Great news for the nation's anglers

Anglers were left shell shocked this week after the UK was hit by the heaviest snowfall in almost 20 years.

Fisheries the length and breadth of the country felt the full brunt of the Arctic weather, with blankets of snow and frozen lakes the norm at venues from Devon to Yorkshire.

Yet despite the chaos, hordes of hardy anglers have been venturing out on the bank, with some impressive results.

Leading the way was keen angler and TV celebrity Chris Tarrant. The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire presenter braved blizzards at Somerset's Chew Valley Reservoir to bank an immaculate pike of 30lb 2oz.

Chris, who smashed his personal best by over a pound, tamed the specimen on a smelt deadbait while testing a new Greys Prowla bait rod set to go on sale later this year.

"It was easily the coldest day that I¹ve ever fished on," Chris told Angling Times.

"Snow was driving across the reservoir all day and the water temperature was only three degrees. We didn¹t really expect any action, but one very busy spell around lunchtime produced half-a-dozen pike. Martin Founds had one just under 20lb, while

I had the biggest of the day,² he added.
Chris's boat partner for the day John Horsey also got in on the action, landing a stunning 4lb 6oz perch after it snapped up a 6ins Replicant lure intended for pike.

"Weather-wise, it was one of the worst weekends in recent memory, but it just goes to show that you can still catch quality fish if you¹re in the right place at the right time," said John, who was also testing one of Greys new rods.

John's optimism was echoed by Sparsholt College scientist Mark Burdass, an acknowledged expert in fish behaviour, who was adamant this week that anglers can still expect spectacular sport throughout the big freeze-up if they choose their venue wisely.

"After four or five days of consistent weather fish start to adapt and begin feeding again, regardless of how low the temperatures drop," he said.

"As well as pike, species such as chub, roach, grayling, rudd and dace will be the first to respond. Location is key and if you find the fish and feed sparingly, the chances are you will soon get them interested. Good bags or large individual specimens are a possibility."