Fishing New Waters – Cheddar


Tackle shops can often be the start of angling adventures as was the case when I was chatting with Mark Potter of Quay Sports. When Cheddar Reservoir popped up in a conversation about pike fishing Mark asked if I had ever fished the venue. I hadn’t but said it was a venue I have often wanted to try.

A few weeks later I started the car as the temperature read -3.5 degrees. After clearing icy windows  I traversed the slippery roads to meet up at Quay Sports where Mark Potter, Mark Frith ( Lakebed leads)  and I loaded the van with our tackle for the day.

We arrived at Cheddar reservoir as the sun slowly illuminated the frosty landscape. We met up with Ryan turner a good friend of Marks who had caught pike from the reservoir on previous trips.

Cheddar Reservoir is a manmade concrete bowl  completed in 1937 with a surface area of 260 acres. It is one of Bristol Waters reservoirs with the fishing managed by Cheddar Angling Club.

We were targeting the venues pike and headed for a deep area of the reservoir known to produce pike on a regular basis. Rod pods are essential for fishing from the concrete steps that surround the water and were coated with ice as we set up.


Dead-baits were the chosen tactic with some of us opting for legered baits others choosing the pleasing crimson of  a pike float upon the water. Popped up baits are considered a good option on this water that has extensive areas of weed.


After casting an array of bait’s, we sat back to enjoy the view as the sun slowly rose in the sky. The Somerset levels stretched out to the South and East and the Mendip Hills and the famous Cheddar Gorge to the North. The vast sheet of water twinkled in the morning sun and large flocks of water birds floated upon the calm surface.

Ryan Turner said that it was very much a morning water and we were all full of optimism for the day ahead. Any moment an alarm would surely sing out the question was how big would the pike be? On checking my set up I was slightly concerned to find the line frozen solid in the rod rings! A quick tug on the line every five minutes ensured that it was kept free until the rising sun brought the temperature above freezing.

As the sun rose the dog walkers, strollers and joggers came out in good numbers circum-navigating the lake and glancing at the camouflaged guys sat expectantly behind their rods.

We chatted of fish,  fishing venues of tactics and of past glories. Mark Frith has fished North Devon waters for many years and has many reflections on past days beside the water and the potential to catch a wide range of species. Modern days focus upon carp fishing has resulted in many of today’s generation overlooking the chance to catch specimen perch, eels and bream.

As the morning ebbed away it became obvious that the pike were not actively seeking a meal. Our hopes refocused upon a late in the day feeding spell as the light began to fade.

Baits were changed from time to time and relocated within our swims. We had decided on a sit and wait approach confident that pike would be present. At around 4.00pm Mark Friths alarm sounded and a small jack came to the net. Perhaps this would signal the start of a feeding spell?

Mark’s dog Scruff watches the pike swim away.


News that an angler fishing the far bank had caught three pike increased our hopes. He was using a bait boat and was placing his bait at long range. Perhaps the fish were too far out for us to reach?

The sun slowly sank to the horizon and the surroundings were illuminated by a golden glow. Large numbers of silver fish dimpled the surface with occasional large swirls indicating the likely presence of feeding predators. Hope lingered as the temperature began to drop along with the light.

We packed away as darkness fell another day done. Ancient oaks were silhouetted against the embers of the day and the first stars blinked as night descended. The call of owls drifted across the fields and we headed for home. Despite a blank day for most of us our spirits were high as we discussed plans for the coming year and opportunities that would surely come our way.