Monday, 9 April 2012

Northern Soul - Pete Foster

Hello Pete, thanks for talking to the Pool, can you tell the Pool Siders a little bit about yourself?

Pete: I'm 46, live in Sheffield, married with one son, a Border Terrier and I sell bearings and other engineering products for a crust. When I'm not fishing, I love reading (mostly about WW2 not fishing), or anything to do with History or archaeology. I also enjoy working my Terrier Jaz as often as I can.

MH How long have you fished? And when did you first fish for Pike?

Pete: I have fished non-stop since I was 7 years old only slowing briefly once I discovered why girls have lumps and bumps and that beer made you feel happy. As a kid I could only fish what was local to me, which meant a stream containing little Brownies and an old Mill pond for Roach, Perch and the odd Tench. I never ventured further afield except on special occasions a couple of times a year with an Uncle who also fished. After passing my driving test there was no stopping me. Pike were always just a dream and they were the fish I most wanted to catch more than any other. I caught my first Pike in 1985 from Dam Flask on a live Perch fished under a bung, it weighed 8.08lb.
MH You’re a family man, how often do you fish?
Pete: I feel guilty typing this. In the Pike season (October to March for me) I will fish every Saturday and Sunday plus a couple of after work sessions per week. During the rest of the year, I will be fishing Friday night till Sunday dinner time but only the odd mid-week session. Oh, holidays too. In my defence, I have been the same since I met my wife and she expects nothing less. It is a selfish pastime when you take it seriously.

MH Who is your ideal boat partner? This could be a mate, a hero, crumpet or all three.

Pete: Andy Gregg, because he will cry if I said someone else (and he can be a right miserable git), Bernard Venables was my childhood hero so that's easy, but give me Anna Friel in a camo thong and I'd chuck the other two overboard.

MH Many of us have seen your impressive photos of big Carp/Tench/Bream etc. on the forums. Are you a Piker first & foremost or do you consider yourself an all-rounder?
Pete: I have always described myself as a Piker who fishes for other species in the Spring and Summer. I suppose that makes me an all-rounder but Pike are my favourite fish when I can target them at a size that interests me. I would rather catch a 4lb Perch than a 15lb Pike if you know what I mean? Some will possibly conceive that as elitist but that's just how I am, I need to be focussed with a target to aim for. I think this is why I have fished so many hard waters over the years, costing myself loads of 20's I could have been catching elsewhere in the process, sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn't.

MH What is your favourite fish other than Pike?

Pete: I don't think I have one really? If they are big and interesting to fish for, then I will enjoy it. I love my Carp fishing though, I find them a challenge on the type of waters I have targeted them on. You can't just turn up, stick on a dead fish and hurl it out, it takes a lot of thought and skill to do it with any degree of success. Barbel bore me rigid, thick as two short planks.

MH You’ve mentioned Perch, do you fish for any other predators?

Pete: It's Perch from when I stop Piking till they spawn. Cat's on and off during the Summer as it takes my fancy and the odd trip for Zander in the Fen's or on the Trent now they are getting larger.

MH Do you think targeting a variety of species through the year helps your Pike fishing? For example does that Carp fishing ‘mentality’ help when fishing for Pike on the hard waters you mention?

Pete: At the start of every Pike season I am up for it and ready for a change, and when March comes around I can't wait to cut the traces off and fish for something other than Pike. A change is as good as a rest, eh? In that way I think it helps to stop me going stale and Oct 1st becomes my June 16th of old. I think my Pike fishing 'mentality' helps me to fish the harder Carp waters, because I am more prepared to fish a protracted campaign after a big Pike than a Carp. By a hard water, I mean getting one run in two Winters, then four fish in the third Winter. I can't explain it, but I do enjoy this type of water.

MH I really get the hard water thing but one run in two winters? I don’t think I’ve ever fished anywhere that hard!. I get the impression you’re a travelling angler, on average, how far do you travel for a days fishing?

Pete: The furthest has got to be Chew, 396 miles there and back for a single days Piking. Most of my Cambridge and Norfolk Piking in the Fen's is over 120 miles away. I class anything under 50 miles as local. Most of my other fishing is what I would class as local, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and only very rarely, Yorkshire. It's hard work as you get older and even harder on the pocket these days.

MH What is your favourite type of water?

Pete: Again, none really. As long as the surroundings are nice and I'm not fishing shoulder to shoulder then I'm happy. I do love the big long established Gravel pits I like to fish, but no more than the tiny Fenland Drains I'm equally happy on. I would also add, I do operate better on dry land than I do afloat even though I own a boat, I only
like to use it when I feel I need to.

MH Do you have a favourite method?

Pete: For me it's all about the bite, or in our case the run and the best way to enjoy that in Piking is to watch the float shooting along the surface of the water, be it Pit, Drain or River. So I would say it has to be float fished dead-baiting. I can tell you my least favourite method is using lures, I know how effective it can be in the right
hands and I have had some big fish myself on the method. Pike to 33.08lb from Gravel pits and fish over 25lb from Fenland drains are not to be sneezed at.

MH Are there any waters (or types of water) you haven’t yet fished?
Pete: I've never been to Scotland so Scottish lochs are one for a start, but I have fished in Eire. Apart from that, I think it's only the Broads where I'm yet to venture in anger. I don't like dabbling, if I'm going to do it, I like to do it properly and put some serious effort in. Jay off the forum has offered to take me next season for a day or two, so I hope to wet my first line on the Broads somewhere then.
MH Is there a period of your Piking life that you enjoyed most? A particular water that was on song or a run of good luck?

Pete: I suppose it was right at the beginning of my Pike fishing in the late 80's when I was fishing Dam Flask on the outskirts of Sheffield, a 100 acre Reservoir that was full of massive yet un-caught Pike. I never realised at the time just how good it was, I was still very green and naive. If I could go back in time knowing what I know now, I would take it apart. I still managed my first 30 from there and other big fish, but I should have done so much better than I did, hindsight eh? Years later I had a purple patch taking four braces of 20's, a30 and a load of other big Pike from a Drain that was nice.

MH Do you think fishing like that is a thing of the past or are you hopeful that you’ll find fishing like that again?

Pete: I really do hope so and I am forever trying to find the next 'mega' water. I try to be pragmatic about it and take each Winter has it comes. As I have hinted, I'm quite prepared to do a seasons fishing for one fish. Small pockets of big fish are out there to be found and can turn up in the most unexpected of places. A mate of mine found such a place this Winter and has had 12 x 20's from a waterway most think is dead. I found out about it and have respected his privacy and left him to it even though I could have muscled in and joined the action. Good luck to him I say.

MH What’s your take on Chew and the whole trout water scene?

Pete: Holiday Piking, grab it with both hands while you can but don't take it too seriously. Chew is a massive leveller, it don’t matter if you are Joe Bloggs or Eddie Turner, you still have the same chance to catch the fish of a lifetime or a multiple bag of big Pike. It does make Neville’s list obsolete in my eyes though. You could have only started Piking five years ago and have only ever fished Chew with the result being 8 x 30's backed up with 50 x 20's and a 40. See what I mean?

MH Does a pike from Chew hold as much value to you as a Pike from a river, pit, drain etc. ?

Pete: In a word, no. Or is it just because I've never had a Trout water 30???

MH What are your thoughts on the Pike fishing scene in 2012? Optimistic or pessimistic?

Pete: Both, the Trout water scene has its highs and lows as each water peaks and troughs and Chew is Chew. We have the PAC steering the ship and fighting our corner getting the message across. More and more waters are starting to see Pike as an asset instead of vermin who need destroying and are implementing measures to protect them. This can only be a good thing.

On the other hand, I see the problem of EE's systematically raping waterways such as the Fen's as something we as anglers, not just Pikers need to join forces against and deal with the issue in a correct manner.

MH With that in mind, what are your thoughts on the Angling Trust?
Pete: I think it can only be a positive, anybody or anything fighting anglings corner is a good thing. A united strong voice will be harder to ignore than a single one. Apart from our EE friends, we still have Cormorants, Otters, pollution and organisations such as English Nature to contend with. These issues have to be handled by people who have the skills to do so in the correct manner.

MH And finally Pete ..... Describe your perfect days fishing........

Pete: For me I thInk it would have to take place on a Fenland Drain. Late Feb with a frosty start giving way to a bright and brezzy day with winds from the South West. The pike have packed the prey into an area about 100 yards long and are striking as the sun starts to rise. Four rods are spaced out with a mixture of live and dead baits being offered. Action is instant with runs coming thick and fast to all rods, with all the pike landed being over 10 lbs. Feeding lasts all day without let up and a couple of fish have made it over 20lb. Finally with one of my last baits left and put back out the float moves of again and I strike into a massive fish, a dream pike !

That's when I wake up before the chance to land and weigh it !.  I have come close to something like this a couple of times and realised it once. 
Thanks a lot Pete, I’ve enjoyed asking the questions and I’m sure Pool Siders will enjoy this insight into a hardworking, dedicated Piker.

All the best

No comments:

Post a Comment