It’s been a week of shocks on the pike fishing front, with a number of huge predators being landed from venues with no form for the species.
Bristol’s Chew Valley Reservoir dominated the headlines since the turn of the year thanks to a number of colossal catches, but it’s taken a back seat as less fashionable stillwaters stole the show.
Leading the way was top all-rounder Gary Knowles, when he banked a personal-best 35lb 2oz fish from Blithfield Reservoir.
The Staffordshire water’s credentials had been ignored by the vast majority after a fish-kill several years ago, but the Korum-backed star showed its immense potential when the pike fell for a soft plastic lure presented close to the bank.
Although pike fishing has been banned there since early 2014 for the stocks to regroup, Gary was given permission to host a trial to see if there were any signs of recovery.
“As soon as I hooked into it I knew it was a big fish, as it just held bottom and it refused to budge when I applied any pressure,” he said.
“My previous best of 31lb 12oz came from the venue a long time ago, so it was nice to break it in such style.
“People had written off Blithfield’s big-pike potential and friends told me I was wasting my time on an empty water, but I knew there were some huge fish still to be had.
“This fish came within two hours of our first trial and, considering the venue is over 800 acres, there is no way this is the biggest fish in there. I’d go so far as to say Blithfield could hold the next record pike.”
In response to the amazing catch, plans have been drawn up to reopen to pike angling in early 2017, with further details to be released shortly.
- Two winters searching for a huge pike ended for Paul Collier, when he took a 35lb 4oz giant from a Lincs pit.
The Skegness angler had spent countless sessions in search of his target and struck gold when it fell for a roach deadbait.
“This is the only pike in the water worth catching and as soon as I had the run, I had a feeling it was the one I had been on the hunt for,” he said.
“I’d been prebaiting a spot for a while and it must have been gorging itself as it weighed a lot more than anyone expected.”
Paul banked the beast on a rig made up of 40lb braided mainline to a 30lb trace and size 6 hooks.
- The little-known Bathpool Park, in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire, also produced a surprise when it threw up a claimed 41lb specimen to Ben Machin.
Fishing a couple of rodlengths out, his tackle was tested to the limit when the specimen found his sardine deadbait. “I’ve never hooked a fish that fought like this. It took me over half an hour to get it in the net,” he said. “I knew the venue had some big pike in it but never in my wildest dreams did I expect a 40lb-plus fish from a park lake.”