Record pike venue opens doors again

The venue that holds the British current pike record has opened its doors to predator anglers for the first time in six years.
Anglers from across the country descended on the famous Llandegfedd Reservoir in South Wales – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The first two days of pike trials resulted in 11 predators over 20lb, with the biggest fish coming in at 27lb 7oz.
The 430-acre trout fishing reservoir first hit the headlines in 1988 when it allowed pike fishing for the first time.
It produced four fish over 40lb, then two British record pike. The first was caught by Gareth Edwards in 1989 at 45lb 6oz, followed by the existing best of 46lb 13oz taken by Roy Lewis in 1992.
And last week, following six years of closure to predator anglers, some of pikefishing’s biggest names set out in search of monsters.
One of those was well-known piker Nige Williams, who not only landed a 22lb 7oz fish, but was accompanied by Dean Mastouras, who boated the biggest fish of the first two days weighing 27lb 7oz. He took it on a lure, and it’s a personal best he’s been chasing for more than 30 years.
“The atmosphere when Nige and I arrived at the venue was absolutely electric. Everyone was buzzing because it hadn’t been pike fished for so many years,” said Dean.
“Every time we got a run I thought ‘could this be the one?’ as no water is more of a magnet to pike anglers than this one.
“I’ve travelled all over the UK and Ireland in search of big pike, and to smash my personal best by 7lb 7oz at Llandegfedd is incredible.”
The second-biggest fish of the two-day trial, at 26lb 8oz, also fell to a lure and was taken by leading predator angler Dave Kelbrick, who backed it up with a 20lb 14oz fish and shared a boat with his son Luke, who also got among the big fish with a 22lb 2oz specimen.
“This venue is capable of throwing up a real monster. I had a fish that was in the low 30lb bracket follow my lure right to the edge of the boat, but it turned away, which was a real gutter,” Dave told Angling Times.
Respected all-rounder and Korum-backed specialist Gary Knowles echoed the sentiments of Dave. After making the seven-hour drive from his Cheshire home, Gary not only boated a pike weighing 21lb 10oz, but was left telling the tale of ‘the one that got away’ after his day on the record-breaking water drew to a close.
“You look out across this water thinking of what it might hold and it really sends a shiver down your spine,” he said.
“I hooked a fish that stripped 20 yards of line off the multiplier on the first run, but then it was gone.
“That was just one of a couple of big fish that I bumped off. I don’t mind losing a fish on my local canal, but when it’s on Llandegfedd and your next run could be a fish-of-a-lifetime it’s a different story!”
The incredible venue is now open to pike anglers fishing from both the bank and boats every Monday and Tuesday until the end of October.
Venue bosses have been pleased with the results of the first two days and share the excitement and enthusiasm of the anglers who now look forward to discovering what Llandegfedd has in store over the coming weeks.
“There have been many stories coming back from the guys on the boats of the loss and sightings of really big fish, which is great after the water being closed for six years and it being so early in the pike fishing season,” said area land manager Richard Poole.
“This venue covers 430 acres, with depths that run to 130 feet in some places, so the possibilities are limitless.
“One of our rangers who was fishing on Monday and Tuesday saw some really big pike on the fishfinder that he had on the boat.
“These are exciting times.”