PREDATOR trials at pike fishing mecca Chew Valley Reservoir have got off to a flying start and one angler to take advantage of the superb sport on offer was Peter Mersh, who slipped the net under this 35lb 5oz specimen.
The Bristol Water-owned trout water, which opens for a limited number of pike fishing sessions each winter, had already produced fish to just over 30lb before the London-based rod raised the bar with his new personal best, which fell for a bluey deadbait.
The 65-year-old and his son Paul booked a two-day stint on the vast north Somerset venue under the guidance of expert coach John Horsey and kicked things off by netting a string of fish to 15lb.
With most anglers on the day congregating around the Herriots and Stratford areas of the reservoir, Pete and his son headed for a quieter spot between Woodford Bank and Nunnery Point on day two, where they hit the jackpot just before dusk.
“It tore off and I instantly knew I was into something pretty special. My personal best before this was 24lb and I had a sneaky feeling early on that I’d break that if I got the fish into the net,” Pete told Angling Times.
“It plodded around for 20 minutes before I finally got the upper hand – once safely landed I knew that I was looking at the fish of a lifetime.”
The capture rounded off a memorable year for Peter, who also took a personal best carp of 62lb while holidaying in France. He has now set his sights on upping his pike pb yet again.
“Everyone knows the venue is home to some of the biggest pike in the country and while this catch has surpassed all my expectations, I’ll be back in the future to try and better it,” he added.
Chew Valley isn’t the only trout water to have produced huge pike this week, with Gavin Dickson landing a 32lb predator from Esthwaite Water.
The local angler from Kendal had never caught an example of the species over the 20lb barrier, but this soon changed during his first session on the 280-acre venue when he tempted his new personal best with a float legered herring fished close to his boat in 12 feet of water.