Esox Lucius on a Fly
A selection of flies for fishing pike-on-the-flyFishing for pike using fly tackle has really taken off in recent years. During our recent C5 TV series, Chris Tarrant Goes Fishing, we showed how deadly the fly can be when targetting big pike. Whether you are fishing for pike on Irish Loughs, as John Wilson and I did for one of his TV programmes, or seeking them out on your local river, the fly is one of the deadliest methods you can use.
Rightly famous for it's incredible trout fishing, Chew Valley Lake is now firmly established as the UK's premier pike fishing venue. So far, the biggest pike taken from Chew on a fly weighed 40lbs 8oz!
Pike & Trout in perfect harmony?
The two species sound as if they could never co-exist in the same lake - but they do. The reason for this phenomenon? Roach ... and millions of them! Perch too. Thankfully trout are not the first choice on the pikes' menu at Chew; they would far rather binge on 3oz roach and similar sized perch, than chase super-fit 2lb rainbows!
A selection of flies for fishing pike-on-the-flyFor the last few years I have been targetting pike using the fly and the resultant catch rates have been nothing short of amazing. My clients and I have boated several fish over 30lbs, with the biggest at 36lbs 10ozs falling to the rod of Alistair Stephens. We have had scores of pike over 20lbs and I have literally lost count of the number of double figure pike taken and returned.
Thanks to the elaborate Aeration system and the prevailing South Westerly winds, Chew does not suffer from any oxygen depletion, allowing the pike to be fished for all through the Summer months. If we get prolonged periods of calm, hot and humid weather, leading to a depletion of oxygen, then I tend to stop fishing for the pike until the water temperature falls and the oxygen levels improve. But hey - this is England! We haven't had a hot spell like this in the West Country for years, so it rarely affects the fishing to any great degree.
The pike are at their fittest during the Summer and feed voraciously on Chew's huge shoals of roach and perch. Tail-walking a 20lb pike is a heart stopping affair and the power of these toothy critters has to be experienced.
Tackle for the job
If you are new to predator fishing, you probably won't have the correct tackle, but don't worry as I will provide it all for you - free of charge.
I use 9 foot rods, normally rated for a 9 weight fly line, although I do sometimes use a 10 weight. All my rods are top of the range Hardy and Greys.
I use the Hardy Sintrix Proaxis in either the 4 piece or the revolutionary 1 piece construction.
I also use the brand new GreysXF2 Carnivore Rods and the incredibly reliable Platinum XD Saltwater range.
Coupled with Hardy Zane Saltwater, Hardy Ultralite Greys GX900 Reels, these set-ups can cope with the biggest pike Chew Valley can throw at you!
Lures & Deadbaits
A selection of flies for fishing pike-on-the-flyDuring specific times of the year, Bristol Water plc allow a closely regulated number of anglers to target the pike using saltwater deadbaits and artificial lures. These sessions are known as the Chew Valley Pike Trials and are now in their 8th year. The demand for boat and bank places during these trials is phenomenal thanks to Chew's enviable big fish reputation.
I sometimes have a limited number of boat places during these Trials and can supply all tackle and baits as required. However, I have to say that I far prefer to fish lures on the drift, rather than sit it out all day watching floatfished deadbaits - I'm afraid there is too much inactivity here for my liking, regardless of success rates!
Last season over 40 pike in excess of 30lbs came out in the Autumn Trials, plus 2 over 40lbs! the majority of anglers fishing these Trials use dead baits, it is lure fishing that I find far more exciting and from my experience, it seems many pike anglers have the correct tackle and lures, but simply lack the confidence to use them.
I use top of the range Greys Prowla rods and terminal tackle for all my lure and deadbait fishing. Developed by Andy Charlton of Hardy & Greys, this kit is perfect for most styles of pike fishing. I also use Shimano Reels - both spinning and baitrunner versions and prefer Power Pro Braid for the majority of my fishing.
My fishfinder is a Humminbird 575 and this helps to find the correct depth and locate the vast baitfish shoals of roach and perch.
My clients are welcome to use all my tackle at no extra charge and with no liability for any breakages that might occur!