November Blog 2015


With the pike season in full swing, its hard to get time to myself let along write my blog. Unfortunately, I’ve been fishing a few waters that are a bit off the radar at the moment, and its in everyone’s (including the pike!) best interest not to give them too much publicity at the moment, so I regret another Chew blog! actually I don’t regret it at all, Chew is a fabulous place – there should be a caveat on that sentence, in that it is a fabulous place when its fishing well – its a downright killer when its not!

The competition day on Chew is a relaxed fishing day, the boats go out a bit later than normal, and you have to come back in early for the meal and the prize giving. But it’s a fun day and it’s good to see all the old faces. Luckily I was paired up with Steve Whitehead again – which was good as he is quite a relaxed character who’s on a roll on Chew at the moment, so hopefully some of his luck would rub off on me. 

We started the day on the “40 spot” a deep water area where Steve had done very well in the past, there wasn’t much showing on the sounder but sometimes you have to try these areas even if there isn’t anything showing, as it could be an area that fish move through, or the fish could be tight on the bottom, so it was a good area to start on. Soon we had four baits soaking away, waiting for a big pike to pick them up. Steve was using his favourite mackerel and I was on Smelt, I don’t know why, but I have never done any good on mackerel, which is stupid – its probably the most used pike bait in the country, but I don’t have much confidence in it. Smelts can be a good bait at Chew, but sometimes they just turn off them. But I thought I would try it as Steve was on the oily baits.


Looking around there was a 50/50 split in where the boats were, some were in deep water, some shallow down in Stratfords. It was quite a nice day to start with, but, within an hour it started drizzling, and within an hour and half it was pouring down. A few boats were moving around obviously looking for fish, but Steve was confident in the spot we were in, and so was I, so we stuck it out for a few hours to no avail. With a break in the rain we decided on a short move over to a shelf in 15ft of water.

As we came over the shelf it was clear that there was a lot of bait fish around it – which was good, then as we got deeper I saw a massive pike on the sounder, easily a 30 + fish. That’s more than enough for me to anchor up!

shot 91

Putting the anchor down quietly I motored the boat back to within casting range of where I had seen the fish, and quickly a bait was cast on its head. To be honest I was expecting a quick take, but it didn’t come and it was quite frustrating. I kept the imager on and I could see fish coming in and out on both sides of the boat, so I was surprised that neither of us had a take.

Looking around, it was going to be one of those typical Chew days where everyone blanks, I hadn’t seen a single boat catch where we were so I rang up Wayne, who was fishing over near Stratfords, to see if anything had come out over there- not much by the sound of it, but I told him he might see us in a while if nothing happened here. As soon as I put the phone down one of my floats dipped, then slid away side-wards, I picked the rod up and struck only to feel the bait slide out of the fish’s mouth! Gutted, I wound the bait in -to see some serious lacerations, whatever had picked it up clearly wasn’t a jack, I just hoped it wasn’t the big fish I had seen on the imager previously, and I had just spooked it.

I think the fish wasn’t really feeding and it just picked the bait up gently in its mouth, and I struck the bait out of it. I should have given it a bit longer in those conditions!

I rebaited and cast back out, and in 5 mins my other rod went, I put the brolly down and picked up the rod, only for the float to stop moving as the fish dropped the bait! This was getting frustrating. It was clear that the fish were all coming from the same area and the wind had switched 180 degrees, so I made the decision to move the boat so we could both fish the same area. Moving the boat I saw another big fish on the side imager, and we anchored up slightly shallower to cover this fish. The whole area was full of good sized bait fish, which is unusual at Chew most of the shoals you see are 3 – 4 inch fish but these were 1lb + fish swimming around waiting for a pike to munch them!

shot 30

Time was ticking by, and Steve, who was trying drifter- fished baits to cover the water, accidently caught his other line, meaning that he had to untangle and recast. The recast bait was slightly further out in deeper water and Steve commented that it was “a catching cast” and it turned out it was, as it was away within 10 mins of soaking. The fish did give him the run around, and was clearly a good one, stripping yards from the reel every time it lunged off. We had a few hairy moments as it went close to the front anchor, but soon it was netted and in the sladle it went bang on 28lbs. A good fish on a hard day.


To put it in perspective – 51 anglers fished the competition day on Chew. There were 47 fish caught, of which there were four over 20lbs, including a 26lber for Alan Buckingham and a 30lber for Steve Marshall. The rest were jacks, which to me – as a Fisheries Scientist, is a bit of a concern for the future, though you can’t manage a fishery on just one days catch returns, which is why submitting them even if you blank is so important to managing the fishery, so who knows what it is going to be like next year!