The race to become the new British record pike venue hotted up this week following the capture of this 44lb 6oz lake record predator from the famous Chew Valley Reservoir in Somerset.
Liverpool’s Paul Millar made history by beating the previous fishery best by 1lb 6oz when he landed the specimen from the Wick Green bank after it took his legered sardine hookbait.
The 25-year-old had suffered three dropped runs earlier in the session, but any disappointment was soon forgotten when he smashed his personal best by 17lb 2oz.
The fish is the third over the 40lb-barrier to be caught from Chew in the 2013/2014 predator season and comes just a week after the capture of England’s biggest pike landed from Wykeham Lakes in North Yorkshire by Wyndon Coole at 46lb 11oz.
Many experts now believe that one of these two venues could break the current 46lb 13oz British record this winter.
“I thought I was going to have one of those days after I suffered three dropped runs on the bounce. Just five minutes after repositioning one of my baits, though, the alarm screamed off and I bent into a fish that compressed my 3lb test curve to the maximum,” said Paul, who used a 40lb wire trace and size 2 trebles.
“The fish jumped clear of the water as I pumped it in towards the shallower water and that’s when I realised that it was something very big. The enormity of what I’d caught really dawned on me when it bottomed out my 40lb scales.
“I had to call on the assistance of some anglers down the bank who had a set of Fox digital scales which enabled me to get an accurate weight of this incredible fish.”
Paul’s fish wasn’t the only proof why Chew is one of the favourites to produce the new British best as the venue’s second pike trial of the winter also produced no less than 8 other fish over the 30lb-barrier, including a 38lb 8oz specimen caught by Ian Nadin.
Sharing a boat with well-known all-rounder, Julian Chidgey, the 47-year-old manager of Cullompton Carp and Coarse found success with a floatfished smelt. Julian used the same tactics with a herring deadbait to take a fish of 31lb 2oz.
Ian said: “I have never seen such a fat pike – it’s easy to see why Chew Valley is often said to be the lake where pike dreams come true.”
Lure anglers also got in on the action with Exeter’s John Moore banking a superb 36lb 6oz fish on an artificial bait.
Bob Handford has worked at Chew for over 40-years and has been the fishery manager since it opened to pike anglers in 2001. Following the number of huge fish produced over the last five months he is confident that it will soon hold the British pike record: “I’ve never said this before, but I really now believe that this venue can produce a record. Mother nature threw everything at the water during the latest trial and we couldn’t even let the boats out on two of the five days. But it still produced the 44lb 6oz fish and countless other 30lb-plus pike from all over the fishery.
“I’ve read the stories about the 46lb 11oz Wykeham fish and the venue no doubt has potential, but something deep down inside me says that our fishing lodge could very well get a phone call saying that there’s been a pike over 47lb caught in the next few weeks.”