Huge pike on the fly

THIS huge 39lb fly-caught pike is sure to make hundreds of predator anglers green with envy as it was landed by Russell Cowell during his first ever session targeting the species.

Fishing at Chew Valley Reservior in Somerset, widely regarded as the UK’s finest big pike water, the 34-year-old from the Isle of Wight set out to achieve his ambition of catching his first pike with four friends, including Northants-based fly-fishing legend Mike Green.

Due to tough conditions the party only had a handful of single-figure fish to show for their first day efforts, but that all changed on the second afternoon.

Mike had tied a replica of the ‘Jamie’s Jonah’ fly that he used to catch a 40lb 8oz pike from the same venue in 2009 and Russell used it to devastating effect to land the new personal best – a fish that he admits he is unlikely to ever better.

“I’ve lived on the Isle of Wight all of my life so I mainly go sea and game fishing, but I’ve always wanted to catch a pike,” Russell told Angling Times.

“Even though I was well aware of what this water is capable of nothing could have prepared me for this fish and the thrilling experience that it brought me. The fight was amazing and it almost leapt completely out of the water on a couple of occasions.

“Having never caught a pike before I didn’t know how big the fish actually was until it rolled over in the net and I saw the girth of it, which truly was a sight to behold .

“I might be new to pike fishing, but I do appreciate how rare a fish like this is and I am great full and honoured to have caught it because I’m almost certain it won’t happen again.”

Russell used a nine-weight fly fishing rod coupled with a 100lb bite leader to get the best of his prize.