Return to the Pike Factory


Back at the pike factory for the final season.
I have a Love / Hate relationship with Chew, sometimes I love it, and sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it loves me back and others it really doesn’t like me that much. Back in October I caught on every trip, but without anything topping 20lb -which is why you go there. Yes, other people caught good fish and they always will, as it is the “pike factory” after all. But I must admit not being that impressed with my last couple of seasons results on there. I have said before that I catch far better on other venues – the fact that I have had three thirties this season from other venues has helped put things in perspective. This along with the recent changes to the ticketing system has put me off the place to be honest, so much so that I have decided give up my predator tickets for next season – so I can spend more time catching fish on other waters.

The consequence of this decision was that this year I was going to hit it hard, and decided to get all my days used up in the first week of February, knowing that as the trail goes on its gets progressively harder – to the point where, if you have the second week, well – good luck!

Now the problem was that I was flying back to the UK on Tuesday, which would give me Wednesday to sort all my gear out and get over the jet lag and temperature shock that occurs when you are used to walking around in your Mankini, and come back to 4 degrees and rain! Then I would be fishing on the first day of the “Trail” which would be Thursday – well that was the plan.
Alas, all good plans inevitably go haywire, and my flight was delayed for 5 hrs – meaning that I didn’t get back in until 14:00 hrs on Wednesday, after not sleeping for 24 hrs and having to rush around to get my gear ready to get up in the early hours to get to Chew! Nothing like a panic to get you organised! At least I had all the lovely bait I needed thanks to BAITBOX. My pike fishing deadbait gear should be in a fairly good state, but I knew I needed to tie a few traces up, and sort out any lures that I thought may be worth taking. But it wasn’t too long before I could sit down and breath out and relax until the next morning.


Let me give you an example of a typical day on Chew.
So you pay through your nose to get on the best days, get up at stupid o’clock and drive miles to get to the front of the queue before first light. Then have to deal with people pushing in, lump all your gear down to the jetties, and then get infuriated by the boats not going out until 08:45. Bitch about how the fishing is crap and why no one is catching, and generally wonder why you put yourself though it all – Then at 11:00 you catch a 27lber and you forget about everything and love Chew again!

Well that is what happened to me on the first day of the February dates, when I was out with Westins new boy Paul Garner, a bit later he had a 19lber, and even though the water temperature was 6.4 degrees it was clear that there weren’t many fish in the area we had chosen to fish – yes, we had had two fish, but no other boat had caught, and I would have expected to have seen more action. So we decided to move to slightly deeper water, which I think shocked most of the other anglers around us. Usually there isn’t much moving around on Chew once people start catching, but there was nothing else showing on the finder and I had those itchy feet.

Chew 27_01

After motoring around for a bit we went over an area and I saw a fish on the side imager, and we anchored up right on top of it. As we were anchoring the boat next to us had a fish, which was a good sign, and first cast I had possibly the fattest 23lber I have ever seen, that had gobbed down one of my best BAITBOX Turbo Smelt! I quickly followed this up with a chucky fish around 17lb, and missed a take on the other rod! So there were certainly a few fish in that area.

Chew 19_01

I didn’t have a ticket for the next day, so instead decided to have a “posh” breakfast at the lodge. On the first day, the ladies in the lodge had decided to come in early and open up to provide the awaiting crowed with breakfast, which was nice of them, except their “early” was 07:30 and with the anticipation of the boats actually going out on time no one in the queue actually went for breakfast! So I did feel a bit sorry for them, hence why we had breakfast the next day. Then Paul and I went to try and find where Neville Fickling and Dave Moore were fishing, and we eventually found them grumbling around in one of the bays.

The day before an “Angler” had been fishing there and had a 33lber and a 37lber! Which can only happen at Chew, sadly the same “Angler” thought it was acceptable to leave a load of rubbish behind, including two Jägermeister bottles that had been stamped into the mud in a feeble attempt to disguise them, which is a real shame. Alas this is what happens in this day an age on day ticket venues.

After annoying Nev for an hour and watching Dave catch fish, I had to head off to Bristol for a bit, and I then spent the rest of the day unpacking and generally tidying up my fishing gear – which included tying up two new rig bins full of traces ready for the next 3 days fishing. I also rigged up a couple of new lures that I wanted to try, as I was sure that crawling lures along the bottom would pick up more fish than deadbaits – especially on day three!


Finally with all that finished I managed to get some kip, still being a bit jet-lagged from the previous couple of days, and looking forward to the next day.