Chew Valley Lake

32:08 Pike for Neil Leaver

On Tuesday my guest Neil Leaver boated this beautifully marked 32:08 pike - his Personal Best by a long shot!
Neil was fishing with John Synnuck and I on the second day of the 2014 Spring Pike Trials.

The previous day, all boats were cancelled due to the very strong Southerly winds, so John and Neil were forced to return home to the London area and drive back the following day.  My boat was cancelled on the Monday and they had a boat booked for the Tuesday, but they had no hesitation making the 300 mile round journey twice in as many days - and thank goodness they did!

Neil's fish took a floatfished mackerel deadbait in Villice Bay just after 12:30.

I then decided to have a fish and threw a few lures in the vicinity.  Within 10 minutes, a cracking 27:10 pike took my soft plastic lure and made it a great day to remember.

Since then, the boats have again been cancelled due to the high winds on the Wednesday, but bank anglers continued to do well and this culminated with Chew's biggest ever pike coming out at 44:06 - what a monster of a fish and congratulations to it's captor.

The next week of trials begins tomorrow (Monday) and I have a boat with my good friend Daryl Hunter.  Let's hope that the winds drop as they are forecast and we can cover lots of water using lures rather than deadbaits.

I truly believe that Chew Valley will produce a record UK pike for some lucky angler in the foreseeable future - and personally, I hope it comes out on a fly.  Now wouldn't that be amazing?

Neil Leaver and his 32:08 Chew pike
My 27:10 Chew pike on a lure

Bookings being taken for 2014 Season!

The new season is only a few weeks away, with Blagdon opening on 15th March and Chew Valley a week later on 22nd March.
Now is the time to think about getting new tackle; spools of leader materials, tying some new fly patterns, investing in that new rod or reel you've been promising yourself and of course, booking some days on your favourite fisheries.

My bookings have been pretty heavy this year already, with only 5 days remaining in March, 2 days in May and 10 days left in June.  April is still fairly clear and judging by the recent levels and previous seasons, should be a good month.  If the weather stays warm, then it should be a brilliant month, with plenty of fly and most fish feeding on buzzer pupae and bloodworm.

If you fancy a guided day fly fishing for trout - or perhaps scaling up a bit and trying for pike on the fly - then drop me an email via the "Contacts" page.  I can supply all tackle for trout or pike and there is no extra charge for this.

Both Chew and Blagdon are now overflowing and looking fantastic.  Bristol Water are doing their usual repairs and maintenance to their two fleets of boats and they will all be ready for Opening Days.
 

Blagdon Fishing Lodge
Blagdon spillway overflowing
Chew overflowing at a rate of knots!

Lexus Entry Forms now online

The 2014 Lexus European Flyfishing Championships is now launched and Online Entry Forms can now be downloaded.
Europe's biggest flyfishing Championships kicks off for another season on 5th April at Rutland Water, with 14 Individual Heats and 6 Team Heats across the UK.

Once again, the Individual Champion will win a Lexus RX450 Hybrid SUV for the coming year.  Anglers World Holidays are putting up Holiday Prizes for both the Individual and Team Finals.  Hardy & Greys are our main sponsors for superb tackle prizes throughout the Championships, while Ugly Fish Sunglasses and new sponsors Minox will provide other excellent prizes.

Entering the Championships could not be easier.  Just visit the Lexus website at www.lexusflyfishing.co.uk and download the appropriate Entry Forms.

Chew Valley Lake now overflowing

Chew started to overflow at the weekend and this means we are assured of top levels for the forthcoming Pike Trials in February and the start of the trout fishing season on 24th March.

Catch us pike fishing on the Sky Podcast

Tony Donnelly and I were featured on Sky TV's Tight Lines programme last Friday.  If you missed the episode or don't have Sky, then you can still watch the whole programme on the Sky Podcast.

Simply log on to: http://www.skysports.com/podcast/0,20494,19916,00.html

 

 

Chew Valley Spillway
Hollowbrook on Chew

Happy New Year & Season

The recent spell of wet and windy weather is really having an effect on the lake levels!  Take a look at the pics below taken at Herons Green on Chew and you will see the difference.  The spillway at the Dam is now rapidly filling but the water is really muddy due to the gale force winds.


Chew is now only a couple of feet off top water and still rising, but it is these last few feet that always take the longest to fill.  Considering the long, dry Summer, it is amazing how quickly the lakes have risen this Winter.

Pike on Sky Tight Lines

Next Friday, Tony Donnelly and myself are featured on Sky TV's Tight Lines programme fishing for pike.  The first part of the filming was shown before Christmas where we targetted the Chew Pike using deadbaits from the boat.  http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/tv-shows/tight-lines/9082406/chew-...

This coming episode shows another day where we used lures only to take some cracking pike.  Although the vast majority of pike anglers that visit Chew use deadbaits, this programme shows the quality of fish that can be taken using lures.

Lexus dates now available

The Lexus European Flyfishing Championships calendar is now available and entries are being invited.
For more information, log on to:- www.lexusflyfishing.co.uk

Pike Trials phone-in begins 4th Jan

For those of you interested in pike trials fishing on Chew, the telephone lines open tomorrow, 4th January.  Booking is on a "1st come 1st served" basis and the Chew Valley hotline number is 01275 332339

 

Herons Green Bay panoramic Autumn view
Herons Green Bay panoramic Winter view
Chew Valley Lake Spillway

Sky TV next!

During the recent Chew Valley Pike Trials, I filmed two sessions for Sky TV's Tight Lines program.  My fishing partner for the day was Bristol Water's Assistant Fishery Manager Tony Donnelly.  We fished using deadbaits on one day and lures the next.

The bait session is being shown on Friday 20th December and the Lure session on Friday 10th January 2014.

We managed to get some great footage on each session and the shows go out on Sky Sports.

Tarrant back on Chew

Following our recent TV Series on C5 - Chris Tarrant Goes Fishing, both CT and I were back together again on Chew fishing for pike at the end of November.
This time Chris was accompanied by long time friend Howard Mann and they managed a very creditable 7 pike to the boat over the two days - and all on lures.

The biggest fish weighed a fraction under 20lbs and CT caught it - with his very first cast - on the first day!  He really is a fishy bloke!!!!

Howard hooked a monster as well but sadly lost it during the fight.  Next time Howard.

Chris Tarrant and Howard Mann on Chew

Scintillating back-end sport

 It looks like being a superb back-end on the Bristol Waters with both Chew and Blagdon fishing really well to top-of-the-water tactics.
Dry Fly or Washing Line techniques with floating lines seem to be getting the best success, although fish are still coming to the fast pull using Fabs or Boobies on Intermediate to slow sink lines.

I have spooned every fish that has come to my boat this Autumn and the main food source is empty buzzer shucks, small buzzer pupae and a few terrestrials.  I have yet to spoon a fry from any trout, although there are more roach and perch fry this season than for at least 4 years.

The levels have dropped drastically on both lakes but thankfully the weed is also dying away quickly.

The pike are still proving hard to tempt, but with such unusually warm days and a water temperature on Chew still over 16 degrees, I expect they will make a better showing once the temperatures drop.  Having said that, I am guiding for them a lot at the moment and getting several small fish every trip, plus Jan Munnick had a cracking 15lb pike a couple of days ago.

Perch on the other hand, are just starting to hit the fry and Alex Mason and his father George had 26 in 2 hours yesterday, with the best at 4:02, 3:06 and 3:11.  They both had their PB's and it was great watching them and unhooking these beautiful fish - one after the other!

Bristol Evening Post drops Angling column

Sadly, the new Sports Editor of the Bristol Evening Post has decided that fishing does not merit an Angling Column after more than 30 years.  Roy Garland has provided a great service for many years, but it now appears that the new Editor; Mike Norton, feels that there is no demand for an angling column to satisfy the needs of one of the UK's biggest participant sports.  
Bob Feltham is running a campaign to get the popular weekly column reinstated, so if you want to add your support, then contact him on:

bob.feltham@rsj-international.co.uk

 

Alex and George Mason with a nice brace of Chew perch
Jan Munnick with his 15lb Chew pike
Barry Hawyes with a cracking Chew Rainbow taken on a dry fly

What a busy month!

 World Flyfishing Championships

What a busy month August was!  I spent almost 3 weeks in Norway fishing for England in the World Flyfishing Championships.
We finished in 8th place from 25 countries and I had a top 20 placing individually, coming 17th from 128 competitors and becoming Top English Rod.
All but 3 anglers had at least one blank and those 3 ended up in Gold, Silver and Bronze medal positions.  I had just the one blank, but some poor soles had 5 in a row!

 

The Championships were very hard, with many of the river and lake pegs not producing a single fish for 15 hours of fishing - basically not good enough for a host nation such as Norway, where there are so many great rivers and lakes!
The Norwegian controllers were superb and very friendly.  Scenery spectacular.  Prices of everything were rediculous though.
We didnt complain too much, but I really felt for countries like Australia and the USA who travelled on up to 7 flights and a team spend of around 100,000 dollars to fish bits of lakes and rivers that were completely devoid of fish!

The organising body, FIPS Mouche should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen!

Lexus Team Final

On 23rd and 24th August I returned and ran the Lexus Team Final for 22 Teams and 132 anglers.  Rutland Water was the venue and the match was excellent.
The new Lexus Team Champions are Seighford Sharks, with Harvey Angling Margam runners-up and 3rd were Hanningfield.

Sweden trip

Then it was off to Sweden, with a few days of guiding on Chew before I went.  We were taking the Lexus Prizewinners to fish for trout, pike and other species in an exclusive venue near Ribbinforrs.  Rob Honour and Andrew Esplin were the guests and Martin Founds of Anglers World Holidays provided the holidays as a main sponsor.

Both Rob and Andrew caught trout, pike and perch, while I had a day on Lake Vanern - the biggest freshwater lake in Sweden - and had pike on lures to double figures, but I also had 3 Asp - the biggest of which went over 12lbs.  Asp are predatory fish and this was my first introduction to them.  I certainly want to go back and catch some more - they are awesome!

Lexus Individual Final

A few days after I returned from Sweden, I had the Lexus Individual Final to run on Chew Valley Lake.  100 qualifiers were coming from all corners of the UK, plus Belgium, Norway and France.  Anglers were practicing on Chew for days prior to the Final and the lake fished really well.

The new Lexus Champion is Ben Dobson who runs Stocks and Bankhouse Fly Fisheries in Lancashire.  Ben not only won the car, but had the biggest fish as well so won the holiday prize too.  Well done Ben.

You can read the full story of both the Team and Individual Finals in Trout Fisherman Magazine and on-line in the Total Flyfisher site.

Ireland filming

Next week I go to Ireland to finish filming for the Irish Tourist Board.  Des Taylor and I will be fishing for bream and pike, while Baz Smith will also be joining us for some of the same.  

Guiding on Chew & Blagdon

I've recently been guiding on Chew and Blagdon and both lakes are superb!  Quality trout with loads over 3lbs and most feeding in the top 2 feet of water at the moment.  Dries or Washing Line tactics are the best methods and the back-end looks like being as good as last year - and that was incredible!!!

Once I return from Ireland it will be guiding until the end of the season.

I still have some availability, so if you fancy a day, then please drop me an email.

I am now on Facebook & Twitter and update these social media sites on a daily basis.  

 

Taking a 48cm brownie to my Controller - thanks to Gillies for the pic
Seighford Sharks - 2013 Lexus Team Champions
Ben Dobson - Lexus Champion - gets the keys to a Lexus RX450 SUV

The Heatwave continues

 We are now officially into the longest sustained spell of hot weather for 10 years - and it looks like getting even hotter!

Earlier last week I fished with Mike Purseglove on a hot, sunny and near calm day on Chew Valley.  There were fish rising so I couldnt wait to get out and at 'em!  However, none of these fish rose more than once and it soon became clear that they were not feeding on the surface.  What they were doing escapes me.

Thankfully Mike soon had a nice rainbow on the washing line.  But then it got really hard and it wasnt until I fished a DI7 near the aerators that I started to catch fish - and one was a cracking 4lb plus brownie.

I am back on Chew tomorrow for pike, so it'll be interesting to see if they are feeding in this hot weather.  With all the fry around, they can feed easily and without much effort.  I have a feeling we might get a decent fish tomorrow - but I'll let you know.

Lexus Stocks Heats

I am typing this blog sat in the Lodge at Stocks Fly Fishery near Blackburn.  Over 100 anglers have supported the 3 days of Heats and suffered some of the hottest weather this year.  Thankfully the catch rates have been pretty good.  day 1 saw a catch per rod of 1.9 and an average weight per fish of 2lbs 3ozs - but it was a Floating Lines Only Heat, so we thought it would be hard.

The next day, 40 anglers averaged 3.0 per rod at the same average weight, but most reverted to sinking lines.  Top man was Derek Moore who had 8 fish, as did his boat partner John Brown - so 16 fish to the boat.  Good Angling!

Today is the last Team Heat of the series and 3 teams will progress to the Grand Final to be held over 2 days at Rutland Water in August.

Places still available at Draycote for the Lexus Individual 

Next weekend sees the final 2 Heats of the Lexus Individual Championships at Draycote Water.  There are still some places available, so please contact me or Draycote to reserve your place.

Mike Purseglove's Chew rainbow
My decent brownie
A very low Stocks Fly Fishery

Summer arrives - at last!

 This last week has been incredibly hot.  7 days ago I was wearing a coat, leggins and fleece - hung my leggins out to dry in the morning and during the afternoon the sun came out and dried them nicely.  since then, it's just got hotter and hotter.

Chew has been baked in sunshine, but that vile wind wont leave us alone - some days it gusted to 20mph - and fish simply hate those conditions.  The trout have put up with it though and washing line tactics in the Dam area has still produced lots of good fish, including a cracking overwintered brownie for one of my guests, Oliver Goldrick.

Behind Denny I have found some good fish feeding deep on hoglice and a long leader with Diawl Bach nymphs has proved successful on a number of days.

The grown-on fish along the reedbeds have been harder to tempt and the gin clear water, combined with bright sunshine has, I fear, driven them to slightly deeper water - but they'll be back.

The daphnia is incredible in lots of areas on Chew and in the sunshine it always comes closer to the surface - NOT the other way round.

PIKE

The pike are still proving hard to locate and I have found myself roving all over the lake to pick up fish.  Kiwi visiting angler Dave Leathwick caught his PB last week with me weighing over 12lbs and in two days we boated 6 including 3 doubles - and we also lost a big fish.

The weedbeds are holding incredible numbers of roach and perch fry and I believe the pike are feeding on them, so hopefully with a bit of cloud they will move out into the open water.  Small fish need to feed on the daphnia and that is not amongst the weed, so when they venture out, I'll be waiting for them!

Dave Leathwick playing a pike on Chew
Dave with his PB pike
Oliver Goldrick's Chew Brownie

Chew Special on Sky TV

 Only 2 days to go before I go into the Sky Sports TV Studios to join Keith Arthur in the "Bothy" for an episode-long Chew Valley fishing "Special".

Keith and I fished Chew a few weeks ago and the Sky cameras were there to film it all.

We began the day fishing for trout and the Chew rainbows did not let us down.  Plenty of action with some cracking trout being caught.

Then we turned the attention to the Chew Pike - again on the fly.  Keith had a near double, so did I, but later we had something special.
All will be revealed on Friday's show.

Tight Lines, Sky Sports 3, Friday 5th July at 7:00pm

Keith Arthur and the Sky TV Crew

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