40lb pike tops a massive opening week at Chew

A huge 40lb 4oz pike caught on a homemade rod tops an incredible week at the famous Chew Valley Reservoir, which also saw a record-breaking brace of predators landed.
It was the first time that Guy Elson had ever fished at the Somerset venue, and he christened his new hand-built rod with the specimen that smashed his personal best by more than 25lb during the latest pike fishing trials. It also saw an incredible venue record brace of fish weighing 37lb and 35lb taken from Picnic Area 2 off the North Shore.
Guy was fishing with boat partner and close friend Craig Holiehead, and the fish-of-a-lifetime provided the only pike of the day for the duo at the Bristol Water-controlled venue, which produced a total of 19 predators reported over the 30lb barrier, as well as the 40lb 4oz fish.
“We turned up with a bucket and a couple of rods each at this vast venue, surrounded by other anglers who were obviously super serious about their piking. That was a little daunting, to say the least,” said Guy, who’s based in Kent.
“The weather turned nasty, so we headed around the back of an island and cast float-legered mackerel baits into a hole about 18ft deep.
“I had a slow, ponderous take, and when the fish began to take line off a tight clutch I knew this was no ordinary pike.
“This was the first fish on my new rod, my first visit to Chew and probably the biggest pike I’ll ever catch. It just goes to show what an incredible venue this is. Anyone with a bait in the water has a chance of a dream fish like this.”
It proved yet again why ‘Chew’ is regarded as the UK’s finest and most consistent big-pike venue after producing many fish over the 35lb mark, one of them topping the scales at 35lb 12oz and landed by Somerset’s Andy Berwick.
Angling Times columnists Martin Bowler and Steve Rowley were among the many visitors who banked pike over the 30lb barrier.
“Chew is a factory for producing huge pike, and there’s nowhere else that comes close,” said Martin.
“If I’d caught a fish of 34lb 12oz at any other venue it would be a safe bet that it would be the best of the day, but I think the day I was fishing it was the third biggest, which really puts into perspective how amazing this venue is.
Steve Rowley joined Martin for his two-day session and also got among the seemingly endless stock of huge predators when he won the battle with this 34lb 2oz (above) with size 4 Drennan semi barbless trebles.
His fish fell to a sardine hookbait just as the light began to fade on their final day’s fishing.
“Though social media and the press may give people the impression that Chew is an easy water, this is far from the truth,” said Steve.
“The fact that most anglers’ expectations are high when they fish Chew makes it twice as tough if they fail here. But the truth is that anyone can apply for a ticket and have a shot at a huge pike.”
There’s always a special buzz among the dedicated staff at Chew when pike anglers from all over the country descend on the venue for the highly anticipated pike fishing trials.
And with eight days left of the winter trials, and a venue record that stands at 44lb 6oz, many believe there’s no other venue in the country that’s got a better chance of producing over the current 46lb 13oz British best.
“It’s always really exciting for everyone at this incredible fishery,” said fisheries manager John Harris.
“The sheer number of huge pike caught on a daily basis never ceases to amaze us. I’m sure that the remaining days of fishing in February are going to produce the goods... something really special is always a possibility.”