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Pike Season

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:47 pm
by JohnLucas1316
October 1st was traditionally the start of the pike fishing season. My fishing buddy recently asked me 'where are we going to fish this season?' The truth is I really don't know.
The rivers we fish, Trent, Soar and Nene, get harder each year. The Trent can produce pike if you have a boat and can trot a livebait in areas where bank anglers can't fish. We do not have a boat and we do not use livebaits. The pike we catch from the bank are few and far between and often poor specimens.
The Nene has gone from 'the river with an endless supply of 6lb pike', to the river where you are lucky to catch a three pounder.
Many still waters that we used to fish have so few fish in them that angling pressure, even from two fairly useless anglers such as me and my buddy, might tip them over the edge. Other still waters we used to fish now have no fish in them at all.
Trout water trips are expensive and never seem to live up to the hype. We treat ourselves sometimes.
We don't like stocked commercial waters. Due to many reasons, there are now few natural 'balanced' waters.

As John Wilson pointed out, in the last thirty years or so, the UK has gone from a nation of roach anglers to a nation of carp anglers, mainly because there are now so few roach. Many carp puddles are mono-cultures, pretty useless for wildlife.
Apparently fisheries' owners in the UK were allowed to shoot 3,000 cormorants last year under license, but only 2,400 were shot. We know that this is because licenses to control cormorants are hard to obtain. Unfortunately, conservation groups are using the fact that the full quota of cormorants were not killed as proof that the cormorant problem is not as bad as anglers try to make out.
Conservation groups are well resourced and often have the media behind them to help spread anti-angling propaganda.
Groups representing anglers are not well resourced, and will only tackle campaigns if they are likely to win them.
The 'wrong type' of anglers do not help, with large amounts of angling -generated litter on so many waters. This is indefensible. Sometimes when we try to fish a new water, we identify the fish holding swims by the number of lager cans present.
The practice of reintroducing otters to areas where there are no fish for them to eat is madness, but still goes on.
Fenland is in trouble because of salt incursion, and in the future will be unfishable because of rising sea levels.
Sorry to state the obvious, but these are the end days of angling in the UK.
And it is sad.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:26 pm
by Eric Edwards
Reintroducing otters?

Where do you get that information from? Are we talking captive bred otters here or what?

As far as I know, it's been nearly twenty years since a captive bred otter was legally introduced.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:41 pm
by JohnLucas1316
Sorry Eric. I mean the practice of building artificial holts and thus encouraging otters to spread.
Sorry for any confusion.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:14 am
by Eric Edwards
Otters are not close to the top of problems that pike and pike anglers have. Chronic pollution of our waterways through treated sewage and farm runoff are massively more important (that's what's done for Windermere for example). Predation by the non-native Sinensis cormorant is also far more important an issue and one that most people seem to miss entirely is competition from other water users. Ram a water with carp and once they get above five pounds or so there is nothing then for the pike to eat - and how many waters are rammed with carp nowadays?

Pike fishing gets harder though and all the pikers want to do is turn on each other instead of uniting and trying to defeat the real threats.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:50 am
by JohnLucas1316
I feel sorry for younger anglers who have fewer places to fish and fewer fish to go for. Well done to everyone who coaches these youngsters, but unless we sort out some of the bigger problems in angling, especially on rivers, where are they going to fish?

We have a media that often promotes anglers as destructive wildlife-haters, and bird watchers as serious scientists.
Last night Countryfile focused on endangered wildlife in the UK. No surprise that no mention was made of hugely reduced fish stocks. The BBC will run a mile to avoid the subject of cormorant predation. Countryfile mentioned the 'back from the brink' project. How long will it be before some UK fish species need to be pulled 'back from the brink'?

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:20 am
by Eric Edwards
Crucian carp are struggling due to hybridisation with numerous carp species (mostly ornamental), char are unable to spawn in the silt brought about by eutrophication, whitefish species are suffering the same fate, barbel are not recruiting well in our rivers due to endocrine disruptors, flash flooding (due to excessive dredging) is washing millions of fry out to sea, algal blooms (sewage again) are clogging the gills of our beloved pike and causing mortality, the list goes on and on. Nobody says a word about most of this but show a picture of a pike lying on the grass or cast out a deadbait before 1st of October and world war 3 breaks out! I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that a lot of pikers are stupid!

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:00 pm
by JohnLucas1316
I think there is also a problem with anthropomorphism nowadays. People bestowing human traits to animals. I blame Paddington Bear and Peppa Pig! How many people will be dressing their dogs up in Halloween costumes in a week or so?

As the saying goes,"nature is red in tooth and claw". Some people are mortified when watching Springwatch for instance, and a badger eats eggs and chicks, or a stoat or adder eats some baby birds. There is a disconnect between many people and what actually goes on in the countryside.

People have often asked me if I hate cormorants. I am interested in predators, which is why I fish for pike. I recognise that cormorants are very efficient predators and I respect them for that. (They should not, however be inland in the UK.)

I vaguely remember that some years ago research was done to try to prove that fish feel pain. I believe the conclusion was that if you inject a fish's lip with bee venom, it can feel it. Does anyone remember this? If that is the best that scientists can come up with, I am going to keep fishing.
Incidentally, the biggest chub I ever saw rose up in the water to sip down a bumblebee!

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:46 am
by JohnLucas1316
We blanked on the Trent yesterday, although I must admit we were not trying very hard.
I passed the time watching hornets hawking round the trees and bushes. There must have been a nest nearby. They are impressive predators.

I talked to an angler who had recently caught a ......gudgeon! And, no it was not a tiny barbel. He said he crumbled up some pellets and scattered them in the margins and quite a few fish turned up, including a decent chub.
Although I am sure that Eric is completely right about water quality affecting fish stocks, (incidentally, I think rising water temperature is affecting char spawning too), I think there is a more basic problem, and that is lack of food. The reduction in invertebrates must be having an effect (due to pollution again I guess). Years ago when there were regular matches on rivers, the amount of ground bait going in must have kept fish populations high. Nowadays areas of rivers where people regularly feed the ducks with bread will often hold fish. People on the bank also act as scarecrows to keep fish eating birds away.

I know that it does not sound very natural, (and I am always banging on about naturally balanced waters), but anything we can do to encourage all types of anglers back to rivers has got to help. We need scarecrows on the bank. The rivers need a kick -start.
We always take a loaf of bread and some sweetcorn with us when we are pike fishing to try to attract fish to the swim. It can't do any harm, and might do some good.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:09 am
by john currie
It does seem sometimes that we are slowly heading to the demise of angling,and a list of our concerns is a long one.I would add to it and say anglers apathy is a huge concern.A lot of issues can be reversed and a lot could be improved on.These problems won't go away and very few people will get involved to help.The AT pick there battles ,mainly because of financial constraints.The EA always plead poverty and need any concerns we see to be scientifically proven.The so called birdies have vast funds and the general,public's sympathy.The big conservation groups normally don't like angling on there vast properties,and are increasing there acreage yearly.So we have to help ourselves.Pac spend money on free courses to encourage juniors to fish for Pike in a manner safe to them and the pike .Pac are involved in projects as diverse as monitoring for salt to tagging pike..No money or help from AT or the EA as far as our fishing teach ins are concerned,although the EA did used to support us before giving grants to AT.The broads area has the broads angling services group ,this mob will take on any issue in the broads area.Its a small group underfunded as usual ,but they punch above there weight.It has a fair few sub groups set out to deal with most anglers concerns.If every area had this sort of group we would be stronger and solve more problems.However these sort of groups need leaders and soldiers ,but we need to get past the moaning in the pub and get stuck in.A few keen people can achieve a lot,organise a few more and things improve.It may not be as time consuming as you imagine,but you can make a difference.In case of confusion I am a member of Basg and all we do is voluntary and no one is on a payroll.

Re: Pike Season

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:05 pm
by Andy_Carpenter
Summed that up well John.
Some might say Norfolk is getting all the attention,
but in reality there is a high quantity of Anglers who have a voice and are making themselves heard.
I don't live in Norfolk
but It's where I choose to fish I "don't give up "I Give" my time and support when it's needed. Us volunteers have donated hours and hours assisting in projects To improve Broadland fishing for everyone, not just the species we fish for..

We're lucky we have the likes of John Currie and others who have dedicated their lives to the future of improving our fishing for pike, but they can't do it alone,
so when I get a phone call asking for help I'm there.

The more we unite all our twittering becomes a roar with one voice we will make a difference.