WELCOME TO this week’s Big Fish Blog, coming to you here every Thursday. This time it’s by the Pike Anglers Club.
We take predator fishing seriously at the Mail, so are delighted our pals at the PAC are on board. This instalment comes from PAC webmaster Dave Mutton.
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WELL the pike season ‘proper’ is now underway, so how has yours started? I hope it has gone well so far.
My first session resulted in a blank on a very high and coloured Warwickshire Avon, probably not the best venue with all the rain we have had recently, but I just love fishing the Avon so gave it a bash anyway.
This month has been another busy month for the PAC with the establishment of yet another 3 new regions! The new regions are:
- Bedford RA106
- Lincolnshire Fens RA107
- Scunthorpe and Humberside RA56
Bedford regional organiser Andy Syddell said: “It is early days for Bedford PAC, but despite being busy fishing at the start of a new pike season, we are planning some great activities for our members. And of course we welcome not only PAC members but anyone with a passion for old Esox!
‘These activities will range from monthly social meetings during the season featuring some great guest speakers, teach-in sessions for juniors (or anyone else), organised fish-ins and so on. We will be announcing dates, details and such as they are organised, so please check the website and Facebook page regularly, and above all be patient!
“The region is only as strong as its members, so let’s make the most of it. And remember, it’s all about Esox!”
Three new regions starting up in a single month just goes to show the growing popularity of pike fishing and the fact that anglers recognise that the best way to ensure that you are fishing safely, both for the pike and yourself, is to join the PAC. The PAC is a national organisation, but it is also a local organisation that is relevant to you and your local area. Please get involved.
For contact details for the new regions, and for all existing regions, full details can be found here.
What happens at pike teach-ins? An account by one angler who went along…
Local events that the PAC is involved in include teach-ins, and one such gathering was arranged with Newton Le Willows AA. New PAC member and Newton bailiff Mark Ryding wrote us this fine report to explain what happened….
“The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain were invited by Newton Le Willows AA to provide instruction for the members and bailiffs, in the specialized angling field of pike fishing.
The event was held at Newton AA’s Lower Pound. This is a part of the old Sankey Canal saved from development in the 1970’s by Newton AA, and the first water in their portfolio. It runs to approximately 600 meters in length.
Both the Upper and Lower Pounds now form part of a linear park, serving not only Newton AA anglers but the local community as a green space.
PAC supplied some six coaches to run the event, several Newton bailiffs attended and the weather was kind with sunshine all day.
Having had the introductions and usual health and safety input, the PAC UK development officer Eric Edwards, divided the students into groups to attend the three workshops set up on the banks of the canal.
The first session I attended was float ledgered deadbaiting. This was led by local RO Jon Neafcy and his lovely assistant Neil Stubbs.
Jon and Neil ran through the rods, reels, braid and end tackle that was to be employed for this method of fishing. This included two different rigs, a paternoster boom rig, with weak lead link, and an anti snag bottom. Students were then shown the correct hooking method for barbed and semi barbed trebles, how the float and beads work, along with a sliding stop knot.
Throughout this instruction both Jon and Neil came across as very knowledgeable and passionate about pike angling, answering any questions comprehensively.
The rods were then cast out, placed on pods with front alarms. Rear drop offs were also used as an extra aid to bit indication, essential as this method employs fishing with an open bail arm.
The first session complete it was time for session two. This was lure fishing conducted by Eric Edwards himself.
He discussed the use of a six foot jerk bait rod, multiplier and braid. He also discussed the difference between differing lures, floating and sinking, along with size and individual use.
Students were then asked to observe Eric casting a floating lure and the action of it on the retrieve, the “walking the dog”. He pointed out this was the action required. He cast again and asked to observe his body movements. It was noted the only movement was from the wrist.
The group was then given the opportunity to try this method. I found it quite difficult at first, using a multiplier without getting the inevitable birds nest, and then get the correct action for the retrieve. Eric was most helpful, giving pointers and tips. Several attempts later I did manage to get to grips with the technique.
Young James Nash on the other hand was a natural. He had it sorted in three or four casts (Must be Eric’s excellent tuition)!
Whilst Eric was in full flow there was a shout from down the bank. Jon and Neil had hooked a pike on the dead bait set up. We all trundled down to them to observe the safe handling and unhooking of this top predator, yet fragile fish.
Neil explained how to hold the pike and “chinning” as Jon was slightly incapacitated. Neil then showed how to kneel across the fish, essential for larger specimens, to enable the opening of the mouth, gaining access to the trebles, safely removing them with long nose pliers.
The pike, about 2lb was returned to the water unharmed ready to fight another day. I was actually surprised at the size and mesh type of the landing net. However having seen the trace unclipped so you do not have to carry the fish and rod, and the way the trebles could get snagged in a smaller mesh, it all became clear.
The final session I undertook was run by Keith Dutton, he demonstrated the tying of traces in an exemplary fashion. This was a wire trace, two trebles and swivel. The students were then given the opportunity of making their own, in fact two each! And we were allowed to keep these as the first bit of pike tackle. I like free stuff……but then everyone does!
It was now 1pm and time for some sandwiches, coffee and general chat about what had been achieved and the new methods we had been shown.
Following this I went back to Eric for some more jerk bait fishing, no fish but my technique improved dramatically.
Wandering about the Pound, Eric, one of his colleagues and I carried on jerk baiting. I witnessed Eric catch a small jack. At this juncture I shall not go into the hooking of the fish or take the mick, I have no doubt his colleagues will!
In all I can honestly say I am glad I organised this event, that the club allowed it and that the coaches that gave the inputs were very professional and knowledgeable. The way they conducted themselves and the instruction was impeccable.
I have learned a great deal, and now feel more confident in tackling pike fishing. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of these events do not miss it, what has been imparted in the way of technique and methods are worth their weight in gold.
Thanks to the PAC coaches, I now know the basics and have a good grounding. At least if I come across another member struggling with a pike I am able to render help with a modicum of confidence, and if I hook one inadvertently I know what to do.
Will I target pike now? After that teach in I defy anyone not to want too, I certainly will.
So a big thanks you to Eric and the team and the PAC for allowing it for free! In all a fantastic day that I would not have missed for the world.
So get on the internet and seek out www.pacgb.com, membership is only £22.50 for adults and a junior is great value at only £7.50. They get the same benefits as an adult member along with four issues of Pikelines a year.
Tight lines all, Mark Ryding.”
That definitely sounds like it was a very well ran and enjoyable event and has certainly increased the interest in pike fishing of the Newton members. So, on behalf of the PAC, I would like to thank all of our members that attended, Mark Ryding for organising the event (and for the fantastic report) and Newton Le Willows AA for staging it. If you are interested in joining Newton AA visit their website.
Getting extra pike fishing info
I hope that all of this has whetted your appetite to try a bit of pike fishing this winter.
If you are not to sure of how to go about it then get along to your local PAC regional meeting where you will get a warm welcome and loads of advice from experienced pikers.
There are also lots of local fish-ins organised for PAC members.
Another excellent source of information is the PAC website. We have a section on the site which details all about the correct gear and rigs to use and how to handle and unhook pike properly.
This info can be found here. The information is also available as downloadable PDF’s in our resource section.
And of course Angler’s Mail magazine is now getting into full flow with great pike fishing coverage every week.
On a final note, please remember that, although the pike is a predator with a mouth full of sharp teeth. They will not intentionally bite you and so should be handled with confidence and a firm grip.
When returning pike to the water, always ensure that the pike is upright and fully recovered before you release it.
Whilst the pike may look like a tough old bruiser, it is actually a very delicate creature and should be treated with the same level of respect as any other fish you target.
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THE NEXT BIG FISH BLOG WILL APPEAR ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25.
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