This 36lb personal best pike more than justified a 900-mile round trip to Chew Valley Reservoir for fly fishing fanatic Paul Clydesdale.
His obsession for catching big fish using this method sees him clock up over 10,000 miles every year travelling from his home in Ayreshire, Scotland to the Somerset venue.
Using a 5ins homemade fly designed to imitate a small roach, Paul hooked in to the fish, his third over the 30lb-barrier from the venue, while drifting over 14ft of water in the Stratford section of the lake.
“The trip takes over seven hours each way and I do it around 10 times a year,” he said. “It’s worth every minute behind the wheel, though, because Chew is one of those rare places that has an allure and potential that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
“I’ve been all over the world catching huge, exotic species, but it doesn’t get much better than this.
Fishing alongside eight other members of the Scottish branch of the Pike Fly Fishing Association Paul netted 10 fish in total on the day.
“Many people ask me why fly fishing? For me it’s simple, with this method you’re always active and trying to find the fish rather than sitting there with a bait and waiting for them to come to you,” he explained. “Fishing in this way gives you such a heightened sense of achievement, especially when you catch fish on a fly that you’ve tied yourself.”
Another angler to prove how effective fly fishing for pike can be was Sam Edmonds with this 30lb 2oz predator from Cambridgeshire’s Grafham Water.
Fresh from qualifying for the England Lure Fishing Squad, the Abu Garcia-backed rod targeted a shallow marginal bay of the vast reservoir. The fish, which beat his previous pb for the species by 1lb, fell to a jigged shad lure.
Sam said: “It was a nerve-wracking fight as I was playing it on a barbless hook. Grafham isn’t an easy venue to catch pike from, on any method, so I was well chuffed with landing such a magnificent fish on the fly.”