3rd Place in BLAC Lure Final

On Saturday I joined 59 other finalists for the British Lure Angling Championships Final on Chew Valley Lake.  From a total entry of over 450, the Grand Final was contested by 60 qualifiers and many of them extremely well known lure anglers.

My boat partner was Rado Papiewski from Poland who also works for the Angling Trust, so we would have lots to chat about.  Hopefully with plenty of pike as well. Right from the off, we had agreed not to specifically target the perch - nothing wrong with doing that, but we both felt we wanted to fish for pike.
It rained from the word go, but our spirits were not dampened.

I am not a fan of anchoring so we drifted from the start in deep water by the sailing club where I had recently had pike in 24 to 30 feet of water - and on the fly too!  Rado had the first pike at over 80cms which was a good start.  Then I had two others, with Rado also getting one.  We also lost a few.  However, it soon became clear that the bait fish had moved closer to the shore and the anchored boats in 15 to 18 feet of water were reaping the rewards.  Ben Humber was on fire and had almost filled his sheet with some fantastic perch and several pike by lunchtime.  We needed to move.

Out we went to Nunnery and we both had 2 more pike to the boat and lost 2 others - all in 40 minutes.  Rado hooked a cracking pike of around 20lbs and I quickly grabbed his net and netted it for him - the fish then jumped out of the net and left the lure embedded in the mesh.  "Ah well" said Rado - "these Chew fish dont know when they're beaten". 
"You're gonna need a bigger net in future" was on my mind, but at that point, I thought it best to keep my gob shut!

Then we had to break for lunch prepared for us by the Polish Anglers Club and as I love Polish Sausage, that break was excellent.  It also gave us all time to dry out our soaking wet clothes - a bit!

The afternoon 4 hour session saw the sun come out and the winds rise - never good for fishing on Chew.  Still, we searched out lots of shallow areas and were soon rewarded with plenty of hits and several pike to the boat.  GAME ON!
That session, Rado and I boated another 22 pike up to around the 17lbs mark and also lost at least another 15!  Oh how I hate barbless hooks.

What a session though and I ended with 17 pike and Rado 13.

Ben Humber had not had a great afternoon session and finished in runner up position, while all rounder Steve Collett added another 4 pike to his morning tally of 3, but also added an amazing 40 perch to become the BLAC Lure Champion for 2014.  Steve is a top angler and thoroughly deserved his win.  Ben had the trophy in his grasp, but let it fall away in the afternoon session.  Great angling skills though by a really nice bloke.

Me?  By lunchtime I realised I was out of it, but was determined to persevere chasing the Chew Pike on the drift and was really proud to have landed the most pike caught by the 60 anglers on the day.  My boat partner Rado fished like a "Chew regular" and his 13 pike got him 6th place overall.  Our boat haul of 30 pike was also the best pike catch of the match.

But ultimately it was the event that was the real success, with anglers from all over the UK and many from Poland fishing on what has to be the best lake in Europe.  no less than 222 Pike and 200 Perch were recorded - the biggest pike measured 120cms (approx 35lbs + and not weighed) and was landed by Ben Tregoning, while the best perch measured 50cms and weighed 3lbs 14ozs, although bigger ones were lost.

Julian Chidgey organised the entire event in impecable style, while Andy Ford of SKY TV's Tight Lines ensured the match will feature next week on Sky TV.  Angling Times will also feature the Final in the next issue.  Roll on next year!!!

Top 3 in the BLAC Lure Final on Chew Valley Lake
Rado with a cracking Chew pike
Fish finder showing the massive roach shoals on Chew

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