The Pike Pool – Hi Dan. Thanks for taking the time for an interview it’s much appreciated. Let’s get down to business and throw some questions at you. First up Dan, tell us a bit about yourself and your fishing.
DW- Many thanks for asking me to take part in ‘The Pool’! I’m a fishing fanatic to be honest. I have been fishing for as long as I can remember and just love being outdoors. I’m 19 years old and currently live in Oxfordshire. It’s fair to say I’m not an out and out pike angler but more of an all-rounder – I like to fish for different species in the changing seasons and obviously pike fishing features highly during the colder months. Outside of fishing, I enjoy different types of music, watching football, spending time with my family and writing.
The Pike Pool – There were some fun and games on the old forum that you were involved in that ultimately resulted in the end of the old Pike and Pred Forum and the start of the Pikers Pit, what was your take on all that silly malarkey!
DW- As most people may know, I was a member of the old forum during my teenage years and it was great to be a part of. When I got offered the job up north, one of the first things I got asked was to ‘monitor’ the forum. Whilst discussing the forum, the owners noticed, what they considered to be negative posts towards both the company and magazine advertisers. Now, this had been going on for ages but the owners never really looked at it so wouldn’t have noticed any of it. There were administrators on the forum but they didn’t work for the company so possibly didn’t see things from a certain perspective. Therefore the owners thought the administrators were not doing a good a job as they could and a warning was issued to the whole forum. Obviously being a middle man, posting stuff on their behalf makes me look like the bad guy. In my view, being a member of the forum for a few years, I was gutted when the owners wanted it shut down and members moved elsewhere. But at the end of the day, they paid my wages and I think people have to respect that. I do, however, think that if you own a forum then surely you should be monitoring it yourself a fair bit? You do need to see things from a different side as well and if people post abuse directed at you then that will get your back up straight away, on top of this, they may have thought that any negative comments towards fishing companies could have an effect on advertising revenue. For me, it was an eye-opener, being part of a forum that provided advice and banter and then see it turn and people become so negative. Maybe I’m too chilled but I think the whole situation could have been handled differently.
The Pike Pool – We believe your association with Predator Publications has ended, can you tell us why and what are your personal hopes for the future.
DW- I was actually employed by Carp Fishing News Ltd (Carp-Talk) as this was the company’s main income. However, my time was split and I worked on Predator Publications (Pike and Predators/Coarse Angling Today) as well. When I drove up for the interview I was very nervous as I just loved fishing and writing which made it the perfect job. I got offered the job there and then and was buzzing. To be fair, the success went straight to my head. I had a week before I started which meant finding a new gaff up north and sort everything at very short notice! With help from my mum and dad, I just about managed it. I suppose the forum issue was the top of a downward escalator. The company has a great team but is run by two youngish people who are not anglers. They see things from a money making point of view (fair enough, it is a business at the end of the day), where as I saw things from an anglers view. So, nowadays it’s all about adverts and more adverts. Towards the end of my time at the company they wanted to make shorter articles and in my eyes, being a reader for many years, the specialist magazines which they are deserve the authors to have the free reign to go into great detail on certain subjects. So, one of the main reasons I left was that I had completely different views and I felt I didn’t want my name on them any longer. The monthly titles hardly make any money and could not support themselves as a business. Carp-Talk is the main income but, realistically, will it still be there in ten years time? It’s a great magazine but I don’t see why big fishing companies will pay thousands of pounds to advertise when they can now reach more people than readers, in an instant by the like of Facebook. It’s scary how powerful the internet is. I suppose it’s like iTunes and the CD, people thought record shops would all go bust but people do still like a hard copy. But, will it be the same with a weekly magazine? Some may still want a hard copy but will it be enough to support a business?
I went from having a dream job to wanting to get out of it, all within a few months. It was the first proper paid job I’d ever had but the realistic of moving into my own place and supporting it meant I was never making any money. I felt I never settled up there in the area, both with fishing and people. I’m close to my family and I didn’t realise the quality of fishing I had back in Oxfordshire until I left. I’m not saying the fishing up north is rubbish, far from it but it just wasn’t for me. There was some seriously good fish being caught from waters I knew well back down south but I couldn’t afford the travel costs and had to work as much as possible to pay the bills. I was pulling my hair out! I made the decision to hand my notice in and move back without having a secure job in place ready to go into, that’s how unhappy I was, ha-ha!
I went for the job, hoping to work my way up with Coarse Angling Today or Pike and Predators but after settling in and learning this probably would never happen I began to have second thoughts. I was a little gutted on how little attention the monthly magazines got from the company. Because they did not make much money, they were not prioritised and left to the last minute to put together. I remember when I started, I asked what is in the next issue of Coarse Angling Today, and they just looked to see what was on file and which had some half decent photos. I was gutted. The magazine I grew up reading, could surely be given more attention! We soon seeked out good material and put a schedule in place. I personally fail to see how somebody can be named as ‘Editor’ but they do absolutely nothing. I believe an editor should be the one seeking material, chasing up the office staff, writing editorials and proof reading everything before it goes to print. Not just because he founded the magazine. This was another negative which I did not like, the lack of proof-reading and number of mistakes in print. Something that got me in a little trouble with the eel brigade.
I wouldn’t regret anything that happened as it was fantastic life experience for me as a teenager and it’s helped me mature and see things from different views. I did have some great times up there such as visiting tackle companies to see all their latest gear (it was the dream come true) and having a great laugh with the magazine team every day.
I would really hope to work in the trade again at some point in the future, possibly for a tackle manufacturer but at the moment, I’m happy just plodding along catching the odd fish.
The Pike Pool – What was Pikeings God Father Neville like to work with ?!!
DW – Nev didn’t work from the magazines office but he came in for a meeting a short while after I started there. I was really excited to meet one of the sports true legends for the very first time. When he walked in, there’s only one word to describe it: anti-climax! Ha-ha. No, only joking. Nev is a proper character and we gave each other a lot of stick whilst I was up north. I also had a few days fishing at Wykeham when he was also present and in my eyes he has got to be one of, if not, the best pike angler in the country at the minute. The amount of effort that he puts in at his age is unbelievable! He knows so much about pike fishing and just loves it. He travels all over Britain in search of good pike fishing and his results speak for themselves. Whether he travels hundreds of miles or visits a local prebaited spot he always seems to bag the bigguns. He has worked hard to be in a position to travel and go fishing when he can. Nothing goes to his head and he is down to earth and up for banter but at the same time, has the experience to voice his valid opinion. He really is an inspiration and someone who I really look up to in the angling world.
The Pike Pool – You are now involved with the new PAC committee on the internet side of things, what will you be doing?
DW- I am now running the PAC Facebook Page. Dilip thought I would be ideal being the young person who is used to Facebook. I actually really enjoy it and I hope it will make a difference. It doesn’t take a great deal of time and I would urge everyone to try and help the PAC in any way as it is very rewarding. My role is to announce any news etc. regarding the PAC, Convention and Pikelines. Facebook is a great way of promoting so hopefully over time, a few new members may join. I think I will be kept a bit busier in the winter with catch reports, hopefully.
The Pike Pool – No doubt you’ve looked in on The Pool, what is your favourite article and why ?
DW – I’m not sure I have a favourite as I personally enjoy reading material from different anglers, known or unknown. Everyone has an opinion and the Pike Pool allows people to share that along with angling memories and fishy stories. I suppose because I enjoy river pike fishing, I like to read about anglers who also fish rivers for predators elsewhere in the country, Steve Bowns ‘Just like Busses’ was interesting because it just proves that sometimes your local waters can be just as good as those you travel miles to - those zander are very impressive! But in all honesty, I enjoy reading all types of fishing material. It’s interesting to read stuff from the “older anglers” to see just how things have changed since then.
The Pike Pool – What will you be doing this fishing season and what do you hope to catch?
DW- As soon as I moved back I went out onto the bank, ha-ha. I enjoy my bream fishing and think a double figure bream is almost as impressive as a 20lb pike. My first fish back was a 12lb-plus bream so I was chuffed to bits. I will fish for bream and tench mainly during the spring/summer. I’m hoping to get out with my good friend Julian soon, hopefully after some catfish. I enjoy fishing for everything and would also like to have a good go for barbel this year. I’ve just got back from a sea fishing trip where I landed some nice black bream and plaice. My main aim when fishing is to just have a good time, not just catch fish. It’s great when I go fishing with my mates or dad as there is always a lot of banter. The trouble is, I’m spoilt for choice in this part of the country and to make matters even harder, I’ve just invested in a boat for the River Thames. This will mainly be for pike fishing in the winter which I’m really looking forward to. The upper River Thames is one of my favourite venues and I’ve spent a lot of time bank fishing it so I’m looking forward to the aspect of fishing it from a boat.
All the best and tight lines,