Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Tuesday 27 January 2015

Much ado about piking

Quite why it is, that some individuals take it upon themselves to be the sole owners of the moral high-ground, I have no idea. Obviously, the subject must be close to their hearts for such outpourings of vitriol when they encounter their pet hate(s) - I should heed this statement the next time someone kills an invert in order to add another tick to a list?
January 2012 - my first pike from the Royal Military Canal
Presented in the horizontal pose - one hand in the gill cover the other supporting the body weight
There has recently been a thread on a local chat/forum/thingamy about the handling of pike and their presentation for photography. One guy got very agitated, although it would seem he was not a pike angler of any experience, about the use of the "chinning" technique by which the captor slides his fingers inside the gill flap and uses his thumb to hold the pike's head steady whilst supporting the weight of the body, horizontally, with the other hand, or allowing the pike to be presented in a vertical pose, chin - up with the lower hand supporting the weight of the body. This is the accepted "best practice" as given within the handling guidelines of the Pike Anglers Club of GB. Their code of practice covers all aspects of pike treatment, whilst on the bank, and is there to ensure, as best they can, that these magnificent fish are returned to the water in the same condition as they came out.
One of the best looking pike I've ever captured.
Presented in the typical "chin-up" pose as used by specimen hunters since the
early 1980's - possibly before then.

Now, I'm not so bloody naive as to think that there aren't many individuals, out there, who would offer a much better solution to pike welfare - don't stick hooks in them in the first place! It is an opinion of equal worth to my own but, I'm a pike angler and that's what I do. We disagree about fishing yet both sides of the debate see pike welfare as important - there is common ground. Tackle (more about that in a moment) and techniques have advanced a long way from the 1970's and the majority of anglers now recognise that a healthy fishery (ecosystem) has a niche for both predator and prey. It seems a long time ago when the average club angler's favoured quote was "The only good pike's a dead pike!"
Some time in the mid-80's
That same pose, as I've used 100's of times over the decades, which I consider
to be the best way of presenting a fish, of this body shape, to the camera.
It certainly wouldn't work for carp, bream or tench!

As I gleefully write about my acquisition of Mitchell 300 fixed spool reels or extol the virtues of a Match Ariel centre-pin and Duncan Kay carp rods, these items are still first class examples of the tackle manufacturers art. I use them as a link with my past, times when all sense and logic was lost in the over-riding desire to catch big fish. Stuck in a time warp, I may be, but not so stupid as to continue to use the inferior line and hooks of that period, just to remain authentic. No way - I will only use the best quality gear that I can purchase. What is in the water is far more important than what's on the bank. Lines are now highly abrasion resistant, high knot strength, low diameter and ultra reliable. Hooks are unrecognisable from the products we had to choose from - consistently of a high quality and unbelievably sharp, with a choice of designs that cover any type of situation you can imagine. I, therefore, find myself spoilt by the mix of old and new - I can still remain slightly eccentric with my choice of rods and reels, yet my terminal tackle is as good as any other anglers' who wishes to pursue specimen fish.
I suppose, when all said and done - you don't actually have to photograph the fish you have landed and this debate then becomes obsolete. From my personal perspective, having invested the time and effort in catching a decent pike - I owe it to the pike and myself to get a record of the event. My anal desire for listing bait, venue, rod, reel etc... might be seen as a little OTT, but I only do it for me and it has provided much learning when revisited at a later date.
There are occasions when a photo says so much more than the obvious.
Father and Son with a brace of Loch Awe doubles is what you see - it's "Happy Daze!" from where I'm sitting!


  1. i love seeing your photos of the pike you catch,and keep using the old stuff because in it day it was the best and it proves you do not need to spend loads of money on a hobbie you enjoy keep it up mate

  2. I agree with your sentiment - I invest time, money, effort and passion into trying to catch the fish of my dreams. A quick snap of it and some memories are all that I ask in return!