Blog headlines

Sunday, 13 February 2011

You should have been here yesterday....

Well Sean and I are back from a couple of days at Chew. We arrived bubbling with confidence, both of us having hardly slept the night before... I'd like to think this was due to the anticipation of catching a thirty from this 12000 acre reservoir but if I'm honest, in my case, it was due to having a 4 month old baby with a cold, and for Sean, I suspect it was the fact that he left at 0400 to make the drive out West from London!!

Anyway we arrived at Woodford lodge at 0700 (in my case after seemingly driving round the reservoir three times) to find that it doesn't open until 0800 and we couldn't start fishing until 0900. We were both brimming with confidence as the weather was overcast and mild and talk of toothy giants was in the air. This fervour was not dampened when we eventually got to talk to the wardens as they told us that no less than 13 thirties were caught in the previous couple of days!!!

We could hardy contain our excitement as we were allocated a boat (after queing twice - organisation isn't a strong point of the Chew pike days!), and we made our way down to the pontoon where 50 super keen anglers were all champing at the bit...

We stowed our gear in the boat and prepared ourselves for the pike of a lifetime.... As we started the engine and pulled away from the pontoon reality struck... Where the hell should we go? Chew is big, very big and we had no real idea of what to look for as we had no echo sounder or bathymetric map. In these situations you have two options - follow the crowd or trust in your own intuition...

Having caught a few pike on different venues we thought we'd go for the latter. In my experience at this time of the year you want to be fishing in 8-10 feet of water, so the landing net pole was extended to this length and off we went looking for this sort of water, preferably near some sort of feature. This is where it all started to go wrong... Unfortunately it appears that about 90% of Chew is 8-10 feet deep! We tried various spots that looked perfect - fishing deadbaits and large lures for about 30 minutes in each, but nothing... Eventually when fishing near a causeway by an island, Sean had a take on a Savage Gear jointed herring. At first we were both overly excited but quickly we realised that it wasn't the hoped for thirty, in fact, it barely made 30 inches when unceremoniously winched into the boat. But at least it was a start so surely we'd get a biggie?

Well actually no. After a very long day the result was two dropped runs and two micro pike. The dropped runs were mildly exciting as they occurred in the same place and we thought we might have found the fish, but eventually I caught the suspected culprit and it was almost the twin of Sean's!

We returned back to the pontoons with our tails firmly between our legs. It soon became apparent that the fishing had been very patchy. One boat had had two twentys at the same time but most told a similar story to us, and a lot of blanks. Probably one in three boats had decent fish but no thirties... These big ressies aren't easy. Unless you have golden sphericals, I think a lot of hard work/time/inside knowledge is needed to catch consistently.

We retired to the pub - dejected but not beaten. Over a few pints we discussed the next day's tactics as we had a day on the bank to make amends. Following an early night we were up again at 0600 and straight back on it! We arrived at our chosen area in the rain and pitch black - there were already two cars parked up! Oh well at least we must be in the right area. Using head torches we chose our spot fishing next to a bit of "no fishing" bank hoping that this is where some of the big girls may be hiding.

We tackled up and as dawn broke 4 deadbaits were hurled to the horizon (well maybe 30 yards!). It then began to dawn on us as to how amateurish we are! The 4 guys along from us all had bait boats of similar proportions, speed and comfort to Bonwey. Their baits really did go to the horizon! We sat and waited... and then waited some more... At about 0830 there was a commotion about 300 yards along the bank to the pros - out came the bins and Sean declared the resultant pike to be " a good fish" - little did we know!...

Well to cut a long story short we tried all sorts of rigs and distances (we can fish honest!) and even resorted to going to the lodge and asking for some tips " cast as far as you can and wait...." was the answer. Normally I'm a really impatient angler and always on the move but we decided to follow the advice and stick it out.

Over the next 10 hours I tidied my box/bag, did various other displacement activities and generally tried to disuade Sean from heading home! It would have been truly boring if it hadn't been for the pleasant company and beautiful surroundings.

Absolutely nothing happened, not only for us, but for the anglers next to us, and two very dejected anglers packed up as it got dark. In the car park I talked to one of the guys that we'd seen catch the fish earlier in the day. He turned out to be a very nice chap and happy to pass on information. He was a regular and had already fished seven sessions this year. He told me that it was very hit or miss and that he'd been out in the boats yesterday and only had one fish.... But.... the fish we'd seen him catch that morning was 33lb!!! He'd also lost another of similar proportions....

We'll be back!!!

 P.S. It turns out that the chap I spoke to was Dr Paul Garner





Document Actions