I'll get this started by being totally honest. I've no claim to having been an angel in my angling past and am not looking to single out specific individuals with this post. I write this, blog offering, purely because I am frustrated by a situation which has no place in pike fishing 2018. English pike anglers travelling up to the Scottish lochs, during the close season, can be traced back to Dick Walker, Fred Buller, the Taylor brothers and probably well before. I have no idea if Alfred Jardine
(1828 - 1910) ever ventured north of the border? Yet the agricultural rigs and techniques, still on display in 2018, would not have been out of place during his lifetime, over a century and a half ago. These magnificent pike are still being "stitched up" with hooks and rigs which belong in the history books. What's happened to all that superb work, done by the Pike Anglers Club, to promote the safe return of these apex predators to the Scottish lochs? Have the English pike anglers not been able to pass on the knowledge of developments in tackle and techniques to the locals?
|Open bale arm - 50 lbs b.s. braided line and a 95 decibel (ok - it's a bit OTT) back-biter alarm.|
The basic bite registration set-up for any, dead bait, pike fishing situation?
I'm totally bemused by the basic approach to pike fishing, with dead baits, as used by the Scottish lads. It appears that carp angling has a far bigger influence on tackle choice, and techniques, than anything pike orientated. Why rod pods, front runner alarms and swingers? Bite indication is pitiful, given this combination. Add to the mix, prehistoric hook sizes, monofilament line, cheap swivels, light leads, single strand wire traces and all the ingredients for a dead pike are present in depressingly copious examples. I've yet to meet a Scottish angler who uses "back-biter" style alarms and very few who choose braid over mono. These are the mainstay of twenty-first century pike angling, within my experience, and are a no-brainer whenever I start out with a pike project. I admit that I'd change over to front runners with monkeys, on needles, if a switch to centre-pins, was considered an option? Up on the banks of Loch Awe it is bait runners all the way. Open bale arms? Not a chance. I didn't record the exact number, but it was a significant percentage, of the pike we caught which required other hooks to be removed from the stomachs of our catches. Not particularly pleasant, but very doable when shown how to perform the task via the very basic effort of joining the Pike Anglers Club. But why should this be? Many of the pike were under six pounds and couldn't have possibly "snapped" the angler's line. Therefore, I assume (the mother of all f*ck ups!) that these pike have been released after the trace has been cut because the captor was incapable of performing the simple unhooking techniques as taught by the PAC. Deep hooked pike being a symptom of pathetic bite indication, and so the cycle goes on. Scottish pike fishing is still in the Stone Age! Please don't get me wrong; there are some exceptionally talented, and forward thinking, pike anglers in Scotland, but they are in a minority, hampered by the burden of those other individuals who care nothing for pike welfare.
|"Bonnie Scotland" - I totally concur with that sentiment.|
These two guys are symptomatic of the total lack of respect for other anglers. "we've got a boat - go where we like!"
They are not unique - there were plenty of other examples, just the light conditions for photography weren't so good!
So if it's you don't get too offended - I've photos of your faces, you were that close!
Now on to my pet hate! The complete lack of angling etiquette by selfish c*nts in boats! Kilchurn Bay is a private fishery, controlled (owned?) by Kenny & Krissy Gray. That they make their living from the anglers who visit the site is, therefore, why they are so passionate about the state of the banks and the respect of the wildlife that share the environment. As a bank angler, I make a positive contribution, via my wallet, to the success of the bay as a fishery. There is an, unwritten, rule that boats are not allowed into the bay, as they pay zilch for the privilege of being there. Means jack shit to the arrogant wankers who have all the gear - but no idea! With twenty six miles of Loch Awe to fish in, why attempt to cast a bait in an area where there are bank anglers fishing? This is not a recent manifestation, we've had to put up with these antics since returning to the loch in 2011. It'd have been quite something to see how "Cuddles" and "The Mitch's" would have dealt with such situations way back in 1986?
| Alan Gray, second left, enjoying a social "light ale" during our 2011 visit - happy days!|
To get myself back onto a more even keel, I feel that I should make comment about the passing of Alan Gray, Kenny's uncle, who was such a key part of our early sessions at Kilchurn. When I spoke with Krissy, it was about the good times, the laughter and stories from a man who didn't drink! Soon got the hang of it when he wasn't paying - fantastic memories - sleep well old mate!