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.