It's nice to see that we have been getting some good reviews from the conventional media, both the Guardian newspaper and Improve Your Coarse Fishing magazine have rated us as the best angling site on the web. I don't know about you but I'm never sure about the accuracy of reviews unless I know the reviewer, I just don't trust 'em. Nice to see then that it was none other than editor Gareth Purnell who did the IYCF review. I've been talking to him recently about his magazine (which has to be the best of the paper mags out there) and we may be seeing some content from IYCF on this site soon. So watch this space!

I had another bit of a boost this month. It came in the form of meeting up with one of the top names in angling, former World Champion, Mr Ian Heaps. I had a trip down to interview Ian at his beautiful Pembroke home where he and his lovely wife have created a delightful fishery with three lakes and stretch of very interesting river. Ian talked and I taped. Probably the longest spell I have kept my gob shut for years. The transcripts of the 'Heaps Tapes' is being serialised and the first instalment is to be found in this months coarse section. Now, I have very little interest in match fishing normally but Ian's line in chat makes for compulsive reading. Don't miss it.

Another old name we have added to our renaissance of quality angling writing is that of Martin Gay. Ten years ago Martin was the first name we turned to in any angling magazine, then he opted out of writing. I missed him and searched him out to write for us - we can't have talent like that just vanishing can we? After a fair bit of lying down the telephone, I finally got hold of him and talked him into writing some pieces for us. This month he's talking about pike dead-baiting, later in the year he'll be writing on tench and, if I can persuade him, those BIG carp.

It's time to start thinking about holidays and Roddy Hays is making my mouth water with some of the places he's talking about this month, as is John Cooper and Martin James. Every time I try to plan something though, my plans get bushwhacked. Kids, commitments, money - bah. Still, I have fixed up a weeks fishing on the Spanish Ebro in May - perhaps this trip I'll land the magic 100lb'er? Who knows Last year we had one guy in our party catch his first ever catfish at 125lb there - life's not fair is it. (Hey, just remembered . That trip was written up in one of our first edition's articles, just press the 'last month' button a few times. It was called "Out of Plaice").

Pike are making all the news at the moment though I still haven't done much fishing for them yet this year. I planned on going this morning but a quick look out of the window at dawn told me the lakes would be frozen. A couple of hours later I walked the dog around the local pond and confirmed it. Oh well, with a clear blue sky like today it wouldn't have been much good fishing anyway. Or would it? There's always something isn't there? Over the last couple of weeks, everywhere around here was flooded, then as the floods went down and the colouration was just about right the lakes all froze over!

I did notice something around then though. Just as the flood waters were dropping we had a few days of no wind. Walking around the lake I could see that the water had returned to crystal clear but only for the first couple of feet down, then it was still murky. Swims where normally I could watch the clean gravel on the bottom were obscured. It was weird because as I walked the dog around the lake, in every third swim I could see a pike hovering in the clear water, just somewhere in the top eighteen inches of depth. Some of these fish were small jacks, others were good doubles. I'll remember that next time I'm blanking in almost perfect conditions and try a bait catfish-style, right up near the surface.

Play spot the pike in the picture below - gotta try and get a polarised lens for this camera

Let's get on with the show