WELCOME TO the fourth of the new live blogs on the new-look Angler’s Mail website.
Thursdays will see the Pike Anglers Club crew taking over our blogosphere. We take predator fishing seriously at the Mail, so are delighted our pals at the PAC are on board. Here we have the PAC webmaster, Dave Mutton discussing safe summer piking practice, and a development in pike conservation in Scotland.
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EVEN though summer has finally arrived, there still seems to be plenty going on within the world of pike fishing at the moment.
For starters there is the ever present debate over whether we should fish for pike at all during the summer months. There seems to be three schools of thought on this subject. Firstly there are the guys who do not fish for pike at all during the warmer months, then there are the guys who will lure fish but not bait fish during the summer and finally there are those that fish for pike throughout the year.
So what are the issues with fishing for pike through the summer and why do some people not do it? The pike, although a fearsome looking creature, is actually quite a fragile beast and needs very careful handling whilst on the bank. The pike is at its happiest and thrives better in cooler, well oxygenated water. When a pike is hooked obviously its demand for oxygen is increased from when it is just lying there waiting to ambush prey. It is important that this increased demand for oxygen can be met from the environment it is in. Lowland shallow waterways often do not have a high level of dissolved oxygen in warmer weather and so it is not a good idea to fish for pike on these waterways in the summer. A big wind swept waterway such as a Scottish loch or a weir pool on a fast flowing river will have far higher levels of dissolved oxygen and so it may be possible to fish these types of waterways without there being any potential risk to the pike.
Obviously the longer a fish is out of the water the longer it is deprived of oxygen replenishment following being caught. Pike will swallow a bait a lot faster in the summer than in the winter and this can obviously lead to deep hooking if not careful. Not only then is there the issue of carefully removing the hooks, this also means that the fish is out of the water for longer than necessary, which is not good due to the low oxygen high temperatures prevalent.
This is the reason that many guys lure fish but do not bait fish during the summer there is less potential for deep hooking and therefore fish can be returned to the water quickly. It is imperative that you are organised if you choose to pike fish through the summer, ensure that the unhooking mat, pliers etc are ready to go. If you have problems extracting a hook then cut the hook with some cutters and remove it. You may want to consider only using barbless trebles in the summer to speed the unhooking process up. The main point here is to get the fish back as quickly as possible.
Personally, I do not fish for pike during the summer, the waterways close to me are not suitable for summer piking and I am far too busy chasing catfish. If you do target pike during the warmer months then the PAC guide to pike fishing in the summer can be found here http://www.pacgb.co.uk/Summer%20Pike%20Fishing.pdf
More conservation news next, this time a specific issue around Loch Awe in Scotland.
Recently there was a proposed change to the bylaws which would allow the removal of pike by anglers fishing the loch. Since 2008 it has been illegal to remove any pike from Loch Awe and so this was very much a backwards step in pike conservation.
Pressure was brought to bear on the Loch Awe Improvement Association by the PAC the PAAS (Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland) and other bodies. The LAIA listened to the voices of the pike anglers and all the scientific evidence and have subsequently scrapped the proposed change to the by-law.
Well done to the LAIA for maintaining their enlightened approach to pike conservation in Scotland.
A full report on this subject can be found in the next edition of Pikelines, the PAC members’ magazine where Adam Johnson, the general secretary of the PAAS, PAC supporter and member of the LAIA gives a full report. A special mention must also go to Micky Jones The PAC RO for Inverness who organised a petition which got well over 500 signatures opposing the proposed changes. Well done Micky, Adam and the LAIA, another victory for pike conservation.
Many people out there may be considering Joining the PAC and, apart from helping to conserve pike, may wonder what is actually in it for them. This is quite right, nobody wants to join anything unless they can see some tangible benefits. Well one of the benefits of being a member of the PAC is our series of fishing events.
Below are details of the events we will be holding for 2012. These events are open to PAC members only. Access to these events alone is worth the £22.50 membership fee.
Rutland Water (lure only) Mon. 17th Sept.
Esthwaite Water (lure and bait) Sun. 28th Oct.
Places still available for these events, please see Pikelines 136 for details use the booking slip enclosed in that issue.
River Bure Wroxham (two-day event) Thurs. 29th – Fri. 30th Nov. SOLD OUT.
Lake of Menteith (Lures only) Sat. 3rd. Nov. PAC members ONLY. 60 members. Boat fishing.
£34 per angler, £42 adult and Junior. 30 Boats. Lures ONLY. Disabled boat available. Draw at the PAC Convention if oversubscribed. Usual Menteith rules apply.
Lake of Menteith (Bait & lures) Sat. 16th. March 2013. PAC members ONLY. 60 members.
Boat fishing. £34 per angler, £42 adult and Junior. 30 Boats. Sea deads ONLY. Disabled boat available. Draw at the PAC Convention if oversubscribed. Usual Menteith rules apply.
Another benefit of PAC membership is our magazine, Pikelines. This is a quarterly and is sent out to all members. All members are welcome, and indeed encouraged, to contribute articles to the magazine.
Every year two articles, or series are chosen as the Pikelines articles of the year. I am pleased to announce that the 2012 winner of the James Holgate Pikelines Article of the Year award goes to James Sarkar for his excellent series Young PAC Pikers. The winner of the Junior award for 2012 goes to Stuart Wynne. Both winners will be presented with an armful of prizes at this year’s convention which will be covered in more detail next month.
Well that’s it for this month. I will be off chasing catfish in France and Spain for a couple of weeks in August but will hopefully be back at the end of the month with all the news and views from the PAC.
In our next blog here in the Big Fish category of www.anglersmail.co.uk, we will have a look at some of the other benefits that come with being a PAC member along with a focus on our annual convention as already mentioned. Whatever you are fishing for I wish you all the best, and if you are fishing for pike, please read our guide to summer piking before you go.
THE NEXT BIG FISH BLOG WILL APPEAR ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 9.
Here’s the list of all our new blogs and when they go live:
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum and Pallatrax, on rotation.
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist