It wasn't until the catastrophic effect, and match angler reaction, caused by the introduction of Zander into Fenland, by the Great Ouse River Authority, that Pike started to have an accepted and legitimate place within the ecosystems of the UK. All of a sudden it was "poor old pike" and the club anglers venom was then directed toward the introduced alien. Things have moved a long way since the 1970's - thankfully!
I did actually have a gaff, although never used it, which I'd found besides the River Orchy in Scotland. I assume that a Salmon angler had misplaced it? It was a nicely engineered, telescopic, piece with a steel tip, brass sections and a mahogany handle - it got lost during my divorce! I'm fairly sure that either Simon or myself still have a "gag" hidden away in our angling debris, they were really hideous contraptions. There was nothing humane about their purpose - they existed so that anglers could get their tackle back, not because the pike were worthy of returning to the water! It was the evolution of The Pike Society into The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain which was to elevate the status of pike, and pike angling, to where it is today.
When Luke took his 18 lbs 4 oz pike from the RMC on Sunday - I said to him to "take your time - there isn't a hook that I can't get out!" That's how confident I am with my own abilities - Davie Robertson (Central Scotland Pike Anglers) calls us the "Fish Doctors" after seeing how we're are able to remove hooks and rigs from the pike of Loch Awe. It's not about boasting - it's total confidence in my ability.
|27th November 1983|
19 lbs 9 oz from The Royalty Fishery on The Hampshire Avon
|19 lbs 4 oz of Royal Military Canal pike|
What, I think, is fundamental in all this twaddle is the confidence gig! If you don't think that you'll catch a pike - then you won't. By using a combination of flavour and colour I am certain that I couldn't do more to make my bait more attractive. The fact that I have spent a lot of this winter without any action speaks volumes about this approach and, also, my choice of venues. Nothing will be changing as a result of this inactivity - I'm already planning my next trip and my confidence remains positive.
|I've forgotten how many times I've used this image?|
A River Thames Pike of 19 lbs 11 oz - 16.11.1982
|19 lbs 5 oz - the heaviest pike from the Worth Marshes on my return to angling. Magnificent!|
I do hope that my choice of images hasn't been lost on you? They are all 19 lbs+ pike, apart from the final one, which, had I the desire, could easily have been passed off as "twenties" - Dennis Pye eat your heart out!
|January 19th 1989 - British Aerospace Pit, London Colney, HERTS|
18 lbs 7 oz - Sardine on VB's, a Duncan Kay rod with a Shimano GT 4000 reel