A 34lb Royalty pike on first cast

The first cast into a day-ticket stretch of river has produced one of the biggest running water pike of all time.

Darren Smith acted on a ‘hunch’ to fish the famous Royalty Fishery on the Hampshire Avon and not only doubled his personal best with the 34lb specimen but also set a new record for Ringwood & District Angling Club.

Due to rising water levels the local angler predicted that the predators would follow the small silverfish into the slack areas to find sanctuary out of the main flow.

“I knew the conditions weren’t ideal for lure fishing, but I had a feeling that I had to be in one particular swim on the Royalty. I couldn’t ignore it,” Darren told Angling Times.

“My lure had only been in the water for a few seconds and I’d just started to retrieve it when the huge fish hammered my bait. All hell then broke loose.”

The specialist from New Milton, Hampshire, used a 10-inch Reaction Strike Bass Harasser Lure in conjunction with 50lb braid mainline to beat the specimen that measured 4ft in length.

“I’m not one to exaggerate, but the only way to describe this fish was a crocodile without legs!” Darren continued.

“When it started to come towards me I knew that there was going to be around two-and-a-half feet of fish hanging out of the back of the net. After a few hairy moments I managed to hoist it onto the bank and it was only then when I saw the mind-blowing proportions of this incredible and awe-inspiring predator.”

He added: “Even now it still doesn’t seem real. My goal was to catch a 20lb-plus fish from a river and I’ve now upped my personal best from 17lb to 34lb.”

Darren’s incredible run of form continued as he returned to the fishery a few days later to land another specimen pike of 21lb 10oz.

Day-tickets to fish the Royalty Fishery can be purchased from Davis Tackle and for more information call: 01202 485169 or visit: www.davistackle.co.uk.

Top 10 Biggest River Pike
45lb 8oz, John Goble, River Thurne, 2009
42lb 2oz, Derrick Amies, River Thurne, 1985
42lb, Mervyn Watkins, River Barrow, 1964
41lb 6oz, Neville Fickling, River Thurne, 1985
41lb 4oz, Jeff Mills, River Thurne, 1986
41lb, Alan Underhill, River Suck, 1980
39lb 12oz, Karl Gidney, Thurne system, 2008
38lb 5oz, Simon Webber, Hampshire Avon, 1992
38lb 3oz, Dennis Madigan, River Shannon, 1980
38lb 3oz, George Dillon, River Suck, 1996

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