November 17, 2011

Wye pike at the Courtfield Holy Grail

The 2011 pike season is now with us. The first movement was on the 31st October when  several large pike were seen moving along the Legg Meadow stretch, arguably  the Holy Grail of Wye piking. Several smaller pike and fish to15lb have been caught.  The 15lb fish caught by friend of Neil Lissaman  on Friday 11th November.

Last winter Gareth Hart guided his friend George, and down the lower end of the meadow helped him land a 36lb monster. Gareth has the distinction of “years ago”  catching a witnessed 42lb pike from Legg Meadow, possibly the largest pike ever landed on the river by rod and line. Gareth, whom I’ve known for over 30 years, and his friends from Little Dean have quietly fished the “meadow” and many other stretches of the Wye for a lot longer than the piking afficiados and his catches have always been kept quiet from the angling world.

The most famous pike  from Legg Meadow was the fish known as Lydia by PAC anglers Rob Shallcroft and Steve Bown. Renowned as the Queen of the Wye, this fish was caught by Ashley Meek in 2005 when she weighed 36lbs. This fish can be  seen on the  “Courtfield Fishing page” of this site. Subsequently and after many stake outs Steve took Rob to the magic spot, where one late winter’s day Rob caught the magnificent fish when she weighed 33lbs 12ozs.

It is generally thought this fish is no longer alive. Although Steve did not get exact measurements he estimated her length from scaled photographs at  48 – 49 inches. So it is significant that Rudi Lighert’s pike caught in the winter of 2009 at the lower end of Courtfield measured 48 inches.  This massive fish was “well below its potential weight and long and lean”.

The question has to be, was Rudi’s fish Lydia and is it the same fish that Gareth Hart caught at 42lbs? Fred Buller’s table for pike length to weight gives the following for a 48 inch pike. The average variation is shown at 39lbs which is the weight of the massive pike which first showed up on the radar at Leggs Meadow. With an extreme expectation of weight at 53.25 lbs and mean of 44.5 lbs it seems to me that these catches, including Gareth’s 42lb pike, do in fact all relate to the same fish, which against the belief of the members of the Pike Angling Club of Great Britain was still alive in 2009. The second question has to be, is George’s fish of last winter an up and coming contender for the Queen of the Wye crown?

length probable common variation (pounds) average of probable common variation (pounds) probable mean weight (pounds) extreme expectation of weight (pounds)
48 29.5 to 48.75 39.125 44.5 53.25

Over the last decade there has been one and possibly two dead pike recorded as being over 30lbs, suggesting that there are other monsters here and pike in the mid to high twenties are caught annually. Jonathan Wright, guided by Gareth Hart had a fine bag several years ago including a 27lb fish and two other doubles to 16lbs and several good jack pike caught in the swims towards the top end of Leggs Meadow. The late Martin Lane of Lydbrook caught many big pike along the Courtfield beat and fell in to the river in recent times whilst landing a  fish in the low to mid twenties. A salmon angler had an 18lb pike this summer fishing the Legg Meadow crib.

If you are a specimen pike angler seeking a big Wye pike then I humbly suggest you give the Courtfield a go this winter. Book as usual for a coarse ticket through the WUF and drop me an email while you’re about it, to plan your trip. If you want to make the added investment for a guide we can probably significantly increase your chances of a lifetime fish.

November 14, 2011

Barbel update Monday 14th November

With up and down flows and some intermittent catches the barbel are still being caught in the Courtfield beat. Christopher Bolter and son on Saturday 5th November, had 8 lovely barbel to 9lb 14oz and lost one or two others fishing no 6 swim The Bay, where two 10s were caught the previous week. David Bolingbroke and friend fishing swims 2 and 3 on Monday 7th November had two good barbel each and David Chesterman had a 10lb7oz and 8.5lb barbel from swim 2 on Saturday 12th November. These are all from Leggs Meadow. The odd barbel is still being caught through the Wood stretch, Tim Lennon catching one on Friday 11th from no 14 swim Big Willow Downstream Swim. Combined with the occasional chub and pike the barbel fishing looks likely to continue while the mild weather lasts, but don’t expect to catch more than a few fish!

I recommend fishermen bring trotting tackle as well to target the chub and dace, which can give fantastic sport in the faster water, particularly along the bankside runs of Wyebank.

November 9, 2011

Couple of more fish for Roger Knife

Here’s a couple more beautiful fish caught by Roger Knife and friend on the Courtfield water.

10lb 5oz Barbel from Leggs Meadow

9lb and 14oz Barbel

November 8, 2011

Kraig Mcleod’s fish

12 and a half Pound Barbel

It got to be worth starting with the best! This is Kraig’s 12 and a half pound whooper caught from The Legg Meadow! I think the smile on his face says it all.

10lb Barbel

Kraig said “that day i had 5 chub, 4 caught before i had any barbel. then i had 7 barbel two 10s one smack on 10lb, one 10.4lb. two 7+. two 5/6+. the big one was 12.8lb. i only weighed the doubles but Ive had plenty of 7s before. we checked the weights against my friends scales to make sure the scales were correct, he also had similar amounts of fish, fishing right next to me including doubles. I’m sure i beat the 12.8lb the night i met you but my brother had taken my scales but it looked BiG!!! HUGE mouth. the night i met you i had 8 or 9 barbel mainly between 4pm and 11.30pm 5 chub i left to go home at around 12/ 12.30.”

Another Barbel

Just landed Barbel


Shining in the flashlight - night time Barbel

November 6, 2011

Roger Knife’s Barbel 2011

Here is a selection of the Barbel caught by Roger Knife and Oli Dormer throughout the summer and autumn on Courtfield. They ranged in size from 6lb 2oz through to 10lbs 3oz, including eight 8 pounders and six 9 pounders.  His season’s catch illustrates the steady growth of the 8lb class of fish in June through to 9lbs in August, which have shown up in September/October’s catches as 10lb Barbel which have been caught in significant numbers.

8lb 2oz Barbel

8lb 11oz Barbel from the Wood Stretch

8lb 13oz Barbel

8lb 15oz Barbel from Legg Meadow

9lb 4oz Barbel from the Wood Stretch

9lb 6oz Barbel

9lb 12oz Barbel

10lb 3oz Barbel

Thanks to Roger Knife for the use of his great photos.