A short session was all that was needed for Ben Farley to nail this 36lb 4oz Pike. The devil was in the detail as this was taken at close quarters, and in gin clear-water.

The Oxfordshire fishery manager was giving fly-tuition on the Farmoor Reservoir complex when he noticed the huge mass in the margins. Ben’s instincts kicked in as he was soon casting at the shadows with a swimbait. With depths of around 15ft the angler released pretty quickly that he was looking at a huge Pike.

I cast the bait 3-3ft behind what looked like the bigger fish and within seconds it had turned around and snapped at it. At this point it went absolutely nuts and stripped about 80 yards of line on its first run. The feeling was incredible.

After a 10 minute tussle Ben’s braided main line had become wrapped around the fish’s torso. This was a heart stopping moment for Ben.

Every now and again it would come up to the surface and the dive straight back down again. It was at this point that I knew I hooked something truly special.

I managed to draw the Pike to within 20 yards of the bank, that’s when I noticed that the braid was wrapped around one of it’s fins.

The fish rolled and and the line went slack,  and I reeled back down until I felt the resistance. I was thankfully reassured.

The Pike was a new record for the Reservoir and most importantly was a new personal best for Ben.

For more details www.thameswater.co.uk