A tiny stretch of river that’s free to fish and not much more than a rod length wide has produced this huge 36lb 3oz pike.
The shock specimen was caught by predator fishing fanatic Stefan Catalin while targeting a small backwater of the River Thames known as Castle Mill Stream.
The London-based 29-year-old, specialises in catching both pike and perch on artificial lures and it proved to be a Savage Gear Real Eel edged along the bottom of the West Oxfordshire waterway that induced the take from the fish that smashed his previous personal best by 6lb 3oz.
The catch came as a complete shock to the captor, who battled with the fish for 20 minutes before sliding its huge frame over his waiting net, and will also erase any doubts that many people have of the capabilities of such a tiny waterway to support a predator of such proportions.
“I was fishing off the bridge and working the bait along the bottom when I got the take and I had to give the rod to a passer-by as I quickly got off the bridge and into position by the water’s edge,” Stefan told Angling Times.
“When I saw the fish for the first time I was stunned, and a little scared, because I never thought such a massive fish would be in such a small, narrow piece of water - it really took me by surprise.
“I’ve seen loads of pike anglers down here that use deadbaits and only catch small fish, but I’ve had loads of success with these artificial eels as they seem to pick out the bigger fish.
“This catch just goes to show that you can’t ignore these small streams and backwaters because they are clearly full of big surprises.”
Drennan International employee Stewart Moss has fished the River Thames and its tributaries for 30 years and says that this further proves the potential of small venues.
“It’s an unbelievable reward for fishing uncompromising urban waterways that are shunned by most specimen anglers,” said Stewart.
“Venues like this are often full of species like bream which are perfect food and this, combined with neglect, creates a water that’s capable of throwing up a real giant.”