The Chew Valley Reservoir pike record has been broken by Tom Mills with the capture of this colossal 43lb specimen.
The history-making predator, which beats the previous venue best of 42lb 4oz, was boated by the Bristol-based rod on his first cast of the day after he positioned a herring hookbait in an area in front of the sailing club which was totally devoid of other anglers.
In the past, the 36-year-old has experienced mixed fortunes at the vast 1,200-acre fishery and since he first started targeting its resident pike eight years ago he’s banked fish to a best of just over 25lb but also suffered his fair share of blanks.
He believes a culmination of experience and trusting his gut instincts was the key to his latest success.
“People who haven’t fished here are under the impression that you just pay your money, drop a deadbait over the side and catch big pike for fun. That couldn’t be further from the truth – I’ve had many blank sessions,” said Tom, who floatfished his deadbait on a pair of size 6 trebles.
“After all these years, my boat partner Mike Genge and I have gained a lot of knowledge, so instead of following the crowds we headed out from the sailing club where we knew there was over 20 feet of water. Both of us just fancied it for a big fish.
“When the float slowly slid away after just 20 minutes of being in the water I struck into what I thought was a mid-double. When it got close to the boat, though, all hell broke loose and it gave me the fight of my life.
“Some of my friends ask me why I bother coming back year after year, but Mike answered this question perfectly a few years ago when he banked pike weighing 32lb and 31lb in an hour. That had been my inspiration.”
Since opening its doors to predator anglers for the annual pike trials in October, Chew Valley has already produced two different fish over the magical 40lb-barrier and more than 20 over 30lb.
And the capture of Tom’s venue record has only strengthened many experts’ claims that the venue will produce the next British record fish.
“It doesn’t take a great leap in the imagination to realise that a fish like this only has to be carrying a bit of extra weight in the depths of winter and eat a couple of 2lb trout to become a fish of record proportions,” said Tony Donnelly, assistant fishery manager at Chew Valley.