IMAGINE spotting a 36lb 4oz pike in clear water and then catching it on your very first cast – that’s exactly what Ben Farley did during a short session at a trout reservoir.
The 27-year-old, who is an on-site fishery manager at Oxfordshire’s Farmoor Reservoir, was giving tuition to a fly angler on the banks of the 400-acre complex when a stroll during his lunch break revealed two large, dark, fish-shaped shadows just below the surface.
Ben rushed back to the car to fetch his lure gear, and it wasn’t long before he was casting a swimbait in hope of a potential hook-up.
“The water is gin-clear to around 15ft down and I could still clearly see two distinctive outlines that could only have been pike,” he said.
“I cast the bait around 3ft-4ft behind what looked like the bigger fish, and within a split second it had turned and snatched it. At this point the pike went absolutely nuts. It must’ve taken 80 yards of line from the reel. What an incredible feeling!”
After 10 minutes the colossal fish managed to wrap itself around his braided mainline – creating a heart-stopping moment for Ben.
“Every now and then it would come up to the surface and then dive straight back down again – and it was at this point that I knew I’d hooked something truly special,” he continued.
“I managed to draw the pike to within 20 yards from the bank, and that’s when I noticed the line was wrapped around one of its fins. The fish rolled and the line went slack, but as I reeled back down I was met with resistance, and was thankfully reassured!”
The pike finally came to the net and on the scales it went 36lb on the nose – a new personal best for Ben as well as a new record for the reservoir.
To find out more about Farmoor Reservoir visit: