First cast produces 32lb 7oz pike at Chew Valley Lake

Gareth Goldson’s seven-and-a-half-hour trip from Cromer in Norfolk to Chew Valley Lake in Somerset was rewarded when his first cast resulted in this 32lb 7oz pike.

After struggling to sleep the night before because he was ‘too excited’, Gareth and boat partner Rich Keeble set off on their marathon journey at 1.30am, only to find all the other boats had gone out by the time they got to the venue.

But Chew again proved its incredible big-fish form after the pair motored across the reservoir to fish an area where grebes were working. Within 10 minutes of casting, Gareth’s joey mackerel was picked up by the big girl.

“When I struck into the fish it was like hitting into a brick wall,” said 27-year-old tennis coach Gareth, who was on his first trip to the prolific southern trout water.

“I had a nervous moment when the fish tangled with the anchor, but Rich helped me get it free. When we finally lifted her out on to the mat we both just burst out laughing,” he added.