pike trials

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

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

Perch and Pike on Chew

For the last week I have enjoyed the most amazing perch and trout fishing on Chew and now that the Pike Trials have begun, the pike have turned up in big numbers and some of them are HUGE!

I had my PB Perch on the fly a few days ago at exactly 4:00 and with it on the same leader was another at 3:02!  Barry Hawyes and Steve Harding also had their PB's at 3:13 and 3:02 respectively.  My best brace (on the same cast) weighed 3:11 and 3:09 - a stunning 7:04 in the net at the same time.

Now the pike trials have begun and on the Opening Day I had a beauty at 27:12, while Gavin Young had a 32lb fish and there was also a 31lb taken from the boats.  On day 2, a bank angler had a magnificent 42lb croc and today I saw another 30lb fish taken.  There have also been at least 20 over 20lbs caught in the first 3 days.

So my question is:- where the hell have they been when I have been fly fishing for them??????

My best ever brace of Chew perch at 3:11 and 3:09
My 27:12 Chew pike
Barry Hawyes with his PB 3:13 Chew perch

New Season only days away!!!!!

 The 2013 season is just a few days away when Chew Valley Lake will open for the Spring Session of Pike Trials.
Thanks to constant rain and recent snow melt, both Chew and Blagdon are still overflowing.  Due to the increased water coming into the lakes, the colour of the water is dirty near to the inlets.  Recent heavy winds have also stirred the water up, but today it is calm and most of that sediment will fine down and clear. 

The dirtiest parts of Chew are in the "out of bounds" areas and the majority of the lake is easily fishable.  What we do not want is more windy weather, so its "fingers crossed" for some settled conditions.

A few years ago I fished a Spring Trials when the whole of Chew was chocolate brown.  You could put your hand into the water and not see your finger tips - it was that coloured!  Amazingly, that was one of my best trials ever for lure fishing.  The majority of boats were doing what they normally do - anchor-up and watch floats all day.  But I watched Bob Jones and Pete Climo as they fished lures on the drift and land a couple of crackers early doors, so decided to copy their lure fishing tactic - and boy did it work!  You could'nt fish those lures fast enough as the pike were whipped into a frenzy by the vibration of the lures.

Lets hope that these trials are productive - I really enjoyed the Autumn Trials, especially when my client Peter Mersh got the best fish of those sessions at 35lbs 5ozs!
Some people were having the usual moan as it was a bit harder than usual, but hey, what do they expect?  It cant be easy all the time and Chew being full to overflowing for most of the season is something none of us have ever witnessed.

I am expecting the pike to be well spread at the moment, as there is water in some of the margins that has never reached there before!  It should be a great season for both trout and pike and I for one cannot wait to get cracking again.

Tight Lines for 2013!

Herriots in the snow
Herons Green

Barry Hawyes gets PB 25lb Pike

My good friend and regular client Barry Hawyes landed his PB Chew Pike yesterday weighing 25lbs exactly.
We decided to join the masses over at Stratford for a couple of hours, fishing deads and our only run resulted in Barry's cracking personal best pike.

Barry is one of only a handful of anglers that have now landed 20lb+ pike from Chew using deadbaits, lures and also on the fly.

His latest fish took a float fished mackerel tail bait in 12 feet of water.

We spent the rest of the day fishing lures in other parts of the lake and also dropping the anchor from time to time trying to find some other fish.  They are there, but we'll now have to wait until the next set of trials to see if they are more willing to take the lures.

Fly fishing

In the meantime, I am fly fishing for the pike on Saturday, when only a handful of people will be on the water and I expect a decent pike or two.

For those of you wanting to target the trout, my advice is to get there quick!  Gareth Jones and his guests recently had trout to over 6lbs on minkies, while others have had loads of 4lb+ rainbows on nymphs and lures.

This has to be the best back-end rainbow trout sport on Chew for years and if the weather holds, it should last until the end of November when the lake closes for boat fishing.

Barry Hawyes and his PB 25lb Chew Pike

John Synnuck gets a 21lb pike

Yesterday John Synnuck and I fished a Pike Trials day on Chew and John caught a 21lb fish.  We decided to anchor and fish deads - even though we both would have preferred to drift and fish lures - but the cold winds of late seem to have stapled the pike to the bottom and to be honest; it was also the warmest option!

A small bluey accounted for the fish - the best on the day from the boats - and we also had 2 smaller pike and missed a run.

The water temperature is 11 C and has dropped 1 degree, but I think it will need to drop a bit more before the pike start taking the lures with more venom.

Trout fishing still amazing

The trout fishing on Chew is still incredible, with loads of 4lb+ rainbows being caught from all 4 corners of the lake.  Tony Ling had 8 today and the best was over 5lbs, with 2 others over 4lbs.  My good mate Martin Cottis also had a cracking day recently with a double boat limit of 12 fish and amazingly 8 were over 4lbs in weight!

I will still be guiding for trout between the pike trials until the end of November and it really is worth having a last fling at what has to be the best trout fishing on Chew since I took up guiding 20 years ago.

John Synnuck with his 21lb Chew Pike

Huge 35lb 5oz Pike today on Chew!!!

What a day!  Pete Mersh tempted the biggest pike I have ever landed weighing 35lbs 5ozs. The colossal fish fell to a float fished Bluey Tail in 15 feet of water off the Woodford Bank at Chew - surely the mecca for big pike in the UK.

No less than 3 thirties came to the net today and plenty of twenties as the winds dropped and the weather calmed for the first time in over a week.  But it was 65 year old Peter Mersh, accompanied by his son Paul, who stole the headlines with the biggest pike so far of the 2012 Autumn Pike Trials.

We also landed fish of 16lbs and 8lbs, but this was the star attraction on a day dominated by big fish.

Just 1 day remains of the 1st week of pike trials, but next week I expect the trout fishing to be spectacular - such is the head of huge trout in the reservoir.  I am out on Monday with fisheries manager Tony Donnelly and we are going to target the big rainbows with some big lures.

For those of you who haven't witnessed Chew's massive trout this season, there still boats available to give it a go - I guarantee you will not be disappointed!!


Paul Mersh holding his Dad Pete's 35lb 5oz Chew pike

Chew Pike go ballistic!

What a great day John Synnuck and I had yesterday on Chew Valley fishing for pike.  We had over 100lbs to the boat, but this almost paled into insignificance by the magnitude of fish taken on the day.

For the very first time in a day on Chew, there were not one, but two 40lb specimens landed.  Also, no less than seven 30lb pike and a whole host of 20 pounders and loads of mid to upper teens.

The best of the bunch weighed in at 41lbs 4ozs and was taken from Woodford Bank.  Phil Wakeford also had a 40lb fish from a boat.  Neville Fickiling at last broke his Chew 30lb duck with two 30lb fish in a day!

With water temperatures between 6 and 7 degrees C, the Chew pike must have kept feeding all through the Winter months.  I saw several pike swirling on the surface chasing roach and this activity is more akin to what I see in the Summer months.

Dead baits such as mackerel, smelt, herring and blueys accounted for the majority of fish.  Lures have been taking a few, but the vast majority of pike anglers that visit Chew Valley fish nothing but baits, so I would expect this type of result.

John's first fish of the 2012 trials was a solid 17lb 04oz lump, while my first fish of 2012 tipped the scales at 22lbs 4ozs.

The first 3 days of trials have produced at least a dozen fish over 30lbs and now 2 over 40lbs.  The weather is now changing from low to high pressure and the temperatures are already dropping - hopefully this will not stop the pike from feeding - I am out tomorrow, so watch this space ................

John Synnuck's 17.04 pike
My first fish of the season weighed 22.04

Pike Trials finish with a BANG!

Well the Chew Pike Boat Trials are over for another year and as usual, they produced plenty of 30's and loads of 20's.

The final 6 day session was dominated by bait anglers, but a 36lb 5oz cracker couldnt resist a lure - sadly it wasnt one of mine!  I fished the final 2 days with Ian Gregg, Stuart Clough and Keith Hendry.  We fished lures on the drift but to no avail.  So we anchored and fished static baits and wobbled smelt.  Over the 2 days, we had 10 pike - 6 to the wobbled baits and the other 4 to static deads.

Ian had 3 mid doubles, with Keith a 16 pounder and Stuart Clough a superb 25lb 8oz esox.  I only had 2 fish but one weighed 27lbs and became my biggest of the Autumn Pike Trials.

The other weighed 8lbs and what made it interesting was that it had one of my Tags in it's dorsal fin - put there the previous day when Ian Gregg caught it about 100 yards away!   That makes it 660 pike to my guided boat sessions since opening day in March 2010.

Guiding on Litton during the Winter.

Now that the 2011 season is over on Chew and Blagdon, I am still available to guide on Litton lakes - just 10 minutes drive from Chew.

There are 2 reservoirs at Litton with boats on each and a superb Fishing Lodge to cook up some warm food on a cold day. 

Stuart Clough's 25.08 taken at dusk
My biggest pike of the Trials at 27lbs
What happens when a fit and fully recovered 27lb pike wants to go!

Big girls feed on 3rd week of Chew Pike Trials

Wayne Adcock had a day to remember on the Annual Chew Pike Competition held on the 1st day of the 3rd session of Pike Trials.  Wayne drew top predator angler Neville Fickling and landed fish of 33lbs, 27lbs and 29lbs, plus a couple of doubles for good measure!  Adcock's total weight was over 100lbs and easily took the trophy.
Deadbaits at anchor was the winning method and 2nd placed Martin Harrison also fished deads to take 5 doubles for almost 70lbs.

I was drawn with top lure angler Bob Jones and we were really excited as the winds were low and the air temperatures comfortably warm - some pike were even showing on the surface as they targetted the roach - we were very confident that this would be a day for the lures.  How wrong we were!

After 15 minutes I had a good hit and landed a 7 .08 fish, soon followed by a couple of jacks for Bob and I in quick succession.  Then it was a case of sit back and watch the deadbait anglers heaving in pike after pike.  Returning to the Dam, I had a 10.08 fish and expected things to start happening for us - but they didn't.

Bob and I persevered however and at last knockings, I managed a 25.08 beast off Moreton point - a gnarly old campaigner which was blind in one eye!

3 twenties on baits!

Although I have supreme confidence fishing lures for pike on Chew in virtually any conditions, there are times when I stick the anchor down and watch the floats.  To me, fishing deads lacks any interaction and apart from twitching them along the bottom from time to time, you are literally at the mercy of the pike and cannot make things happen as you can fishing lures or flies.  Still, each to their own I suppose.

On this particular day, I was fishing with Barry Hawyes, who this time last year, lost the biggest pike I have ever seen on Chew Valley - right at the net - in fact, 2/3's of it's body was over the net before it slunk off into the depths!  Barry has never been the same since!

As it was cold and windy, we drifted with lures for a few hours and Barry had a couple of jacks.  Lunchtime came, so we anchored-up and stuck out 3 baits while Barry continued to fish the lures.  Within 10 minutes, he had missed a take and landed a 7lb fish.

The boat near to us had a decent fish, so we felt we too were in with a chance.  Sure enough, Barry's float started to move, so he wound down and struck into a solid fish.  After a decent fight, we got the fish into the net, just as my bait runner screamed off.  I struck into another good fish and to cut a long story short, we had 2 fish in the same net weighing 47lbs!

Barry's fish was 20lbs 8ozs and mine was 26lbs 8ozs.  Thankfully both were lightly hooked and went back quickly after a couple of pics - the rigs however were a different story and needed completely replacing.

We went off on the drift for the rest of the afternoon but returned for last knockings, where I managed another cracking fish of 24.08, while Barry had a jack and lost another biggie. 

So far, my guests and I have had 13 pike over 20lbs to my boat during the Trials and the last session begins on Friday.  Normally, the number of pike caught drops, but historically, there are even bigger fish landed - I've not had a 30 this season, so lets hope it will come next week - or perhaps even a 40 ..........


John with 25.08 lure caught pike
Barry Hawyes with 20.08 on deadbait
John with 26.08 taken on a dead

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