Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Irish pike need your Euros

There were hopes that the tide was turning for Irish pike. Their status as an introduced species had been successfully questioned by scientific research. The wanton removal of pike looked as if it would be curtailed, and maybe even stopped in the not too distant future. Sadly, politics appears to have changed all that.

Since 2006 only one pike over 50cm was allowed to be taken by an angler. This went a long way to prevent (when obeyed and enforced) the wholesale slaughter of pike by anglers fishing for the pot or out of blind hatred of pike.

Sadly there remains a faction of Irish anglers who cannot accept that pike are native to their waters, that they play a beneficial role in the ecosystems, or that they are not intent on eating every trout and salmon that swims. Plain and simple they want to see an Ireland without pike. Some dream of an Ireland where only salmonids swim.

Through exerting political pressure in the face of scientific evidence these anglers have succeeded in lobbying to get a bye-law passed allowing the taking of four specimen pike per angler per day in certain limestone loughs. Although this bye-law is limited in its geographical application it is a major retrograde step for both pike, pike angling, and the economy in the area to which it applies. It also sets a most worrying precedent.

Irish pike anglers are not at all happy (gross understatement) with either the the bye-law or the manner in which it has been brought into force. Such is their anger that they are seeking to mount a challenge in the High Court to the legislation. This will cost money. Thanks to the internet it now only takes a few clicks for pike anglers around the world to give their support to the cause. If every pike angler contributes a few Euros their target will soon be met.

Please follow this link (please share far and wide) to read more details about this disgraceful state of affairs, and maybe add your donation to the pot.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Another handle style

Quite why I've built three sets of rods with cork handles that featured short cork 'cones' in front of the reel seat over the last few weeks is probably coincidence. Maybe the look has grown on me because of this, but I'm liking it.

For most rods the foregrip serves no practical function. Certainly when using a fixed spool reel.

On thicker diameter blanks there's not much scope for fitting a winding check (as per photo on the right), but on slimmer blanks a fine aluminium check is an option.

Functional and aesthetically pleasing to my eye.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Out of the habit

I read an interview with a photographer, Homer Sykes, who said that he was no longer obsessed by photography, it had become a habit. Thinking about it I reckon that's what fishing happens to the angling obsessed.The heatwave put me off moving around, let alone fishing, and by the time it was over I was out of the habit of going fishing. Getting back into it is proving difficult.

When someone mentioned seeing a decent perch caught locally it gave me a bit of an idea to try somewhere new. I'm definitely in need of some kind of piscatorial challenge. I rigged up that ultralight rod I'd build, threw my box of perch spinners (they are a safer bet than that new-fangled drop-shotting nonsense) in a shoulder bag and set off on the tedious journey to my destination.

It was a warm evening back in August. I only lasted half an hour before I got bored. To be honest the venue was small with not much scope for exploration, so when I'd caught a tiny perch I reckoned that was my challenge completed!

After that it was back to my new obsession - taking photographs of sheep at agricultural shows which I'd sort of set myself as a project for the summer. Even back in my twenties when I was a pike obsessive I always maintained that if angling were banned I'd find something else to do. In some ways going fishing has always been a diversionary activity for me. A way of avoiding real life!

Another habit I've been in, since the very first time it was held, is going to the Pike Anglers' Club annual convention. Originally as an attendee and latterly as an exhibitor. This year I almost broke that habit too. There was a sheep show on the same day...

From a financial point of view I'd not have been much worse off if I had taken the sheep road. In terms of cash in my hand, for the first time I can remember, it was disappointing. I usually end up with a good few empty pegs on my display board of hooks, swivels and other rig bits. Not this time, although rod orders taken on the day were worth the effort. Even so, I have to admit that three hour drives at daft o'clock appeal less and less to me as I get older and older even if there is money to be made.

What was apparent at the show was the lack of young faces. Thirty years ago I'd say the age range of the pikers in attendance was mid-twenties to late thirties. Now it's those ages plus thirty. The same old (operative word) faces as back then. I don't know if this is indicative of a lack of younger pike anglers, or whether they are out there but events like the convention don't appeal to them.

Talking to a few of the pikers of my generation and a little older I was relieved to find that I'm not alone in losing the drive to fish. As one said to me, "We've done it all." Maybe not all, but certainly a lot. And there isn't much left in angling that I haven't done that I've wanted to do. The few things left undone have probably been left because they never really interested me much. Getting them over with would be more of a box ticking exercise than a really enjoyable challenge. Sort of like cramming to pass an exam.

One display that did interest me was that from the Anglers National Line Recycling Scheme. Apart from the positive PR the scheme has the potential to generate, it is doing something practical. Being primarily a braid user my line lasts me years, but even braids can be recycled through the scheme. Although they do have to be kept apart from nylon lines.

Notable by their absence this year (not for the first time) was the Angling Trust. Despite their absence they were talked about. Listening to people with their fingers on the political pulse and reading the trade press I am getting the impression that peopel are losing patience with the Angling Trust.

I haven't renewed my membership for a few years now. Since the last time they had a stand at the PAC show in fact. I always used to renew my ACA subs at the show, and continued that with AT. But if they can't be bothered to support a member organisation's annual event then I'm reluctant to give them my money. Especially when I'm not convinced it is being spent wisely or in my interests. I'd be less cynical if I thought those who run the outfit were real anglers, out there week in week out, and not the holiday fishermen they appear to be. A few more coarse and sea anglers in high office would be reassuring too.

The argument for supporting AT because they are 'the only game in town' when it comes to lobbying government or other authorities is wearing thin. In this age electronic communication there are other ways to make a noise that don't involve going through the official channels. And if you can create enough noise in cyberspace you will be listened to. There are other organisations who may be willing to fight the angler's corner too. Time for AT to take a good look at itself. Keep an eye on Catch Cult magazine if you have an interest in the machinations of Angling Trust.

During the aforementioned heatwave I had a freezer malfunction. While it forced me to throw out some ancient pike baits it left the cupboard bare. I must be getting some fishing urges because I have started to restock the deadbait drawer. With a nip in the air some mornings I am starting to envisage a chunky orange float rocking in a gently rippling reflection of golden leaves. But there is this sheep show...