When Andy Robbins heard a whisper about big pike being caught from the River Ribble, he set himself the target of catching a double-figure fish from the Lancashire waterway before the end of the year…but he never dreamt that he would end up posing for the camera with this incredible 34lb river record.
The 45-year-old British Gas employee from Blackburn, Lancashire, arrived at a local stretch with a couple of friends and, adopting a roving approach, tackled several swims without success before hitting the jackpot midway through the afternoon.
Offering a floatfished smelt deadbait in a deep marginal gulley, Andy watched as his float bobbed several times before sliding away.
He told Angling Times: "I struck into the bite but it was like hooking into a tree and I began to think that maybe I’d snagged something on the bottom.
"I then felt it kick so I knew I was connected to a fish but try as I might I just couldn’t get it to move or gain any line. After a while I slowly began to get the upper hand and a couple of times I got a glimpse of what was obviously a huge pike."
Thankfully his hook held firm and as the spirited fight came to a conclusion he led the specimen sized predator towards the waiting landing net. The fish beats the old Ribble record of 33lb 6oz.
"I knew it would easily beat my previous pb of 18lb and we only just managed to get it into my 42ins landing net. We were all lost for words when we saw the size of it on the bank and when it spun the scales round to 34lb it was the perfect way to end the year."
His winning rig consisted of a 20lb braided mainline and a 28lb wire trace attached to a set of size 8 Drennan semi-barbless trebles.