Sunday, 11 November 2012


I had another single day on Chew this week, a bank day with Denis as my angling partner and to be honest, neither of us fancied our chances. Big fish are still coming from Chew but very few are getting caught from the bank and we just expected to blank even before we set off.

Naturally since we had such a long way to travel for just a single day's fishing we decided to add on a visit to another place but we were in for a bit of a shock when we got there - the place was mobbed! With anglers occupying most of the fishable swims our usual mobile methods would be severely hampered and so we set off to fish somewhere else - somewhere new.

The new stretch was something of an unknown quantity, I had fished it once and taken a single small fish but I had used deadbaits and stayed in one swim. This time we decided to give the lures a go. It didn't work out sadly, no fish, no follows and not a single pull to a lure after four hours fishing and with the light beginning to fade we had to make a quick decision. We returned to our original choice venue, hoping that some of the anglers there had headed for home and we were not disappointed, most of them had already left and others were in the process of packing up.

A quick chat to some of the departing anglers revealed the fact that a good day had been had by all with many small fish being caught but just here and there an angler had been having trouble with pike snatching fish from his line. We concentrated on these areas with the "pike trouble" and despite having little of the day remaining we both caught fish. Denis had a pike of around eleven pounds and I had two, one which would have weighed between fourteen or fifteen pounds and another, with the last cast of the day before dark, which went a very nice 19lbs 2oz.

It's a point to note that had I wasted time weighing and photographing the fourteen pounder, I probably wouldn't have caught the larger fish. Fourteen pounders are nice to catch, they can brighten a dull day and catching on lures is always a thrill, but the weight isn't really very important, I've seen enough fish of that size to be able to give a close estimate on their weight and I already have several thousand pictures of low double-figure pike. That said, if I hadn't wasted time weighing and photographing the nineteen, I might have cast again and caught a bigger one!

Next day we fished somewhere completely new. A stretch of river some four miles long which we'd never seen before and about which we knew very little. It was inevitable that this was going to mean a big yomp with our tackle since we were going to have to work hard to find the fish but we were both quite excited at the prospect. We took both lure and bait tackle, increasing the weight of our gear in the process but it had to be that way since we didn't know what to expect.

Mile after mile we walked, casting a line here and there in likely looking places. Most of the river seemed fast and unsuitable for pike but before long we came across a classic swim. This was a small, deep bay set back of the main river where the water was completely still. Staying well back from the bank, we set up our lure rods and prepared to cast into this pool. My lure hit the water first and after just a couple of turns of the reel the rod was wrenched downwards as a good fish hit the lure. I played the fish hard and soon had it by the bank when I called to Denis to keep casting in case there were more fish present. Sure enough, within seconds Denis's lure was followed to the bank by another good fish but it didn't take.

I unhooked my pike and weighed it at 18lbs 1oz and Denis took a few pics before resuming the attempt to catch the other fish. It followed his lure again, right to the bank but the disturbance created by catching the other fish must have spooked it because it would not take. We decided it would be best caught on a deadbait and so I left Denis to it while I marched on looking for other swims. I soon found one, and it was another cracker!

Just like the previous spot, there was a cut back from the main river here but this one was much larger and was tree-lined - there had to be some pike here! I commenced casting my lure, expecting the rod to pull round any moment but nothing happened. Cast after cast, all I brought back was the odd leaf or twig from the bed of the river and I was scratching my head, wondering what I was doing wrong. The answer soon emerged, quite literally when a large dog otter surfaced right in front of me, not more than five yards away. The otter looked at me, snorted in disgust and then submerged once more.

It seemed unlikely that I was going to catch anything in that swim after the marauding creature had disturbed the fish but I did think there was just a chance that the pike had retreated to the safety of the trailing branches of the trees and so I started casting deep into the bay, right in amongst the woodwork. To my surprise this tactic worked and I quickly pulled out two fish, one of around six pounds and another around eight. Just as I returned the eight pounder my phone rang, it was Denis and he had some good news. He had caught the fish he was after on a deadbait and it weighed 19lbs 10oz, the best fish of the trip.

That was it for the river, nothing more to report. As for Chew, well it went as expected, we blanked!

1 comment:

Rob Thompson said...

Lovely kipper Eric, I'm on the bank at Chew for two days this week, doesn't look very hopeful does it but I shall try