Sunday, 25 November 2012

Chew - you gotta be in it to win it!

Back in the Summer I had a text from Rob saying that he had been lucky enough to acquire a couple of bank tickets for two days of Piking on Chew in November and would I be up for joining him? Damn right I would! Time off work was booked and much research was conducted over the subsequent months until finally the day arrived and we were about as ready as we could be.
A 4am start had us in vicinity of the lake by around 7am, I say vicinity because finding the lake is one thing but finding access is something else entirely! The woodford lodge was easy enough to find but we wanted to fish the opposite side and spent nearly an hour looking for access to the lake over there before giving up and heading around to Nunnery point.

There was a couple of other anglers already in situ and after a quick chat it transpired that the lake had been fishing extremely hard with very little coming out, not what we wanted to hear! It was very foggy out on the lake with no wind and it looked good for a fish. The echo sounder on the baitboat showed a smoothly sloping bottom and our baits were in around 18ft of water. There was plenty of fish signals on the screen and we took these to be the resident trout population. Nothing happened until around midday when an angler just up the bank from us caught a 14lb Pike which certainly served to up our ebbing confidence somewhat. Later on in the afternoon I received a series of Trout pickups and although I managed to hook one it soon fell off.
Reports filtered in that a couple of lads fishing Wick point, which is where we originally wanted to fish, had found a few Jacks. We managed to get some directions and resolved to head there the next day in a bid to change our fortunes. The first day ended as a blank for the both of us but after a nice curry and a good nights kip in a local b&b we were well ready for another crack at them the next day.

The first thing we noticed upon arriving at Wick point was that it was extremely boggy and waterlogged, two lads were already setup further down and seemed to be getting quite a bit of trout action. Hopefully if the trout were there then the Pike wouldn't be too far behind.
The sounder gave a nice depth of around 7ft which gently sloped to around 9ft at around 60 yards out, trout were showing everywhere. Within minutes Rob hooked what he thought was a trout until a Jack of around 3lb popped up. Because it was only hooked on the bottom treble I decided to glove it out despite Robs warnings about the loose treble flying about. sure enough I ended up with two of the points stuck in my hand but at least one of us had managed to catch a Chew Pike at last!
Over the next couple of hours we both had the line pulled from the clips on the drop off indicators repeatedly by the trout. Eventually I had one which kept on going and I finally hooked a fish. It pulled well and stayed deep right up until netting but it was no Pike, instead I found myself posing with a trout of around 6lb, I hadn't blanked anyway!
More trout pickups followed but no more fish were hooked for the rest of the day. A chat with one of the bailiffs told us the place had fished very hard and the biggest pike to come out had fallen to a trout angler on the fly and went 27lb+! A couple of other 20s had been caught but most had gone home with blanks.

The headlines in the angling weeklies about Chew would lead many to believe the place is a pike runs water and I guess it does have the odd day like that but with over 1200 acres to hide in the Pike arent always easy to find and a lot of people go home disappointed. Having said that I would be on there again like a flash given the opportunity, it only takes one bite to give you the fish of a lifetime on a place like Chew and as the title of this post says, you've got to be in it to win it

Friday, 2 November 2012

A brace of crackers

My last blog post is going to be a hard one to top but nevertheless I've still been out a few times since trying my best to catch something else worthwhile. I tried the same swim again twice in the hope of maybe catching another lump but the conditions were completely different and a blank was inevitable. I've fished the river for many years and never seen or heard of anything that size being caught before so I guess I'd have to be exceptionally lucky to get another unless the same fish pops up again. I'm not into chasing repeat captures though so for my most recent session I decided to look elsewhere.  Fortunately the water levels and colour  had receded on my other river venue and things had fallen right for me to fish a couple of Swims I had earmarked from some livebaiting trips a few weeks ago.
I arrived around mid afternoon and setup in my second choice swim as there was a Barbel angler in my most fancied spot. Barbel and Big Perch don't normally share a love of the same spots but there is a lovely snaggy slack along the margin where I caught a 3lb stripey the other week and it looked good for another but for now that swim would have to wait. My chosen swim was a new one to me a short distance downstream and here the water was a bit steadier and was almost still down the edge to my right with a small bush sticking out over the water but not in it. I decide to lay on with a worm next to the bush in around four feet of water.
The dead leaves which had fallen off the trees in recent weeks were proving to be a proper pain in the backside and I was having to recast regularly to make sure I hadn't picked up any on the hook as the worm tried to bury itself in the bottom debris. After a couple of inactive hours I was starting to have the usual doubts about the spot but I knew the best time was fast approaching so I decided to stay put.   The light was showing its first signs of fading when my float began to register a bit of interest. A couple of slight knocks had my hand hovering over the rod butt and I was well ready by the time the float slid away. Solid resistance meant a good Perch was hooked and sure enough I soon netted a real clonker. At a glance I almost thought I'd done it again with a 4 but as soon as I picked up the fish to unhook it i knew it wasnt quite in the same league. Last weeks  4lber was around four inches thick across its back and although this fish  had a similar length it was noticeably thinner girthwise. At 3lb7oz it was a fantastic fish though and I was very pleased indeed!

I returned the fish a few pegs downstream and cast back in, it was getting dark fast and I was struggling to see my float. In fact I was really struggling and then the penny dropped, the float wasn't even there! I lifted the rod and bent into what felt like another good Perch. I netted it and was pleased to see it was another cracker and although a shorter, stockier fish its colours were very vivid. It went 3lb6oz on the scales and completed the biggest brace of Perch I've ever caught. This years Perch Campaign couldn't have got off to a better start, how much longer will my luck hold out?