Membership is rising, the bank balance is healthy and exciting things are afoot as the Pike Anglers Club approaches its 30th Birthday, its Annual Members Meeting heard.

But PAC president Phil Wakeford warned against complacency as the committee looked back on its first year in office at the club’s AGM.

Member numbers now stand at more than 2,200 – a 20 per cent increase on this time last year.

Events are on the increase, Pikelines is hitting record pagination and the club is about to launch an online shop.

“I could sit here and crow about the successes we’ve had but the club needs to be aware of its weaknesses as well as its successes,” Phil told he meeting at Sandiacre, Derbys, yesterday.

“Membership is on the up but it’s like the curate’s egg – good in parts, less good in others, which shows you can’t please everyone all of the time.”

Phil said the PAC needed to work harder at building relationships with bodies like the Environment Agency and also uniting different factions within pike fishing.

Apathy and membership turnover were other weaknesses which needed to be addressed.

“We want to get to a situation where all serious pike anglers are members of the PAC,” he said.

Secretary Mark Barrett said regions as a whole had become stronger and attendances at meetings were also on the up.

He said the club had re-aligned itself with the Anglers Conservation Association (ACA) and had drawn up rules for its annual series of pike matches.

“We are not promoting pike matches, we are not for or against them,” he said. “We had a blank canvas to write the rules for the match.”

Mark said the club was also lobbying organisers of the annual Fermanagh Pike Championship, in Ireland to improve fish handling and abandon the practice of retaining fish in barrels prior to weighing.

Mark gave a presentation on PAC30 – a new book being publihed to coincide with the club’s 30th Anniversary celebrations later this year.

Members can pre-order copies of the book for £25 plus p&p, or collect it at the Convention, after which it is expected to go on general sale.

Membership secretary John Cahill said when the committee took office, membership of the club stood at 1830, at the end of September – formerly the traditional renewal period – it stood at 2129, and at the date of the AMM it stood at 2222; an increase of just over 20 per cent.

Increases varied regionally, but the highest were in Scotland and Northern Ireland – where membership has more than doubled.

Special events organiser Mark Skinner said he expected the number of events on offer to members to increase to 12 or 14 this season.

They include new waters for the club, such as Loch Fad, Lyn Brennig and the PAC’s first-ever event in Northern Ireland.

Webmaster Dave Lumb said he was building an online shop to sell PAC products, which was expected to go live shortly.