Monster Pike Prepares to Meet Its Match with Angling's Answer to David Beckham; Date of Showdown a Secret to Stop Army of Fans Descending on Lake

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 2, 2003 | Go to article overview

Monster Pike Prepares to Meet Its Match with Angling's Answer to David Beckham; Date of Showdown a Secret to Stop Army of Fans Descending on Lake


Byline: Carl Yapp

WHEN you have to catch a fish that's Wales's answer to Jaws, only one man can do the job - angling's answer to David Beckham.

Matt Hayes - who even wears Beckham-style white wellies - is taking on the 5ft pike of Llangorse Lake, provided, that is, he can beat a path through the autograph hunters. According to local legend the murky depths of the lake is home to the king-size pike - which has been known to have a bite at passing water skiers. But it may have met its match in Hayes, who holds the record for the biggest fish caught by a British angler - a 15ft, 1900 lbs, Great White Shark off the south coast of Australia. The stand-off will take place at the lake, near Brecon, a million miles away from the sun-kissed beaches of Amity Island - the fictional coastal town where Steven Spielberg set his 1975 blockbuster, Jaws. Mr Hayes says Llangorse Lake is one of the best locations in the UK to catch pike at this time of year. But just like the eccentric but experienced shark-catcher Quint, played by Robert Shaw in Jaws, Mr Hayes is a tad scep-tical about the existence of the prodigious pike.

However, Llangorse Lake Water Skiing Club says it has evidence of a mammoth pike roaming the depths with the courage to attack its members. Mr Hayes is regarded as one of the most accomplished all-round fishermen in the UK. Known as the Beckham of the angling world, he is regularly mobbed by adoring fans just like Beckham, but it is usually middle-aged fishing fanatics who rush up to him for auto-graphs rather than young girls.

The similarities with the England captain don't end there. In an attempt to stop Mr Hayes's army of fans descending on the lake, the date of the showdown between man and fish is being kept a secret.

``Just like Becks, Matt is well-known and will attract dozens of fishermen and women if we reveal when the event is going to take place,'' said his spokeswoman . ``Matt and his colleague Mick Brown want to show off their skills by catching pike. But they can't do that if there's dozens of other fishermen and women bobbing on the water with us trying to get tips and autographs off Matt.''

Mr Hayes, 41, from Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, said he hoped his white wellies brought him some luck.

``I don't normally wear white boots, but I thought they might bring me a bit of luck.

It's a bit of a joke on my part, but they seem to be doing all right for Becks,'' he joked.

``We're trying to catch pike at Llangorse Lake as a way of highlighting how active the sport of angling is. It is not in the least bit sedentary.

``There are some very good pike at Llangorse and I've heard the story about the 5ft one and I think it's a bit of an exaggeration.

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