It was an overcast and cool morning in early July as Dan and I set off from the boat dock at Chew Valley. The conditions seemed perfect, light winds and mild and we were pretty excited… that is until we noticed the strong coffee coloured water. Our confidence plummeted: the visibility was at best 6 inches, surely far from ideal for fly fishing?
But our despondency didn’t last long. On the third or fourth cast I locked up on what felt like a good fish… Great! Annoyingly it came off after only a few seconds – I was gutted. I said to Dan: “that might be the only chance we get today!”
How wrong I was!
Over the next few hours, using 10-weight intermediate lines, we enjoyed some fantastic sport. The action was steady and the fish were BIG. By the end of the morning we had landed seven pike over the magic 20lb mark!
In the order they were caught, the fish weighed 21, 25, 20, 27, 30, 25 and 21lbs. We also lost four fish, two of which we saw and estimated at 20lb-plus. What an amazing morning!
All the fish fell to 7-inch long black muddler style flies, tied using Icelandic sheep and deer hair. (You can see some of Ricky’s flies stuck to the side of the boat on the right hand side of one of the pictures.)
The really strange thing was, we didn’t have a single fish under 20lbs, and they all came from an area no bigger than 2 football pitches. We drew a blank for the rest of the day, but who cares? We were two happy bunnies driving back up to Yorkshire that evening.