AFTER seeing what lurks in Skipton’s canal basin, you’ll think twice about dipping your toes in there on a hot day.

This huge pike weighing around 15lbs - one of the largest heard of in the area - was hooked last weekend by four-year-old Harvey Ives while on a fishing trip with brother Finlay, 6, and dad, Mark.

“We were after perch and had only taken 5lb line and small rubber lures.

“At first I thought Harvey had got his hook stuck but soon realised he had hooked something big,” said Mr Ives, who is originally from Silsden and a member of Skipton Angling Association.

“I saw it was a big pike and helped him land it because it was his first pike and we didn’t want it to get away. It took around 15 minutes to get it into the landing net.

“I do a lot of pike fishing in the canal at Skipton and Gargrave when I can, though I also fish at Windermere and Grasmere. I work away a lot in the oil and gas industry, in Aberdeen, so it’s good to take the boys out too.

“Because we’d gone to catch perch last weekend, I hadn’t taken the scales but I have caught a lot of pike and guessed this one was around 15lbs and likely to be a female.

“She was very long, almost as long as Harvey. We made sure she was okay and put her back into the water as soon as we could,” he added.

Soon after, Finlay, 6, hooked a smaller pike, which also went back into the canal along with around four or five perch the family caught.

“There’s some good fishing in the town centre at the moment with some good shoals about. There are often quite a few people fishing.”

Skipton Angling Association member and Craven Herald columnist John Preston said a few pike had been caught recently in Skipton, but Harvey’s specimen was a surprise.

He said: “A 15lb pike from the canal is certainly a big fish and its the biggest I have heard of from the Skipton area.

“There have been reports of pike being numerous at the basin at the moment and in the angling column I have mentioned a Skipton AA member catching two over 10lbs this week.”

He said other fish species in the canal include brown trout, eels and gudgeon. There are also bream and roach.

“Although the canal was once known for the big trout it held - including one of 10:11:0 caught in 1957.

“There has been no coarse fish restocking that I am aware of and I assume that all the fish have been introduced by individuals over many years and have naturally reproduced. The trout have entered the canal from feeder streams such as in the Skipton Woods and at Gargrave.

“White clawed English crayfish are present in the canal at Bank Newton but they will no doubt be threatened by the American Signal crayfish which is present in large numbers at Skipton.”