The biggest pike of the winter has been landed at the colossal weight of 40lb 8oz from Chew Valley Lake.
Captor Andy Charmer almost doubled his personal best when he banked the impressive predator after casting his sardine hookbait just 30yds out from a spot known as Walley Bank on the 1,200-acre Bristol Water-owned venue.
The ‘fish of a lifetime’ formed part of a superb 15-pike haul shared by Tamworth, Staffs-based Andy and his pal Mick Dolan on the first day of the 2010 pike trials at Chew.
It was the pick of a glut of huge fish landed last week at the venue, with countless ‘twenties’ and six ‘thirties’ to 37lb landed in a spell of unprecedented predator sport.
Andy said: “It was my first visit to Chew and I got off to a flyer, with my very first take resulting in a fish of 22lb 7oz. I’d banked another two by 8.30am, followed by several more pike not long after it got light. The first five all fell to the same piece of mackerel tail!”
After experiencing steady action during the day, Andy had to wait until 4.30pm for his alarm to signal the ‘twitchy take’ which would ultimately see him come face-to-face with a fish he could previously only have dreamt of catching.
“The alarm gave a couple of bleeps, and then my line began steadily peeling off the open bale arm. I lifted the rod, wound down and struck. She shot off like a steam train and continued to take line against a hard set clutch,” said Andy.
“I could tell it was a decent fish but did not actually see her for ages until she broke the surface two rod lengths out. Then she tore off again and crossed my other line. From the brief glimpse I’d had, I guessed she was a high twenty to begin with.”
It was only when the fish was netted and transferred to dry land that the pair realised they had vastly underestimated the size of the catch, as Andy explained.
“Eventually she tired and after Mick and I had lifted her carefully up the bank and onto the mat, I looked down and could not believe my eyes ¬ she was absolutely huge! Even on the mat we were thinking she might be a big thirty, so when the scales zipped round to over 40lb I was in complete shock.”
“People were congratulating me but my legs were shaking and I couldn’t speak! What a fish and what a venue ¬ I can’t wait to get back!”
Andy’s set-up included a running leger rig, with 45lb Power Pro braided mainline and a home-made wire trace.