Grafham heads up new pike season

The traditional pike fishing season got off to a flying start with both stillwater and river fisheries producing some of their biggest predators of 2013.

At the top of the long list of venues hitting top form was Cambridgeshire’s Grafham Water as it produced what’s believed to be its biggest fish this year so far in the shape of a pristine 25lb 2oz specimen landed by Rich Holden under the expert guidance of Waterland Fishing guide Gordon Howes. After locating a shoal of bait fish, the 27-year-old cast out a Power Team Hammer Shad lure in about 20ft of water and connected with the fish after half an hour.

It wasn’t just the pike anglers cashing in on the excellent sport on offer, with perch to 4lb and double figure zander reported along with similar results at Anglian Water’s Rutland Water.

Two new venues have also opened their doors to predator anglers for the first time ever this year.

In its first week, Eyebrook Trout Fishery in Leicestershire has already produced large numbers of pike to a best of 23lb and perch to 3lb 14oz. Top Scottish trout fishery Harelaw in Renfrewshire, has also announced plans to allow a limited number of pike anglers access from November  1 until March 10 2014.

Predator fishing legend Neville Fickling was one of several high profile anglers to target the resident predators for the very first time at Eyebrook Trout Fishery and is very optimistic about the coming season.

“It’s been a great start with lots of smaller fish being caught from all over the UK,” Neville told Angling Times. “It’s just a matter of time until the weather starts to get a little colder and the big fish will certainly go on the feed.

“Pike fishing is getting more popular every year and the demand for venues to facilitate predator anglers is increasing. It’s great news that venues such as Eyebrook are opening their doors to us.

Further north, two budding predator anglers broke their personal bests at small Scottish Lochs.

The first was 13-year-old junior Pike Angling Club (PAC) member Michael Ward from Merseyside who banked a 21lb 2oz pike on a legered mackerel tail coated in Pikepro Mackerel Oil and Red Dye. A session at Loch Ronald produced a fish of 18lb for Daniel Fletcher (16) who offered a roach deadbait on a pair of size 4 Owner trebles close to a set of reeds in 4ft of water.

Running water venues have also been producing first-class sport for visiting pike anglers. The famous Royalty Fishery on the River Avon in Hampshire has already produced several fish over the 20lb barrier and one angler landed 12 pike to double figures in a single session.

Nigel Davis, owner of Davis Tackle on the bank of the river, said: “The best fish I’ve had reported so far is a cracking 26lb specimen which is a great fish for this time of year. So far lures have definitely been the best tactic.”