Sunday, 17 November 2013

Just playing at it

Since Chew ive had a bit of a hankering to get amongst a few more Pike this coming winter and With daylight hours now seriously reduced I have even less time to fish! I had a window of opportunity on Saturday afternoon and headed to a local bit of river which usually chucks a few up.


Upon my arrival there was a chap just starting to pack up and he had 4 small pike to 9lb to report. As I stood there talking to him he added a fifth fish to his tally, so, not being in an adventurous mood I decided to drop in there after he left. It was about 1pm when I cast in which left me with about three hours of daylight, plenty of time to get a run or two.
The first couple of hours passed fairly uneventfully other than a couple of chewed up baits, the result of what I can only put down to crayfish attacks.
A recast down the middle track soon invited the attentions of something a bit bigger, not much though! I thought I'd hooked a bit of weed but it turned out to be a jack of about 3lb.
I thought that might herald the start of a mad feeding spell but pretty soon I was headed for home with no more action to report.
On Sunday morning I found myself setting up on a local lake and again I had pike in mind. Phil joined me for something of a social and seeing as I had to packup at lunchtime we weren't taking it too seriously.
Phil lost a fish early on due to his hook burying in the bait but it was encouraging at least. I had to wait till late morning before I had any action and yet again it was a very small one but this time it dropped off within a few seconds.
Shortly after, Phil had another pickup and the fish looked a good size as it flared its gills and rolled on its side in the margin, certainly a mid- double. Unbelievably it managed to throw the hook at the net! We weren't having much luck!
Lunchtime arrived and I packed up my gear, as I went off up the track Phil shouted and a looked back to see him land a fish which looked to be about 5-6lb.
That was it for this week, next week all being well I've got all weekend to fish so hopefully I can start Piking proper rather than messing about at it!


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Hopes dashed in the theatre of dreams

Theatre of dreams? Better known as Chew valley lake in Somerset, probably the best known big Pike water in the country right now and this week saw me make my now annual pilgrimage to the place.

As with last year, Rob Thompson was my partner in crime and after a 3am start we arrived lakeside for around 6ish. Fishing isn't allowed till 7am so we used the time to scout a few areas. The water level was around 6ft down on what it was last year and as such no matter where we setup we would be sat on what is normally the lakebed. The ever popular Nunnery point was already filling up with anglers and to be honest the rocks there looked absolutely deadly so we opted for the woodford bank to the right of the lodge.

There was a weedbed running the length of the bank in front of us to around 30-40 yards out but beyond that there was a nice depth of around 14ft at 60-70yards. A couple of sardines were soon in position and I sat back to enjoy the sunrise.


The Trout were very active and I experienced a lot of pickups over the next couple of hours and I was getting somewhat frustrated. The bright conditions weren't helping our cause but mid morning I received a slow but steady take on my left hander. Line peeled off the reel and I waited a few seconds to see if the bait would be dropped like it usually does with the Trout. It was quickly apparent that This was no dropped take so I closed the bail arm, wound down and struck to a most satisfying bend in the rod. Straight away the fish powered off away from the bank and line was ticking off the clutch, it felt heavy and my heart was thumping! Suddenly everything when slack as the hooks pulled and I was gutted! I very nearly threw my rod up the bank but then I saw the rocks and thought better of it, you don't get many chances at Chew and I had a horrible feeling I'd just blown mine.
Over the rest of the day I had quite a few more trout pickups but the Pike weren't playing ball at all. The bailiff came around and informed us the place was proving to be tough for everybody and that only a couple of Pike had been landed to the bank anglers all day. We later found out that the boats hadn't fared much better with only around half a dozen fish to 18 boats. One guy had caught a 30 though so it wasn't all bad news.
We packed up and i headed to the digs to get cleaned up prior to our much anticipated curry at The Sutton spice, very nice it was too!
The next day we opted to head to the walley bank next to the dam wall and in complete contrast to the previous day it was absolutely hammering it down. As we rushed to get setup a chap fishing just along from us came over to ask for assistance with photographing a fish he'd just landed, all 29.12 of it! What a magnificent specimen it was and it had us chomping at the bit in anticipation of a good day.
That was where the excitement ended however and other than the odd trout pickup we were destined to remain Pikeless for the rest of the day. Conditions looked a lot better than the previous day aswell, the rain cleared leaving lots of broken cloud and fairly dull light levels. It wasn't to be though and soon enough we were pulling onto the M5 northbound and heading on the long journey home.
I'm yet to bank a chew Pike but all my sessions on the water so far certainly haven't been in vain, far from it, I've learned a lot about the place and I'm confident I will get one eventually. As with most things in fishing, time and experience goes a long way and maybe next year will be when it happens for me, who knows?