ONE of the biggest pike of the season has been captured by an angler giving his dad a birthday treat.
The ‘39 lb-plus’ specimen fell to 39-year-old Ben Booth using a Savage Gear small eel lure at Cambridgeshire’s massive Grafham Water. It doubled his previous PB which was just over 19 lb.
Watford, Hertfordshire-based Ben explained: “I’m usually a carp specialist but had a stinker of a year doing 35 all-night sessions on a new syndicate I had joined… and not landing a single fish!
“So when the colder weather came I got the pike gear out and, as it was my dad’s birthday, decided we would have a change from our usual venue at Blenheim and book a boat at Grafham.
“We did the same last year and blanked but went again in the hope of catching a twenty. Little did I know that I would have the fish of a lifetime, one I will never likely top.
“It was very cold and windy, the temperature never going above 2 degrees but at least fishing lures kept us active.
“We had tried various spots in the day but then noticed a more sheltered bay where the sun was shining and went over there mainly to warm up.
“On only my second cast the fish took but when I struck I thought I might have hooked the bottom as the line went solid and the fish didn’t move.
“She stayed deep for ages and took getting on for 15 minutes to land. By the time I managed to get her in and weigh and release we had drifted close to 400 yards from our original position.
“When we weighed her the scales hovered between 39 lb 8 oz and 12 oz but I said I was more than happy to settle for 39 lb and not worry about ounces.
“We did consider going back to the shore to do a more accurate measurement but after such a long fight I was more interested in helping the fish recover and get her safely back in the water.
“One of the wardens told me after that it was a venue record, the biggest previously being just over 38 lb.
“Sadly my dad didn’t catch at all but he was delighted to have been present to witness my great achievement. We work together in his own air conditioning business, so it was wonderful to share this special moment as well,” Ben concluded.
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