04 July 2009

LAS Esthwaite Pairs Pike Cup

The last sunday in June and the beautiful location of Esthwaite Trout Fishery played host to the LAS pairs Pike Cup which was being sponsored by Tackle Discounts. Nestled in the Lake District Esthwaite is renowned for its superb Trout fishing and for the first time was to play host to a summer piking extravaganza and become the venue that one fisherman will certainly remember for the rest of his life.

Andrew had taken the weekend off from his hectic work schedule to present the prizes and hopefully to let his blood pressure return to normal and so the two of us set off on the saturday arriving at the hotel late saturday afternoon and almost immediately joined several LAS members in the beer garden. Yes, before you mention it I had managed to book us into another pub. An evening of banter, angling stories and wind-ups was soon underway as we all settled down to our evening meal of crisps, nuts and pork scratchings.

An early start the next morning and a help yourself breakfast of cereals and coffee did nothing to satisfy the hunger of the crowd of fishermen and we made the short journey to the venue with the sound of rumbling echoing in our ears. It wasn't thunder but the sound of our stomachs but all was soon forgotten as we reached the venue to be greeted by a stunning, flat calm water.

There is always a spanner in the works when a fish-in is organised and this proved no different as a text message from Phil Tonks informed me that he had broken down and had to be towed home. I broke the bad news to his boat partner, Rob Smallbone, and with that the pairs set off with Rob up against it from the start as we tried to figure out how we could score it should he get into the top places at the end of the day.

With some of the best Lure anglers in the country present we were certain that it wouldn't take long before the fish were being landed and sure enough we spotted John Cheyne into a fish. With Andrew and myself motoring around taking photos and enjoying the scenery we were not part of the competition but it would have been nice to have landed one of the Esthwaite giants and while

motoring over to the action we received our one........and only hit of the day and I totally failed to connect with our adversary.

The scenery was stunning and after an overcast start the sun burned through the morning cloud and onto the necks of the competitors around 10am, opening up the vista surrounding us.

Stories soon started filtering back to us that some nice pike had been landed which the pair of us put down to chinese whispers as we had only seen a couple of fish landed and the way we were fishing we were unlikely to see any around us

We managed to get to the last 10 minutes without any fish so to uphold my honour I decided to get the light gear into action for the trout and with a small Bete spinner which had proved deadly for trout in the past I cast out and within seconds I had a 4lb rainbow in the boat. Honour upheld we headed home.

One thing which is as certain as not eating in a Lake District hotel is that every angler will have a golden day which will live in the memory long after the event and the unbelievable had happened. Rob Smallbone had managed to catch more than any other pair of anglers, a brilliant acheivement and when his best 3 fish were weighed they came to an amazing 51 1/2 lb. This included breaking his personal best twice over and landing the biggest fish of the competition.
All 7 of his fish came to the net by 10.15am which gave him time to recover before the competition end.

Just behind in 2nd place came Steve Wade and Andy Surgey, a popular result among the other anglers and if they caught as many fish as they gave people laughs over the weekend they would of surely won. In 3rd place came John Cheyne and Steve Bates leaving the Welsh challenge just behind in 4th after months of them promising the cup was bound for Wales.

Alex from the fisheries staff presented a very nice trophy to Rob and which we will be returning next year to fish for again. Thanks to the staff at Esthwaite for putting on a super days fishing and for saving my waistline with a well timed buffet at the end of the day. The predator season at the fishery is from October 1st to March 31st and if you've not been before then put it on your to do list.


1st Rob Smallbone........Best 3 pike.....51 1/2 lb

2 Greys spinning rods

2nd "Wadey and Sharkey"......Best 3 pike.....41lb 2oz

2 Okuma spinning reels

3rd John Cheyne and Steve Bates....Best 3 pike.....38lb 6oz
2 Savage Gear 4play lures of choice

Best Pike.......Rob Smallbone.....19lb
A Flextec Pike Fly rod

Well done to all the lads who showed up and showed me up and a special thanks to Andrew Train from Tackle Discounts (no, he doesn't tell me what to write) and so it ended that the 1st LAS pairs cup was won by an angler fishing alone. Lets hope that we are still fishing for it in 20 years time when the legend of "Golden Rods" who won it on his own is still chatted about over a beer.

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