Tuesday’s blog is from Steve Collett, the boss of leading online tackle retailers Harris Sportsmail.

Steve’s blogs focus mainly on match fishing but also delve into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling. He also appears regularly in Angler’s Mail magazine and this week stars in an On Tour feature and offers his views on floods in My Say. 

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‘There’s a pike in me swim!’


Good, that’s what I say. Obviously if you only ever fish commercials the “pike in me swim” excuse becomes invalid, but on rivers and canals it’s a very common excuse, and I’m afraid it’s no excuse.

Having walked down a small stretch of river the other week, I saw a sight I thought had been castigated to the history books of fishing, a dead pike thrown up the bank, and below it a smiling matchman. Well he was smiling until Steve (the man who can have an argument in an empty house) came along!

‘What the friggin hells that you T@#t?’ was my diplomatic opening gambit! Oh ive been pestered by them all morning bloody things! I couldn’t leave this one, I had to have a chat about pike and hopefully educate a little, not that I’m an expert myself .

Now this was the guy’s logic – a common misconception about pike, and  something that I have wanted to put straight once and for all; he reckoned he had a bite a chuck this morning, ok well that’s probably because morning is the best time to catch most species, just before the sun comes up?

‘Then the pike came along and it ate all of my fish!’ No, no it didn’t mate, the sun came up and as it is casting a great big shadow of you feeding maggots, and moving lots, so they have moved downstream a little – I could see them. I told him this, and he let of ten more yards and started to catch again.

So the matey boy has then had a roach, further down the swim, that he has had to bring back, in the middle of the day with the sun shining. I suppose he was sink and drawing unintentionally – the pike sensed this, saw an outline of an easy meal, and took it, unfortunately for the pike it was the last thing he did, fortunately for matey boy, I didn’t witness it, or he may have succumb to the same fate!

After a while I tried to explain that if the pike was there, so were lots of roach, “Bo@#x” was his reply, they scare fish off for miles, that’s why I didn’t get a bite. Now this is a common misconception with pike, and although it may put a few fish on edge, they will most definitely be around, because they don’t eat grass!

The pike also pays a very important part in the cycle of our underwater world, controlling diseased fish, and the pike itself especially the one he killed of around 4-5 lb would have been a meal for a big 20 lb-plus girl, so not only has he upset me, potentially he has upset the balance of nature.

I’m not sure it’s such a big deal as I am making out here, but I was amazed at the age group that still knock a pike on the head, and it’s just down to our evolution as anglers and guardians of the waterways to educate the old timers, but in a way that’s not patronising.

I told the old fella about a conversation I once had with the great Ivan Marks about pike – he was in the same mind as me (much to the old boys astonishment), and we had now got into a bit of common ground, and I spoke of how Ivan had written about a how big pike could polish off 5lb fish no problem.

Now we had got talking rather than arguing it became clear that matey boy did feel a little guilty about killing one of the fishy world’s greatest fish, and I agree with him that they can be a nuisance when you are in a rhythm catching and swinging 3-5oz roach and chublets. But another point I picked up and shared with him was that the reason you probably have a shoal in your swim, is that a pike has herded them up, and isn’t it better to concentrate 3-500 small roach in one area, they become easier to catch?

In these days of our sport seemingly dwindling, I never like to see a match angler vs pike angler and so on, instead there is so much we can learn from each other, as he went away thinking about the tight shoal and backing off, and I went away thinking about how many pike are in that swim – the one I will drop into in the morning!


collett match awards


Well if you were out this weekend you all deserve our award, the weather was atrocious, bits of carbon flying everywhere, top threescharitymatch2005_danielbrydonfish becoming top 11s! a real grueller for some. This week’s winner had a great match individually and in the process helped his team to victory on the day. Drawing peg 5 on the Willow lake at Barford, this weeks winner alternated between the feeder and pole at 13m to put together a 61-9-0 net of F1s finishing 5 lb above his team mate Andy Leathers, I am off course talking about the Norfolk bagging machine Mr Daniel Brydon, this weeks recipient of the Anglers Mail Performance of the week award, Dan take a bow son.






The packed new issue of Angler's Mail is out now - look out for the cover i n shops this week!

The packed new issue of Angler’s Mail is out now – look out for the cover i n shops this week!