The tale of the 23lb pike that didn't get away...
FOR Dan Kelly, taking to the banks of the River Avon near Keynsham each weekend offers a tranquil few hours away from it all – but this weekend the peace was shattered as he found himself in a Hemingway-esque battle with a mighty fish quite unlike anything he's caught before.
The 34-year-old, who works as a finance administrator at Airbus in Filton, has been fishing on the Avon in his free time for 25 years – but he's never seen anything like the 23lb pike he netted on Saturday.
"You might expect to catch a 23lb pike in a lake, where they are fed and pampered," Mr Kelly said. "But in a river like the Avon, where they are constantly fighting against the currents, and living under the gaze of numerous herons, to grow to this size is incredible.
"In 25 years of fishing in this area, the largest pike I have caught in the past was 11lb – but normally they are one or two pounds – tiddlers compared to this fish."
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Mr Kelly, from Yate, was angling in the company of his friend Daniel Nunn, on an area of the river near a weir – in the competitive world of angling, Mr Kelly is keen to keep the exact location a closely-guarded secret.
"You can target certain areas where pike like to swim," he said. "They like the oxygenated water you get near a weir, and they like areas of thick reeds. I am also a keen kayaker on the river, so I use the knowledge I have built up of the landscape while on the water, to try to target the best areas for fishing.
"But there is also a large element of luck involved – when a fish like this bites, especially as I was only using a 10lb line and a simple lure, it's mostly down to good fortune."
However, as soon as the fish started to bite, Mr Kelly realised he was to have quite a fight on his hands.
"It must have taken 15 minutes to get the fish on to the riverbank," he said. "She really fought me. If Dan hadn't been there with me, I'm not sure I would have landed her. It really did take two of us to haul her ashore – largely because the fish darted into the undergrowth."
Mr Kelly eventually landed the creature, which he believes was an older female – some pike can live to the age of 30.
"She was an incredible fish," he said. "So I had my photograph taken with her, and put her straight back in the water, so she could carry on with her life."