Reservoirs may steal most of the limelight when it comes to big predator catches, but two anglers proved the spoils on offer from wild running water venues by landing huge river pike.
Leading the way was Gwyn Davies, who tackled a stretch of the Upper River Wye to land a stunning fish weighing 29lb 12oz.
Float legering a sardine in slack water just off the main flow, the 44-year-old from Fordingbridge in Hants, took the impressive fish on his only bite of the day at 10.30am.
Gwyn, who has a Wye pike best of 32lb, said: “I spent the first hour fishing sink-and-draw, but I switched to float legering because the water was cold and so I figured a static bait might work better. When it came, the take was a very positive downstream run which I hit straight away. The fish stayed deep for most of the fight, but provided a few scary moments when it neared the net by thrashing half out of the water. My brother Mansel was on hand to help and did a fine job netting it first time.
“Neither of us fully appreciated the fish's weight until he started to lift it from the water. We weighed it with two sets of scales, but it fell agonizingly close to the magic 30Ib.”
The fish was beaten with the help of 17lb Bass Pro Excell mainline, a 28lb trace and a pair of size 6 semi-barbed trebles.
Slightly further to the east on the River Severn near Worcester, Mark Humphries banked a fine quartet of pike in just two hours of fishing, including a brace scaling 27lb 4oz and 20lb 8oz.
After two quiet hours of the resident zeds failing to show any interest in his deadbait offerings, Mark (54) reeled in, picked up his lure rod, which was rigged up with a rubber shad, and on just his third cast latched into the biggest of his haul.
“I felt a heavy bang on the rod, and it then went solid, and I thought to begin with that I had hooked the bottom. Then the tip bounced a couple of times and I realised it was a fish! When it got close to the bank I could see the fish was only very lightly hooked on one treble, so I was praying that it would stay on!” said Mark.
“It was a really healthy-looking fish. It would only have to eat a few more chub and to be carrying a bit of spawn come the end of the season to be nearing to 30lb,” he added.