Thursday, 8 December 2011

Booze, drugs, nudity and swearing - that'll be the latest DVD on the gentle art of fly fishing for pike

Inspired by tales of massive pike, they head for the wilds. But when they meet the locals, they find more than they bargained for...

A Backyard in Nowhere is subtitled a Fly Fishing Western but is actually a documentary, which charts the true story of a wilderness trip to Alaska by a group of Danish pike fly fishers.

Makers Mathis Eskjær, Peter Christensen, Peter Lyngby and Mikkel Poppelhøj say: "A Backyard in Nowhere is an independent film that mixes Western and Gonzo elements with traditional fly fishing.

"Blinded by stories of giant Northern pike, a trio of fly fishers set out to explore the remote Innoko River in Alaska. They end up getting a whole lot more than they bargained for. 

"After the fly fishers meet the Native Americans that live in the drainage, their adventure begins to take wild twists and turns Moving deeper into the Backyard, the fly fishers find some of the best pike on the fly fishing ever caught on film. 

"But, to their misfortune, the Backyard turns out to be a lot like the old West. Generous servings of booze, taking the law into ones own hands and gun slinging over a piece of land, are challenges that need to be overcome to find the giants of the Innoko."

The trailer (see above) contains some stunning shots of fish being hooked and returned in incredible surroundings. 

Click here for more and details on how to order a copy.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

King's Lynn PAC Christmas Bash on the Ouse

King's Lynn PAC are having a Christmas social with a difference on the Ouse at Ten Mile Bank (left) on Sunday, December 11.

It's a roving predator comp, with a £250 first prize plus £50 for the biggest fish.

Have a look at their blog for more info here.

The latest lure fishing gimmick..?

A clippy-on thingammy that makes the line "pulse"..? Who reckons that one's going to catch on then.

Monday, 14 November 2011

In pictures: 36lbs scottish pike to Kevin Martin

The following e-mail has arrived at PAC Towers from scottish angler Kevin Martin. It comes after rumours of a near 40lbs pike from an un-named loch - Kevin has now sent us two pictures of the fish.
"I caught a 36lb 2oz pike on the 12th of this month with rod and line using dead bait a 12 foot zenith pike rod a bait runner 60 reel and 20lb braid using (full eel) my wife and I were fishing a loch in scotland that I would prefer not to name as we are the only two people who have permission to fish it," he said.

"The fish weighed 37lb 5oz weighed in my fox landing net the nets weight is 1lb 3oz when wet. We used digital scales and non digital scales to weigh the fish. The fish was clean hooked in the upper lip and was returned to the loch unharmed.

"I have been pike fishing for 20 years and this is by far my pb, it would be grately appreciated if you could list this catch on your website as its a massive achievement for me after so many years angling."

Kevin describes himself as a big chap - 6ft and 20-stone. Clearly a big fish, as you can see from the second picture. 

EA averts major fish kill on Norfolk river

A major fish kill may have been averted on Norfolk's River Wissey after the Environment Agency deployed aerators to boost oxygen levels in the river.

Fisheries officers stepped in after fish including more than 50 large bream, roach, tench, perch and pike  were found dead on Wissey Pools, near the Wissington Sugar Factory.

Tests revealed low oxygen  levels, believed to have been caused by low flows during the ongoing drought. The Wissey is shallow, particularly upstream of the pools where there is a large, silted mere.

The EA has placed aerators near Wissington bridge and further downstream on the Hilgay village stretch (pictured). Experts are now monitoring oxygen levels in the river daily.

Lure match aims to build bridges between anglers

A lure match is being held at Ferry Meadows, at Peterborough, on Saturday, November 26, as part of a project to integrate Eastern European and British anglers.
It's being organised by Rado Papiewski, the Angling Trust's Building Bridges project manager. Registration will start at 8.30 am with fishing starting from 9.00am - 1pm.
"Prizes and barbecue will take place at 2pm so we will have some time to discuss the catches and exchange some experience," said Rado.
Entry is £10, plus £5 day ticket. For more information or to book a place, e-mail . Click here for more on the venue.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Farewell to much-loved Norfolk bailiff John Block

Pentney Lakes, where John Block was the much-loved warden

Norfolk's countryside lost one of its true characters when John Block lost his battle with cancer, writes Chris Bishop.

He was as old as the hills and he lived on steak and potatoes, washed down with the odd whisky or two, in a cabin in the woods at Pentney Lakes, where he was on-site warden after retiring from farming.

John wasn't a man for the indoor life. He knew the wildlife above and beneath the surface like the back of his leathery hands.

His wry observations on life and the many anglers who crossed his path peppered our bankside chats like buckshot - not to mention the occasional brush with officialdom.

"You won't catch 'em here - they're all over there," he said countless times, pointing off to some distant swim. "I keep telling you boys you're in the wrong place but no-one listens to Old John."

With his ancient spaniel Mr Fonty plodding along behind, he did his rounds on an electric mobility scooter for the last  couple of winters as age and illness finally began to overtake him.

This silent mode of transport meant he could creep up right behind you and make you jump out of your skin, before he'd disappear in a fog of cigar smoke, laughing like a drain.

Not so long ago, he'd be thundering up the Coast Road to Hunstanton on his Harley Davidson on fine afternoons. He never took his 'Hawg out when it rained.

But he'd be out beside his beloved lakes through the worst of the winter, pondering nature's comings and goings with our rag tag crew even when he knew his days were numbered.

His vice-like grip had loosened a notch or two when we shook hands at the end of last season. "Don't you worry, I'll see you come September," he said.

John died on October 29, surrounded by his family. When I heard he'd left us, I thought about leaving a wreath in the Barbecue Swim, but somehow that wasn't John. I went fishing elsewhere, leaving the pike in Pentney in peace.

As dusk fell over the Fens and I wound the baits in, the geese cried like they were mourning a lost friend. I poured a whisky, mouthed a toast and threw the rest in the river, before I packed the rods away in tears.

John left a lasting mark on many anglers. His funeral is at Mintlyn Crematorium, near King's Lynn, on Wednesday, November 9 (4pm). Family flowers only, donations to Cancer Research UK.

Old Bedford River crisis latest from the EA

Environment Agency officials have responded to concerns over the state of the Old Bedford River - a once-prolific drain in the Fens, where fish surveys have shown a 90% decline in silver fish stocks.

"The fish survey carried out in the spring this year showed a decline in the number of silver fish caught," the EA said. "This does not necessarily mean that there has been a decline in fish stocks per se, just that that there were not so many caught in the survey areas.

"There were some large tench, large pike over 20lbs and big perch caught in the survey. We believe the silver fish were shoaling around Welches Dam. We will continue to closely monitor the fish population in future surveys."

Yes, there were a handful of large fish caught, during surveys carried out at five locations on the Bedford. Anglers have been catching a few as well - like this 19lbs sample pictured above, caught by PAC member Mark Ross.

But roach and bream can't all have cleared off to Welches Dam, because the sluice downstream of Welney Bridge remains closed most of the time.

And the issue of siltation in the lower reaches, resulting from muddy water being allowed in from the tidal Ouse via the sluice at Salters Lode to replenish levels after abstraction, is a disaster waiting to happen.

When the Bedford suffered a catastrophic fish kill in 2002, the experts blamed a build-up of silt. Toxins were released after the bed of the drain was disturbed by heavy rainfall. The same experts recommended dredging, and this took place on the Welney stretch the following year.

There's anecdotal evidence water was being abstracted from the drain at the height of this summer's drought.

The EA went on: "There has been a really dry summer and we needed to balance the demand for water for irrigation of food, public consumption and the needs of the environment."

How about an investigation into exactly where the water's going..? Who's abstracting it and why can't irrigation reservoirs be topped up during the winter, to tide farmers through dry summers.?

The EA also said it operated an ongoing dredging programme. This winter, it plans to clear a 5km stretch of the upper drain at Sutton.

"We should return to the Salters Lode sction in the next two to three years," it adds. "However, we are reviewing the condition of this stretch to assess whether there is a more urgent need to do works before the planned cycle."

Locals who know the water believe it needs action now, with dredging to restore depths to 6ft before a re-stocking programme.

Click here for our story on fears for fish stocks in the Bedford. More on this soon.

Pikelines is on the presses, out soon

Presses roll.... Pikelines is at the printers, meaning it will be winging its way to members next week.

One highlight is Dilip Sarkar's investigation into the cased pike claimed as the River Wye record - the true story behind the headlines, in an incredible tale that made the Daily Mail.

There are one or two thought-provoking pieces on tactics, plus all the usual news, views and reviews from the PAC.

Keep an eye out for the postman (or postwoman, or postperson...) if you're a member. And stand by for another cracking read.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

New fears for fish stocks in Fen drain

Fish numbers have fallen by 92% in a once prolific Fenland drain, which is under threat from over-abstraction and siltation.

Surveys carried out by the Environment Agency earlier this year show stocks of roach and bream have almost completely collapsed in parts of the Old Bedford River. Few adult fish remain in isolated pockets around Welney and Welches Dam.

Despite this, EA officials have allowed turbid water from the tidal Ouse to flow into the drain all summer, to restore levels after abstraction by drought-hit farmers.

Large amounts of blanket weed have also been pushed through the sluice, prompting fears fish could be wiped out completely in the lower reaches.

The Bedford was dredged in 2003, after a catastrophic fish kill claimed thousands of pike, tench and silver fish. Experts blamed toxins released from silt on the bed of the shallow waterway, which was disturbed by a heavy downpour.

Now the bottom end of the drain has silted heavily upstream of the sluice at Salters Lode, near Downham Market. Reed can be seen growing in the middle of the channel, while parts of the lower reaches are also covered in blanket weed.

PAC anglian liaison officer Denis Moules, who represents pike anglers on the Lower Ouse and Fenland Fisheries Consultative, has fished the drain since boyhood.

“I would like to see it restored to its former glory,” he said. “That means silt removal from Salter’s Lode, and blanket weed removed from sections where it’s abundant. It needs re-stocking but they can’t just put fish back in if they’re just going to be lost again.”

A report compiled by the Angling Trust’s Eastern Region Fishery Forum warns: “During the summer, levels in the Old Bedford reduce to danger levels during times of heavy irrigation. We suggest that much of this abstraction is indiscriminate and unsupervised and water stored in reservoirs is not being used by farmers.

“The situation is being made worse in that low water levels are being replenished by dirty water from the tidal Great Ouse. This silt-ridden water has once again reduced the depth in the lower reaches and the drain is now shallow and half its normal width.

"Added to this, mitten crabs have now entered the drain with the tidal water and are present in great numbers."

Regional chairman Kelvin Allen said trust officials hoped to bid for government funding to restore the Bedford. Clubs which control fishing on the drain want dredging to be carried out from Salters Lode towards Welney, restoring depths to 6ft.

They are also calling for an investigation into abstraction by farmers and whether levels could be replenished from other sources than the tidal Ouse.

+++ Click here to download the report from the Angling Trust's regional forum. So far, the EA has not responded. More on this story soon.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Denis Moules talk in King's Lynn

King's Lynn PAC have their first meeting in yonks this week. It's at the Wm Burt Club, West Winch, on Wednesday night (7.30pm).

Denis Moules is special guest, with a talk about his pike fishing career in the Fens and some of his recent catches.

Then there's some grown-up stuff they want to bounce off local pike anglers, like what they want from the re-launched region, the state of a key local fishery and setting up a River Watch.

They've got Neville Fickling and Derrick Amies lined up for talks before Christmas and other activities in the pipeline.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Mick Brown special guest at Essex PAC

Mick Brown's on his way to Basildon to be special guest of the Essex PAC on Thursday, October 27. It's all happening at the Winged Horse pub, Luncies Rd, Basildon, Essex SS14 1SB, at 7.30pm.

Entry is £4 PAC members and £5 non-PAC members, everybody welcome. That includes some haute cuisine (Essex speak for hot food...).

Mick's topped off a predator fishing career which has seen him catch more than 300 twenties, including 23 over 30lbs, by writing a book Mick Brown Professional Pike Angler. This sold out at the Convention earlier this month, but Mick will be bringing some with him and his biro.

For more info on forthcoming talks and outings, click here to visit the Essex PAC blog.

Courtship of the pike filmed underwater

Remember Dean Burman from a PAC Convention or two ago..? Here's some underwater footage of pike courtship, presented by Alan Titchmarsh.

This is amazing stuff, if you haven't seen it before.

Pike comes to sticky end

Curious how some stories about pike capture the imagination of the mainstream press.

Here's the latest from the East Anglian Daily Times, in Suffolk - about a pike which "survived capture three times", before choking to death on a carp. More here.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Not everyone's been struggling in the Fens

While many have had a run of poor results in the Fens, King's Lynn RO Ashley Brown had two 28lbs pike from different waters near King's Lynn last winter, plus a repeat capture of one at 27lbs.

Check out the King's Lynn PAC gallery for bigger pics of the pair here. One of the fish is believed to have died over the summer, but the other's very much alive as far as we know - and she might just push the next person who catches her's PB over the magical 30lbs mark this winter.

You'll have to find her first though. Ash is tight-lipped, saying only that the fish came from a drain on a lure.

One way to find out more about fishing the Fens is go along to the re-launched King's Lynn PAC's first meeting next Wednesday, October 26, at the WM Burt Club, at West Winch (7.30pm).

Guest speaker is Denis Moules - who's also got a knack for bagging big pike while others are struggling. Click here for an interview with Denis about that.

Could new super line spell the end for braid

Most predator anglers these days use braid. Its super strength and zero stretch have revolutionised both bait and lure fishing.

Now tackle giants Berkeley have unveiled what they claim is the next generation of super-line. Called Nanofil, it's being billed as a cross between braid and a hi-tech mono, spun from hundreds of micro filaments.

Total Coarse Fishing has more on the story here.

From one of our Twitter followers @canadiandayman: "That Nanofil is absolutely awesome! Super sensitive an I CANNOT break the 8lbs test without a knife..." Anyone else tried it..?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Frost, snow - pike fishing weather on the way

If you've been moaning about how how mild it's been, be careful what you wish for. For arctic temperatures are on the way this week, according to the papers.

The mercury fell to nearly -2C in Santon Downham, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. last night. Parts of the Fens saw their first frost. Elsewhere, forecasters reckon Scotland and the North could even be in for some snow this week.More on that here.

Rain's on the way too, which will warm the hearts of river anglers. We posted some links to weather sites a few days back - click here if you missed it.

Whether the first proper cold snap gets 'em on the feed or more pike are caught because more people are out fishing for them's a moot point.

But one thing's certain - there's nothing like the first frosts to get pike anglers itching to get out there and at 'em.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Graffham does a thirty

Total Coarse Fishing is tonight reporting the capture of a 33lbs pike from Graffham. More here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Rotherham and Sheffield PAC fish-ins

Rotherham and Sheffield PAC have announced a programme of fish-ins, from Hornsea Mere to the Tidal Trent, including stillwaters and a trip to the Broads. More on their blog here.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

British Pike Squad beat the Irish

Team GB regained the International Pike Challenge trophy in a thrilling display over the weekend against Ireland on the Fens around Peterborough.

The British squad amassed a total on Saturday of 63 pike for 150 lbs 11oz, against that of Ireland's 53 pike for 97lbs 3oz. A lead of 53lbs 8oz to take into the second day of competition.

Sunday saw a spirited fight back from the Irish which at one stage threatened to overhaul the impressive Day 1 lead held by Great Britain. However, the British soon started to match the Irish and to maintain a catch rate throughout the remainder of the day.

At the end of the day, Great Britain had but for a few ounces matched the weight of that of Saturday, whilst Ireland had managed a very creditable 139lbs 6oz. Team GB taking the honours again with a lead on the day of just over 9 lbs.

Overall the British had a two-day total of 300lbs 13oz against that of Ireland's 238 lbs 9oz. A win for Great Britain by 62 lbs 4oz.

The Two teams were:

Great Britain: Jaub Potrykus (captain), Andrew Waller, Paul Danby, Mark Groom, Derek Lowe, Mark Lloyd, John Currie, Adam Holmes, Gary Edwards & Wayne Lees.

Ireland: Paul Dennis (captain), Jimmy Clarke, Eugene McCabe, Andrej Duran, Brendan Jarvis, Joe Coleman, Robbie McShane, Ibar Condron, Gary Quinn & Eddie McGurk.

The International saw the first ever non-nationals representing Britain and Ireland in Jakub Potrykus (Poland) as captain for Great Britain, and Andrej Duran (Slovakia) for the Irish.

Next year will see the 21st International meeting between the two nations held somewhere in Ireland at the beginning of October. Click here for a report on the recent team selection event.

New predator fishing "bookazine" launched

A new predator fishing "bookazine" is about to hit the shelves. It's being launched under publisher David Hall's Total Coarse Fishing brand, which also includes general coarse, match and carp fishing titles.

A few details were announced on Twitter earlier today.  A post on the firm's website said:

"Total Predator Fishing is crammed full of tips, information, ideas and features to improve your predator angling.

"Whether you’re a beginner looking to catch your first specimen perch, an experienced pike angler looking to get that extra edge, or a seasoned eel pro just after a great read, this is for you.

Bringing you the very best tactics and inspirational features from such top anglers as Mick Brown and Duncan Charman, Total Predator Fishing is available exclusively in WHSmith stores, as well as direct from Total Coarse Fishing through the magazine."

So what's the weather really going to do..?

BRRRR - a frosty dawn on Norfolk's River Bure

So what IS the weather going to do this season..? More to the point, are we facing the freeze-up that's hit the headlines over the last couple of weeks - hot on the heels of the drought and short-lived indian summer..?

There are stacks of weather sites where you can check conditions before you head out. Some give longer-term predictions, though these don't always prove to be on the button. Here's a couple of useful sites: - offers tailored forecasts by postcode, which are useful if you're watching a particular water or area to see how conditions pan out. More here - the Met Office website. Lots of data and forecasts you can dip into by region or area, along with real-time(ish) maps. They also do an app you can download if you have an iPhone More here. - new kid on the block that offers forecasts by postcode and 15-day predictions, along with a mobile app that offers an hour-by-hour forecast. More here.

Found any others that are worth a look..? Let us know.

+++Heavy snowfalls and temperatures as low as -20 on the way. More here.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Police appeal over missing angler

Police in Scotland are appealing for information about an angler missing  for more than a week.

John Stewart (pictured) was last seen by his father leaving the family home in Auchnacraig Road, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, to go fishing with a friend early on Sunday, October 2. His father reported him missing after he did not come home after two days.

John is described as 38 years old, white, 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build with brown hair going grey.  He has tattoos on both arms; a unicorn and a cross on his left arm and an eagle on his right.  It is not known what he was wearing at the time he disappeared.

Sgt Alan Orr, from Clydebank police, said: "John, who lives with his elderly father in Clydebank, used to go fishing sometime ago, however, he has not expressed an interest in this for a good while.

“On Sunday he said that he was going out fishing with an old friend he had  met from Bearsden. He said the man was called Peter, however, we do not know who this person is – although it is thought he may be an old army buddy.

“The areas he would have gone fishing are Greenside Reservoir, Carneddans Wood, Queens Reservoir and the Endrick River, however, all of these areas have been searched by officers with no trace.

“It is not like John not to keep in contact with his dad or family or to be away for any length of time, hence the concern for him.

“I would ask that either himself contact police to let them know all is ok, or for ‘Peter’ or anyone with information that will help find him to speak to police."

Sgt Orr said anyone with information should call 0141 532 3300.

PAC regional meetings calender

What's happening down your way on the meetings front..? Over on the Pike Angler website, Andy Webster's done a complete list stretching right through the season. Click here for all the latest diary dates.

Mega thanks to Andy. If you skim down the right hand side of this blog, you'll find links to lots of regional blogs and other sites - also well worth a look.

If you've found us via an e-mail, feed or tweet; click here to see the whole blog.

Klever Klips for pike fishing

Every now and then, someone flags up some clever little bit of kit which costs pennies but makes pike fishing just that bit easier.

Check out Dave Lumb's latest blog post for more on these new clips, which enable to you add or remove a float from your rig without breaking everythig down.

We know, you can use a snap swivel to attach your float. But when you remove the float, the swivel stays on the line.  These look like a serious improvement. Hat tip Dave, click here to read the full post.

Dom Garrett hits Devon for talk

Dom Garrett's been hailed as one of our most promising new angling writers. He's the guest speaker at Devon PAC's meeting at the Mill on the Exe, Exeter, on Tuesday, October 25. More here.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Denis Moules interviewed by Lynn PAC

King's Lynn PAC have Denis Moules as their special guest, when they relaunch their region at the Burt Club, West Winch, on October 26.

There's a sneak preview of what Digger's going to tell the carrot crunchers on their website here.

World record pike - claimed to be 63lbs....!

Here's another brute shown on YouTube with scant detail, other than caught in Poland, at a claimed weight of 63lbs 14oz.

There's no denying it's one very, very big pike. What do you think weight-wise..?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

52lbs pike from Italy on YouTube

Check out this Italian lump on YouTube. It's claimed at 24kg - more than 52lbs  - by Maurizio " Pikeman" Rossini, from a water in Tuscany.

Friday, 7 October 2011

TV turns spotlight on Lomond bivvy ban

Newly-introduced by-laws banning camping on the East Shore of Loch Lomond will drive pike anglers away and deprive the local economy of a much-needed winter boost.

That was the warning from Pike Anglers Club secretary Graham Slater (pictured), in a soon to be broadcast BBC documentary.

Anglers visiting the loch have camped peacefully beside the water for generations. Now those sleeping in "bivuoacs", "wigwams", tents or "any kind of shelter" face a £500 fine - along with those sleeping loch-side in vehicles.

Graham joined a film crew covering the ban beside the loch, to put pike angling's view across.

"I told them we don't condone rubbish in any way and that the camping ban is affecting our members," he said. "We feel that they could have tried other measures first with a total ban as a last measure, our members no longer bank fishing are depriving the local economy of much needed tourist cash, while the signs all over are putting off visitors."

National Park officials claimed litter and anti-social behaviour from gangs of rough campers were turning the Bonny Bonny Banks into an eyesore.

But the PAC joined the Scottish Ramblers and other outdoor enthusiasts in opposing the proposals when they were first announced last March.

There have been calls to extend the ban to other lochs, including Tay and Tummel. More on the background here. Details of new by-laws here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Download free pike fishing magazines

We've added a couple of more recent issues of our members' magazine Pikelines to our website, which you can download for free.

Click here for the Winter 2008 issue. Or here for Spring 2009.  There are several other magazines from way back when you can download and enjoy from the Tips and Articles section of our new-look website here.

PAC members get four issues of Pikelines a year. Many tell us the magazine alone is worth the price of their subscription.

Monday, 3 October 2011

UK Monsters trailer vid, with Mick Brown

The latest pike fishing gadget - from TESCO

It was Mrs Pikelines who found it on a trip to Tesco. "I've got you a present," she said. "It was only £3 but I thought it would be good for fishing."

Mrs P turned out to be spot-on, because for £3 you can get this sexy little precision file that's just the job for sharpening up the hooks on your bait fishing traces.

It's pen-sized, with a clip to go on a pocket or keep it safe in your bag or rucker. Unscrew the knob at the end and a retractable file slides out with a groove (left) that's just right for the size of trebles most people use for bait fishing.

One or two swipes soon restored the point to some tired old VMC hooks out of one of last season's rig bins.

Blunt hooks can cost you fish. It really is that simple. If they fail to find a secure hold, sod's law says they'll come out when that big twenty rears up and tail walks, throwing your bait as it goes skywards.

Most modern hooks are sharp straight out of the packet. But you'd be surprised how quickly they blunt - especially if you fish gravel pits.

Who'd have thought Tesco would have the answer, in a surprisingly good little gadget..?

Mick Brown talk in Dartford on Tuesday

Mick Brown's giving a rare talk at a Thames gateway PAC meeting on Tuesday night.

More details on the Thames Gateway blog here.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

How to fish for pike on fen drains

You either love fishing 'em or you hate 'em - but there are some great pike to be caught on fen drains, according to a new article by Graham Slater on our website.

Graham explains how he keeps mobile and the simple rig he uses to cut down on the amount of kit he has to carry.

He also answers the biggest question facing those who struggle on these seemingly-featureless waters, which criss-cross the Fens of Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire: How to you find the pike in the first place, and locate the bigger specimens like this belter on the right..?

What counts is what's under the water - not the obvious features you see on the bank, argues Graham.

Click here to read the full nine yards. We'll be adding new pike fishing tips to our new-look website throughout the winter to help you catch more pike.

If you bookmark us, subscribe to this blog or click here to follow us on Twitter, you won't miss a trick as the season gets under way.

Derrick Amies talk on Teeside

NORFOLK LEGENDS: Dennis Pye and Derrick Amies

Former record holder Derrick Amies is guest speaker up on Teeside on Tuesday night.

Derrick was taken under the wing of Broads legend Dennis Pye as a young lad and went on to eclipse his catches, developing his unique method of dumbell fishing along the way. His theories fly in the face of many modern assumptions about pike location, so it's bound to be an interesting night.

It's being held at the Coxhoe WMC, 3 Blackgate East, Coxhoe, Durham DH6 4AA (7pm). Entry £4 on the door, under 16's free.

Eddie Turner will also be taking along his tackle stand.
Read an interview with Derrick from Pikelines on our website here.

BREAKING NEWS: Perch record broken

Ken Brown has beaten the perch record by an ounce, with a 6lbs 4oz fish from Wilstone Reservoir. Total Coarse Fishing are reporting the story here.

Ever had this happen..?

Salisbury-based Pike Anglers Club member Rob Nixon got a shock when a jack followed a 20 literally right into his landing net.

We've got an online gallery featuring pictures from our members.

Whether you've caught a big pike or just want to show off a well-marked fish or even one of the amazing landscapes pike anglers enjoy on their winter forays, why not e-mail it to our webmaster Skip..?

Here's another shot from Rob - a cracking, mint 30lbs fish, no less.

Have a scroll through our gallery for more great pike pictures here.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Pike anglers pack out PAC Convention

MOBBED: Today's Convention, at Kettering

Pike anglers from across the UK flocked to the PAC Convention at Kettering today. The event saw a healthy rise in attendance, first-class speakers and one of the best displays of tackle and all things pike-related we've enjoyed for several seasons.

There were long queues before the doors opened at 9am. Bleary-eyed organisers and traders were mobbed from the word go, as crowds surged into the venue.

Stands did brisk business for the first hour, as bargain hunters blitzed the second-hand stalls and crowded around the likes of Eddie Turner, PikePro, Fox and Franglais Fishing to sample this season's latest gear.

Alan Dudhill, from PikePro, said trade was much busier than at our 2011 event. "It's always worth coming to the event," he said. "Last year, it was busy for the first hour than it tailed off, but it's been constant this year."

One of this year's new attractions was the day-long series of junior teach-ins organised by Eric Edwards, with help from Mick Brown, Denis Moules, David Wolsencroft-Dodds, Jules Chidgey, Ashley Brown and other coaches.

Many PAC members are concerned at the lack of younger anglers joining their ranks, at a time when specialist angling appears to be becoming an increasingly middle-aged sport.

That view struck a chord with sponsors PikePro and Baitbox, who donated gear for workshops on trace making and other pike fishing basics - and ensured every junior went home with a goody box of essential end tackle and forceps.

PikePro boss Paul Bird - pictured left with one of the packs - explained: "It's for the future of the club, that's why a load of old fogeys are doing it. It's a worthwhile thing to do."

"It was excellent," said Mick Brown. "The average age was younger than we were expecting, but they were very receptive to what we were saying."

"If you look around you, how many people do you see in their teens and twenties," said Mick. "When I hang up my rods, I'd like to think that everything I've enjoyed will be enjoyed by the next generation - not that I'm planning on hanging up my rods any time soon."

Above the banter generated by hundreds of pike anglers, the din was punctuated by loud shrieks coming from Eddie Turner's stand. Enter the Nano Biter - a new, compact rear alarm that was making heads turn.

Developer Richard Halliday, who has spent two years perfecting the £59.99 gizmo (seen right), said: "The whole thing weighs less than 45g, if you're worried about space and weight in your bag. It's got a mercury tilt switch and a carbon fibre arm.

"There's been amazing interest, we've sold far more than we expected and everyone seems excited about it - it's really encouraging."

One thing that's less than encouraging right now is the weather. If you believe the forecasts, it's going fluctuate from one extreme to the other, with a brief indian summer followed by plummetting temperatures and another freeze-up.

But Stephen and Diana Crook might just have the answer to that one. For the couple, who come from Surrey, brought along a display of the gear they use on their annual trips to Canada, where they're caught pike to 27lbs by fishing through the ice.

"We've been going to Canada every year to fish for channel catfish and a friend out there asked if we'd ever thought of coming back for the winter," said Stephen (seen left). "We went over for the first time in 2005 and we've been going back ever since."

If you think recent winters over here have been harsh, spare a thought for the Canadians. They drill holes through three feet of ice and fish using tip ups - a hand line on a spindle packed with grease, which suspends a bait through a borehole, with a flag which pops up to indicate a run.

"The average over there is -20C," said Stephen, demonstrating a tip-up alongside his ice centre and thermal suit. "Last January, it was -47C."

Let's hope this winter doesn't see things get quite as cold as that. As attendees took a breather outside in today's sunshine and the coaches laid on casting contests for the youngsters, the view was that this year's Convention was the best in some time.

Dave Horton kicked things off in the packed main theatre, after PAC President Tim Kelly's welcome address. "Dave did a cracking talk, it was heaving in there and he was really funny," said Tim.

Next up was Micky Jones - resplendent in traditional kilt and sporran - for a Highland McPike Fest called Setting the Heather Alight.

Once trough-up was over, Norfolk author and historian Stephen Harper took to the stage with his tales of the Pike of Broadland. Then it was the turn of Neville's Pike Panel, chaired by Neville Fickling, for the usual lively Q&A session.

As Convention Organiser Colin Goodge revealed in his closing address, we're off to pastures new next year. Harrogate's the venue for Piking2012, on Saturday, September 22.

We'll br bringing you more news as we get it on next year's event. In the meantime, thanks for coming along today, whether you were one of our army of helpers, one of the traders who did us so proud, or one of the hundreds who came to enjoy the talks, the banter and stock up for the season.

See you in Harrogate, if we don't bump into you on the bank this winter.

Piking2012 venue announced

Next year's Pike Anglers Club Convention will be held at Pavillions of Harrogate on Saturday, September 22. PAC Convention Organiser Colin Goodge announced the news at the close of this year's event at Kettering.

"I thought to be fair we should go further north to show support for all those lads up that way," said Colin. "I asked Brian Birdsall and Peter Green to look at and select a number of venues up that way, I then went up and met Brian and we looked at them and decided Pavillions of Harrogate was in the best accessable position and offered us the best facilities at the right price."

Work on organising next year's event is already under way. In the meantime, stick September 22 in your diary. And stay tune for more news soon - subscribe to our blog, or follow @pikelines on Twitter for all the latest on Piking2012.

Click here for more on today's event.

Twitter for pike anglers

One reason we keep banging on about Twitter, is it's just about the best way to keep in touch these days.

Today's a great example - follow @pikelines and get all the latest on the Convention straight to your mobile phone, whether it's when a speaker's on or when the bar's open.

Sign up here to get an account - it literally takes two minutes. Then follow @pikelines. Simples.

Friday, 30 September 2011

We're off to Kettering for the PAC Convention

Not long to go now - just 24 hours, if you're coming to Kettering for the PAC Convention tomorrow.

A night of arm-ache, sweaty lifts and the odd expletive for the happy band of PAC roadies, who are heading up today to help traders get set up and check the beer's OK.

It's looking good, with the best part of 30 trade stands, ranging from big names to independent rod and lure makers - click here for latest list.

We'll be posting the odd update to let you know how things are going. Or you can follow us on Twitter - if you've not already joined, just set up an account, which takes all of 30 seconds at, then follow @pikelines for all the latest from the event. Tweet us with the hashtag #pac.

Follow us on the day for info on when speakers are starting, when the bar's open etc.

Directions to the venue via a map here. If you're using a SatNav or mobile phone app, it's in Thurston Drive, Kettering - postcode NN15 6PB.

Doors open 9am, first speaker Dave Horton and the junior workshops both kick off at 10am. Click here for the day's programme in full.

Remember, the event's for all pike anglers - you don't have tio be a PAC member to attend.

Advance thanks, by the way, to all the helpers who've volunteered their time to help us set up or give a hand with all the countless tasks that need doing on the day.

Thanks to all the traders for continuing to support us, despite the economic gloom. And most of all thanks to everyone who's coming along to the event, whether you're a regular or a first-timer.

We hope you have a great day - and go away fired up for the start of another season's pike fishing, wherever it takes you and whatever ends up in your landing net.

We'll be announcing the venue for next year's Convention towards the end of the afternoon.

And in case you missed it. click here for a few tips on how to get the most from the day.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

New look Pike Anglers Club website

Webmaster Mike Skipper's been beavering away down in deepest Sussex re-designing our website to freshen up the look and add some new content.

There are new issues of Pikelines to download, new articles and tips on pike fishing. Big hat tip to Skip.

Click here to see it.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Subscribe to the Pike Anglers Club by e-mail

Got a BlackBerry, an iPhone or an Android..? If you pick up your e-mails on a handset rather than a PC or laptop, you can get info straight from the horse's mouth, straight into your inbox.

All you have to do is sign up to subscribe by e-mail - and make sure you click on the link in the confirmation message, which will probably end up in your spam or junk mail folder.

Once your account's confirmed, you'll get an e-mail every time we update our blog, formatted to look just peachy on your mobile.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

How to get the best from the PAC Convention

If you haven't been to a Pike Anglers Club Convention before, you're in for a treat. It's the biggest and best event of its kind on the UK predator fishing scene, which is why so many see it as the best way to kick off their season.

But PAC Conventions can be a bit daunting to newcomers, because there's so much going on. So here's a quick guide to how to get the most from the event - which is open to all, you don't have to be a PAC member to come along to pike fishing's showcase event..

Get there early's good advice. The venue's in Thurston Drive, Kettering NN15 6PB. Key the postcode into your SatNav or mobile app for directions. Click here for a map from the venue's website - it's 15 minutes' walk from Kettering station for those travelling to the event by rail.

There's usually a queue before the doors open at 9am for a good reason - seasoned bargain hunters know the second-hand lure and tackle stalls do a roaring trade right from the off, so the first through the doors get the pick of what's on offer.

Bring your own kit to sell, if you've got any reels, rods, luggage, lures or other odds and ends you no longer use. Especially popular are Baitrunners (particularly the US-style), ABU multipliers (particularly left-hand wind 6000 and 5000 models), electric outboards, Delkims and any hard to find lures.

Mint, boxed lures command best prices. But time honoured favourites like Burts, Replicants, Shad Raps in unusual colour schemes and Landa Pikkos that have seen some use will also sell.

To save time, download and print off seller's form and stickers from the info library section of our website here, to give to stall helpers on the day.

If you're buying, examine any reels or rods carefully before you part with your hard-earned. Check the gears are smooth and the handles aren't bent on fixed spools and multipliers. Bail arms should snap shut with a turn of the handle, while the spool should re-engage first turn on a multiplier.

Give the spool a spin on multis, to check it rotates freely in free-spool (casting) mode. If it doesn't, it could mean a bent spindle - sometimes caused by pointing the rod at a snag and pulling for a break using strong braid.

Check the eyes and reel seat on rods before you buy, along with the spigots or overlap joints for excess wear.

It's worth bringing a backpack or bag to carry any small purchases you make - stick a plastic lunchbox or two in to carry lures safely.

Haggle - some sellers are willing to do a deal. Remember whether you're buying or selling that a percentage goes to support the work of the PAC.

Check out the programme and plan your day so you don't miss the speaker you've come all this way to see. Click here for line-up and times.

One reason the venue's been so popular is the food's reasonably-priced - it's a chips with everything hot buffet, so lunch shouldn;t break the bank. But queues do build up around lunchtime.

Several authors will have stalls selling their new books or current works. They're more than happy to sign them. You can bring books from your collection for people to sign as well.

It's free admission for accompanied juniors, and admission to this year's programme of junior teach-ins is also free. Any youngsters joining on the day at the reduced price of £7.50 get a 'goody bag' with kit worth more than twice that thanks to Pikepro/Baitbox, who are generously sponsoring this.

Please consider joining the PAC if you're not already a member. Anyone who signs up on the day gets a £5 discount, to reflect different admission prices for members (£10) and non-members (£15).

There wouldn't be a Convention without the traders who continue to support the club. We've got a good line-up again this year, ranging from one or two big names to independent rod and lure makers. Click here for full list.

One of the great things about the Convention - in this age of the internet - is it gives you the chance to try before you buy, and handle tackle items before you hand over your hard-earned. Almost all of our traders are pike anglers, who actually use the stuff they sell, so don't be afraid to ask questions.

While some may be able to accept payment by card, others will only be able to accept cash for payments - so make sure you bring enough folding stuff, as there's no cashpoint at the venue.

Please try to have the right money to hand on the door, as it helps keep the queue moving and get everyone into the venue in time to have a quick nose round the stalls before the talks begin.

Remember we're all volunteers and a lot of people are giving up their time to help us run the event, by staffing stalls, helping out on the door and doing all the other 101 things that need doing on the day. It's been virtually a full-time job at times for Convention organiser Colin Goodge.

The PAC Committee, speakers, traders and our army of helpers hope you'll have an enjoyable day and go away inspired to start your season. 

We'd like to thank the incredibly accommodating staff at Kettering Conference Centre for putting up with us on our third convention at this superb venue.

We aim to move the event around every three years, so we'll be off to a different part of the UK next year. We'll be revealing the venue for Piking 2012 towards the end of the day. Work on organising the next Convention will start almost as soon as this one ends.

+++Follow @pikelines on Twitter for all the latest in the run-up to the event and on the day. Tweet us using the hashtag #pac.

Just a week to go...

Friday, 23 September 2011

POLL: How good's the pike fishing going to be this winter..?

There's a drought on in the Fens. The rivers are clear as gin elsewhere.

And to cap it all, they reckon we're heading for another freeze-up, with one forecaster predicting snow as early as the end of October for parts of the North and Scotland.

So the question everyone's asking is will this winter be any better than the last one on the pike fishing front..?

Can things get any worse than last winter, when many waters were frozen solid for weeks on end - or do you think things can only get better, results-wise.

Add your vote to our poll over on the right. And let us know how you think the winter will pan out.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

PAC Convention programme in full

Here's the full order of battle for the Pike Anglers Club Convention at Kettering Conference Centre on Saturday, October 1:

9am - Doors Open, Annual Members' Meeting

9.45am - Welcome Address from PAC President Tim Kelly

10am - Guest Speaker Dave Horton (main theatre...), Junior teach-ins get under way in Eric's Room.

11.05am - PAC Award Presentations, draw for Menteith events and competition winners (main theatre...)

11.30am - Coffee Break

11.45am Guest Speaker Micky Jones (main theatre...), Junior teach-ins continue in Eric's Room.

12.50pm Lunch is served

1.50pm Auction and Mega Raffle

14.45pn Guest Speaker Stephen Harper (main theatre...), final junior teach-in in Eric's Room.

15.50pm Coffee Break

16.15pm Neville Fickling's Pike Panel

17.15pm Closing Speech and thanks from Convention Organiser.

15.30 Close.

If you're using a SatNav or mobile phone app to find the venue, it's in Thurston Drive, Kettering - postcode NN15 6PB. Click here for a google map you can use to get directions.