One of the greatest braces of pike – two fish for 63lb 12oz – has fallen from the prolific Chew Valley.
The amazing double came to the rod of Jamie Cartwright on a bank-fishing session of a lifetime, with the Northampton Specimen Group member smashing his personal best twice in a day.
Alternating between legered herring and Bluey deadbaits, Jamie connected with a 30lb 4oz specimen which was soon followed by another pb of 33lb 8oz.
Jamie said: “The water was very coloured due to heavy winds so I dropped the baits out with a bait boat and added chunks of fish into the hopper so it put smell into the lake to draw predators to the area.
“Both fish were pbs and I’ve now caught as many thirties as I have twenties…all from Chew. It’s a place of fishing dreams.”
The well-stocked rainbow trout reservoir continues to rewrite predator history with dozens of fish over the magical 30lb mark taken since the venue re-opened for the February trials.
Most trout reservoirs traditionally suffer a significant fall in sport after opening for pike angling, with an early peak tailing off quickly as the ‘overweight’ predators – fat on a big supply of rainbows – fail to recover from capture.
But Chew defies all historic evidence and continues to produce giant after giant every season despite operating a lengthening, intense pike season in a bid to claw back monies lost by a down-turn in trout angling.
Llandegfedd Reservoir, in Wales, currently holds the British pike record with a fish of 46lb 13oz but unlike Chew, the water was unable to continue its prolific form and is currently shut to pikers as predator stocks recover.
Specimen hunter Paul Stephenson, who last week tackled Chew, near Bristol, and recorded his 10th all-time 30-pounder with a fish of 32lb 6oz, used to be a regular at Llandegfedd and believes the difference between the two venues is purely down to depth.
Paul told Angling Times: “People think the bubble is going to burst on Chew but it keeps going and going. Where the venue scores is its depth – it is so shallow. My latest thirty came in three feet of water. The Llandegfedd pike often came from deep areas and many were gassed up.
I had a 38-pounder that I had to retain overnight in order for it to be able to swim away. You don’t get that trouble on Chew, plus the recruitment at spawning time is also very good,” said Paul, owner of Wirral’s Yew Tree Fishery.