Seriously, if you desperately want to catch a big Pike on the fly, don’t go to Chew. Instead, pay a couple of grand and fly out to a lodge in the remotest part of Canada as it will be cheaper and probably more successful in the long run. As I made the long journey home listening to Roachford’s Greatest Hit(s) it dawned on me that I too was a one hit wonder. At least I was when it came to Chew Pike. I’ve fished Chew quite a bit on the fly over the years and at the back end of last year I vowed never to hand over a wad of my hard earned cash to the cheery Bristol Water staff ever again. Fast forward six months and there I was afloat thinking I was going to break the British Pike record. Cabin fever can do a strange thing to a man’s mind and I can only assume that’s why I agreed to Mr C’s request to spend two days there in March which is probably the hardest time of the year to catch a Pike.
Conditions are a big factor when fishing the fly. It’s not so much the casting of the fly in windy conditions, it’s being able to present the fly properly when the boat is being pushed along at a rate of knots. Your fly has to be in the zone long enough for a Pike to think “Yes i’m going to take a bite at that odd looking thing that looks nothing like a Roach”. That is after you’ve got your head around the fact that you appear to be casting in an area where the lake bed resembles something similar to a lunar landscape and appears devoid of any life whatsoever.
Anyway, this is how our two days afloat panned out, it won’t take long to describe I promise you. On the first day after a couple of hours I did manage a take while fishing Stratford. Both myself and Mr C thought Trout initially before a Pike of around eight pounds followed the fly back to the side of the boat. A few casts later and another take only this one stuck. In came a small Pike of about four pounds. I’m not sure who was more surprised at what was happening, me or the Pike put up as much fight as a wet flannel. Still it was nice to get a fish and avoid a dreaded blank. For the rest of the day we never had another take between us. Mr C had a reasonable fish follow his fly but it wasn’t an aggressive follow, more of a “get off my land” type of follow.
Day two, we never had a take, follow, sight of a fish, dream of a fish or anything. I could have been casting in the bath and had as much chance of catching. Well to be honest we fished around the cages in 27 feet of water and we did pick up a few fish on the finder but it was obvious the fish just weren’t in the mood. They were obviously still out in the deeper water waiting for the temperatures to rise before they moved back into their summer haunts.
So that was another two days that i’ll never get back in my life. Despite the hard going I did actually find myself liking the place a little bit again. I think if you can get your head around the fact that you will probably blank then it becomes a bit more bearable. It also helps when you’ve got a bagful of wagon wheels and bacon frazzles to help pass the time.