The New Season beckons .....

Well it had to happen; a long, dry, wind free and generally mild Winter - then just as the Lake is due to reopen for Pike Fishing - WHAM!  Gale force winds and driving rain are forecast for the West Country, driving right across Chew Valley Lake and causing the cancellation of the 1st two days of the 2017 Pike Trials on Thursday and Friday!
Don't get me wrong, we desperately need lots of rain to fill both Chew and Blagdon, but why did the winds have to pick up to ruin the start of another Pike Trials Session?  Exactly the same happened last year and another Opening Day was lost.

Still, if the forecasters are right, then the worst of it should have passed by Saturday and the boats should be let out to sample the best pike fishing in Europe - if not the World!

I am doing 10 days for Bristol Water as their official Pike Guide and there are still 2 days free in November - simply ring Bristol Water Fisheries at Woodford Lodge, Chew on 01275 332339 to book a day for 1 or 2 rods (the price is the same).

Guided Trout Fishing for 2017

This will be my 23rd year as a Professional Fishing Guide and hopes are high for a great season on the Bristol Waters.  Early season until July last year saw both Chew and Blagdon enjoy amazing trout fishing.  Huge hatches of buzzer brought fish to the surface as early as Opening Day and nymph fishing became the norm throughout March and April. 

Then once the warm weather came, massive hatches of damsel flies drove the trout into a frenzy - particularly on Blagdon.  In all my years fishing the Bristol Waters, I have never witnessed the trout feed so voraciously on damsels - and the fishing with washing line tactics or dries - was electric!

This year Chew opens first on 9th March and Blagdon opens a week later on the 16th March.  The lakes are currently lower than would be hoped, with Chew at 68% and Blagdon just 56% of capacity.  However, this rain will certainly push both lakes up a bit and that will be a good thing.

I can provide the latest Hardy Rods and Reels plus any other tackle if necessary.  Comfortable boat seats come as standard in my boat and all you need to bring is a packed lunch and some drinks!

Litton is also a great place for tuition or Corporate Days and where else in the country can you get not 1, but 2 lakes exclusively to yourself?

Guided Pike Fishing

Pike on the fly is a fantastic way to target Chew's mammoth fish and unlike the Pike Trials, where getting a boat is like rocking horse manure, access on the fly is available throughout the season.  Also, unlike using treble hooks, a single debarbed pike fly is really unintrusive as regards capture.  So there is far less chance of damaging the pike and due to the nature of the weather conditions here in the West Country, the oxygen levels rarely deplete, meaning that the pike are fighting fit throughout the Summer months.

I can supply top of the range Hardy rods and reels plus all terminal tackle, flies, nets and crash mats to target these amazing creatures.

So why not book a day with me in 2017?  Simply go to "Contact" and I will be in touch.


Chew Spillway showing the low water levels
Nice silver early season Blagdon rainbow
A Chew Summer pike on the fly

What a season that was!

Hard to believe that another fly fishing season is now complete - but what an awesome season it was!
Huge pike, enormous trout, monster perch and great competitions.

Vail, Colorado USA for 2016 World Championships

My best bit of news recently is being selected to represent Team England in next year's World Championships in Vail, Colorado.  The Youth Championships were held there this season and by all accounts the venues and organisation are perfect for a match of this magnitude.
My other England Team Mates are Howard Croston, Simon Robinson, Phil Dixon and Andrew Scott, with Paul Page as Manager.

Trout Season

Both Chew and Blagdon Lakes were on fire for the majority of the season.  Once again, massive buzzer hatches brought the fish onto the feed as early as March and the dry fly fishing on Chew was exceptional.  Although the rainbows are always in tip-top condition, it was the size and quantity of the browns that was staggering.
One of my clients, Chris Jarrett, landed a brown of over 14lbs while pike fishing with me in November - the giant brownie took a whole mackerel.
All through the season people were reporting catches of 5lb to 8lb browns - most of which were voluntarily returned to the water.  Which is great news.

Perch on Chew

For the 3rd year running, the perch showed up in large numbers on Chew Valley Lake.  Specimens of up to almost 5lbs were taken - mainly around the jetties and most on the fly. 
Late afternoon in the back end of August through until November was the key time to contact a PB Perch.  I fly fished one day with Ian Gregg and we struggled for perch all day - plenty of pike and the odd trout, but the perch were hard to locate.
Then just as the light started to fade and the wind dropped, Ian had a PB 3:03 perch then with the last cast of the day followed it with a 3:10.


The highlight of the season has to be my Italian client Enrico Pini's massive 40lb 8oz caught during March on Chew using a fly.  Vern Novy then had a 31:08 a week later and plenty of other pike came to my boat during the course of the fly fishing season.  Pike ranging from 2lb, through to double figures and also several 20's up to 28lbs 8ozs.
But during the Pike Trials, Dave Sproston had a 33:10 on a lure, while I had a 33:00 on a deadbait.  We also had 70 others on both fly, lure and deads from 1st October to mid November.

European Championships

I fished for Team England in Italy for the FIPS Mouche European Championships and had mixed results.  The rain and floods made a couple of my river pegs almost impossible to fish, but I did manage another 1st Place in my Lake Session.  As a team we finished in 8th place overall.

National Loch Style Final

After being the 2014 National Loch Style Champion, I qualified once again for the Final, but this year on Bewl Water.  It was a very tricky and testing venue, with 100 top anglers vying for the 28 places in next season's 2 Loch Style International matches.
Thankfully I finished in 5th place overall and have now qualified to fish the Spring International on Ireland's Lough Lein in May.

Christmas Vouchers for Guided Days

Don't forget that I can provide Vouchers for Guided Fishing Days that make excellent Christmas Presents.  Just drop me an email and I can arrange it for you.



Ian Gregg with his last cast 3:10 Chew Perch
Me with a 33lb Chew Pike
Chris Jarrett's 14lb Chew Brown Trout

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:


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

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