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!


Friday 12 January 2024

Pike fishing and the passing of time

It seems unbelievable that I caught my first Pike, as a spotty little oik, from Pixies Mere, Bourne End, Herts, way back in October 1970. Certainly weighing less than five pounds, this single event has impacted upon my life more than any other ever since - in an angling context ! Way back then Pike were considered freshwater sharks and the angling press were quite happy to state that "the only good Pike is a dead Pike" such was the dominance of match angling during this period. Then along came the Great Ouse River Board (Authority ?) who randomly decided to introduce Zander into the Relief Channel and the rest, as they say, is now history! The spread of Zander, throughout Fenland and way beyond (due to illegal fish movements) ensured that these newbies became the target of match angling's venom and Pike, all of a sudden, became the ecological good guys in the predator stakes. Added to this was the superb work done by The Pike Society (which then evolved into The Pike Anglers Club of GB in 1977) and the safe return of our apex predator became accepted normal practice.

18th January 1988 - Wilstone Res. Tring
22 lbs 2 oz on 1/2 Herring flavoured with mixed fish oils.

It was during the early 1980's that I became involved with the PAC as a member of the Luton region. Our R/O (Regional Organiser) was Andy Windmill who, along with Alan Beat, had been working on a twin single rig. Although their dead bait presentation still involved free-lining, what they had already identified was the barbaric nature of the traditional "snap tackle" and their experimentation was driven by the desire to make unhooking these fish much easier for the anglers and safer for the Pike. I have to admit that I played around with this particular set-up yet failed to be convinced by the effectiveness of free lined presentations. Not long after this, however, I bumped into Vic Bellars at a PAC, or NASA, Conference. He was on the Partridge of Redditch stand, promoting his newly designed "double" hooks. It wasn't a long chat but, I came away convinced that Vic's ideas were the way forward. No free lining, Vic was adamant that the use of some type of lead arrangement was the best way to quickly registering a take. 

16th January 1990 - Pixies Mere, Bourne End, Herts
22 lbs 3 oz on 1/2 Mackerel

Whatever else happened during those crazy times, this basic set-up became my standard technique when presenting a dead bait. I continued to use trebles for my live bait rigs, yet had taken the decision to stop using live bait in the mid/late 80's, and have been slowly evolving Vic's basic methodology ever since. Obviously, having walked away from angling, totally, in 1993 it came as a massive shock, when I picked up the Pike rods again, in April 2011, to discover that twin treble set-ups were still the "go to" rig in the Pike anglers repertoire? Sad to say that another thirteen years down the road and this still remains the case. What is even more concerning is the fact that The Pike Anglers Club of GB doesn't appear to be able to recruit younger members of the angling community in enough numbers to ensure their catch and release message is being promoted. In my own region, over half the members who attend our gatherings are retired!

22nd September 1989 - Emberton Park, Northamptonshire
18 lbs 10 oz - had I no shame? Pike season was still eight days away!

Where is Pike fishing headed in these Carp dominated times, where social media plays an ever more significant role in our society? Youtube is swamped with offerings showing Pike being caught on all types of methods, yet very rarely does unhooking the fish feature. It follows, therefore, that other, inexperienced, anglers are inspired to chuck out a lure, or dead bait, in pursuit of Pike and therein lies the problem with the resultant increase in the number of fish I encounter which have suffered injury due to a lack of unhooking skills. Worse still, fish have their stomachs stitched up with twin trebles which have been left because of complete ineptitude. Apart from the odd session with my son, along with a couple of his close friends, and my brother I am very much a loner these days. If another angler asks for my advice, I am more than happy to oblige in as honest fashion as I know how, but actually using the blog to promote methods and venues, beyond the most basic use of the written word, isn't what I wish to do. 

3rd November 2018 - The RMC (somewhere!)
18 lbs 4 oz - popped-up 1/2 Mackerel

Big Pike are increasingly rare creatures in our fisheries and deserve all the protection they can get, in my opinion. To this end I recently passed comment upon a Youtube offering where a guy promoted using twin trebles in half smelt offerings which were fished free lined and bite indication provided by light Carp-type bobbins with bait-runner reels. Utter nonsense and why I offered the advice to join the PAC so as to learn how to do it properly. However, his reply went along the lines of "I've been Pike fishing for nearly thirty years. I've caught Pike to almost thirty pounds and loads of twenties!"  That someone else then commented with "You'd have thought you might have learned something in thirty years?" was as far as I bothered to follow the exchanges. My own response was to unsubscribe from the channel purely because I am unwilling to support such unthinking angling practice. Won't make the slightest bit of difference but I feel better having done so.

February 2013 - The RMC (somewhere else!)
19 lbs 5 oz - 1/2 Herring dyed red

As I look forward to more Pike angling over the coming eight, or nine, weeks. There is plenty still left for me to achieve. A "twenty" has to be the obvious target yet, somewhere in the background, that really big girl is lurking and I live in hope that she'll cross my path before this current campaign is over. It was a pity that our January PAC meeting had to be cancelled, due to the inclement weather, as there are a couple of subjects which I had been hoping to place into the mix. In the meanwhile, I will continue to do things my own way and report upon my results as, and when, they occur.


  1. Hi Dylan , read your blog regularly and enjoy , you seem a decent bloke with the right ideas about piking ! Your comment about pikers age is noticeable in my area also …….Cambridgeshire. I think the specimen world is so carp orientated the young guys don’t get around to piking as carp waters are available everywhere and a big fish 20lb + is relatively easy to catch and looks good on their mobiles to anglers and non anglers alike . In my area piking has got progressively harder, less decent pike around and waters closing becoming syndicates or carp only or non fishing as now only used for other water sports etc. Out of interest do you get negative comments from fellow PAC members about your blog showing what’s available in the RMC ?

    1. Hi Ian,
      Welcome aboard! Your comment is obviously very close to my own views on the subject of Pike angling in 2024. I have to say that the guys in the Canterbury/Thanet PAC Region don't have any issues with me publicizing my RMC captures as they don't target the venue themselves. To be fair, it's twenty nine miles long and I never say where I'm fishing in any of my posts. If someone recognises where I have caught a fish, due to my photos, they are already aware of the specific section.
      Pike fishing is now, very much, a niche pursuit by a very small number of the angling community. That those Youtubers fail to realise the consequences of their offerings is what causes me such angst! Can you imagine the reaction should any of these guys mistreat a Carp?
      Many thanks for taking the time to offer the comment - tight lines - Dylan

  2. Thanks Dylan for your response . Only watched a few of the you tube guys and very few selected ones whose output doesn’t make me flinch ! As you say what can you do about it ……..watched a guy last year drop a 20lb + when he was returning it ! Can you believe he left that in his video for public viewing ? Unbelievable, I would have been mortified ( not that I would be making a video in the first place) Whilst I know that due to family and work commitments I didn’t really maximise results in my piking 20 to 30 years ago I’m sure that if I was a 30 year old now I wouldn’t be catching what I did over 40 years ago . Like you I’m going to jog on as I am now until I physically cannot continue any more , addicted is the word. Re the RMC I used to have a weeks walking holiday with a friend and we walked the length of the canal one May , it was great , I was amazed how rural some areas were for what is a pretty heavily populated part of the UK. If I lived down there I definitely would be tempted to give it a go . Best wishes Ian

    1. Hi Ian,
      What can you do about Youtuber's ? Well, this is one of the subjects I'd been hoping to explore in the January PAC gathering. The guy I took issue with is sponsored by a tackle company. If enough folk are prepared to complain about the content then, by association, the tackle company will have to reconsider their support of such piss-poor anglers? Quite frankly, I don't give a toss about Carp fishing but Pike are a completely different situation. They are indigenous fish which should be given the utmost respect, especially given the current situation with the pitiful performance of our water custodians.