John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

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

2 days of magic on Chew!

Five 20lb Pike in a day!!!

On Friday I guided Julian Campbell and Steve Oakley to some of the best pike on the fly I have ever witnessed - in fact; it was the best!  They had 5 pike - all of which were over 20lbs - before 2:30pm.  After that, the rain poured down on us, the temperature plummetted and the pike went completely off the feed.

I have had many days with multiple catches of 20lb pike - some over 30lbs, but NEVER a day, when the first 5 fish to the boat all weighed in excess of 20lbs.  With the Chew Valley Pike Trials looming, I bet no boats will equal this feat.

Steve started the day with a personal best pike of 24lbs 12ozs - the best pike he has ever caught on any method - let alone a fly!  Then Julian followed it up with another PB of 20lbs 4ozs.  Soon after, Julian had another PB weighing 23lbs 12ozs - amazing!

Steve then had fish of 22lbs 12ozs and 23lbs 3ozs to add to this incredible total weight of 114lbs 11ozs.

This superb bag of pike now means we have had no less than 10 pike over 20lbs in my last 3 guided days - and we have had plenty of other doubles and jacks.


13 Rainbows for 39lbs!!!

Today (Saturday), I fished with my good friend Barry Hawyes on a mixed day for trout and pike.  The weather was bright and calm, as opposed to wet and windy yesterday, so we started with dries, but didn't get an offer.  Off came the dries, on went the nymphs and along the reeds off East Shore, my first 2 trout both weighed exactly 5lbs each - my biggest fish of the season!

Barry then landed a 4lb 2oz rainbow and during the course of the day, we boated 13 rainbows for a cracking weight of 39lbs.  The big fish fed in the morning and the slightly smaller fish during the afternoon.  All were full of shrimp, hoglice, daphnia and bloodworm.

The best areas are East Shore, Spring Bay, around Denny Island, the reeds off Wick Green and along the Woodford Bank.

Having spent 4 days at Bewl for the National and 3 days at Rutland for the AWA Final, I am so pleased to be back at Chew catching what is without any doubt; the best quality trout in the country!

John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing
John Horsey Fly Fishing

English National, Chew trout and pike

Last week I spent 4 days at Bewl Water in Kent practicing for; and then fishing in, the English Loch Style National Final.  Here, 100 of England's top anglers had qualified for the National Final, where the top 28 would represent Team England in the 2013 Loch Style Internationals to be held at Bewl Water in the Spring and Lake of Menteith (Scotland) in the Autumn.

I practiced for 3 days with Howard Croston, my great friend and fellow England World Team Member who works for Hardy and Greys.  We had plenty of fish on a variety of methods during practice, but sink tip or floating lines with washing line tactics seemed the best method.  My best fly was a Woofta Booby on a new Airflo Midge Tip, but we both knew that turning the energetic follows into takes on match day would be a problem as the fish came under more and more pressure during practice sessions.

On the day of the match, Bewl was becalmed and fish started to rise in the main basin.  This was going to be where I intended starting, as I hate the Cages area where I knew many would head.  I was praying the flat calm would prevail, but soon into the match, a light ripple covered the water and most of the fish stopped rising.

Thankfully, I covered a dimple rise near the tower at about 11:45 and a tiny sip engulfed my Claret Hopper - I struck and all hell let loose, culminating in a 3lb 6oz rainbow.  My boat partner Ian Watts had already landed a decent rainbow on a Booby, so we were both set for a few more fish.  But it got harder and harder for us both as the ripple stayed and the fish refused to rise.

I tried washing line tactics, but could only get the fish to follow.  Then another flat calm happened.  We moved around the lake looking for risers and finally found a few at the mouth of Bewl Straight.  I had been using normal size 10, 12 and 14 dries, but had several refusals, so I opted for 2 size 16 dries which I found in an old box in my tackle bag.  The first fish I covered ate it and trout number 2 nestled in my bass bag.  Then another ate it in similar style and it turned out to be a brownie, which had to be returned - what a rediculous rule on a day of such importance - a fishery rule I stress, nothing to do with the organisers!

I felt on such a hard day this might cost me my place in the England team, as once again, the ripple developed and the trout disappeared again.  Thankfully, at 5:30pm, the flat returned and I raced toward Bewl Straight - once again, a few fish rose and I covered one to hook and land my 3rd fish - and that, as they say, was that!  Ian also got one more fish on the Booby.

My weight of 7lbs 1/2oz gained me 27th place and with it a place in one of next year's Loch Style Teams - phew, what a relief!!!

Congratulations to Steve Cullen for winning the National and to runner-up Tony Fox, who were the only anglers to take their 8 fish limit bags.  And congratulations to the other 25 qualifiers - well deserved!

Chew Trout and Pike are amazing!

On Saturday I fished with 4 clients on Chew who landed 17 trout in bright sun and a steely cold wind - dreadful conditions for Chew Valley.  Floating Lines and nymphs were the tactics, with Diawl Bach's and Crunchers leading the way off Wick Green.  Oliver had a fantastic 4lb 10oz rainbow (see pic) and as the wind dropped, fish began to rise.

Next day I was piking with Neil West - it rained all day, blew a "hoolie" and the conditions were so bad, Chew Magna made National news for floods throughout the village!  Neil had 2 PB's weighing 13.08 and 15.08, while I sneaked out a 25.08 and a 20.08.

On Monday and Tuesday, the winds were so severe all the boats were cancelled.

On Wednesday I fished with Dave Sproston for pike during more rain and he had fish of 20.08 and 28.12, while I had a 27.08 pike plus a few smaller fish.

Today, Tony Ling and I braved strong winds and sunshine for 11 trout weighing 27lbs 11ozs.  Tony had a 4.02 and 4.00 rainbow, along with 5 others.  Most of the fish took nymphs, although we did tempt a couple on dries at last knockings.

My advice for anyone thinking of coming to Chew is - DO IT!  The fishing is fantastic!!



Oliver's 4lb 10oz Chew Rainbow
Dave Sproston's 28lb 12oz Chew pike
My 27lb 8oz Chew Pike

Anglo Welsh are 2012 Lexus Team Champions

Two days of consistent Team performances with no blanks assured Anglo Welsh FF finished in 3rd place on Day 1 and 1st Place on Day 2 to take the covetted title of 2012 Lexus Team Champions.  In fact, they were so consistent, even if they had a blank - which would count as 132 place points against them; they would still have been Champions!

In 2nd place for the 3rd consecutive year, were the ever consistent Rio Masters team and in 3rd place were Margam FF from Wales.

This year, the Team matches have been fished to FIPS Mouche World Championship rules, where all individuals' positions in the match are added together and the Team with the least place points are crowned Champions.

This format suits the more consistent teams and no longer can 1 individual's performance carry their team through.

Most of the competitors enjoyed the new format and most importantly, more Teams entered this year than last.

Cliff Waters will have full pics from both the Team and the Indiviedual Finals on his "Fishy Pics" web site.

Renegades lead Lexus Teams Final after Day 1

The Renegades lead the challenge for Lexus Team Champions 2012 after the 1st day of competition, having amassed the lowest total place points score of 235 points..  22 Teams are battling it out over 2 days here at Rutland Water and the sunny, windy conditions did little to help the elite field of 132 anglers.

Although the fishing was hard, the quality and size of the Rutland trout was extraordinary.  Average weight was 2lb 9ozs and the best fish to the scales was a Brown Trout weighing 7lbs 3ozs and fell to the rod of Trout & Salmon Magazine's editor Andrew Flitcroft.

Top rod on Day 1 was Warren Gain of the Fishhawks, with 6 fish for 20lbs 12ozs, including a 6lb 1oz Rainbow Trout.  Warren was closely followed by Blagdon's Mark Miles with 7 fish for 20lbs 8ozs and Margam's Rob Honour with another 7 fish weighing 19lbs 15ozs.

The match is fished to FIPS Mouche World Rules where points are allocated to individuals based on their position in the match, so no one individual can dominate the Team's results and every team member's contribution counts - with a blank adding 132 points to the Team's score.  So every angler is now trying to avoid the dreaded blank at all costs and team work is everything!

In 2nd place are the reigning Champions, Alba Orvis FF from Scotland with 282 points, 3rd are Anglo Welsh FF with 284 points, 4th Seighford Sharks with 329 points and 5th are Rio Masters with 338 place points.  In 6th place are previous Champions Team Airflo with 342 points, 7th are another previous Lexus Champion Team; the Ospreys, with 342 points, 8th are Sonik Sports Pitsford Pirates with 358 points, 9th are Nymph-O-Maniacs with 367 points and in 10th place are Iain Barr Team Costa with 378 place points.

The conditions at the start of Day 2 were far better, with lighter winds and a cloudy sky.  There was another even split, with boats heading for both Arms and some to the main Basin.  I predict more fish being caught today than the 253 caught yesterday!

Day 2 at Rutland

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