Displaying items by tag: pike

British Waterways has promised to stop killing pike on the canals it controls in the Midlands. It comes amid revelations more than 100 fish were killed, after fears that one waterway had been illegally stocked with pike sent officials into a panic.

Pike Angler's Club of Great BritainRumours of a pike cull on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal began circulating in January. More than 100 fish to 18lbs were said to have been removed from the Minworth stretch by electro-fishing. Alerted by local anglers, we decided to take a look.

Documents obtained by the PAC using Freedom of Information (FOI) laws confirmed nine electro fishing operations had been carried out since February 2010. A spreadsheet supplied by British Waterways showed that in March 2010, 150 pike totalling 350kg in weight were removed from the Birimingham & Fazeley. The same document showed that some 100 pike were removed from Chasewater and transferred to Tarddebigge Reservoir in April 2010, while a further 90 pike were removed from the Birmingham & Fazeley and relocated to Cudmore in January 2011.

FOI is a powerful tool when it comes to investigating the actions of the public bodies which control our waters. When requested, they are obliged to release internal correspondence and other papers. Sometimes they are reluctant to do this. Documents released to the PAC showed local anglers who rightly wanted to know what was going on behind closed doors were fobbed off. Senior officials tried to wriggle off the hook. First they didn't have the information to hand. Then it would cost "thousands" to collate it. But when a complaint landed on the desk of the Waterways Ombudsman, British Waterways soon caved in. In an e-mail dated February 24, 2011, Carl Nicholls, BW's fisheries and angling manager, confirmed the details of the cull carried out in March 2010.

"British Waterways was contacted by two angling clubs on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal between Minworth and Curdworth with reports of large numbers of pike suddenly appearing in this stretch of canal," he wrote. "Both clubs are long-standing on this water and other waters beyond this length and had never reported problems with pike. A number of rumours were also going around at the same time of a significant number of pike being illegally dumped into a Birmingham canal. "In March 2010 we carried out an electro fishing survey to see if there was any truth in these rumours and the angling club's concerns. It was immediately clear that there were significant numbers of pike present in this two mile pound [pound = stretch of canal....]. "Due to the problem these pike were causing to both the angling club members and present silver fish stocks we decided immediate action should be taken. "Having no health check or Section 30, it would have been illegal to have moved them to another water. We removed 150 pike for 350kg which were taken to Billingsgate."

Mr Nicholls's note adds that last October, 30 pike were removed from the same stretch of canal for a health check, which came back clear. In January 2011, a further 90 pike were removed - but this time, the fish were transferred alive to another water.

Questioned over the possible source of the pike which had suddenly appeared in the canal, Mr Nicholls said: "We never found out where the water was from where these pike were supposed to have come from. It was all rumours and hear say, but what was certain was the total number and sizes of the pike were not natural for a canal. "The fish were very pale in colour, stumpy and their markings were not typical of canal pike, but of fish that hunted more in open waters." This story has a happy ending - as they sometimes do, when pike anglers stand up for their fishing and refuse to be fobbed off. The complaint to the ombudsman found its way up the food chain to John Ellis, BW's national fisheries manager. In his response, he stated had officials known how many pike they were likely to find when they elctro-fished the canal, they would have carried out a health check so they could relocate the fish elsewhere.

"You will be pleased to know that since then, British Waterways have come to an arrangement with a private fishery whereby they are willing to accept any pike in the event of there being a need to relocate them," said Mr Ellis. "As a result please be assured that British Waterways will no longer have to kill any pike."

Source: Pike Angler's Club of Great Britain

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Published in Latest UK fishing news

Fishing for pike on Lough Derg can be done using several methods of which trolling and casting are the most widely practiced.

Trolling: With the engine running as slow as possible, a bait (a plug, spoon or dead bait fish) is towed approx. 20 meters behind the boat. This can be done by putting the rod (or rods) into a rod holder, although a hand held rod is often more productive because of the extra action one can transfer onto the bait. The choice of bait is a very important one. In shallow water (say up to 15 feet / 4,5m) use shallow running baits or be prepared to get stuck in weeds or rocks. In deeper water, say from 15 to 30 feet, use deeper running lures. A depth finder (sonar) is a great help and most pike fishermen wouldn't go out without one. Not only does the depth finder show you the depth, it also shows you plants, rocks, drop offs and shoals of fish. In deeper water you may even see individual fish on the screen.

Seasons: Around the beginning of June, pike fishing on Lough Derg slows down and the summer months are not the best time to plan a pike fishing holiday. Things pick up again as soon as the lake starts cooling down, mostly around mid September. The best months to plan a holiday would therefore be April and May and again from mid September until November. More specifically, April and October are the top months. In spring, concentrate on depths of 10-17 feet / 3-5 m, in autumn depths of around 20 feet / 6m should be more productive.

Some tried and tested trolling baits:
Springtime: Rapala J-14, Rapala Super Shad Rap, YOZURY Chrystal minnow, mann's minus, several thin-bladed spoons, bucktail spinners.

Autumn: Super Shad Rap, Mann's 15+ and 20+, several fairly heavy rubber baits like 10 and 12 inch Bulldawg, rubber shads with 30 grams (1 ounce) leadheads.

Casting: Casting for pike can be done either while anchored or from a slow drifting boat. Location is very important. Pike like the vicinity of plants, so you should position your boat in such a way that the drift takes you along the outside of weedbeds. When anchored, the same applies: anchor the boat in such a way, that you can just reach the plants on your left or right. While drifting or at anchor, try to cover the water in a fan shape instead of casting to the same spot over and over. Several lures can be used but make sure they run shallow, because you fish close to - or sometimes in- the weeds. Wether you use plugs or spoons, always play the bait. Just reeling in is far less effective than a stop-go movement.

Jerk baiting: Jerk baiting is done with a short, very stiff rod with a multiplier reel and heavy braided line (+/- 50 to 80 pound breaking strain). The lures used generally have no diving vane like ordinary plugs. The action under water is transferred into these baits by the "jerking" motion of the rod tip. This works best when you stand on one of the seats in the boat and jerk downwards, which explains why these rods are so short (approx. 6 foot / 1.80 m). A solid steel leader helps to avoid the bait getting tangled in the trace or mainline. The heavy line used is necessary, because of the weight of jerk baits (sometimes up to 6 or 7 ounces / 180 - 200 g) and also to eliminate the chance of a fish breaking the line, which would leave the poor creature with a large bait with big treble hooks in its mouth, possibly resulting in a slow and horrible death.

Some tried and tested jerk baits:
Suick, Buster Jerk. Phantom, Striker plus several rubber lures like bulldawgs and toads and fairly heavy bucktail spinners and spinner baits.

Some general tips for pike fishing on Lough Derg (or anywhere in Ireland):
Always use a steel trace of at least 30 cm long and with a minimum breaking strain of 30 pounds. Make sure the connection to the bait consists of a good quality snap like a Cross-Lock or a Coast -Lock snap. Too many pike are lost because inferior snaps are used.

For all your pike fishing, use braided line. Because of the lack of stretch in these lines, you will have a more sensitive combination which enables you to feel every movement of the bait and provides you with a more secure hook-set. The use of nylon (monofilament) lines for pike fishing is really something of the past.

Always carry adequate unhooking tools with you: A long nosed pliers and a good quality wire cutter are essential. Sometimes hooks can be deep down a fish's mouth and can only be removed by cutting the hook and taking the bait out through the gills.

A marker buoy is a very useful piece of equipment. Throw it overboard when you start a drift and you will know exactly where to start the next drift, say 30 meters left of right of the marker buoy. This enables you to fish a certain area more accurately. It can be very easily made out of a big (5 liter) water bottle. Cover the bottle in black and yellow insulation tape for great visibility even at a distance. Attach 5 meters of string to the bottle and at the end of that a heavy weight (+/- 10 ounces / 300g). Wrap the string around the bottle and lower it overboard when starting your drift or at the spot where you anchor. You now have a perfect point of reference that will tell you how the boat drifts and how to correct the drift- direction with your next drift. Don't forget to collect your bottle when you leave the area !

Fish with barbless hooks - better for the fish and easier for you to unhook. When you keep constant pressure on the fish, the hooks won't come out. Another advantage is the easier removal of hooks that might happen to get stuck in one of your body parts.

Fly fishing for pike: Lough Derg has many spots (invariably weedbeds) where fly fishing can work very well. Use a 9 or 10 weight rod with an intermediate weight forward (WF) line and streamers of 15-20 cm long.

The pike in Ireland are a protected species, all pike over 50 cm in length must be immediately returned to the lake.

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Britain's top predator club has called for urgent talks with the Birmingham Anglers Association, after it announced a ban on livebaiting without warning.

Pike Anglers Club of Great BritainPike Anglers Club of Great Britain members in the Midlands who belong to the BAA say they were not consulted over the rule change, which comes as national fishery by-laws are set to come into force giving the green light to the method.

Environment Agency chiefs agreed predator anglers across England and Wales should be allowed to use limited numbers of fish caught on the day for bait after a three-month consultation any angler could take part in.

But in a statement on its website, the BAA says it intends to outlaw the practice, as what it calls "a side effect" of other changes.

"After a wide-ranging and public debate over the issue of removing fish from our rivers for any reason, the EA came down firmly on the side of predator anglers whilst greatly increasing the legal protection afforded to most species of coarse fish," a PAC spokesman said.

"It was a workable compromise we are certain most anglers would be more than happy to live with, judging by responses the EA received, which were published online for anyone to see. "We are saddened if the Birmingham Anglers Association decides to ignore all of this without even consulting those affected, or considering the bigger picture."

PAC officials overturned a similar ban on BAA waters in the early 1980s, after pointing out the move represented the thin end of the wedge for all angling. PAC regional organiser Steve Bown has written to BAA secretary John Williams requesting a meeting to put the club's case.

"Predator anglers who are BAA members need to voice their concern directly to the BAA via the contact details on the club's website," he said.

"I have emailed all the local members to this effect and hopefully we will see a good response."

To have your voice heard, contact the BAA via this link:

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Published in Latest UK fishing news
My first time pike fishing was at Loch Tummel in Scotland.

Caught a 23 pounder on a mackerel tail injected with smelly fish oil - did the trick obviously.

Andrew Gray - June 2008

Published in Tips & Tactics

I'm sure all of you who fly-fish for pike have at least one or two poppers in your ever expanding collection of flies. If not, I highly recommend you invest in a few or if possible make a couple. My fly box primarily consists of 80% surface lures from mid August to the end of September, especially the Popper. Now I'm not suggesting you follow my train of thought in any way, it's just my preferred line of attack during the autumn months.

I still remember the fist pike I caught using the popper like it was yesterday. I had bought a couple in the Netherlands in 98 and had taken them up to Scotland with high hopes of them being everything "Henk" the tackle shop owner had so vehemently promised they would be, and how right the old boy was! The sheer rush I received when I saw the water boil behind it as I stripped it across the surface has stayed with me to this day. I just don't get the same thrill while fishing with a Streamer, Bunny-wobblers or a Bomber under the surface. To visually watch my lure slowly creeping its way back towards me supersedes by far any other form of Pike fly-fishing. I also tend to concentrate a lot more during a session of popping as well. Coupled with the anticipation & frequent rushes of adrenaline that cause through my veins, I am literally quite drained at the end of the day.

Poppers themselves
Most fly tackle shops that have a Pike fly-fishing section now supply a range of ready made surface lures from Divers, Skipping bugs, Sliders, Wiggle bugs & off course Poppers. Many also carry a range of finished Popper heads which come in all manner of colours, materials and sizes. Unfortunately though I found that most Popper heads on the market were quite small in comparison with some of the 20cm streamers I had been using and found during a couple of seasons that I was only able to attract Pike in and around the 1kg - 2kg size bracket. This I have attributed to most of these popper heads being developed primarily for the American Bass angling market and not for us Pike fly-fishing enthusiasts.

Then Last year while trawling the net I came across a company called Edgewater fly-tying materials that had not one but two separate popper head products. The first being the Boiler Maker Popper Head. Loud poppers that get a big fishes attention! Super durable with a concaved face for good sound! And the Master Blaster Heads, large heads to attract big fish! now armed with larger popper heads I obviously needed a larger hook especially with a longer shank and this I found in the Mustad 3401 4/0 long shank hook. Unfortunately though this hook doesn't have a kinked shank and after just one or two tussles with a fish I was finding the head would come loose and spin around the shank. Since then I have now changed over to the 4/0 long shank Wapsi Popper Hooks and have found that the foam heads have lasted me several outings before either needing a repair or full overhaul. The Tail Another aspect I found a bit disappointing with Poppers bought from a tackle shop, is the length of the tails tied in behind the popper head. On average they range from between 50mm to 70mm and personally I feel this is too short. (Yet another attribute from the American Bass angling market). I have two specific designs which are now working well for me and catching bigger pike.

The first which I call "The grim reaper" gets given a black head. I then tie on top of the remaining section of visible hook shank a 5mm wide 80mm length of white rabbit tail and then on either side of it I tie a black feather so they curl outwards also around 80mm. This whole new popper has now given me a total length from tip to tail of around 135mm for not much extra weight. I always tie in some red hackle directly behind the head, just to finish it off. To say this popper has a wicked action through the water is an understatement. As you strip it forward the feathers pull in tight to the hook but as it stops they swing back outwards coupled with the wobble action from the strip of rabbit fur and the loud popping noise it gives off, I am getting an extremely active surface lure.

Weed guards
The old adage is," if you aren't fishing the structure's your not fishing for predators!" Poppers can be fished out in open water but your best results will come from stripping your Popper past visible & non-visible structures like reed beds, water lilies or even a submerged tree stump. This is why a weed guard is an absolute must when fishing structures .With all my Poppers I have a weed guard tied in. Don't use a thin monofilament here as it will more than likely snap within the first decent fight. I use a very thick mono (100lbs breaking strain). With heavy mono it not only lasts longer but helps prevents snagging up a lot less. I would also recommend giving it a decent loop from the back of the hook to the front. If tied in to close to the hook and the under body of the head It becomes hard to set the hook in the pikes mouth. This is also another reason for the wider loop.

In the early development stages of these flies I used to apply eyes to the popper but found they would eventually disappear over the course of a days fishing, so I don't bother with them any more and to be truthful I personally don't think it makes any difference especially with surface poppers.

Another surface lure I must recommend are mouse imitation flies. I always dedicate an hour to using a few every time I'm out fishing. As soon as I arrive at the first patch of water lilies I slip one on and yes as I mentioned in my last column you are not going to get a lunker with this fly but to trick a pike (even a jack) into taking one is great sport.

Lastly, and I'm speaking from experience here, I have noticed that when stripping my popper back, most takes, if not all, occur while the popper is stationary. Every now and then you will notice a pike is interested by the wake it is leaving directly behind the fly, but most takes are from below and are literally quite violent Affairs..... SO STAY ALERT!

The Author: Simon Graham
Further Information:

Having been an avid Saltwater fly-fisherman for many years in South Africa I eventually crossed over to Fly-fishing for Pike once I moved back to Europe in 95 & two of the main aspects I have had to change with regards to fly-fishing for this species was not only having to deal with learning how to chuck much large flies but I have also had to change the way I retrieved the fly as well.

Saltwater fly-fishing to me although as technical as any other form of Fly-fishing didn't need much finesse. Sure, any saltwater fly-fisherman who has fly-fished for bonefish off the flats in Cuba will tend to disagree but overall I found the art form a tad slap n dash. Warmer, clearer water played a big part in why my retrieval was fast and furious, and off course obviously the species I was targeting, Barracuda, Garrick, Salmon, Jack Trevally, Shad (Tailor), Stump nose.

When I moved back to the U.K and started Fly-fishing for pike I brought the same gung-ho approach, and spent the good part of 2 seasons with very few fish to show for it, and so a drastic change in my approach was needed in order for me to become more successful as a pike fly-fisherman.

So I started reading as much literature as I could find, about my intended quarry the Elusive "Esox Lucius". Something I encourage all novice Pike fly-fishermen to do.

With living in the tropics all those years I hadn't taken into consideration the changes of season, which are more apparent in Northern Europe and thus have a much more adverse affect on not only the Pikes feeding habits but also its metabolism and general movement habits during each of these seasons.

After month or so of reading I set about practicing different retrieval techniques at different speeds & depths, And it wasn't long before I started to reap the benefits.

About two years ago I was float tubing on a smaller stretch of water in the forests here in Kuru Finland and It suddenly dawned on me while stripping back my fly that Fly-fishing for Pike was, if not very similar to the other passion in my life "Cricket".

Now I know what you're thinking.Simon you're talking a load of bollocks, but if you stop and think about it for a moment my words aren't that far from the truth. Trying to explain the game of cricket to a layman can take day's even months. (Which batsmen battles against a spin attack? Whether to bowl left arm over the wicket? How many fielders should be placed in the slips or on the off side? When should the captain declare his team's innings?) The list goes on & on and even then, until they have sat down and watched a five-day test, enjoyed it, and understood all the games subtle nuances will they have a better appreciation of the game. The same principle applies with Pike fly-fishing. (What fly to use? Surface or fast sinking, Flash streamer or a white/black bodied Bunny. What fly works best with the line you are using at that specific place you are fishing? Whether to use a floating or intermediate line. How long should one let a fast sinking line drop before retrieval? Should I retrieve the fly fast or slow? What action can you impart on the fly with the line you are using with the retrieve you use? The list went on and on, and even now after 14 years of fly-fishing for pike I find myself learning every time I venture out.

Here in Finland especially the Southern parts many of the lakes Are extremely dark due to the run of from the hundreds and thousands of bogs, which litter its landscape. For a pike fly-fisherman this makes the effort of chucking some fluff with the chance that a Pike will spot your fly even harder. Added to that, time of year, depth & area fished will eventually all come down to how well presented your fly is in the water. In Northern Finland (Lapland) the lakes are for want of a better word 'crystal clear' and so it is possible to not only get away with using much darker flies but your retrieval of that fly can be far more quicker & erratic due to the Pike having much better visibility. Also waters that far north never really get over warm and so during the short season Pike can be found at all depths and are extremely active.

Winter Piking
In General though Pike fly-fishermen have to contend with two main seasons Winter & Summer and with both seasons come different challenges. I found while living in the UK whether I was fishing in Ireland, Scotland or England that during the winter months the slower the retrieval the better. The question is "How slow is slow?" Well depending on where & what stretch of water you are fishing will depend on quite few many factors. Let's take for instance canals. These stretches of water aren't particularly deep and so I would use an Intermediate slow sinking line and count down until I knew the fly was lying on the bottom. This would take anywhere between 10 to 20 seconds. I would then begin to strip back the fly 10cm at a time for at least 4 strips and every now and then a longer strip of around 20 cm. I also have got in to the habit of raising the tip of my rod straight after this longer strip either to the left or to the right. This too imparts another angle of movement in the fly instead of just a straight-line movement back to the shore you are fishing from. Once you have worked the fly across that stretch of water, recast backs across the canal but two meters either side of where you last entered the water. This time count down half the time it took to hit the bottom and start your retrieval. Look at it as if you have a left-hander at the crease and maybe a right arm spin bowler would fair better against him. Always be prepared to try something different I say. This time strip back in 20cm lengths, with every fifth one being a 10cm strip, Remember to raise your rod tip after this short pull. Lowering your rod tip again puts just enough slackness back in the line for your fly to flutter down again before your next 20cm strip. I also encourage to you to get in to the habit of stopping In the middle of a strip every now and then. Over the last few years I have noticed that many of my takes have been during this period where the fly has stopped, so stay alert!

Spring Piking
Springtime for me here in Finland brings new revitalised energy to my Fly-fishing. Here in Southern Finland most lakes thaw out in early April with Pike spawning As soon as they can get close into the shallows and reed bed areas. This period lasts for around two weeks.

This is probably one of the best and most productive times to go Pike fly-fishing here. Pike are ravenous and in my experience just as aggressive as in late autumn. Pike lie close into the shoreline and I am often toiled with the problem of whether to use a floating line or a slow sinking intermediate. As Pike feed at all depths during this period I usually use an Intermediate slow sinking line with a surface lure to start proceedings (Poppers, Ballydoona bombers or even a Bunny-wobbler) Although your line sinks slowly, the short 20cm strip you give imparts a wonderful action in your fly which become irresistible to any Pike lying anywhere in its close proximity. Vary the length of your strip here 10cm, 20cm, and 30cm at a time. The longer the strip the longer the fly will stay under water and its rise to the surface will also be longer. Always try remembering to every now and then raise and lower your rod tip from right to left and stop the retrieve every 3 to 6 strips. If it's an all day session I invariably swap over to a floating line with a fast sinking fly and fish 3m to 8m from the margins. Although the front 4 meters of your floating line sinks with the fast sinking fly attached the action is opposite with the fly rising and sinking in short 10, 20 & 30cm lengths. (Most takes will be as the fly sinks back down).

Summer Piking
Summer time here in Finland is like most other places in Europe extremely hard for the Pike fly-fisherman. Pikes have now moved into deeper water around the 5m to 10m depths due to the rise in the waters temperature at the surface, & the oxygen levels dropping off.

A fast sinking line here is needed coupled with a fast sinking fly. A fly preferably with a lot of flash built in. As I have mentioned before the lakes here in Finland are quite dark and fishing at these depths I want to give myself all the chance I can for a pike to see my fly. The Pike will still be active and quite aggressive but it's getting down to them that put many a Pike fly-fishermen off. The last two yrs though I have been employing a different tactic while fishing at depths. I take two rods on the Boat, fishing from either side of it. I cast the 1st line out 10m to 15metres over a respected drop off with a fast sinking line with a fast sinking fly attached allowing it to fall down into the respected area and then place it in a rod holder, then while that is sinking I then move to the other side of the boat and with the same set up (Fast sinking line/fast sinking fly) cast out 10m to 15m over the drop off. This would have given the 1st fly time to sink to a reasonable depth. Place the rod in the Holder. Now I start to retrieve the fist rig. With this method I am able to use extremely large flies of around 20cm to 25cm in length, as I don't need to cast them all that far.

I start by stripping lengths of between 30cm and 60cm stopping in between each strip allowing the fly to slowly flutter back down. I also raise the tip of my rod either left or right a lot more with this method. To be honest I still haven't caught any monsters using this method but I have regularly had fish in the boat between the 4.5kg & 6.5kg range. This I put down to not finding the right drop off yet but my day will come, as it will with you all. Sure its not classic fly-fishing in the true sense but it brings results especially on those days when it's hot and all you want to do is feel the fly line between your fingers. Once I have retrieved the fly back up to the surface I cast it out 2m either side from its last position and start retrieving the other rods fly. Other than that during the summer months Pike fly-fishing should be practiced either in the early morning or very late afternoon/evening.

Autumn piking
Autumn time here is by far the most prolific and productive season for fly-fishing for pike. It's a chance for me to go out onto a lake armed with just a box of Poppers and my favourite fly the Ballydoona Bomber. But that's another article altogether.

Author: Simon Graham
Wilderness predator fly-fishing in Finland

My Journey into Fly Fishing For Pike - By Steve Hills

Many thanks to Colin at Pike Fly Fishing for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article. Please visit their excellent website at:

I would have liked to write a piece on methods and practices in catching pike on the fly but as so far my experience and skill don't quite reach that far so i thought I would do a piece on how I got started in this wonderful sport of ours.

It all started for me as a natural progression from lure fishing. I spent many hours wandering up and down my local river Nene and various drains throwing lures in likely spots. I had my fair share of good days and mostly bad days.

But then things changed. I suddenly found myself no longer satisfied in catching pike using lures anymore. The price of the next must have lure was too much to pay with regard to satisfaction upon catching with it, and the tackle for this method is nothing short of sea fishing equipment. Unfortunately a necessary evil but no longer fun.

I needed a fresh challenge, something for the mind to dwell upon whilst stuck at work all day. For me fishing is not only about catching fish it should relate to everything about it, sporting tackle being a primary concern. I like to see fish get away occasionally, it gives me the fire to improve my skill and not just to use a bigger hook.

I had heard about fly fishing for pike before but always regarded it as too hard and a bit too up market for the likes of me so disregarded it for a while.

After a few more months of lure chucking I met a chap at work who is heavily into trout competitions. He used to tell me about captures of pike on trout gear and how a few people purposely set about catching pike with the fly.

After hearing these tails a few times I took the plunge and rang a stockist of fishing videos and ordered an American video titled "Fly-fishing for Pike" also another called "Fly fishing for big Pike" by Alan Hanna. I also purchased the books to go with them.

To see Pike caught in this way was absolutely stunning and the seed was firmly sown.

I bought a rod and reel and with advice from my trout fishing friend I tied up a fly. It was a length of black rabbit skin tied to a 4/0 hook with some lead wire wrapped around the head to give it some action. Then of I went to the twenty foot at Whittlesey and my mate offered to come down to teach me how to cast.

After much slashing and thrashing and swearing and wondering what the hell do I want to do this for, things got smoother. After a couple of hours and no fish my mate said he had to go, which left me on my own which strange as it sounds took the pressure of a bit. Anyway I carried on up the drain until I came to a spot where I knew there were a few small pike about from my lure fishing trips. Determined to catch something I made a cast along the bank a short distance and started to retrieve and sure enough thud the rod bent and i nearly wet myself. It wasn't a big fish, about 3lb, but I had never felt anything like it, I have had many fish of this size whilst lure fishing and find they are seriously out gunned by the strength of modern lure tackle. After much panicking and getting tangled up in the line I succeeded in landing my first ever fly caught pike.

I was very pleased to see the single barbless hook had caused no damage compared to some trebles I have used. Upon release the fish shot of as if it had never been caught.

Pleased with my success I cast again along the bank in the opposite direction and after a few nibbles thud the rod bent again this time with a bit more composure I landed and released another pike of about 3lb.

Pleased with my success I moved on in search of bigger fish but then disaster happened my rod sections came loose as I was false casting and split the over joint making it useless.

But that was it, a pike fly fisherman had been born, a better and stronger rod was purchased, also a better make fly line, plus a great heap of tying materials and a few good books. And the most important thing I purchased were some proper casting lessons.

My skill as a Fly Tyer is improving but as for casting and catching...well I'll just have to keep working at it.

I get a lot of satisfaction from the flies alone, every time I make a new pattern I've dreamt up, I get very excited about getting it wet. Many times I'm heading down the drains with the super glue still wet.

Fly fishing has given me everything I was missing, a real challenge but it's not so difficult the challenge can't be met with a bit of practice and determination. My only gripe is that it can depend on the weather a lot more than lure fishing. Some of the winds across those drains make casting a real problem at times but.. hey.. another challenge to overcome.

Author: Steve Hills

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The Primeval Pike - courtesy of Beckmann Visual Publishing

This fascinating fish has been around for over 60 million years. The PRIMEVAL PIKE gives us an historical perspective and looks at pike biology and behaviour. Dedicated pike anglers show us their most successful baiting methods and we are treated to the joy of watching them land pike after pike of all sizes.

Highly Acclaimed angler and presenter Andy Nicholson joins forces with the British Museum and fellow expert anglers Ray Baker, Dr Bruno Broughton, Martyn Page, Vic "the rig" Bellars and Max Cottis to raise the profile of this ancient species and to make a compelling case for treating the pike with care and respect.

- History of the Pike - with Awyne Wheeler of the British Museum
- Fly Fishing For Pike - with Ray Baker
- Pike Biology & Behaviour - with Dr Bruno Broughton
- Dead Baiting - with Vic Bellars & Martyn Page
- Lure, Plug & Spinning baiting - with Andy Nicholson
- Mackerel as Bait - with Max Cottis

Running Time: approximately 105 mins

Right from the start I have to say that this is a cracking DVD full of interesting and useful information about the pike itself, it's history and habits as well as how best to catch one.

Before the DVD even gets to any fishing action we see Andy talking to Awyne Wheeler a pike expert at the British museum who provides loads of fascinating information about the history of this pre-historic fish. Another of the sections I found particularly enlightening was the section dealing with pike biology and behaviour. Bruno Broughton brings his vast experience to play when detailing the pikes feeding and behavioural patterns, vital information for any angler who wished to target this elusive predator.

By now my appetite was wetted for some actual fishing and I wasn't disappointed here either. Great care is taken to detail the methods used by the various participants and the following chapters of the DVD outline fly fishing for pike, dead baiting, lure, plug and spinning and using mackerel as bait for pike. The DVD covers nearly all the methods that can be used for pike fishing and I certainly picked up some really useful tips which will no doubt stand me in good stead this winter.

Throughout the whole DVD it is clear that those taking part are real enthusiats for the art of pike fishing and proper care of the fish they caught was something that was highlighted throughout.

There are some cracking underwater shots of the Pike splattered throughout this DVD and they really bring the whole "pike in their natural habitat" issue to life and make the whole DVD that much more enjoyable.

I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone who wants to find out a bit more about tactics for catching pike and anyone who is interested in the history of the fish we catch in this country. It is a well thought out publication that manages to create a fine balance between the history of the pike and the methods for catching them.


Where to buy The Primeval Pike:
The Primeval Pike is available to puchase from Beckmann Visual Publishing in either DVD or VHS video format and is priced at £16.99 for the DVD or £17.99 for the VHS.

To order this excellent DVD, visit

A big thank you to Kelly Smith and all at Beckmann Visual Publishing for supplying UK Fisherman with this DVD for review.

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Regular readers of the fishing forum here at UK Fisherman and Fish South East will know that for some weeks now we have been planning a pike fishing trip to farlows Lake in Iver, Buckinghamshire - the first UK Fisherman "social" if you like.

Predicted numbers were anywhere between 3-10 and not surprisingly the number who actually turned up was 3 (myself, Nigel Laughton and Luke "crazy carper" Thomas. Undaunted we met in the carp park at 9am. The weather seemed ideal for a spot of winter pike action: clear skies overnight had left a touch of frost on the ground, whilst the morning saw still, glouriously sunny conditions. We were in confident mood as we chose our swims and set up our rods.

Not a monster pike but welcome nevertheless on cold day at FarlowsNigel had done a fair amount of pike fishing at Farlows and we followed his advice to live bait on the match lake. After a quick trip to the tackle shop on site we all set up a float rig with a free-roving trout livebait set around 3-4 feet under the water. As the floats bobbed and moved around we felt sure it wouldn't be long before the hungry winter pike gobbled up one of our offerings. It was just a case of waiting !!

Well, we waited and waited, and then we waited some more and after that we waited a little bit longer and nothing happened. Several hours went by and despite one run on Nigel's rod which, despite a firm strike, failed to lead to a fish, there was no action at all. By early afternoon, the bright sunny skies had given way to grey, rain filled clouds and a cold wind had sprung up leaving the lake choppy and making it difficult to control our floats effectively. After a brief discussion we decided to move to a more sheltered corner of the lake, which looked much more inviting for the fish.... and us in terms of keeping warm !!

As it turned out, this happended to be the best decision we made all day. After only about 15 minutes in our new swims, my float which I had been fishing in the margins, dipped once and then disappeared under the surface. Slightly surprised, I grabbed the rod and low and behold, I was in !! Now before you get too excited, the fish I landed will not break any records for weight - in fact It was probably the smallest pike caught at Farlows so far this winter. As you can see from the photo, it probably was around 1lb or so. Not a monster, but so, so welcome on an otherwise unproductive day.

Luke looks pleased enough with one of only two fish on the daySomeone must have rung the dinner gong because as soon as I had slipped my capture safely back into the depths of the lake, Lukes pike float boobed and dipped under. He too was soon into a monster pike (again around the 1lb mark). He and I, as novices to the art of pike fishing, were delighted to have actually caught something.

That was unfortunately the beginning and the end of the action for the day. Nigel sadly failed to catch although he is experienced enough at this fishing lark to except that's how fishing is sometimes. I big thanks to Nigel for showing Luke and I the ropes. I thoroughly enjoyed his and Luke's company and I'm sure this will be the first of many enjoyable fishing trips together.

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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From Beckmann Direct - The Best in Special Interest Video and DVD

PIKE FISHING IN IRELAND DVDA 100 minute DVD in which Paul Gustafson, one of the world’s leading pike anglers, catches fish to over 23lb in weight. This DVD explains how to locate pike on huge strips of water, along with the most effective tackle and techniques. These include float fishing, trailing and dead-baiting.

In this DVD Paul demonstrates how to catch huge pike, with lures and dead-baits, on some of the most difficult waters in Ireland. He explains how to locate pike on these huge strips of water, along with the most effective tackle and techniques to use, including float fishing and trailing. Fly fishing for pike is also covered in depth, along with tackle and techniques.

Lough Gowner, Lough Oughter, Lough Ramor and Lough Earn all feature in this breathtaking action packed DVD in which Paul lets you into some of his secrets. This is an inspirational DVD that is a must for all pike anglers worldwide.

Paul Gustafson, 50, is acknowledged to be one of the world’s leading pike anglers. His experience is extensive and he has fished in Europe, America and Great Britain, catching huge numbers of big fish from a wide range of waters including rivers, lakes and loughs. He has an uncanny sense of where, how and when to target big pike globally, which has kept him at the top of his game for almost three decades.

Release date: 5th February 2007
Running time: 100 mins
RRP: £16.99 DP: £11.57

Where to Buy:

The pike fishing in Ireland DVD is available to buy online

For further information, please contact:

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