PETE BUR­RELL: World Match Record

Angling Times (UK) - - 50 GREATEST CATCHES -

5PETE’S 259lb 3oz 12dr of North­ern Ir­ish roach from the River Silees in 1981 is still one of the most iconic to­tal nets of coarse fish of all time.

A match had been or­gan­ised on one of the rest days of the Ul­ster Open fes­ti­val on the nearby Silees, a trib­u­tary of the Erne, where the fish moved up in mas­sive num­bers to spawn at cer­tain times of year.

And as com­peti­tors with rods and short poles lined its banks that morn­ing, few knew ex­actly what they were in store for, not least Pete, who was about to set a new world match record.

“The fish only stayed in one area for four or five days and it was purely by chance that we hap­pened to be there in the right place at the right time,” he re­vealed.

“I rigged up a 4.5m pole, and my hand­made float took about two SSG in weight and it was shot­ted so that the bulk took the float down to the top of the body and then the sin­gle drop­per reg­is­tered on the bris­tle. The ob­ject was to see the bite as soon as it hap­pened in the 7ft-deep peg, so I could strike early and change the bait as lit­tle as pos­si­ble,” he said.

To catch quickly, Pete em­ployed a spe­cial method to speed up the un­hook­ing pro­cess. As each roach was swung in, he sud­denly moved his pole for­wards, cre­at­ing a slack line, so that two-thirds of his fish fell off the bar­b­less hook and into the gap­ing keep­net be­low.

With ev­ery­body catch­ing well, the word on the bank was that the world record could go, but then Pete saw his catch rate plum­met to just a fish ev­ery few min­utes.

“The fish were drop­ping down to the bot­tom of my swim in the fast flow so I mixed up a very stiff ground­bait mix and started feed­ing balls of that so it went straight to the bot­tom in front of me.

“It worked, and the fish came back up. In one spell I was catch­ing eight per minute for 20 min­utes at 3m to hand and by the end I’d got 842!” he said.

It took 12 peo­ple to trans­port the net up the high bank (in­clud­ing help from De­nis White, Dick Clegg and Wayne Swin­scoe), where the fish were weighed and trans­ferred into two nets for a photo.

Things were dif­fer­ent then and, as Pete pointed out, it was a big keep­net and no­body had gone there ex­pect­ing to break any records.

The early 1980s her­alded a real golden spell for Pete, as he also fa­mously beat Keith Arthur by 2oz to win the Di­vi­sion One Na­tional on the River Trent with 27lb of chub.

“I don’t think Keith ever got over that – he’s still talk­ing about it,” chuck­led Pete.

The huge net­ful is hauled up the river bank. 259lb 3oz 12dr and a new world record haul.

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