APA004: Five tips for bank fishing Chew Valley Reservoir

This question comes from Darren Southern who wants to know how to fish Chew Valley Reservoir from the bank.

Thanks for the question Darren. I have not fished Chew so I can’t give you any inside tips. The best way for me to answer your question is to tell you how I would approach this.

    Let’s break it down into the following five steps:

  1. Research
  2. Method
  3. Bait
  4. Tackle
  5. ?????

Gary Wilson 24lb pike


Pike are simple creatures. They have routines and display predictable behavour. What has worked in the past will work again in the future. So the first thing you should do is research previous captures.

Search the internet, books and magazines for stories about Chew pike. Make notes about successful baits, methods and areas. Look for patterns.

If an angler has written about their success stories on a blog, send them an email and ask them for tips. Most people will happy to give a bit of advice as long as you approach them in the right way and thank them.

Don’t forget to research the rules of the fishery. You can read the latest Buzzer magazine for a full set of rules.


Now is not the time for experimentation. Stick to your tried and trusted methods. You will probably want to use the ledger and the float ledger. They would be my choices.

Start with one bait as far out as you can get it. Keep the second bait moving around. I would have the distance bait popped up eighteen inches. The other would be a larger bait fished on the bottom. You can adjust your tactics to suit the conditions.

Take a plumbing rod and look for any changes in depth, no matter how small. If you find a change of 8 to 12 inches it could be the ideal ambush spot for a big pike.

Here is a reminder of How to set up a Float Ledger Rig


I would use herring and mackeral fished on the bottom. Slit the throat to allow the blood to disburse but leave them whole so they are a larger meal.

For a popped up bait, try a sardine with a Fox popper. Don’t forget, livebaits and coarse deadbaits including lamprey are not allowed.

Don’t get too caught up with bait choice. Select baits that you are confident in and remember that pike eat fish. They are not that clever.

Click to read more about my Essential Pike Dead Baits


Chew Valley offers the chance to catch the pike of a lifetime. You don’t want to lose it because of your tackle. Do a thorough check of your gear before you set off.

Load your reels with minimum 15lb line and remove any damaged line. Make up fresh rigs with new, sharp hooks.

Check your alarms and take a spare battery. Do you have enough leads, beads and other end tackle?

Don’t forget to take your scales, sling, unhooking mat and camera. You will want a record of your thirty after all.

Check you have the 10 essential items of tackle in a float ledger rig for pike.


I can’t really help you with the fifth and final step…LUCK!

The golfer Gary Player once said, “The more I practise, the luckier I get.” Keep your baits in the water and you have a chance.

I hope this gives you a few ideas for your pike fishing trip to Chew Valley Reservoir.

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