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The Pitsford Grand Slam is my favourite of the U.K. Freshwater tournaments.

Organised by the Ocean Kayak Team, it takes place over a weekend, with wild camping and barbacues. The aim is to catch a pike, perch and trout from the magnificent venue with results being decided on the combined length of your biggest of each fish. I’ve only fished the water a handful of times so each session is a chance to explore the water more.

After arriving and setting up camp, we had a brief safety talk and then all made a leisurely launch. I headed toward the dam wall, stopping on the way to drop into shoals of fish appearing on the finder. Nothing bit along the way and I was soon casting my plug hoping for a trout or perch. Mike near to me was catching plenty of trout but I couldn’t get a bite.

A love along the wall saw me get a trout in the net, not a big one but it was a fish.

I decided to head to an area where I had caught pike last year. It didn’t take long for jack pike to be coming to the yak, and I kept increasing my size by a few centimetres at a time. By this time Graham had seen I was catching and joined me. He kept getting follows from pike but no hits, then he started shouting. He had caught a big perch on a small crank bait.

I felt a change of scenery was needed and headed to a quiet area of the lake. I selected a small crank bait and started catching along the weed lines hoping for a perch. Third cast in the crank was hit and the rod bucked over, This was no perch. I had a heart stopping fight for ten minutes before I got what was obviously a big pike to the net… was my net big enough ? I just managed to slide it in. This fish was too big to deal with on the yak. I headed to shore and put a call out to a couple of friend to come and assist.

On the bank the pike only just went 100cm, but ut was fat.. really really fat. I weighed in at 20lb 8oz. A lure caught pb and my second twenty of the season. After a few trophy shots, I spent some time recovering the fish before it swam away strongly.

Now I just needed a perch. This came casting cranks along a weed bed in the early evening. Again, not a big one but at least Ii had the slam, and all done on day one.

Day two was all about upgrading. There was no point trying for a bigger pike so it was all about trout and perch. I soon found a big shoal of trout and after catching a few had one that felt a bit bigger. At 52cm, it adder 8cm to my total. I didn’t think I’d find one much bigger than that, so went and joined the crowds fishing for perch. A few small fish were caught but it wasn’t easy and all too soon it was time to head in without me having found a bigger one of this species.

In the end it didn’t matter. My total was enough to give me the win.

I’ve won plenty of the saltwater tournaments over the years, but one of this seasons target was to really try for a freshwater win. To do so on the second freshwater tournament, and by catching such a superb pike was a great feeling. I’ve still got a lot to learn about fishing these big reservoirs but sessions like this really give you a confidence boost for the tournaments ahead.