew Valley remains as one of the top trout fisheries. Without the trout and trout fishing income we know that the pike fishing would soon decline or fail. Removing what would be an insignificant number of small pike may encourage the trout fishermen without affecting the future pike catches.

"I hope this may help a little in alleviating your members concerns and assure you that our wish is to run Chew Valley for the enjoyment and satisfaction of all our customers."

Tim Kelly said: "After hearing some concern voiced by our members over the future of pike fishing at Chew, and the motivation behind the proposed netting on the lake I wrote to Bob Handford, the fishery manager.

"He kindly replied and the future for pike fishing appears to be in good hands. In a generally encouraging letter Mr Handford was very aware of how special his lake is as a pike fishery and doesn't wish to see that side of his fishing damaged.

"We are very encouraged to see trout reservoir management teams taking the facility of good pike fishing seriously in their management plans and feel this can only bode well for the future for pike fishing, pike anglers and the long term business success of what are, primarily, trout fisheries."

Two twenties caught on Inverness outing

Jim Morrice caught this belting 25lbs pike on Inverness PAC's latest outing. Andy Grant followed it with a 21lbs specimen the following day.

More on Inverness goings-on here.

More on the arrest of man for shooting pike

Venue was the Twenty Foot, near Beggar's Bridge, according to local paper report here.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Man arrested for shooting at pike on Fen drain

A 33-year-old man has been arrested after firing a shotgun at pike in a Fen drain.

Armed police and a helicopter were scrambled after anglers reported a group of men trying to shoot fish in the waterway near March, Cambs.

The arrested man, believed to come from Kazakhstan, was held on suspicion of discharging a firearm within 50ft of a public highway and later released on police bail pending further enquiries into incident, which happened last month.

Cambridgeshire police said: "We had a report that a man had fired a shotgun into the river.

"The member of the public who called us had expressed concern about what was happening. The arrested men was with some other men and the gun had been put in a car by the time we arrived."

The Daily Mail reports: "The issue of immigrants, particularly Eastern Europeans, taking freshwater fish to eat is considered a serious threat to British freshwater fish stocks.

"A difference in culture means that while most British anglers throw the fish back, for some visitors they are a popular source of food."

Story here. News of the latest incident comes just days after dead pike were found tethered on a drain near Boston.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Diet the key to pike fishing on ice

Eating a diet rich in Omega-3 helps the eskimo survive the rigours of pike fishing through the ice.

But as our climate changes, care is needed when fishing tidal waters - for there might be more than pike lurking down there...

Worse weather on the way, forecasters say

Brrrrrrrrrr.... The weather's looking decidedly Arctic tonight, with forecasters saying there could be worse on the way for many areas.

If you're thinking of venturing out over the next few days, check the forecasts using the links on top of the sidebar before travelling. Police in many areas are warning people not to travel unless it's essential.

+++Click here for latest Met Office warnings.

Pike Fishing - an essential guide from AT

They're calling it the Essential Guide, this Angling Times feature is certainly a great beginner's guide to the basics of rigs, baits and fish handling. Click here for a read.

+++Scroll down the right for links to loads more articles on bait and lure fishing, from the basics to more advanced pike fishing tips.