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?



  1. unlucky pal - but youve got to be in it to win it!

  2. Unlucky Leo. It seems that most fishing is slow at the moment. Hopefully when the rain stops thing will settle down.