Mike Slater – Pike Teach-in Coordinator

It was back in 1978, as a 5-year old ‘cheeky little herbert’, that I had my first taste of fishing. Both my Dad and one of my elder brothers were keen anglers and it was more than just fate that I was bound to follow.

I started fishing a local park lake and I soon caught my first fish, a 2 ½ lb Tench. Within weeks, the three of us joined Farnham Angling Society mainly to fish Frensham ponds, a relationship that has now lasted for over 32 years.
I quickly started to learn the tricks of the trade float fishing the likes of Frensham, Cut Mill (Tarn Pond) and also Badshot Lea lakes catching numbers of immaculate Roach and Tench.

As the winter approached, both my brother and I had worn our Dad down enough to take us Pike fishing at Frensham Great Pond. Late afternoon arrived far too soon, especially as we hadn’t had a fish all day, however after yet another move to a swim close to the Hotel I heard the ‘Fairy Liquid’ bottle top crack against my 10ft fibre glass rod. Shortly after, cradled in the landing net was a perfect fish of 16lbs. I remember gazing down at my prize while she soullessly looked at a very excited 6-year old who had now been totally hooked forever.

For the next 7-years my fishing took a familiar trend. The warmer months were spent homing my watercraft skills with mainly a float on both still and running water, until October arrived when the Pike rods were dusted down ready for the eagerly awaited winters Piking.

It was around 1984 when my brother passed his driving test and brought himself a car, this new found freedom found ourselves fishing Frensham Great pond on a more regular basis. I remember we would spend endless hours in the close season, plumbing and leading around. This would often cause the late John Eames, the waters Head Bailiff, to come running down to the lake following reports that someone was fishing the water. I can still recall his words each time he came into the swim whilst puffing and blowing, “Oh, not bloody you two again”. I wonder if he sometimes looks down at me now and says to himself with a smile, “What goes around comes around”.

It was in the early 90s that my brother moved to Spain, I had just purchased my first car and with this my fishing became even more serious, and a burning desire to chase bigger fish caused me to fish waters around the country.
Since then my fishing has experienced many goals and achievements but above all I have gained great memories and many friends along the way, but with this, opportunities and responsibilities have become a part of my fishing as well.

These have included a number of duties along the way for Farnham Angling Society, the main being a bailiff for 15-years, 12-years of which as Head Bailiff at Frensham Great pond in addition to running the Pike Teach-Ins for the last 13-years. I have enjoyed these two a great deal, passing on my knowledge and experience, with also the satisfaction of putting something back into fishing, which has meant a lot to me.

In the last 15-years or so, my fishing has remained varied and still the hunger to chase big fish remains. Fishing has been very good to me and it is known that where I fish and what I catch I keep very personal and close to my chest: this is how I’ve always been, much to the annoyance of friends and amusement of my wife Louise. This however does not stop me passing on knowledge, and experience, while running the Pike Teach-Ins and other duties.

In the near future I have some exciting doors about to open for me with fresh challenges. I also have another mission, which is to introduce my two lovely young daughters to fishing. Beth my eldest has already had a taste catching numbers of pristine Roach. It was incidentally, 30 years ago that another 6-year old started his fishing life catching similar Roach with the same excitement !

Maybe that old saying, “What goes around, comes around”, has something to it ?

Best Fishes

Mike Slater
Head Bailiff of Frensham Great Pond & Pike Teach-In Organiser