Barrie - devil, or devil's advocate?


Mark Williams

I must say I think Barrie Rickards is playing games with us when he takes people to task for using barbless single hooks when predator fishing. I've watched people unhooking pike from barbed trebles - clueless, the pike thrashing in the gravel, bleeding, until they give up and put it back hooks still in. That's why pike and zander - very fragile fish - get killed when caught. It's just that they're over-handled.
Using two trebles sometimes results in the loose hook going into an eyeball - it's happened to me two or three times - in 30 years. Probably about the same risk as a barbless single piercing a pike's heart, which is about the size of your thumbnail. But I don't hear Barrie campaigning for the end of 'snap' tackles. Going barbless - for the average guy - saves more fish than it kills.
As for Matt earning ?400 a day for tuition, good luck to him. There are plenty of guides charging less, so the punter can decide. But at that rate, Matt could feasibly earn himself ?85k a year from guiding - If Matt's earning that, I'm in the wrong job, and so, I suspect, is Barrie. So don't try to tell us it's not a lot of money.

Les Clark

Mark,I see what your saying, but"the pike thrashing in the gravel" is not down to treble hook`s,barbed or barbless,firstly the pike should be on a unhooking mat,secondly,it should`nt be thrashing about,thirdly,the "pike angler" should`nt be pike fishing,becouse he`s no pike angler,he`s a waste of space.
I totaly agree about the price of guides,as ive said on Lisa`s tread,?400 is a week`s wages for me,and it`s not a job I enjoy.

Gerry Castles

I don't seriously believe that any one style of hook is better for a pike's health than any other. Whether it's trebles, doubles, singles, circles, barbed or barbless, they all have a place in piking.
I use a mixture of barbed and barbless trebles for lure and bait fishing, trebles, doubles and singles for lure fishing and barbed and barbless circles for flyfishing.
Ultimately they all make a hole in a fishes mouth and they all cause either pain or discomfort depending on which 'latest report on whether fish feel pain' you happen to read. No hook is a good hook if you're very concerned about a fishes health. If you like piking go fishing, if you just like pike then don't. Somebody else said that, can't remember who, might have been Dave Lumb.
On the question of Matt Hayes and what he charges for a days guided fishing (its' actually ?450,)from what I've seen of his exploits I don't think he's worth it. I could have nearly a week on the Broads with Charlie for that, a much better deal. But I accept that there are people out there with more money than sense who will pay that kind of money and I wouldn't deny Matt Hayes the right to take their money.
As for Barrie Rickards, whilst every predator angler in the country probably owes him a debt of gratitude for helping us to understand more about the fish we catch and developing new and challenging ways to catch them, his views nevertheless are not tablets of stone and you should temper his ideas with your own experiences and only then accept or reject what he has to say.

Bruce Kerby

Well-known member
The club i belong to has a rule where as you cant fish for pike regardless of age or experience untill you have turned up for a pike teach in and get your permit stamped,i know what a lot of fishermen are now thinking ,ive fished for pike since i was a kid etc,etc what can it teach me and i was the same but not all of us treat fish as we should and i for one think it would be a good idea if a lot more clubs adopted this idea to safeguard thier pike stocks.As for Barrie....bloody nice bloke.


85k aint a lot,my mate david earns that a week for a couple of 90min periods.


Managing Editor
It's the old, old story again, just the same as the price of fishing tackle. People will charge what they think they can get.

Would you sell anything for ?50.00 to Mr X if Mr Y offered you a hundred?

Do you blame Matt Hayes for charging ?450.00 if there are people willing to pay it? Or do you think he should half that at least and devalue himself?

Get real. That's life.

Stuart Bullard

Guest about earning yourself a tenner then Graham? I could do with a days tuition!

Anyway - at ?450 per day, assuming he does 220 days, which he would never do anyway, earns him max ?99k.

That wouldn't buy you enough mortgage to get a flat in the south east!

Its as Graham says, its down to the person buying to judge value. It would soon go down if he wasn't getting booked. Good luck to him.

daren heslop

New member
Anyone who wants some tuition on pike angling can get it free from the pac.The only fella i would consider paying is gord burton and that would be for his entertainment value.Matt hayes is probably a good angler, im not sure.I think most would pay just to say they had fished with him.If matts worth ?400 Barrie must be worth a grand.
The hyped name in pike fishing at the moment is dave kellbrick with his ten years of Exclusive lure fishing(fox catalogue)I can call on fellas with twenty plus.Has anyone else bought some of his lures.Oh dear.If you buy the crankbaits,buy some epoxy and get your drill out.


Managing Editor
Stuart, my 'fee' must have gone up then. The last time I gave you some tuition it was FOC.............
"Get a grip" - It is disappointing to witness this bickering about fees, who earns what, and are they worth it etc. The bottom-line is that someone is willing to pay that amount and someone else is able to provide a 'service' for it at an agreed price. If we could all do this, we would do so, and if we can do it but choose not to, then we should 'zip-it'and accept our lot. The point here is that some people make a good living out of fishing and others, who are proportionate in their passion, do not - what is common is that we love our fishing!

Now, on this matter, internal fighting will leave us extremely exposed to any strategies designed to undo us - the anti-fishing lobby. You only had to have caught a sniff of the dispicable acts of the Minister for Rural Affairs this week to see how vulnerable we are to changing tides without consultation. This is not a comment on fox-hunting, this is a comment on the 'threat'. This Government will utilise what they describe as incremental change to achieve 'soft vote' winning manifestos. If the pressure gets too much from the antis, they will 'bend'; one bend is the enforcement of a fish bait ban on certain waters, the next is a ban on barbed hooks, the next is a ban on line that does not rot, the next is a ban on certain equipment, the next is delegating authority for environmental issues to devolved water regulatory authorities so they can determine the rules for their local areas (early warning, they will seek advice from organisations like the RSPB and RSPCA - who I believe are misguided about fishing, not to say that the other work they do is not commendable)

In order to counter the leviathan that we face, we must at least be together about our passion, sniping at each other plays right into the hands of our (let's face it) enemies. Get a grip, agree to disagree. Think about what you are about to write and what techniques you use; is there a risk here? Can I word this in a more positive way? This is not to say that we should not highlight bad anglers for what they are - to coin a choice phrase from an earlier thread "a waste of space".

Be content that people can make a living in something they enjoy, and be grateful you can enjoy the sport fishing provides.


Chris Bishop

I agree with the guides bit, economics of the market place and all that.

Don't agree with this idea we're next in line etc.

Hunting's been on the ropes for years and rightly so in many ways. The more we ally ourselves with it, the thinner the ice we're walking on.

Martin Salter MP, one of angling's staunchest supporters in th House of Commons, has th right idea.

We should be building bridges with the environmental movement and organisations like Friends of the Earth, because at the end of the day we've got far more in common with what they stand for than the hunters.

Where we go wrong is we're rubbish at PR and frequently come across as a bunch of oafs in the non-fishing media.

We need an organisation which can promote angling and all its benefits for the environment.

As regards the lakes livebaiting thing, the die was cast before the consultation period even started.

The Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review, which was largely spurned by anglers, examined the issue of vulnerable ecosystems/species in some depth and conluded livebaiting bans were a way of preventing fish transfers - we missed our chance to challenge this and the Cumbrian thing just rubber stamped it.

It's got nothing to do with an incremental ban, I really think we need to move on from the hunting debate. It's going to be banned and it's down to us to show how and why angling's not a bloodsport.
In response to Chris.
Totally agree, it is time for us to move on, although the comment was not about Hunting (I was explicit about this), it was about our ability to organise ourselves against the 'threat'.

We should be wary of incremental, step changes that seek to marginalise our sport (not necessarially a ban) and put us out of action through restrictive policies; sometimes by accident, but lobbyists will seek these policies out, join them up, and expolit opportunities whereas we seem to be always on the 'back-foot' and ill prepared for the engagements we face. As a point of observation, incremental step change is the underlying principle of governemnt strategy and policy delivery.

Fishing would have failed the so called 'cruelty test' for example if certain academic findings were found more pallatable than others. Our PR is poor/bad because we are oafish ('scuse the pun!), and we are disorganised and dislocated with one another - we do need a common voice, and if we cannot agree on that, we need a common approach at the very least. Question is who is going to facilitate this coordination? For my own perspective, Professor Rickards is a heavyweight both in terms of experience, intellect and standing. Martin Salter MP is also another exemplar, but we need to feed him ahead of the threat. I think our ?3bn industry could support two people at least, don't you?

For my part, we are speaking from a position of knowledge of how these policies develop, and where they develop - often ahead of MP's involvement, which is often after the white papers have been delivered.

My earlier thread was about organising ourselves against the 'threat', it was not about hunting with dogs, and it is disappointing we have gone back to that. We are not interested in us and them, we are interested in fishing and by that I include Game fishing too.

Chris's comments on the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review underline my own concern at how distracted we are with these things, and how off the ball our Ministers are with information to stand up for us - this is our fault. I do not believe that bridges with Friends of the Earth and such organisations is the next best step, although I would not dispute it being a step, our best bridges are in Parliament through our MP's - enabling them to speak up from an advised point of view.

Any views on a common letter to be published on FishingMagic that can be printed off and sent to your local MP? It would be useful to get support from ALL of the Angling bodies for this. A heap of questions would need to be answered first - what should it say, what is our concern, what do we want assurances of, when do we want them etc.

Food for thought - is this debate open?


Chris Bishop

Where we fall down is no organisation appears to monitor the media, or have any grip on the news agenda and the ability to put our point across.

It's easier than ever these days, yet the country's biggest participant sport remains in the dark ages.

Angling is at the forefront of a great many environmental issues and we should be in the driving seat.
Hear Hear Chris!

SO what do you think about the common letter? For my money action speaks louder than words, and we should act sooner (before a problem) and not after the fact as we so often do.

Graham Whatmore

Senior Member
Conrad and Chris. You both talk a lot of sense and have a good objective so why don't you, along with others who are equally as good at putting the anglers views over, get together. I often listen to Keith Arthur on talksport and he's certainly very knowledgeable on angling issues and would be a sure candidate. A bonus is, he's a known face on TV even to non anglers.

The good points about angling and anglers only ever seems to be put to other anglers and not to the general public and it needs a group of sensible people to do this.

As for Martin Salter, I don't trust an MP enough to back us in the face government/public pressure, their track record is not good

Mark Williams

Chris has a point, but only if you take the view that hunting hasn't got any environmental credentials - it has. The byproduct of preserving fox covert is plenty of song birds. Woodland earns its keep by preserving game of all kinds, and would be wide open to logging if it weren't.
The problem is that Chris has logic on his side - and logic is not a great weapon these days against doctrine. PETA would like to see the planet go veggy and every animal protected. They don't give a moneky's for your logic.
All - thank you for your comments, they are at least encouraging and this in itself is positive. We have identified that a common voice may not be an easy thing to coordinate across the fishing media, but that a common approach (such as letter to MP/Ministers)is less difficult and a potential quick win. I welcome the direction here and aim to pursue the matter further. Meanwhile good PR does not stop!