Tuesday, 5 November 2013


OK Pikers! Competition time................Thanks to my pal Jen Whelan; Technical Rep for Montane the UK's No,1 in specialist outdoor clothing and the lovely people at NIKWAX i have some goodies for you to win.
Send me your best photos of you impersonating a preverbial drowned rat whilst out fishing and the best photos will receive the above NIKWAX products to keep you dry on the bank or boat.
Email me at ashcroftmike@hotmail.co.uk or PM on facebook with your entries. Winners to be announced by the end of November and the Photos to appear on here.
For more information on NIKWAX products go to www.nikwax.com
and for information on the full range of specialist outdoor clothing from Montane visit www.montane.co.uk


Sunrise coming up on Lough Derg on a difficult trip.

Neil! this is definately your PB.
 Congratulations to Lisa and Neil! Everybody at Chester Predator Group; all your Northern Monkey mates are so happy for you both.
Jessica Louise Lissaman better than 50lb Pike! You are most definately the cutest thing ever to appear on this blog! Well done you two. I shed a tear when i got the news i am proud to admit.xxx


A lot of so-called waterproof clothing for angling is resistent but hardly waterproof. In recent weeks many of you will have experienced a degree of dampness due to your jackets and suits not keeping the rain out. Much of my purchases over the years have started off reasonably rainproof but after a while they lose their resistence and start letting in the wet. Thanks to my good friend Jen Whelan who is a technical rep for Montane; a specialist UK based high quality outdoor clothing company i have found a solution to your dampness ;-)
Jen has introduced me to products from NIKWAX which will solve the problem. In the photograph are 2 products: 1st is the "wash" that cleans and conditions the fabric of your garment and 2nd is the "wash in" that coats every little fibre with wax protection but still enables it to breathe. So if you have expensive Goretex clothing this is ideal.
NIKWAX products can be found in all good outdoor sports retailers and more information can be found at
www.nikwax.com website.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pre-Season Fun!

Although i don't usually go Pike Fishing during the summer months i broke my rule to have a day out with Buzz & Tanya, Neil & Debbie on a Staffordshire stillwater. The day started with me arriving at the water early to get the 'Wheely Boat' ready for me Buzz & Tanya which wasn't on the slipway as i expected but moored in the middle of the lake with a couple of hundred hardwood decking planks in it. So i enjoyed some morning excercise transferring the planks to another boat and eventually we went fishing.
Tanya took an early fish followed by a few more during the day. I added one to our boats tally but sadly Buzz blanked although he lost a decent fish. Boat comrades on board 'The Voodoo Ted' fishing vessel Neil and Deb managed 5 fish between them too. So honours even.
That Debbie Seddon; the darling of the 88's and the PAC is clearly not content with her fame in the pike fishing world(limelight hog). When i was un-loading the gear from the wheely boat i noticed she was being interviewed yet again. The friends of this lake have a magazine and surprise surprise Deb is going to star in that now. Grrrrrr!
Preparations the night before in the kitchen

nice little jack

buzz looking cool in his shades

a double for the fishing machine called Tanya

Tanya wouldn't let go of that lure rod

nice markings on this jack for Tanya

The Voodoo Ted on a sunny day so deb is out of the cuddy.

New Season only weeks away!

With new season just weeks away no doubt most of you are already making preparations; New braid on your reels? New lures bought? and of course new traces made up meticulously.
I probably have enough lures for 2 lifetimes but there's always something new out there that catches your eye. I have purchased a number of Savage Real Eels recently; these wriggly beauties have plenty of action and are an alternative to Dawgs and from what i hear they are accounting for a lot of fish being caught in recent seasons.
As you can see from these photos i have bought a selection of big grubs from AGM Products(top tip from Noddy). These grubs can be fished on their own with a weighted jig-head or made into a lure with a solid head like i have done. 
I have experimented with recycling some old Fox lures to create my own Hybrids. I have called the bullet headed one 'The Foxy Grub' and the other 2 with diving lips i have honoured my fellow 'Lure Whore' Neil Whitehead aka 'Noddy' by naming them 'The Grubby Noddy'........very apt i feel! There's no Seddon Lure yet Neil! lol.........
These grubs are great value and its fun to experiment and catching a Pike on a homemade lure is extra special. So give it a try!

12 inch Shad un-rigged

Selection of the new rubber

'The Grubby Noddy' in black & silver

New Eels & Replicants

'The Grubby Noddy' in Purple

The 12 inch shad rigged. a grub with jig-head& stinger and the 'The Foxy Grub'

Friday, 24 May 2013

Esox Hoodie!

Saw this and just had to have one!
Made by The Print Biz via their website printbiz.com or find them on Facebook; The Print Biz

Friday, 17 May 2013

BaitBoat & Reels for Sale!

4 Daiwa Infinity 5500br Baitrunners loaded with braid £160 each or £600 for the 4.

Patriot BaitBoat with 6 Batteries and 2 Chargers £170
Contact Jon via e-mail

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A good read!

This week the summer edition of Pikelines arrived through the post. The PAC magazine now under the Editorship of Mr Mark Barrett features Ireland as it's theme; some very good articles! After the political goings on before Christmas and people resigning there is a positive explanation of where the PAC is at right now and peace and harmony looks to have been restored.

Also I have Steve Rowley's excellent e-magazine EsoxWorld13 to catch up on as i haven't had time recently to read it. This is an excellent on-line magazine for those of you that have so far missed it. It is a free download when you register. All the previous 12 issues can be read on-line so if you have missed them don't worry they are there for you to enoy. Fantastic magazine. Excellent work Mr Rowley!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Great work being done by the EA and Angling Trust voluntary Bailiff scheme catching yet more people illegally fishing. Hoping the scheme is extended to the Northwest soon. Stay vigilant my friends and don't hesitiate to phone the EA Hotline number on the front of your licences.

Positive article in today's Angling Times from Ben Miles - anglers, the Environment Agency and Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service all working together to combat poaching, fish theft, illegal close season fishing and rod licence evasion. As they used to say in our Fisheries Enforcement Manager's former profession 'Together we'll crack it'; there's no other way.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Noddy bags another Dawg caught fish!

With the season drawing to a close for me now i still couldn't resist one more trip afloat on a big stillwater with fishing comrade Neil. Last time we visited this large lake the sun was shining and there wasn't a breath of wind. Today was quite the opposite. It started breazy and got worse to the point we called it a day early.
It was the right call as conditions were deteriorating all the time. We battled hard in trying conditions but presenting our trolled baits on electric power was almost impossible and we quickly used up nearly 2 batteries worth of power and casting lures in 2 foot swells was not fun. Neil did manage to hook into a nice long lean fish approx 11lb when there was a lull in the wind. I always enjoy a day out with Neil swapping stories! Squaddies always have great stories and taxi drivers have a few as well. Looking forward now to some tench fishing, summer Zed fishing, Barbel and Chub and who know's what else?
Sunglasses for disguise coz the sun never made an appearence :-)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Volunteer Bailiff Scheme.....

The angling Trust and the Environment Agency recently piloted a Volunteer Bailiff Scheme down south and it has been very succesful. So much so that it is set to go national. I hope many of you local anglers put your names forward when this scheme hits the Northwest. It is very much needed.
Our fisheries have come under increasing attack from poachers who are removing fish for the table illegally; some of them on a commercial scale using nets. A volunteer riverwatch scheme started on the River Mersey in recent months has been a tremendous success and the police and EA officials have caught a number of people guilty of removing fish and fishing out of season.
We need to be vigilant to protect our fisheries. If you see anything on your local waters call the number for the EA on the front of your licences. They will take action.

Friday, 3 May 2013

It ain't just about catching fish!

Some of my friends who are none anglers often question my sanity as i venture out fishing especially during the winter months in sub-zero temperatures, setting off at ungodly hours in the middle of the night.
I love catching fish. I relish the challenge to outwit and capture large wild fish especially the water wolf that can often be a moody mistress. We never stop learning as anglers and we will go to the grave still trying to unravel the mysteries of what lies below the surface of our rivers and lakes. In the past i have been guilty of the naievity of thinking i had certain waters worked out, only for the following winter to be made a fool of. This is part of what keeps us going out season after season.
But what the none angler maybe doesn't appreciate is that it isn't all about the fish..............
Those of you reading this no doubt understand the spiritual gratification of just being close to and even part of nature. I am not a strictly religious man but my church is in the wilderness and the majesty of nature fills me with awe and soothes my soul. Sunrise and sunset and the symphonies of birdsong get me everytime. I will never tire of it........This is a huge part of why i am an angler!
Here are some images that capture what inspires me and they speak louder than words...........
Glacial beauty

River sunrise

Private pool  mid wales

South West France

Masons back in the day!

Large flash

Windy with no wind

Big flash

River sunrise taken by Stu Maddocks.

another great image captured by Stu

Midlands trout water

Midlands trout water

Glacial water North

Glacial lake North


Sunrise on Irish Loughs take your breath away

Stunning water in Cymru

Glacial lake not far

Looks like the sea but is a little lake west of here

South West stillwater

South west stillwater

My temporary home at a Private pool in mid-wales

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

56 Pike in the boat today!

After last week's memorable day catching 31 Pike in a day Steve 'Gulper' Lewis didn't need much persuading to join forces and go back for another bash at this stillwater and WOW! what a day we had!
Conditions were very bright and for the most part of the day the lake was like a preverbial millpond. Not ideal piking conditions and certainly different from the previous week. The Pike fed close to the surface early morning just as they had done the previous week but as soon as the sun got up the bright conditions put the Pike down and baits and lures had to be fished as close to the bottom as we could achieve. Float trolled dead baits and lures scored for us early but we scored more heavily during the middle of the day wobbling small deadbaits down deep almost bottom bouncing. Steve took an early lead and had 8 fish to my 1 but as the day went on i made a miraculous comeback and levelled the score at 22 Pike each and then overtook Steve for just a short time gaining a 4 fish advantage. It was cat and mouse! But in a final flurry Steve took 7 of the final 8 fish that came to the boat. Steve ended the day with 29 Pike and i landed 27; both of us just short of last weeks personal tally of 31. Steve and i have enjoyed many large hauls of Pike over the years as fishing partners but this is a new landmark; Our Best joint tally and one that will be hard to beat in the future. We fished like a machine today. Experienced boat partners know what each needs from the other at any given time without words even being spoken. Steve and i both regularly guide anglers aboard our boats and know the extra work that is often required. Today the anchor never went down once. There was an intensity about our approach. Fish were landed, un-hooked. photographed and released in seconds and all the time the boat kept moving with bait in the water, working, We constantly cross-fired ideas. re-assessed depths, bait, lures and areas to fish. 12 hours of focused Piking and the result 56 beauties!

Here are a selection of photos from today's fun.....................
Breathtaking start in the mist.

I managed one in the mist too.

First light action.

Temperature was -1 degrees celcius when we put the boat on. 1st of May???

Early lure caught fish for Steve.

Fish coming to the boat. Love that mist on the water.

Busy start!

Another early fish for Steve.

Relaxed, wrapped up waiting for the next run. :-)

This pike had lost a bit of tail at some time in it's life.

Mist is burning off and Steve is still landing Pike

Squinting in the sunlight. I can't tell you how nice it felt when that sun popped over the mountains.

Nicely marked Jack,

Nice long fish in the early morning sunshine.

Super Fish!

and another........................

Another Jack to a Bulldawg.

Sun is up. Time for the Hat!

and another...........

and another...............

These last 3 fish came in 3 casts!

Double hook up! Steve looking Happy. Pike-tastic!

Stunning Jack. I love the different markings on Pike.

A better one!

Jack to a wobbled roach!

The day has become tropical but still the pike keep coming.

Steve having a well earned sandwich. Chicken, Bacon and mushroom. mmmmmmmmm'

Bit of cloud helping a bit but still scorching.

still barely a ripple but the pike still feeding.

Another hard fighting fish.

Sunglasses on; Good practice for Spanish Safari pike fishing Steve!

Another hard fighting nicely marked fish.

and another...............

and another..................

Really pretty fish this one.................

Steve keeps em coming!

Nice looking chunky jack.

and Steve keeps catching.......Pike catching machine

Hard fighter with very few speckles.

Stunning fish.

A spotty one...no not me!

and another.............

Mill pond piking....another beautiful fish for Steve!

absolute cracker!

and another ...................

and another..........

and yes another one........he's getting on my nerves now lol

oh and  one for me :-)

and a nice one for me 13lb'er

and another.....i am making a comeback!

and another super fish for Steve