Berkley Wire Cutters – Handy Snips

Berkley Side Wire Cutters

“Pike anglers are strongly advised by the Pike Anglers Club to always carry a strong pair of side cutters in case there is a need to cut through hooks to aid unhooking.” These Berkley Side wire cutters are ideally suited to this purpose and a wide range of other uses for the sea angler and lure angler.

They are excellent tools for snipping off those old rusty hooks on lures prior to replacing them.

It is also a good idea to carry a pair of side cutters for use in an emergency. I once had a large hook penetrate a finger whilst in Egypt fishing for Nile perch and was forced to have the hook cut free to remove it from my finger. Many hours away from hospital I dread to think how we could have proceeded without a pair of side-cutters.

Heavy duty wire traces used in sea angling need top quality side cutters for cutting traces to length when making traces and for the occasional instance when a hook is too deep to remove from a fish.

The Berkley side cutters have carbon steel jaws, Corrosion Resistant Composite Coating, Ergonomic Co-moulded handle, spring assisted one handed operation and an adjustable lanyard.

These smart looking side cutters are a useful addition to any  sea angler or lure fisher’s armoury.

CHEW VALLEY – chasing dreams and creating memories.

There is always a feeling of intense anticipation as a visit to Chew Valley lake approaches. The vast water undoubtedly holds numerous pike of a lifetime but the reality is that such fish are hard to come by. Catching a big pike is like most specimen fishing a combination of being in the right place at the right time. A slice of luck can play its part and ensuring that everything is in place for when connection is made seals the deal.

I was very fortunate to have been invited to join my good friend Bruce Elston who had secured tickets to fish the boat trials. Early October and the weather was set fair with  a blue sky and calm waters.

Due to other commitment’s, I didn’t arrive until late morning and climbed into the boat to find that Bruce had boated two jacks and had several follows. We started off with a bit of trolling using Bruce’s electric outboard. After a short while Bruce boated a jack of 5lb or so which was an encouraging start.

The rest of the day was spent using varied tactics. Anchoring up for periods we put out a float fished dead-bait and searched around the boat using various lures. I experimented with some of my soft plastic bass lures and had a few hits without contacting the culprits. A change to a bright orange shad pattern also brought a few tugs, pulls and  follows from small jacks and trout.

We also enjoyed spells drifting with a dead-bait suspended a few feet above the bottom whilst searching with the lures.

As evening approached and the sun sank lower we savoured the scene. We chatted about lures and I dug a bright orange and yellow spring dawg from my old lure bucket. “They have gone out of fashion” commented Bruce. A few moments later a jack hit the lure and was brought to the boat side. To my relief it saved me unhooking it by erupting from the water to shower us in spray, shaking the hooks free. I was pleased to have avoided a blank trip.

The cry of Bruce’s reel alerted us that a pike had taken a mackerel dead-bait. I watched hoping that this would be a big un as Bruce set the hooks. Unfortunately, it was another jack. A few moments later I boated my second pike of the day a small jack of a couple of pounds tempted on a wobbled smelt.

As the sun slowly sank we were forced to head back to the lodge another enjoyable day chasing dreams and creating memories.

Bruce returned the following day to bait this pleasing double!

A Winter Pike Session

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After numerous shore fishing trips catching dogfish and small conger I felt a change of  scenery and species was in order. With a cold North-East wind forecast pike fishing came to mind so a trip to a local reservoir was the plan. With the pike gear scattered around the shed I knew it would be a fraught half an hour or so getting ready and ensuring I did not overlook anything important. With ice coating the car I was in no rush to hit the road so it was mid morning before I arrived at the waters edge.

Piking tactics would be maximum of an hour in each swim before moving. Dead-baits fished beneath crimson topped floats.

It was great to be at the waters edge enjoying the warm sunshine as I watched my floats expectantly. After half an hour I saw a large swirl just over a rod length out close to my float! In classic fashion the float bobbed and slowly slid away. I pick up the rod waiting till the line tightened and lifted the rod to feel that pleasing resistance as a decent sized pike lunged on a tight line in the clear water.

A low double and a pleasing start to my winter pike fishing.

The day drifted past with a pike from three of the next four swims none as big as the first but pleasing jacks between 5lb and 8lb and all in superb condition.

The last pike of the day came as the light started to fade with the sun sinking beneath the hill opposite the bare tree branches silhouetted against the sky. It was going to be a cold night.


  • The reservoirs are covered by South West Water Reservoir Regulations with which anglers must familiarise themselves before fishing. All anglers must carry a valid Environment Agency Licence.
  • SEASON – All year
  • METHODS – Permitted methods include the use of spinners, plugs, flies, worms or dead sea fish baits presented on float or ledger tackle, live bating is not permitted. In order to avoid pollution false alarms, surplus dead baits must not be thrown in the reservoir when fishing ends.
  • Only barbless hooks may be used (barbed hooks should be crimped down). Hooks to be no larger than size 6.  All hooks to be mounted on wire trace.  Angler’s to be in possession of forceps.  Minimum 12lb breaking strain line to be used.
  • Gaffs not permitted; please use a large net for landing pike.
  • WEIGHING – Pike may only be weighed in conjunction with a weighing net or sling. It is PROHIBITED to weigh fish with the spring balance hook under the Pike’s chin.
  • All Pike anglers must have a large padded unhooking mat.
  • A Pike tube or sack may only be used to hold single pike for the short period needed to set up photographic equipment. To avoid damaging fish by dropping, anglers being photographed with Pike must do so in a kneeling position close to the ground.
  • KEEP NETS – keep nets are prohibited
  • Rods may not be left unattended at any time.
  • All Pike must be returned to the water immediately after capture, and in any event immediately after photographing.

12     Children under 12 years may fish for no charge provided they are accompanied by full paying adult over the age of 18 years and then only with permission of parent or legal guardian.

Simpson Valley – A variety of opportunities

Jeff Pearce searches for pike on Mallard Lake

Simpson Valley Coarse and Trout Fishery is set in a peaceful valley near Holsworthy amid over 140 acres of farmland. The complex boasts several lakes that hold a variety of species that can be targeted using a wide variety of tactics. I visited the venue with Snowbee tackle representative Jeff Pearce in the hope of contacting one of the venues big pike on fly fishing tactics. Mallard lake has been stocked with a good number of pike the biggest nudging 30lb with several topping 20lb.

Jenny Wren Trout Lake

The pike proved reluctant to play the game so we enjoyed an interlude in our predator hunt and targetted the trout of Jenny Wren Lake where I was delighted to catch my first tiger trout and a stunning rainbow of around 4lb that gave a terrific scrap in the cold water.

We were joined at Jenny Wren’s fishing hut by fishery Manager Andrew Moore who made us a welcome hot cup of coffee. Andrew chatted enthusiastically about Simpson’s Valley and of its fishing and plans for the future. The five lakes on the complex offer pike to thirty pound, carp to 35lb, along with specimen perch, eels, chub,trout and other species. There is a unique opportunity to target rainbow trout using LRF tactics on Skylark lake where catch and release is permitted during the winter months. This style of fishing is an ideal opportunity for young anglers to enjoy great sport without having to master the complexity’s of fly fishing.

Fishery Manager Andrew Moore with a hard fighting rainbow tempted on LRF tactics.

Andrew enjoys a hard fighting rainbow tempted on LRF tactics

We returned to Mallard Lake after our informative chat with Andrew and once again set about tempting a pike with our Fly Tackle. On two occasions I thought I had hooked pike but found that plump rainbow trout of close to four pounds had seized my four inch long pike fly! We will be back again and next time I may well sit it out with a dead-bait. If I don’t get sidetracked by trout or other species.

Fancy luring a Pike?

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Opportunities to fish for pike are limited in North Devon with only around half a dozen venues holding the species. If you fancy a try at pike fishing Anglers Paradise has a good stock of these toothy critters available to target with lures. See report from Zenia at AP below.


Ashley Bunning used his day off work to have a couple of hours on Valhalla. Ashley caught 3 Pike in total with this being the biggest and used a Ecogear Ikajaco Lure to catch them.

Remember our Predator Lake Valhalla is now open for all to fish until February, time to get some Winter Lure Fishing in!

Call 01409 221559 to book.

Anglers Paradise


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Chay Boggis took a rest from sea angling and visited a local still-water where he landed a double figure pike scaling 11lb 8oz. The fish was tempted using half a mackerel bait and was the only run during the eight hour session. The venue produced a twenty pound plus specimen a few weeks ago. Pike waters are few and far between in North Devon and anglers are reminded to take great care of the fish that are surprisingly delicate creatures that do not tolerate poor handling. It is essential to carry a large landing net, unhooking mat, carry long nosed forceps and always use a wire trace and suitably strong tackle to ensure the fish do not break free to trail lost trace and line. There is nothing sporting in fishing light!