Friday 28 October 2011

Good stuff

Their can hardly be an angler anywhere that doesn't know the name 'Mick Brown, thanks largely to his TV career. However us Pike anglers have known of Mick for a lot longer, I think I first became aware of the name in 1986? with his contribution to “Pike, the predator becomes the prey”. One of the finest Pike books ever written in my opinion. Mick's first book “Practice and the Passion” was a bloody good read and more recently the books he's produced with Fox, although heavy on advertising, contain first class information. We Pikers all know Mick as 'one of us', a pukka Piker and an incredibly successful one at that!

This years PAC convention saw Mick unveil his latest book “Professional Pike angler”. This book was very well received, in fact so much so Mick had sold out by the time I got round to seeing him. Thankfully I received a copy by mail order shortly afterwards so didn't miss out. So far I hadn't heard one single negative comment about the book, many were raving about it so I couldn't wait to dip in.

To put it bluntly I think this is one of the very best books I've read on the subject. I've read it once quickly and it demands to be read again, slowly and thoroughly, some time soon. Mick has put across his thoughts on Pike behaviour, learned from years of experience in all types of water and done so in a way that is easy to read. Unlike some others he is able back up his theories with evidence, observations, facts and photographs. Each chapter the ideas are illustrated through anecdotes; stories of successful days, observations and the thought processes of a successful Piker. I found it fascinating.

There is very little 'technical stuff', for example rigs, descriptions and diagrams are notably absent but as the author says, there are plenty of publications that include these and I was happy to live without them. I was really interested in Mick's thoughts about deadbaits and 'scent trails' as this is something I work on in my own fishing. Livebaiting, prebaiting, trolling, lure fishing, bank fishing and boat fishing, it's all covered in the same depth and in the same way. MB tells us how he thinks the Pike is behaving, why it's behaving that way and his reasons for the theory. With his record, the reader has to take notice. The “Sea Pike” chapter is inspiring, adventurous stuff that really made me want to travel... However, right now fly fishing for Pike isn't something that gets me excited despite Mick's enthusiasm. I wasn't as interested in the media/work side of Mick's fishing career but that's something I don't aspire to anyway.

The book is nicely laid out and is full of photos of Pike of all sizes, one major advantage of Mick's media career is the vast library of pictures he has to choose from. Some of these photos are awe inspiring, others simply stunning and there is literally colour on just about every page. Mick Brown “Professional Pike angler” is a damn good read and is highly recommended. It retails at £28 plus P&P and is available from

While I'm recommending things, an item of kit that no boat angler should be without is the “Sladle” from Eddie Turner Specialist tackle. How do I describe the sladle? It's designed by an experienced boat angler, Simon Lambard. Well it has two adjustable rigid poles that stretch across the boat. Suspended from these is a 'pike friendly' cradle. When I have a Pike in the net I fold it down and place mesh, arms and Pike into the sladle. Now the fish is totally enclosed, suspended above the deck and cannot come to any harm. The fish can then be comfortably unhooked without any chance of it thrashing about on the deck. The sladle can be used as a weigh sling too but I found it a bit cumbersome. This year ETST brought out a separate weigh sling that fits nicely inside the sladle, I drop the landing net straight into this and usually slide the fish out of the net and into the sling. Once the unhooking is done simply zip up the sides and lift the sling containing the Pike out of the sladle for weighing. Finally both sladle and sling are suitable for retaining a Pike for a short while, over the side of the boat, should the need arise.

Imaginative title "Pike in Sladle"

The Sladle is a unique piece of kit in the field of Pike angling or indeed boat angling. It's designed to keep the Pike safe from harm throughout the time it spends out of the water and it does just that. I spend most of my time fishing in a boat, alone and I wouldn't be without a sladle. In fact I'd urge every boat angler to have one, it's in the fish's best interests after all. Available from Eddie Turner specialist tackle.
You guessed it..."Pike in weigh sling, in sladle"