A FISHING fanatic from Hucknall has landed his first-ever salmon after almost 40 years of being hooked by the sport — and what’s more, it is a record-breaker!
The specimen landed by Paul Stones is thought to be the biggest caught on the River Trent in the last 30 years.
The female salmon, which weighed in at 10lb 6oz, was netted by Paul at a spot he has asked us not to divulge for fear of stimulating too much interest!
But delighted Paul (51), of Papplewick Lane, is only too proud to show off his catch in this photo taken minutes after he had reeled it in.
Paul was actually fishing for barbel, using maggot, when he landed the salmon and was stood in a weir in his waders.
“When it took the bait, I knew straight away it wasn’t a barbel,” said Paul, who first took up fishing with friends when he was only 12 years old.
“When you’ve fished for so long, you get to know what a catch feels like. It was fighting. I could see it in the water and I was just praying I was going to get it.
“It took about 15-to-20 minutes to bring it in and it was a bit of a shock when I realised I had caught my first salmon.”
A friend who was fishing nearby took the photo and helped weigh the fish before it was released back into the water.
Paul, who runs his own industrial spray-painting business, S&H Coatings at Newstead, contacted the Environment Agency later to report the catch.
The dad-of-two believes his catch proves that a programme launched several years ago to reintroduce salmon to the Trent is paying dividends. Paul estimates that up to 100,000 young salmon are now swimming in the river’s network. This has coincided with improvements in water quality.
Other projects in the pipeline include bidding for funding to instal salmon runs that will make it easier for the fish to negotiate weirs and make it to their spawning grounds at the River Dove in Derbyshire.
Paul, who is the brother of well-known former Hucknall Town Football Club assistant manager Gary Stones, said: “The Trent is getting back to how it used to be in the 1970s and 1980s when it hosted international competitions.”