Gareth Sheldon became the envy of hundreds of specimen hunters across the UK when he landed this 32lb 10oz pike – while minding his dad’s rods!
The father and son were fishing their local day-ticket venue Horcott Lakes when Ian had to answer the call of nature and asked his 21-year-old son to keep watch over his swim at the 22-acre venue in Fairford, Gloucestershire.
During Ian’s visit to the bushes at the back of his swim, the new venue record pike picked up a popped-up legered lamprey section and Gareth – whose previous best for the species stood at 12lb – was on hand to set the hooks home.
“He offered to give me the rod back, but he struck into the fish so in my mind it was his.
“Neither of us could have imagined how big it was going to turn out to be,” said Ian, who also helps manage the fishery.
“I’ve never had a pike over 30lb myself so you can imagine how much stick Gareth’s been giving me – I’ve had to slap him on the back of the head a few times.
“But that being said, the look of joy on his face was a real pleasure to behold.”
The two anglers also shared 20 other pike to mid-double figures, but Gareth’s 32-pounder smashes the previous venue record that stood at 26lb.
Ian reckons there are many different twenties in the water and believes that with the abundance of small rudd present, there’s every possibility that there are more huge fish over the 30lb mark swimming in the depths of Horcott Lakes.
“This venue is fished mainly by carp anglers, but in the winter the predator fishing really comes into its own,” Ian continued.
“It’s absolutely stuffed full of small rudd, which have really thrived over the last few years, and the pike are growing really big on them.”