John Horsey Fly Fishing Web Log

John's Fishing Blog

Big girls feed on 3rd week of Chew Pike Trials

Wayne Adcock had a day to remember on the Annual Chew Pike Competition held on the 1st day of the 3rd session of Pike Trials.  Wayne drew top predator angler Neville Fickling and landed fish of 33lbs, 27lbs and 29lbs, plus a couple of doubles for good measure!  Adcock's total weight was over 100lbs and easily took the trophy.
Deadbaits at anchor was the winning method and 2nd placed Martin Harrison also fished deads to take 5 doubles for almost 70lbs.

I was drawn with top lure angler Bob Jones and we were really excited as the winds were low and the air temperatures comfortably warm - some pike were even showing on the surface as they targetted the roach - we were very confident that this would be a day for the lures.  How wrong we were!

After 15 minutes I had a good hit and landed a 7 .08 fish, soon followed by a couple of jacks for Bob and I in quick succession.  Then it was a case of sit back and watch the deadbait anglers heaving in pike after pike.  Returning to the Dam, I had a 10.08 fish and expected things to start happening for us - but they didn't.

Bob and I persevered however and at last knockings, I managed a 25.08 beast off Moreton point - a gnarly old campaigner which was blind in one eye!

3 twenties on baits!

Although I have supreme confidence fishing lures for pike on Chew in virtually any conditions, there are times when I stick the anchor down and watch the floats.  To me, fishing deads lacks any interaction and apart from twitching them along the bottom from time to time, you are literally at the mercy of the pike and cannot make things happen as you can fishing lures or flies.  Still, each to their own I suppose.

On this particular day, I was fishing with Barry Hawyes, who this time last year, lost the biggest pike I have ever seen on Chew Valley - right at the net - in fact, 2/3's of it's body was over the net before it slunk off into the depths!  Barry has never been the same since!

As it was cold and windy, we drifted with lures for a few hours and Barry had a couple of jacks.  Lunchtime came, so we anchored-up and stuck out 3 baits while Barry continued to fish the lures.  Within 10 minutes, he had missed a take and landed a 7lb fish.

The boat near to us had a decent fish, so we felt we too were in with a chance.  Sure enough, Barry's float started to move, so he wound down and struck into a solid fish.  After a decent fight, we got the fish into the net, just as my bait runner screamed off.  I struck into another good fish and to cut a long story short, we had 2 fish in the same net weighing 47lbs!

Barry's fish was 20lbs 8ozs and mine was 26lbs 8ozs.  Thankfully both were lightly hooked and went back quickly after a couple of pics - the rigs however were a different story and needed completely replacing.

We went off on the drift for the rest of the afternoon but returned for last knockings, where I managed another cracking fish of 24.08, while Barry had a jack and lost another biggie. 

So far, my guests and I have had 13 pike over 20lbs to my boat during the Trials and the last session begins on Friday.  Normally, the number of pike caught drops, but historically, there are even bigger fish landed - I've not had a 30 this season, so lets hope it will come next week - or perhaps even a 40 ..........

 

John with 25.08 lure caught pike
Barry Hawyes with 20.08 on deadbait
John with 26.08 taken on a dead

Two great days on Blagdon

I have just had 2 great fishing days on Blagdon with Barry Hawyes and Bryan Brown.
On Thursday Barry and I drifted along the shallow water off Polish Water in front the Lodge to land a double limit of 12 rainbows, returning 3 browns as well.

Barry had the best fish at 4lbs and it took a Diawl Bach Nymph.

The following day, Bryan and I fished Cheddar Water, Polish Water and Butcombe Bay to land 10 rainbows and return one Brownie.
Bryan also had a superb 3lb Perch on a Sparkler Lure fished on a DI3 sinking line.

The tactics for both days were floating line and straight nymphs - Diawl bachs and Crunchers using 8.3lb Hardy Mach Fluorocarbon (brilliant leader material).
At times we also switched to lures on a DI3 sinking line - normally when the wind picked up and the fish went off the feed.

My advice is to get a boat or two on Blagdon before the end of October - it's fantastic fishing!

Barry Hawyes and a 4lb Blagdon Rainbow
Bryan Brown's 3lb Blagdon Perch

Vandals strike at Chew!

The 2nd session of Chew Valley Pike Trials were marred by vandals who set fire to some of the boats on Sunday evening, causing over £25,000 of damage.
Six boats and 5 outboard engines were totally ruined by this senseless act of vanalism.  Thankfully, a visiting pike angler spotted the fire and called the fire brigade, otherwise the result could have been catastrophic.

It was a sickening sight on Monday morning, seeing the burnt-out carcasses of the boats, with charred remnants of the wooden gunwales and transoms floating around on the surface of the lake.  The fibre glass hulls burnt so savagely that the engine mountings disintegrated and the engines dropped into the lake.  The recovered engines were ruined.

Pike session number 2 off to a great start.

The previous 2 days had been excellent, with light winds and warm air temperatures.  More pike fell to deadbait tactics than in the first set of trials, but still the lure anglers were making the headlines.

Two visiting lure fishers drifted over the deep water on Monday and although the winds were near gale force, boated fish of 22lbs and the biggest so far at 32.08 - both taken on spoons.

I fished the first 2 days and had 3 twenties - a 20.08, 23.04 and at last knockings on Sunday evening, a fin perfect fish of 24lbs 8ozs.  All took slowly fished soft plastic lures using a Greys Prowla medium Lure rod, a Shimano Rarenium reel, loaded with 50lb Power Pro braid.

Tight Lines Pod Cast

I really enjoyed being on Sky TV's Tight Lines programme last friday night.  Keith Arthur and I chatted about Chew, Blagdon, trout and Pike - both with flies and lures.
If you missed the programme, then you can download the entire Pod cast from the Tight Lines Website.

Chew's burnt-out boats
John Horsey Fly Fishing

See John on Sky Sports' "Tight Lines" show this Friday

I'm really pleased to have been invited back onto Keith Arthur's TV Show "Tight Lines" this coming Friday, 14th October at 7:00pm on Sky Sports 2.

The show gives up to date information on a wide range of fishing issues and every week they have a different studio guest.  I'm expecting to chat about both trout and pike fishing with host Keith Arthur and how best to tackle the remaining weeks of the reservoir trout fishing season.

The show is studio based in the now famous "Fishing Bivvy", but there are also clips of fishing action throughout and reports on the latest techniques, baits and lures to increase your chances of success this weekend.

Gales cause us to be towed off Blagdon!

In all the years that I have fished Blagdon Lake, I have never had to cancel a day due to the winds.  Chew is a different kettle of fish, as it is more exposed and also 3 times the size of Blagdon, so although still rare, it sometimes has to be expected during severe gales.

However, last Thursday, the winds were howling from the West and I was afloat on Blagdon with Dennis and Richard Greener.  We had a couple of trout in the bag, had stopped for lunch and decided to take a chance on the Top End as the wind seemed to have abated.  We anchored in Wood bay and Dennis was soon into a cracking rainbow on a Diawl Bach Nymph. 

The wind got worse and worse and soon our anchor would not hold bottom - even in the relative shelter of Wood Bay.  So we made a hasty decision to motor back to the Dam - we got to Green Lawns and I decided to change to my number 1 battery, which had been fully recharged the previous day.  It was like standing still!  We were motoring at full revs, but the force of the wind even seemed to be pushing us back!  We made our way into Holt Bay and signalled to a passing Bristol Water Ranger that we were in trouble.

Within minutes, out came the Bristol Water Launch and we were duly towed back to the jetties - along with another boat who was also struggling. What an embarrassment!

Apparently, all the pike boats had been recalled at 2:30 that afternoon from Chew Valley and now they were doing the same at Blagdon, so we didn't feel too guilty.

We lost another day this week due to the winds, but the forecasters are predicting better weather for the coming weeks.

For you trout anglers, get along to Blagdon for some truly exceptional fly fishing.  Tactics are either Washing Line with Sparkler Booby and Diawl Bach or Cruncher Nymphs, or just a team of Dries - Hoppers, Bobs Bits and Carrot Flies - Claret and Red being the best colours.

At Chew, the best fishing is still along Woodford Bank away from the weedbeds, but a lot of trout have now migrated to Herons Green and along the Moreton Bank and all across the middle of the lake.

Pikers should be in for a treat next week as the water is cooling fast and the bigger fish should come on the feed.  Watch this space .........

Being towed off Blagdon
Andy Lucas with 4lb Blagdon Rainbow

Chew Autumn Pike Trials begin

I fished the first day of Pike Trials on Chew Valley Lake this Monday - what a day it was!

70 degrees heat and bright sunshine greeted the boat anglers - most of whom anchored and fished deadbaits.  This was definitely the hottest ever start to a pike trials session and my boat partner, Simon Pledge and I headed for Herons Green.  Our other friends Gavin and Gary also headed for this area - all of us determined to fish lures on the drift.

Thankfully, most of the anchored boats kept to the deep water in front of the Sailing Club or in front of Woodford Bank.

The 4 of us ended the day with over 40 pike on lures.

Simon had the best bag - his first three pike weighed 20lbs, 24lbs 8ozs and 26lbs.  Gavin Young had fish of 23lbs, 23lbs 08ozs, 19lbs and 17lbs 08ozs.  Gary and I also chipped in with several doubles up to 14lbs.

What an opening day!

Simon Pledge 26lb opening day pike
John Horsey Fly Fishing

Pike Trials begin on Monday!!!!

Today I ran a Corporate Flyfishing Day at Testside lakes in the Leckford Valley during the hottest day of the year!  I cannot remember a hotter day this season apart from the World Championships - and they were held in Italy!

Temperatures soared to over 80 degrees farenheit in many parts of the UK and in just 2 days time, we begin the Pike Trials on Chew Valley lake.

I fly fished for pike yesterday and the previous day on Chew and it was very hard - we managed just 3 jacks but saw some massive fish.  The trout fishing recently - and all through the season - has been amazing on both Chew and Blagdon Lakes, but even the trout have been hard to tempt over these past few days.

On the River Test, during this afternoon, there was not a single rising fish.  The lakes at Testside fished exceptionally well during the morning and early afternoon, but come 4:00pm, even these fish had stopped feeding.

Is this the effect of Global Warming?  Will this be the norm for our coming Autumns?  Who knows?

I bet that by Monday, the present spell of windless, hot, sunny weather has passed and is replaced by cooler, windy weather - and for once - just once; I will be relieved.  And so, I hope, will the fish.  I bet the pike trials will be brilliant and the trout fishing at the back-end on both Chew and Blagdon; will also be superb.

Watch this space ........

 

John Horsey Fly Fishing

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