Winter Wonderland

Chew valley lake is now open again for a brief two weeks for Pike angling. Myself and fellow TFG team members Tim, Simon and Steve had been lucky enough to get two boat bookings. The problem was getting there – overnight Bristol had been hit by severe snow storms and one of the Severn bridges was closed. We had a hair raising journey through icy winding country roads and finally arrived at the lodge in one piece. With a hearty full english wolfed down we set out on the 1200 acre water.

The air temperatures were hovering around zero and some of the shallower bays were iced over, the water itself was highly coloured and only 1 degree. Thankfully the wind was not too strong and with our fishing clothing, chill out boots and fleeces we were all comfortably protected from the elements.Things did not look promising as by early afternoon we had not had any action at all, not a sniff to deadbaits or the usual soft plastics and jerkbaits.
As a change of tactic I switched to one of the new cutting Edge Jig fishing rods and bumped a smaller shad back hard on the bottom at a very slow pace. I was rewarded with 5 and 8 lb jacks in quick succession and also a 3lb 8 oz Perch. So the fish were there to be caught.

Late afternoon bouncing a jig over a ledge I landed a Perch of 4lb 1 oz, just as this was returned boat partner Simon had a run on his deadbait and after a good scrap I netted a very fat 19lb Pike for him.

As the light faded the wind completely died leaving a tranquil scene. Both boats were positioned on a drop off slope about 50 yards from the bank. I threw out a bright green grub tail on a jig head close to the bank and bounced it back feeling every contour of the bottom through the sensitive grunt braid and the ultra slim blank. The rod hooped round and I was into a fish, it stayed deep and dived under the boat with brute power. I now realised this was something really big as I had not seen it yet despite really putting on the pressure. With the pencil thin rod bent double I finally I brought it to the surface where it was netted. This was a lump of just over 26 lb and a new PB.

Tim had avoided the dreaded blank and landed a 14 lb’er which had taken a deadbait at exactly the same time as my battle with the big girl. Steve had also had a jack.

All of this was remarkable considering the conditions and a testament to the productivity of the water. The final cutting edge samples had also proved their worth, these will be released in April.