Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bridgewater Canal fish-in 15/11/09.

For several years now Geoff Gauton has arranged an annual 'Pike Fishing for Beginners' event in conjunction with Warrington Anglers Association. This provides an opportunity for those who are new to the sport to spend some time fishing with our members. We take the view that pike conservation is far better served by helping beginners ensure that they are using safe rigs and have the means to unhook and return pike safely, than it would be to leave them to their own devices.

This season's event on the Bridgewater Canal was a great success, with nine PAC members and eleven Warrington AA members taking part. There were two pike of 13 lbs. caught, along with three more fish around the 7 lb. mark; all taken on deadbaits. Yours truly weighed in with another three jacks, all taken on Salmo Slider jerkbaits.

The real success of the event is perhaps best measured by the extent to which it helped those who were new to pike angling. Warrington AA member Gary Poulter brought his sons Chris and Tim to the fish-in and, a week later, I was delighted to receive an e-mail from him reporting that Tim had now caught his first pike. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and the smile on Tim's face really says it all. Very well done Tim.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Canal specimen for Peter

Canals can often be a daunting prospect, with mile after mile of murky water and relatively little in the way of features. However, the rewards are there if you are prepared to make the effort, as Peter Mancey shows with this well deserved specimen from a canal in the Cheshire area. Well done Peter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fish-ins 2009 / 10 Season (update)

The season's first fish-in on the River Weaver produced 2 pike for Dan Crowe (caught on popped up dead roach) and 1 for Mark Leathwood who also caught a nice bonus perch (both fish on livebaits). None of the pike were monsters unfortunately. Andy Bates, Neil Shortland and Mark Johnson also fished but the conditions on the day were pretty bad with a strong south easterly wind howling downstream. The river never seems to fish well when this happens. Excuses, excuses ...

I can now confirm that the joint fish-in with R.A.31 will be at Tatton Park on Sunday 27th December 2009. There is a peg fee of £5.00 per angler and places are limited. Please contact me a.s.a.p. to reserve your peg.

According to Gary Knowles these events were "never much of a match" as the old St. Helens Region always used to kick our behinds. Come on Cheshire Region members, that sounds like a challenge ...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More details for this season now confirmed

I can now confirm that the fish-in for members on Petty Pool will take place on Sunday 29th November 2009. Please contact me to reserve your place as pegs are limited.

I am also delighted to report that Gary Knowles and John Milford have agreed to do talks and slideshows for us. Gary is a very accomplished all round specimen angler, based in the North West. He will be giving us a valuable insight into how he targets big pike, perch and eels. John is a past chairman of both PAC and the Lure Anglers Society, now based in Derbyshire. He has been at the forefront of lure angling in the UK for more than 25 years and has enjoyed great success in targeting a variety of species.

Finally, the joint fish-in with our friends from PAC's South Lancs. Region looks set to take place at Tatton Park sometime between Christmas and New Year. I will post the exact date as soon as this is confirmed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Melchett Mere

For a number of years I have been aware that The Builder’s Arms Angling Club, based in Knutsford, holds a couple of pike fishing matches annually on Melchett Mere which is a small water on the Tatton Park Estate.

During the summer I decided to contact the Tatton Park Estate with a view to trying to gain an additional day’s pike fishing on Melchett Mere for members of PAC's Cheshire Region.

Initially I made contact by telephone and was advised that the venue was a S.S.S.I. and that limited pike fishing was only allowed as a means of gauging the overall health and population of the fish stocks; pike being an ‘indicator species’ because of their role within the overall ecology of the Mere.

On August 17th 2009 I wrote to Simon Jones, the ranger at Tatton Park, acknowledging the conditions which I had been advised of, and requesting consideration be given to allowing a single day’s fishing for our members on Melchett Mere.

In his reply, dated August 28th, Simon stated:

Unfortunately it is impossible, due to the constraints laid down by English Nature, to allow more than two matches per year on the water”.

He went on to add:

The matches that are held are only allowed as they are open qualifying matches for the British Pike Fishing Championships, and this is the only reason they have taken place for the last twenty years plus”. Simon suggested that I “contact Mr. S. Buckley at The Builder’s Arms to gain places on these qualifying matches”.

I was rather surprised by this response because, to the best of my knowledge, open qualifying events for the British Pike Championships are always advertised in the angling press and I had never seen Melchett Mere listed as one of the venues.

The British Pike Championships are now run under the auspices of the Angling Trust, and so I checked the full list of qualifying matches on their website. The Builder’s Arms’ matches were simply not listed.

I contacted Sandra Drew, the Events and Competitions Manager at the Angling Trust, who said

"I do not know of any qualifiers that are held on that particular venue unless it is coming under a different venue name that we hold or are aware of.

... (the) Angling Trust must know about (qualifiers) as they are managed by us and any funds raised have to be returned to AT by the local organizers, who we have details of".

I replied to Simon on September 21st, pointing out my suspicions and questioning how The Builder’s Arms’ matches could possibly be “open qualifiers” if they were not advertised as such, along with all the similar events which were taking place around the country.

I suggested that, if only two days pike fishing were allowed on the venue, then a compromise might be reached by allowing Cheshire Region PAC one day and The Builder's Arms the other.

Simon’s response to this, in a letter dated 6th October, has been to put a stop to all pike fishing on Melchett Mere whilst the situation is reviewed.

I understand The Builders Arms A.C. have been advised of this and, subsequently I have been on the receiving end of some fairly hostile criticism. Let me make a few things clear:

My only agenda has been to try and secure Cheshire Region PAC one day’s fishing on Melchett Mere in future years. I have no interest in the British Pike Championships, or in pike matches in general.

The decision to stop pike fishing on Melchett Mere seems to have been made because the management of the Tatton Estate were under the impression that the matches which were being run were open qualifiers for the British Pike Championships. Clearly there is now a question mark over that.

I have now been told that the Builders Arms A.C. didn't advertise their matches for the following reasons:
  • Advertising produces too many applications.
  • The venue is subject to a publicity ban.
How you can run an 'open' match without making its existence known to the general public is a mystery to me. Publicity bans in angling normally relate to the publication of catches; not to the publication of open match dates.

The pike fishing has now been stopped, not because of anything that I have said or done, but because the Builders Arms A.C. clearly wasn't running the matches in accordance with the wishes of the Tatton Park Estate management. That is the Builders Arms A.C.'s fault, not mine !

In his letter Simon Jones did say that the situation would be reviewed, and I would suggest that the way forward is to negotiate some kind of compromise which allows fairer access to Melchett Mere for all pike anglers.

Membership of PAC is open to everyone, including members of the Builders Arms A.C. and I sincerely hope that, in due course, everyone will have an equal opportunity to enjoy a day’s pike fishing at Melchett Mere.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Regional Organizer and Treasurer

Due to increased work commitments Andy and Carol Bates have stepped down from their roles as R.O. and Treasurer respectively, although they will continue to attend our meetings. As a mark of our appreciation for their efforts on behalf of the Cheshire Region there will be presentation to Andy and Carol at our meeting on Thursday 8th October. It should be a good night as we look forward to a talk from Gord Burton on his recent muskie fishing trip to Lake of The Woods in Canada.

I am very grateful to Neil Shortland who has kindly agreed to take over as Treasurer. Neil and I served on the PAC committee together some years ago and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with him again.

Neil is one of PAC’s unsung heroes. He is a quiet man, who has never sought the limelight, yet whilst on the committee he did a great deal of work behind the scenes, as well as looking after the Club’s finances, which is a big enough job in itself. Neil is an experienced and accomplished pike angler and a real asset to the Cheshire Region.

I must admit that when I received word from Mark Johnson (L.O.) that he was on the look-out for a new R.O. for the Cheshire Region, I was delighted to have the chance to try and take us forward again.

For those who don’t know me, I have been a member of PAC for about 16 years now. My wife Vicky and I joined the Cheshire Region in the early 90’s when Neil Wheater was R.O. and the meetings were held at the ‘Nag’s Head’ in Macclesfield. We were quite new to pike fishing at the time. In fact we were both still chasing our first double figure fish.

Thanks to the help and encouragement we received from those we met at the R.A.9 meetings our results soon showed a marked improvement. In fact, Vicky’s first ‘double’ weighed 20 lbs. 4 oz. and we quickly began to feel like proper pike anglers.

However, catching bigger fish wasn’t the only benefit which came our way as a result of going to the meetings. Just as importantly we made some really good friends, and learned something about the methods they were using and the waters they were fishing. There was none of the secrecy or jealousy which occasionally casts a shadow over other branches specialist angling. Just a healthy respect for others and genuine delight when they enjoyed a good catch. How refreshing !

After a couple of years I became joint R.O. and began to produce a monthly newsletter whilst Vicky took on the role of Treasurer. We had some wonderful times with the Cheshire Region and made lots of really good friends, not just in Cheshire but throughout the country. Happy days indeed.

When the opportunity came we were both very honoured to serve on PAC’s North West Committee as Secretary and Products Manager respectively. Subsequently I served briefly as PAC’s Liaison Officer for the North West and later as Membership Secretary with the Specialist Anglers Alliance (now part of the Angling Trust of course). I am now a committee member with Northwich Anglers Association.

Despite being semi-retired, I still don’t get as much time to go fishing as I would like. My work with NAA keeps me busy and I also teach guitar on a part-time basis. Now and again I’ll fish for perch, but pike fishing is as much a passion for me now as it ever was. I tend to fish close to home these days and particularly enjoy roving the banks with a selection of lures. However, that hasn’t always been the case ...

I’m going to present a slide show at our first meeting on September 10th, so I won’t say any more about my fishing here. There will also be plenty of time to catch up with old friends and make new ones during the evening.

In closing, I would like to say a special thank you to Mark Johnson for his help and support over the last couple of months. It’s been a bit of rush getting things ready for this season but, between us, I think we’ve just about got there.

We are standing on the threshold of a new and exciting era for the Cheshire Region. We could, and should, be one of the strongest and most active PAC Regional Associations in the country. Please come along and be a part of it.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Mark Leathwood

Fish-ins 2009 / 10 Season

i) River Weaver, Sun. 25th Oct. 2009.

Our first fish-in of the season will be on the River Weaver at Vale Royal. I have booked 15 pegs along a stretch known as ‘The Arches’, although we can have more pegs if we need them.

This is a really interesting part of the river. The pegs at the top of the stretch are on the old part of the Weaver and face Hulse’s Island. About half way down, the old river meets the Weaver Navigation just downstream of Vale Royal Locks.

As far as the fishing is concerned, this is a good area for pike and for specimen perch. At the end of last season it produced a very large pike (I’ve seen the photo) and perch over 3 lbs. My son Joe caught a 22 lb. pike on a lure (8” Fox Replicant) in this area last December. The most productive deadbait on the river tends to be smelt. You may use up to six small fish as livebait providing they are caught from your peg at the beginning of the session, and any which remain unused are returned at the end.

stop press: I had a day's fishing on this stretch yesterday (Sept. 5th) and caught a pike of 14 lbs. 10 oz. on a roach livebait (pictured above). Joe added a second fish of 9 lbs. 8 oz. on a legered deadbait.

Northwich Anglers Association rules will apply.

ii) Bridgewater Canal, Warrington. Sun. 15th Nov. 2009.

Our fish-in on the Bridgewater Canal has become an annual event, kindly arranged for us by former R.O. Geoff Gauton. The fish-in is run jointly with Warrington Anglers Association as an 'Introduction to pike fishing' day for their members, consequently you might be asked to take a novice pike angler under your wing for a few hours. The fish-in will be held on the Star Lane stretch of the canal, but there will be plenty of scope for those who wish to rove further afield.

ii) Petty Pool, Sun. 29th Nov. 2009.

Petty Pool is a 12 acre still water between Whitegate and Sandiway known primarily for its big carp and bream, although silver fish and pike are present also. There are 14 stages which are all fairly close together, which makes this a good venue from a social point of view. The pike are plentiful, though the larger ones are very elusive. Expect plenty of runs and fish up to 10 or 12 lbs. Again, you may use livebaits; with the same conditions as on the River Weaver. Please note that the date for this fish-in is still to be confirmed.

Northwich Anglers Association rules will apply.

Still to be arranged, we will be having a day's friendly competition with our near neighbours from PAC's South Lancs. Region. I am currently looking at a couple of possible venues and dates and will confirm the details soon.

Please note that only paid up PAC members will be allowed to attend the Fish-ins. This is because non members, and those who have allowed their PAC membership to lapse, are not covered by our third party liability insurance.

If you wish to take part in either the River Weaver or the Petty Pool fish-in you must book in advance as peg numbers are limited.

There is a standard charge of £3.50 per member for each of the fish-ins. I will supply maps and directions to those who need them.

Programme Of Events 2009 / 10 Season

Meetings will be held at the R.A.O.B. Club in Northwich on the second Thursday of each month at 8.00 pm:

Thurs 10th Sept: Mark Leathwood, PAC ‘Pike Angler of the Year 2009’ and new Cheshire R.O.

Sat. 26th Sept: PAC Convention, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

Thurs. 8th Oct: Gord Burton, ‘Lake Of The Woods Muskie Trip 2009’.

Sun. 25th Oct: Fish-in; River Weaver at Vale Royal.

Thurs 12th Nov: Mark Green, R.O. Selby Region (R.A.40).

Sun. 15th Nov: Fish-in; Bridgewater Canal, Star Lane, Warrington.

Sun 29th Nov: Fish-in; Petty Pool, Whitegate.

Thurs 10th Dec: Jon Neafcy, R.O. South Lancs. Region (R.A.31).

Dec./Jan: Regional Fish-in (R.A.9 / R.A.31 challenge cup), Tatton Park (to be confirmed).

Thurs 14th Jan: Gary Knowles, North West specimen hunter.

Thurs 11th Feb: Graham Slater, PAC Secretary and ‘Pike Angler of the Year 2008’.

Thurs 11th Mar: John Milford, former chairman of both PAC and the Lure Anglers Society.

Thurs 8th April: Celebrity Mystery Guest (exclusive to the Cheshire Region this year).

Thurs 13th May: Annual General Meeting / Social Night.

In order to cover our costs there will be a standard admission charge of £2.50 at all meetings. Only paid up PAC members will be entitled to attend fish-ins, all of which have a peg fee of £3.50.

Non members are welcome to attend our monthly meetings; the price of admission is £4.00.

In order to try and boost numbers at our meetings non members will be made welcome too, so please try and introduce a friend to PAC this season.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A new venue, a new era.

The Cheshire Region now has a new venue for its monthly meetings; the R.A.O.B. Club in Northwich town centre. This is a private members club, where we will have the use of a first floor function room with its own private bar.

The venue is somewhat larger than our previous home, 'The Whipping Stocks' near Knutsford, and presents us with a fantastic opportunity to build for the future. Northwich is central to the county of Cheshire and the location of the R.A.O.B. Club is easily accessible by car or by public transport.

The Club is situated on Witton Walk (the pedestrianised area of the town centre), directly behind Northwich Police Station. There is ample free parking across the road from the Police Station and, for those of you with sat-nav, the Club's post code is CW9 5AG.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Welcome to our new blog. Over the coming weeks I will be adding details of our planned activities for the coming season. Please bookmark this page and visit us again soon.