THE biggest salmon for decades has been caught from a top coarse fishery, estimated between 43 lb and 47 lb.

Day ticket Royalty Fishery on the Hampshire Avon is noted  as one of England’s top salmon waters as well as being a fantastic barbel, chub and pike venue…. and it certainly lived up to its reputation with its biggest specimen of the last 45 years.

North East London-based Peter Fine, who has been fishing the fishery in Christchurch, Dorset, since 1971, tempted the giant using a pink shrimp fly.

Giant salmon was measured

Peter didn’t weight it as he needed to return the breeding fish straight away and fish had dragged him 350 metres downstream from his bag and scales in an epic 30 minute battle after he hooked it at Edwards Pool.

It was carefully measured at 49 inches which compares to the 50.5 of the river record fish of 49 lb 5 oz caught in the 1950s.

Peter was ecstatic at landing the fish of a lifetime but carried on fishing and landed a further fine specimen of 20 lb, again returned alive inline with strict fishery rules.

Davis Tackle boss Nigel Gray, who leases the fishery, said: “Capturing two spring fish on the same day is extremely rare. In comparison I fish regularly for salmon on Tuesdays and I haven’t caught a single fish for over four years!”

Coarse anglers who fancy a try for Royalty Fishery salmon can do so during the Close Season but only four day tickets are available each day bookable in advance for the lower stretch of the fishery. Up until May 16, it is a fly-only water but from then on spinning with any form of lure is permitted and using prawns as bait but strictly no worm.

Long way to go for salmon

Paul Knight, chief executive of the recently renamed Salmon and Trout Conservation UK, said that while it great to see such a large specimen, all rivers have a long way to go before they return to the number and size of fish regularly caught in the past.

Paul explained: “Unfortunately only 17 per cent of rivers generally reach the ecological standard, and the Environment Agency predicts that not one river in England and Wales will reach 100 per cent of their water quality target by 2018. So while this fish is good news, overall there is still quite some way to go.”

Many predict the long-standing 64 lb record salmon caught way back in 1922 by Georgina Ballantine from Scotland’s River Tay will never be beaten due to poor water quality and over fishing at sea.

This is a short version of the story that appeared in Angler’s Mail printed magazine. Get the magazine every week for top tips, big news, best products, and venues that are in form.

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