Ten years spent targeting big pike with flyfishing tactics came to a dramatic conclusion for Mike Green when he slipped the net under this 40lb 8oz monster.
The huge fish sets a new record at southern predator mecca Chew Valley Lakes, and also smashed the Northampton angler’s previous best for the species, a 31lb 12oz fish taken on a jerkbait.
Mike hooked his long-awaited prize during a day afloat at the popular Somerset trout water after it grabbed his ‘Jamie’s Jonah’ fly, so named because the same pattern caught boat partner Jamie Groom’s own personal best, at 16lb 9oz, only minutes earlier.
“Jamie jokingly christened the fly after it caught him his own whale,” Mike explained.
“He then kindly handed me another, bigger version of the fly which helped me to hook this amazing fish. Credit must also go to local guide John Horsey who suggested fishing our flies deeper and slower, advice that proved invaluable on the day,” he added.
Mike first got into fishing for pike on the fly after accidentally hooking a 25-pounder on a Viva lure intended for trout. Now, after beefing up his tackle, he can’t get enough of the species.
“It’s a serious pike by anyone’s standards and a fish I’m sure I’ll struggle to beat,” said Mike.
“But I don’t fish for records - I just fish because I love it. I certainly never expected to actually catch a 40-pounder - I felt I’d used up all my luck with my fly-caught ‘30’ in January last year,” he added.
The predator angler pointed out that fly fishing for pike at this time of year does the fish no harm when the rods, reels, lines and flies are all purpose-built for the job and allow fish to be brought to the boat quickly.
“We’re not using trout rods,” said Mike. “I had this fish in the net inside four minutes using an 11-weight Pro-Piker rod made by Bob Church and designed specially for the job. The fish swam away strongly after being out of the water less than five minutes for weighing and photographs.
“If people fish with the right tackle and handle fish sensibly, then there’s no reason why anglers shouldn’t enjoy this exciting method of catching the species,” he added.