Chew Multispecies Competition
An exciting day chasing a stillwater slam of predators on the fly.
With an excellent turnout of fly anglers on Chew, it was great to see so many anglers casting their sights at coarse fish as well as trout. The aim, as always, was to catch rainbows, browns, perch and pike from the lake, with 1000 points for the first of each species and prizes for the biggest fish. A slam of all four is mean feat in a single day, but hopes were high.
Organiser Rodney Wevill played a blinder as organiser, making sure the event was smoothly run, well supported and bristling with prizes. Cool autumn conditions wouldn’t make the going easy, but the beauty of Chew is that all it takes is a single bite to find something special. You could contact an overwintered rainbow, a giant brown or a PB pike on very your next cast.
I took three rods and still couldn’t quite make up my mind where to start- until we saw distinct rises out in the middle. I tried a team of two dry flies, a Shipman’s Buzzer and a small Black Hopper, but couldn’t get off the mark. Incidentally, there were also some rudd about- but these don’t count!
As the wind picked up, it was quickly apparent that the pike fans had their favourite spots- and the bays began to pick up with boats. Our next drifts, we mixed up trout and pike flies, trying for a take to get us off the mark. My boat partner had two decent pulls, but couldn’t connect- the latter probably a rainbow trout nipping the tail of his pike fly.
Rainbows and browns
It became quite attritional after this, as we tried numerous drifts and both floating and fast sink lines. A few anglers were off the mark, mostly catching trout to small lures, beadheads or buzzer patterns. Only jack pike had shown thus far, but as experience shows, the big fish here are fickle, often feeding in short bursts.
To their credit, the best anglers made the most of few chances but landed quality fish. Rodney Wevill had the best rainbow at 4lbs 12oz, with Andy Cheetham catching a glorious 4lbs 4oz brown trout. On the pike front, several anglers had now scored, too, with Andy Eglon and Olly Cullingford getting among the doubles as the pike woke up.
Conspicuous by their absence, on the other hand, were the venue’s perch. Where on earth they go is a mystery, because one year you can find quality fish in spades, before they seem to disappear off the face of the earth for a while.
A late supper!
By mid-afternoon there were only three hours of competition left and I still hadn’t had a single pull. Spotting far fewer trout, we fished all out for a pike, adding smaller black and tinsel flies into the mix. At times it felt like a lost cause- and boat partner Geoff Flower suggested we crack open a beer. We were putting the world to rights, and I’d just made another grumpy comment at the lack of bites when there was a sudden thump on the line.
These Chew pike can be spine-tingling. So many times, you think you’ve hooked a really modest fish, which comes almost to the boat before remembering it’s no jack pike!
After coming in almost meekly for ten or twelve seconds, his one abruptly came to life and turned my nine weight rod right over. When you’ve been biteless all day, that throb and rush of fly line disappearing is more welcome than ever, but at the back of your mind you know it might be the only shot you get.
After another sizzling run, I got her to the boat and safely onto the mat. At 15lbs 5oz, it wasn’t Chew’s biggest, but what a brilliant way to salvage the day!
Elsewhere, it had been neck and neck with the other competitors. Andrew Eglon (above) had hit three species to win top spot. Andy Cheetham had arguably the fish of the match with his cracking 4lbs 4oz brownie, while Roger Truscott had the best pike of 26lbs. Huge credit to Rodney Wevill and everyone who made it such a great event.