34lb pike captured from north west natural venue

At the height of the trout reservoir ‘silly season’, when monster pike from venues such as Somerset’s Chew Valley Lake seem to come almost daily, one North West venue has proved that natural waters can still produce huge fish - in the shape of this 34lb specimen.

Landed by Lancashire predator angler Darryl Kirkbright, the large predator was the result of a reconnaissance session on a local 45-acre lake designed to help one of Darryl’s friends catch his first pike.

But it turned out to be a landmark session for a different reason after the builder hooked into his new personal best for the species after just 20 minutes on the bank.

“My Billy’s Backbiter alarm burst into life not long after I’d set up my gear and from then on it was a typical big-fish fight,” Darryl told Angling Times.

“It was such a powerful fish and when I got her near the surface and saw the size of her head I knew she was a very good fish.

“On the bank I realised how lucky I’d been, as she’d fought so hard she’d virtually straightened out one of my trebles - something I’d never seen before.” To tempt the big fish, Darryl used tactics he’s developed over years of pike fishing.

The 45-year-old, whose previous best pike weighed 32lb 4oz, used a suspended paternostered rig employing a subfloat to present his smelt deadbait off the bottom.

“I suspend or pop up all baits, except lamprey and eel sections. A pike’s eyes are on the top of its head, so I want them to be able to see my bait as they cruise along the bottom after prey.

“I’ve also developed a way of hooking my suspended baits that’s allowed me to strike into fish straight away, and it totally cuts out deep hooking,” continued Darryl.

“I tie a loop of mono in the eye of the second treble on my trace - the one closest to the swivel - and mount a wide gape single hook on it, usually a size 8 or 10.

“This is then hooked into the bait’s back, leaving the treble exposed about an inch above the bait - the first treble is mounted at the front of the bait by the pelvic fin.

“When the pike engulf the bait this gives me a better hook-hold and allows me to hit the runs early. I never get dropped runs with this set-up.” Darryl caught his fish around three rodlengths out on a marginal drop-off in around 10ft of water. End tackle comprised size 4 Kamasan BB90 trebles on 55lb wire.