Pike Fishing – The 2011 Broadland Pike Conference
FishingMagic’s Assistant Editor Mark Barrett reports back from the second annual Broadland Pike Conference.
Last Sunday saw the staging of the second annual Broadland Pike Convention, held at Sewell Park College in Norwich. When you think pike in this country there are probably two areas that immediately spring to mind; I am lucky enough to live in one of them, the Fens, and doubly lucky enough to regularly visit the other – the Broads.
The pike of Broadland hold an almost mythical reverence to UK pike anglers as there is nowhere that has produced as big a pike as the Broads that isn’t a trout water. However all is not well in the land of quiet waters and reeds that seemingly stretch forever. The hustle and bustle of modern day life has intruded and the Broadland pike population has been on the receiving end. Dredging, otters, poor angling practice from visiting anglers and the dreaded Prymnesium, a disease forever linked to the system, have all taken their toll and now the Broads are a shadow of their former self.
Step forward the Norwich and District Pike Club and the Norwich branch of the Pike Anglers’ Club. Under the leadership of local organiser John Currie the clubs got together to get the pike and the pike anglers of the region better representation at a local level.
To that end last year saw the inaugural conference and over 300 pikers from all over the country came to offer their support. From that one conference a lot of plans were put into place and these guys are an object lesson in how to engage in getting things done.
Taking pride of place outside the entrance doors was a brand new ‘wheelie boat’ that is open to all lesser-bodied anglers to hire for a nominal fee thus opening up access to the Broads to the disabled or infirm. The boat cost over £15,000 and was bought in conjunction with the EA and the Broads Angling Strategy Group and is a shining example of what can be done when anglers work together.
It didn’t stop there though as you couldn’t help but notice the two guys walking round filming events and interviewing the luminaries attending. The purpose of their filming was to get a DVD together showing the basics of pike angling, the idea being to distribute a free DVD to all the local angling clubs, tackle shops and boat hirers. It’s certainly an ambitious project and one again that has been possible thanks to the EA who have forwarded a grant for some of the cost, the rest being raised by the club through events such as the conference.
So what of the day itself?
Well, the first thing that struck you was the variety of trade stands that were there; not only could you stock up on the essentials from the likes of Eddie Turner Tackle but also if you really wanted to hammer the plastic you could have ordered a tailor made Seastrike aluminium piking boat along with engine and trailer!
Alongside these sat the book stands and pike fishing books have become more and more popular in recent years and numbers of new titles have been published in recent years to slake the thirst of any armchair piker. Steve Harper Fine Books was the man to visit and I managed to buttonhole Steve for an interview that will appear on FishingMagic in the next few days, as not only has he started up his own company producing fishing books, but he has also been a driving force within this new movement.
In short order the first of the speakers for the day began and Fenland zander legend Steve Younger kept the 200 strong crowd entertained with stories from alligator gar fishing in Texas to zander on the Fens.
Steve was followed onto the stage by Graham Booth, author of the forthcoming History of Pike Fishing book, and he transported us back into the history of piking, including secret societies and museum back rooms. If the book is half as interesting as the talk it should be a cracker.
Further talks were conducted by Eddie Turner who looked at life as only Ed can, then Bill Palmer and Neville Fickling before what to me was the highlight of the day - the pike panel. This consisted of anglers with a wealth of Broads experience – Martyn Page, Steve Harper, Neville Fickling, Eddie Turner and Graham Booth, plus the local representative for the Angling Trust.
Topics were wide and varied and on several occasions a show of hands was asked for in regards of taking the feelings of the room on such subjects as a ban on piking before 1st October and re-stocking parts of the Broads with pike were it was deemed necessary.
The day ended at 5pm with the customary raffle and a couple of hundred pike anglers wound their way home, full of ideas for the new season and bulging with new purchases and slimmer wallets. The day was deemed a big success and most of the anglers that I spoke to are hoping that there will be another conference next year when, hopefully, the DVD will be available.
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight