Pike 'on the Chew' (and the drogue!)
Chew Valley Lake just south of Bristol in Somerset is a great venue for Pike on the fly. On a recent trip however I was also able to test out a new Competition Drogue and Clamp set from Wychwood.
I have heard and read many a great report about Chew Valley lake over the years but had never managed to visit until recently on a mission to kill two birds with one stone. Not the famous overwintered brown trout for me though. The first mission was to chase the healthy population of pike resident in Chew with the fly hoping for one of the larger fish over 20lbs and the second was to take advantage of the need to drift and cover water all day by testing out a new competition drogue and clamp set from Wychwood.
After a long 3 hour drive from Sussex, hitting Bristol smack on rush hour (note to self - find alternative route next time) and then following school buses down narrow country lanes that they blocked all too easily causing major snarl ups, I finally arrived to find companion for the day Paul Richardson from Wychwood already getting tackled up. Availing ourselves of the full fishermans breakfast in the lodge restaurant first (well you have to don't you) we picked up our permits and life-vests and trotted off down to the boat ramp kitted out with our big guns - 8 & 10 weight outfits needed to launch the oversize pike flies all day.
Once we had motored out ready for our first drift Paul brought out the new drogue setup and showed me the new clamps in particular. Their size make them easy to grip with gloves or cold hands and the ratchet mechanism means one squeeze will lock them into position on the side of the boat, while a simple push of the ratchet release opens them up again for easy moving. Thanks to the constantly shifting wind we had to change position of the clamps quite often during the day to adjust our drift and it literally took seconds - a real boon to the competition angler of course where time is everything, but also a great benefit to the everyday angler in terms of sheer simplicity. The drogue itself was quick to deploy and did not seem to unduly suffer any problems getting it to fill quickly and get to work whilst it also collapsed quickly with a pull on one of the rot-proof ropes when we needed to bring it in ready to move.
Slowing the boat down allowed us to cover the water efficiently, not easy with the monstrous flies we were using and the morning passed rather too quietly for our liking with just a couple of follows to show for our efforts.
The afternoon brought about a change in both our temperaments though and that of the fish as the clouds broke and the sun shone down up on us at last. Using a couple of flies we christened the pink barbie doll and the green budgie, we finally started to move some fish in a large open bay just out from a long reedbed and we both pulled out of a couple - long releases as we call them in the trade! Having found our hot spot at last we tried several drifts into the area and were rewarded for our patience with 8 fish between us up to about 15lb. None of the real giants that lurk there and had been in the area a few weeks earlier when Paul had been to visit and landed two fish over 20lb and seen much larger Pike follow to the boat. We were happy though, it was a great day out on the water, we had caught our target species, seen some monster trout surface slurping in a big buzzer hatch and the drogue had worked brilliantly. What more could you ask for!?
If you'd like to check out Chew Valley Lake just click on the link.
Competition drogue from Wychwood
The new Competition drogue increases fishing capability from the boat to international fishing competition standards.
Complete with 3” clamps the Competition drogue can be used to direct the boat on a drift. Whilst considerably slowing down the drift in high wind situations, increasing your fishing time in the correct zones. Featuring rot-proof, invisible ropes it also maintains stealth while on the water.
The C-Clip metal fixings allow for convenient, swift fixing and removal to the drogue clamps. The easy collapse two arm design allows for speedy retrieve of the drogue and packs away into it’s own protective, easy drying storage bag.
- 25ft2 [2.25m2] competition legal parachute
Product code: WY5612
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