South west canal produces 31lb 2oz pike for Julian Chidgey

This is a picture of one of the biggest pike ever caught from a canal ¬ all 31lb 2oz of it.

The impressive fish was taken by Julian Chidgey from a venue in the South West and was just reward for an extensive pre-baiting campaign undertaken by the 27-year-old.

In the two months leading up to the capture the Devon-based specialist drove to the canal three times a week after work to deposit a pungent mixture of chopped-up old deadbaits and ‘reduced to clear’ fish from the local supermarket ¬ all bound together with SBS Predator groundbait and various other additives.

The extra effort paid almost instant dividends, with the big girl picking up Julian’s legered smelt deadbait just 20 minutes after he cast in to the base of the marginal shelf tight to a large weedbed.

“As she came close to the net I realised that I was connected to at least an upper twenty and, after losing a big fish that got tangled in the net and threw the hooks a few weeks ago, I was extra careful with this one!

“When I tried to lift her I realised I had caught the fish of a lifetime from a canal,” said a delighted Julian.

The capture caps a sensational year’s pike fishing for the Korum consultant, who has taken 15 fish over 20lb, topped by a 32lb 14oz giant from Chew Valley lake at the end of October, as well as a string of huge fish of other species, including tench to 11lb 7oz, eels to just under 6lb, rudd to 2lb 10oz and carp to a whopping 45lb.

“I’ve had a great year in 2009, but this latest pike is head and shoulders above the rest for me because I started my fishing as a child on the canals.

“The image of that fish and its huge frame as it swam away strongly  will live with me forever ¬ it’s made my season,” said Julian, who presented his bait on size 4 trebles, 40lb Caliber Wonderwire and  50lb braid.