Summer 2017 Blog


As usual there has been a bit of a hiatus in the blog section of this page, there are a couple of reasons for this, the main one is that I haven’t done a lot of fishing, and another one is that I haven’t caught that much. That is not saying that catching fish is the be all and end all – but err – yes – it is.

I did have a couple of pike fly fishing trips to Chew in May – but apart from a couple of suicidal Jacks and a couple of doubles it was a lot of whooshing fly’s around with little return. I didn’t get any follows or see any decent fish get caught on the days I was there, which is typical of Chew, it can seemingly seem empty of pike, then all of a sudden loads get caught! Alas it never happens when I am there. 

Pike fly

The other thing that I did in May was a presentation at the Zander Anglers Club over in March, my talk was on Reservoir Zander fishing and I think this went down quite well. I appreciate that not everyone present fishes the reservoirs but hopefully there were some useful tips and tricks that would cross over especially on retention of fish.

Zander in sladle_01

June was a busy month at work for me, which meant very little fishing time. Usually I will have a go for Severn Zander, but as the river was low and clear I gave it a miss and went barbel fishing on the Wye instead. This turned out to be a good decision as I caught loads, and a few nice Chub as well. Nearly all came to trotted pellets, which was great fun and you hardly see anyone doing it with most happy to sit behind static ledgered baits. However, one day of catching barbel is usually enough for me, I can understand its good fun, but once you have caught a few it gets a bit “samey” for me, even trotting for them. I was soon itching to get back to “real fishing” and back on the pike!


One of the saddest thing to happen in June was the last publication of Pike and Predators which ended on number 236. It is always sad when fishing magazines close, even more so with specialist publications as now there is no standalone magazine for aspiring predator anglers to read.

I would like to say thank you to Neville, Paddy and the rest of the team at Pike and Predators for producing a great magazine, to which I was fortunate to contribute on a few occasions. If you can still get a copy on back order, there an article by yours truly on Zander misconceptions within the last issue.


Well it’s not all doom and gloom on the Magazine front at there are two new magazines that are just in the process of starting up, one is Rob Shallcroft’s Catch Cult which as I write is on issue three. And the other is going to be an on-line magazine called Predator world which Neville Fickling is in the process of setting up to go live in September.



With my pike fishing itch needing to be scratched in July I made a couple more trips to Chew on the fly. Unfortunately the weather was starting to get hot, a bit too hot for pike fishing to be honest, but I mitigated this by just fishing in the evenings. This time I did catch a couple of nice fish, and on some new flies that I had tied up that week as well so celebrated in the new fish and chip restaurant by the dam which I must say is very nice!

Pike Flies

One of the pike gave me a nasty FRI or Fishing Related Injury! I don’t know how it happened but I had netted the pike and saw the fly at the bottom of the net so assumed – like you would – that it had come out in the net. So I chinned the pike out of the net and put it in the sladle for a quick weigh and realised that the trace was coming out of the gill. As I realised this the fish started rolling in the sladle pulling the 4/0 big mouth hook right into my palm! I now had a good pike in the sladle flipping around and pulling the hook deeper into my hand as it did so, so I quickly got the bolt croppers and cut the trace then proceeded to put the fish back in the net while I tried to get the hook out of my hand.


I did manage to get it out but it pulled some tissue with it and I took a few minutes to patch it back up before carrying on, reinforcing the reason I always carry a first aid kit with me on the boat. Patched up and ready to go, I took a couple of quick photos of the offending Pike before heading home.

Chew Pike

During this session, I saw a lot pike on the finder, a lot of pike, probably more than I have ever seen in one area of the reservoir. At one point I counted ten pike on the screen! Why they were all in this area of the reservoir I don’t know, as it is not often a productive spot, and if I hadn’t seen the pike there I wouldn’t have fished it. Behaviour like this goes a long way to explain why sometimes I find on Chew like most reservoirs a lot of the water can seem devoid of pike. I guess only the pike know why they like to be all huddled up together!

The water had had an algae bloom, which had put the water clarity down to maybe 2 feet, which isn’t a lot. If I had had access to lures or baits I would have been very confident of bagging up! With baits you are attracting the pike with scent / food signals, lipids / amino acids it gives off in the water. With lures you can also attract pike with vibrations or noise rather then sight of the lure. Using the fly you don’t have either of these, yes you can get a bit of vibration as the fly pushes the water out the way, but in the whole the attraction from flies is purely visual. Which, when the visibility is so low, means you need to put your fly within 2ft of an active pike to tempt it, and keep it there long enough to make the pike want to take it! This is why I was fishing a floating line and sinking poly leader so I could fish the fly really slowly at the right depth for the pike, which in the end is what caught the fish.