Professor Barrie Rickards is President of the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) and President of the Lure Angling Society (LAS), as well as a very experienced and successful specialist angler with a considerable tally of big fish to his credit.

He is author of several fishing books, including the classic work ‘Fishing For Big Pike’, co-authored with the late Ray Webb and only recently his first novel, ‘Fishers On The Green Roads’ was published. He has been an angling writer in newspapers and magazines for nigh on four decades. Barrie takes a keen interest in angling politics.

Away from angling Barrie is a Professor in Palaeontology at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Emmanuel College and a curator of the Sedgwick Museum of Geology.


I’ve just been reading an excellent article on pike, in Angling Times, by Mark Marsland of Castaway Tackle. There are a few points I’d like to pick up on and run by you. On traces he says “Use a long trace, especially over weed, as this will allow the bait to sit on the weed and act more naturally.” He’s talking traces up to five feet long. I’m not sure I understand this but would, anyway, make the point that even when deadbaiting TWO shorter traces are safer for the pike. You need the hook trace (say 12 inches) and an up-trace (say 18 inches).

Mark uses single hooks (size 4) which I don’t have a problem with, but he is uneasy about using size 8s. I guess he’s talking about single hooks here too, although it’s none too clear. I use size 8 and 6 trebles. I can see that a size 8 single might give hooking worries. He also advises, “Never, ever strike”. Then proceeds to give a clear account of what most of us would regard as a strike.

Sod the European Directives

In a recent article, Keith Arthur, dealing with the EU directive to declare the biomass figures for our freshwaters, says, and I quote: “sod the European directives.” He is absolutely right about this. Here we have a recently issued directive (though you will recall that I warned you about it some months ago) that the E.A. is moving Heaven and Earth, at great speed, to comply. Can you imagine that other countries will be doing the same and at the same speed? Of course they won’t. The French will just say “Qui, c’est bon id