Record water set to reopen

Angling Times can this week reveal that the venue which produced the current British pike record could re-open its doors to predator anglers next year.

Llandegfedd Reservoir in Pontypool, South Wales, first hit the headlines in 1988 when it allowed pike fishing for the first time and produced four fish over the magical 40lb-barrier. Over the next few years it produced two British records for the species - the first falling to Gareth Edwards in 1989 at 45lb 6oz, followed by the existing best of 46lb 13oz to Roy Lewis in 1992.

Catches of bigger fish started to drop off after the turn of the millennium and in 2009 venue officials made the decision to stop pike angling on the 434-acre water.

The fishery originally announced on their Facebook page that plans are in place to allow boat fishing for pike again in 2014, and this was confirmed by Richard Poole, site controller for the Welsh Water owned venue. “We decided to give it a rest for five years as the pike population had obviously declined and we felt that the fishing was not offering visitors good value for money,” he explained to Angling Times.

“That period has now passed and if the work which is currently being carried out on the visitor centre at the reservoir is completed on time then we are planning to open two days week throughout October 2014. If for some reason the work isn’t completed on time it will definitely be opened during the same months in 2015.

“Costs are yet to be decided, as is the method of booking, but I’m sure there will be a massive demand for boats,” he added.

One of the many anglers praying the work is finished by next autumn is seasoned specimen hunter and Angling Times’ Bait Doctor columnist Paul Garner.

“I would definitely be keen to fish there,” he said. “A lot of these big pike waters are cyclical so there is no reason why it shouldn’t produce fish of a similar size to what it did in its late eighties, early nighties hay day. The fishery has also been managed well, which is good to see, and keeping the pike free of pressure over the last few years certainly won’t have done them any harm.

Respected pike angler and former record holder for the species, Neville Fickling, is also excited to see what the former pike ‘mecca’ will produce. “Chew has been simply exceptional over the last few years, but it will be interesting to see what happens and what gets caught from Llandegfedd. Any fish in there that were around 10-12lb when it closed to pike fishing five years ago could quite easily be mid-thirties.

“When it first opened I spent over £2,000 on permits and fuel for two 19lb pike so I would love to get back on there to try and better that.”

- Roy Lewis, 46lb 13oz, Oct 1992 – (Current British record)
- Gareth Edwards, 45lb 6oz, March 1989
- Carl Garrett, 44lb 8oz, Oct 1988
- Stuart Gilham, 44lb, Oct 1988
- B. Ingram, 43lb 2oz, Oct 1988
- Pete Climo, 42lb 5oz, Oct 1988
- Martin Cooke, 40lb 8oz, Oct 1996