These pictures are proof that you don’t have to fish trout waters to catch huge pike after a free stretch of river and a host of day-ticket fisheries produce five 30lb specimens.
While those lucky enough to obtain tickets for the ongoing pike trials at the famous Chew reservoir to target its seemingly endless supply of massive predators, Michael Spinks was the first to realise a dream of catching a pike over the 30lb barrier while on the banks of a free stretch of river.
The pike fishing fanatic from Sutterton, Lincs, was targeting a stretch of the River Ant, which is a tributary of Norfolk’s River Bure, was fishing with his brother Melvin when his first bite of the day resulted in the capture of a 30lb 8oz specimen.
“Chew is an amazing place and fair play to all those guys to fish there, but there are so many other waters that are capable of producing a fish-of-life-time like this. It’s a dream come true,” said Michael, who caught his new ‘pb’ on a floatfished livebait.
Richard Colwell ended a 20-year quest to bank a fish over the 30lb mark when he visited a gravel pit in Gloucestershire to net a stunning 30lb 6oz specimen.
The venue was partially frozen, but that didn’t dampen the Worcestershire anglers desire to beat his previous personal best that stood at 27lb when he cast a legered mackerel tail to a sunken reed bed.
"Popular venues just don’t do it for me as I prefer less commercial places which have less anglers on them and offer more of a challenge,” said Richard.
A stretch of Fen Drain produced a fish-of-a-lifetime for Northampton’s Bill Leggett when he too slipped the net under a predator over the magical 30lb mark.
He clocks-up over 4,000 miles every year as he makes the journey from his home in Sywell to concentrate on the intriguing network of waters and he made it count when it took a freelined sardine.
It was the same hookbait that did the trick on the River Wye for Warwickshire Avon fishing guide Richard Stananought when he won the battle with a 30lb specimen and last but certainly not least is Sunderland’s Geordie Lauder, who had a big surprise when a lump of cheesepaste intended for chub was taken by a huge 30lb 9oz fish.
He beat the personal best predator with a size 14 hook and a 4lb hooklink during a session on the River Wear.