Pike season kicks off with string of 30lb-plus fish

The slight drop in temperature has seen predator sport pick up a gear with 30lb-plus pike reported from both still and running water.

Justin Grapes’ first cast of the year at the famous Chew Valley Reservoir produced this stunning 31lb 7oz personal best.

The Norfolk-based specialist was fishing from the bank when his legered mackerel hookbait was taken by the huge fish. Following a powerful fight he beat his prize with a Drennan wire trace, size 6 trebles and a 40lb braided mainline.

He also netted a predator that topped the scales at 19lb 2oz plus six other jack pike to 8lb.

“This was the most nerve-racking fight I’ve ever had as the fish scrapped so hard in relatively shallow water, plus my landing net broke just as the pike  slid into the net, which made things interesting to say the least,” Justin told Angling Times.

Another angler to reap the rewards at arguably Britain’s finest big pike water was Leighton Ryan with a 30lb 4oz specimen.

The fish is the third over the 30lb-barrier which the South Wales-based rod has landed since last October and it fell to a floatfished mackerel hookbait while boat fishing close to Woodford Lodge.

“I followed the crowds on the first few days and lost a fish over 20lb at the side of the boat, but on the final session I decided to go off and do my own thing. The rest is history,” said Leighton.

Chew Valley also provided Jon Shorman with two personal bests in the space of a few days.

The 47-year-old from London had modern technology to thank after using the latest Hummingbird Onix Sounder and then casting to where the fish were showing on the screen.

His first best tipped the scales at 26lb 12oz and this was followed by a 31lb 12oz specimen the next week. He said: “It was the most violent run I have ever had from a pike, almost ripping the rod out of the rod rest.”

Nathan Edgell experienced the ‘session of a lifetime’ on an undisclosed river taking a 19 fish haul including three specimen pike for a combined weight of over 75lb.

The highlight of 30Plsus-backed predator angler’s trip was a cracking 31lb 10oz pike which was backed up with fish of 25lb 6oz and 21lb 10oz.

“When I arrived at the river it was pushing through quite quick and was fairly coloured – far from ideal for big pike,” he said. “I decided to target the side streams and feeder channels as these are the places pike often move in to when the main river is flooded.”
After catching 10 single figure fish his lure was taken by the smaller of the two twenties. A change of swim and tactics saw him complete his hat-trick of specimens.

“I found a nice slack out of the main flow which looked perfect for a deadbait. I mounted a roach on a single size 4 30Plus treble and dropped it a rod length from the margin.”

It wasn’t long before he’d banked a pike of 25lb 6oz and this was quickly followed by the biggest of the outing – his third biggest river pike and fifth over the 30lb-barrier. “A wild river thirty is a rare fish indeed,” he added.

The potential of Pitsford Water was highlighted during an incredible predator session for Neil Bridges, which saw perch to 4lb 3oz and a 33lb 4oz pike landed.

A boat session on the Northamptonshire venue saw 45-year-old Neil record five perch over 3lb in the space of an hour. Using drop shotting tactics he presented an American Jelly Worm in 18ft of water near a marginal drop off. The best was yet to come, however, when he moved to a bay to target pike in the afternoon.

“I was contemplating moving as the wind was getting a bit blustery and I’d wound in my first rod. As I went for the second I saw the float bob. I wound down and hit it straight away and it was obviously a good fish, it nearly snagged me around the anchor rope but I managed to get her in,” added Neil, who used a 28lb wire trace, size 6 trebles and a large sliding float.  

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