Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Chew Valley reservoir pike fishing

In December of last year I along with many other anglers sent a letter off to Woodford lodge at Chew Valley reservoir asking to be added to the lottery for pike fishing dates. After a couple of months I had heard nothing which is a familiar feeling to many that apply and I put the matter to bed as just bad luck.

Sometime early in September I was perched rather precariously on my stepladders while cutting back ivy from a house wall when the phone rang. Normally in such situations I ignore the call but on this occasion I pulled the handset from my pocket and looked at the screen, Woodford Lodge calling, eh? Well I wasn't going to ignore that ring was I and a good job I didn't too as it was the fishery enquiring as to wether I would be paying for my allotted days, eh? It seems that the letter that I should have received at the start of the year had gone astray and I had been sitting on a two day permit for two anglers on the pike mecca for nine months without knowing it! Leo had also applied and the agreement was that it if either of us was successful then the other would go on the trip too.

We were all set to go and looking forward to it when I had my motor accident just over a week before the date which was the last thing I needed. With a hire van soon arranged all was looking well again but then I started to suffer some side effects of the bump with back and neck trouble on and off, nothing severe but the worst part of it was that I was struggling to sleep comfortably and I am not good at all without sleep. Within a few days of the trip I felt lousy and in all honesty wasn't looking forward to it at all, to arrive in Somerset at dawn would mean leaving Leicestershire somewhere around 4am and that was the last thing I needed but I couldn't cancel the trip, that would mean letting Leo down and missing out on an opportunity that we might not get again so we were going and that was that.

The journey was mercifully pretty straightforward until we got within a few miles of our destination but three hours of sitting had caused havoc with my back and I really needed to get out and move. Our problem started when we were trying to find specific areas of the reservoir as the access roads are poorly, well actually not at all, marked. We went back and forth for the best part of an hour before deciding that we need to ask someone and so headed to the lodge where thankfully were directed to some entry points. By this stage I just needed to get myself sorted and we decided to forget our original plan to fish Wick point and to fish the Nunnery bank instead.

The Nunnery bank had four anglers already set up but thankfully there was room for the two of us in between with room to spare and the rods were soon out and fishing on a variety of dead baits. The shelters were up soon after as it started to drizzle and I collapsed onto my bedchair feeling like the living dead, but at least we were fishing. The day passed in a kind of groggy haze with a distinct lack of activity on the part of old snaggle tooth. The lads down to our left caught a fish of 14lb's odd and had a couple of dropped trout takes but our swim was dead until Leo decided to send a sprat out which prompted several trout attacks, none of which were landed. The drizzle had given way to thick fog by early afternoon and I was pretty happy to be sitting on terra firma rather than testing my slightly dubious boat handling skills in that lot.

Leo surveys the murk

We found our Bed and Breakfast after another tortuous trip around in circles down the narrow Somerset lanes not helped one bit by the fog and dumped down our kit before heading off for a meal. We ended up at a curry house in Bishop Sutton called Sutton Spice and I can definitely recommend it, the best curry I've had apart from at my local for years and we aren't short of good Indian restaurants in Leicestershire. After that it was time to crash and get soem very much needed sleep, we had been advised to get on the bank early to secure a swim but that wasn't going to happen, 6am would be quite early enough.

On Saturday we headed straight for Wick point, this time knowing exactly where to go although it did mean driving through a rather large puddle, in fact it could have been classed as a small pond. We had been told that we would hate fishing this bank as it was boggy and they weren't wrong on that description though it was certainly nothing to stop us fishing.

A waterlogged Wick point

As we were setting up the lads to our left seemed to be getting take after take which boosted our confidence though we later found out that all bar one or two were dropped trout pick up, something we were about to find out about ourselves. My first indication came within a half hour of casting out, as I held the rod line wasn't being taken but on tightening up I could feel a tap tap and hit into a fish. Whatever it was it wasn't heavy and when it surfaced some distance out from the bank we both said trout straightaway. It turned out that we were wrong though and I had a Chew pike on, all 3lb odd of it complete with a nasty flying treble just waiting to get stuck into someone's finger, luckily that someone was Leo and not me!

Looking up the reservoir towards Woodford lodge on the left and Denny island on the right

We then had a spell with quite a few little bangs and knocks where the trout were having a go at the baits though only one was hooked and Leo managed that one, quite a spectacular fight on heavy gear it was too from a fish just short of 6lbs. The middle of the day was very quiet before the trout turned up for another go towards evening, again none were hooked and they started to become a bit of a nuisance to be honest but let's face it we wouldn't be pike fishing the place if it wasn't full of trout would we!

So that was our Chew trip, hard work but just sitting there considering what swam in front of us was an experience in itself, quite frightening even. As a send of we were treated to a spectacular sunset, with a bit of luck maybe we'll be back to see it again.

A week after our return Chew Stoke made the national news for all of the wrong reasons when torrential rain left the area severely flooded and one poor bloke drowned in his car. Sometimes you have to step back and forget your few minor troubles and think yourself lucky.

1 comment:

  1. Chew can be a dram venue or a heart breaker but its always a beautiful place to spend your time.