Did lad aged 13 catch a record pike on River Wye?

By Emma Evans in Local People

HE could well have broken a 110-year-old record but a 13-year-old fisherman from Brecon insisted on releasing a Pike almost as big as him back into the River Wye before his dad weighed the catch.

Thomas Macdonald-Ames wrestled with the predatory fish for more than 25 minutes, being pulled from once side of the River Wye to other in his dad’s boat as he struggled to hook his catch. But within minutes of hooking the catch of his life, the teenager released the Pike back into the wild, believing the fish to be pregnant.

"It was bigger than any fish my dad has caught," said Thomas from Brecon. "I caught it using a spinner. After a while my arms were starting to hurt so I was glad when we got the fish to the bank. ItÕs the biggest fish I have ever caught.Ó

When Thomas and his father Louis headed out on to the water, two days before his 13th birthday, they had no idea they would hook a catch that would rival the 110-year-old Wye River record.

Louis, head of operations at the Wye Usk Foundation, said that Major Booth’s catch weighed in at 37lb.

"Thomas caught a monster of a fish," he said. "It had teeth like a crocodile. I am sure that it would have easily rivalled the record holder."

The 51-year-old angler first took his son fishing when he was four-years-old, watching him hook his first catch aged seven.

The father beamed with pride as he recalled watching his determined Gwernyfed High School pupil son reel the beast in.

"Thomas had the rod and had a bite," he said. "We could tell it was something big by the way the line was being tugged on. I was on the ores, trying to keep the boat steady, but we were being pulled from one side of the river to the other. Several times the pike took off across the river and at one stage I thought I might have to take over the fishing rod. Thomas struggled, but he wouldn’t let go, even when he saids his hand were going numb. IÕm proud to say he toughed it out and it was amazing to see what was on the end of the line.

"When we finally saw the catch I thought I’d have to grab the fish with my hands. I was so proud of him, it was a real father and son bonding moment."

But, the father and son who have fished together since Thomas was four, didn’t revel in the moment for too long, only keeping the fish out of water for a very short time.

"The season ends on March 16," he said. "As the fish spawn Thomas was keen to release the pike back in to the wild as she was full with eggs ready for laying. We measured the pike in at 49 inches. If I had fully realised that Thomas could have broken a record I would have gone back to shore to get my scales to weigh it.

"I am so proud of him, pike this size aren’t commonly found up this end of the river so this really was a brilliant achievement."