Chew '42' to set new record in winter?

Chew Valley Reservoir has once again staked its claim as the best predator water of all time after it produced a huge 42lb pike.

The impressive specimen, which falls just 4oz short of the fishery record, was landed by Bridgwater’s Ray Jones and was the highlight of an incredible first week of the sell-out pike fishing trials on the Bristol Water controlled venue which saw no less than three different thirties reported to 33lb and 23 fish over the 20lb-barrier to 28lb.

Fishing from the bank near the Nunnery Point area of the 1,200 acre lake, Ray connected with the biggest reported pike of the year when it picked up his floatfished mackerel hookbait.

“I’ve just got married and had only returned from my honeymoon in Corfu the day before,” he told Angling Times. “When I hooked in to the fish I could obviously tell it was something big, but it was only when my mate who landed it told me he couldn’t lift the net that I realised it was something a bit special.

“I lost a big fish from the same area last year on Chew after it snagged me on some sunken tree stumps so I played this fish a bit harder as I didn’t want a repeat of last year.”

“I was shaking when we lifted the fish up on to the scales as it was such an incredible creature. If it’s this weight now who knows what it could do later in the winter.”

Another angler to get among the venue’s famed stock of specimen pike was local angler Gavin Young, helping himself to a new pb of 32lb.

He was boat fishing over around 20 feet of water when the fish, which beats his previous biggest for the species by 4lb 4oz, found his float-legered deadbait too hard to resist.

“As soon as I hooked the pike it jumped clear out of the water. When I realised what I was connected to my heart started to beat out of my chest!” said Gavin.
“I think it would have saved me a lot of stress if I hadn’t seen it until it was ready for the net.”

Also getting in on the action was profession fly fishing guide, John Horsey, who slipped his net under a 27lb 12oz fish after offering a floatfished herring mounted on size 4 trebles in 10ft of water.

Many experts have been quick to state that due to the fact a fish of such proportions has been caught so early in the year before the first frosts, there is a realistic chance that this winter could see the venue produce a predator over the current British record of 46lb 13oz.

Neville Fickling, former holder of the British pike record, was not only one of the anglers who struck gold last week with the capture of a pike weighing 28lb 4oz, but is also of the opinion that Chew Valley Reservoir has cemented its place at the top of the predator fishing tree.

“I would stick my neck out and say that Chew is the best pike fishing venue in the world. I’m not aware of anywhere better and I’ve been in this game for a while,” Neville told Angling Times.

“I haven’t heard of a fish this big being caught this early in the trials before and it really makes you wonder what it could produce as it gets cold and the conditions for huge pike get even better.”

**Chew Valley’s biggest pike**

Ed Matthews, 42lb 4oz, November 2011
Ray Jones, 42lb, October 2013
Mark Even, 41lb 8oz, January 2012
Andy Charmer, 40lb 8oz, February 2010
Mike Green, 40lb 8oz, May 2009
Phil Wakeford, 40lb 6oz, January 2012

**Top pike waters of all time**

1. Chew Valley Reservoir , Somerset: Top of the list for its sheer numbers of huge pike present, which are caught on deadbaits, lures and flies.

2. Lough Mask, County Mayo, Ireland: Before the venue was netted some years ago it produced pike up to 42lb and ‘thirties’ were also on the cards.

3. Blithfield, Staffordshire: During a relatively short space of time from the year 2000 it produced 29 fish over 39lb.

4. Llandegfedd, Wales: This venue holds the current British record at 46lb 13oz caught by Ray Lewis in 1992.

5. Gartmorn Dam, Scotland: Possibly the best pike water ever in Scotland