NINE-YEAR-OLD angler Luca Belmonte is proving to be a talented specimen hunter.

The St Wilfrids Primary School pupil from Latchford has just won first prize in a magazine competition.

The contest, run by the Improve Your Course Fishing magazine, invited entries of pictures of specimen fish catches.

Judges' eyes were caught by the sight of Warrington Anglers' Association member Luca holding a 5lb 4oz chub that he had landed from the River Dane, for which he has now been rewarded with £500 of fishing tackle.

Warrington Guardian:

Luca Belmonte, 9, with his prize-winning 5lb 4oz chub. See more pictures of his catches in the gallery above

"He is absolutely fishing mad and has had some amazing catches," said his mum, Emma.

The prize-winning catch came in late August when Luca enjoyed a stunning session with his dad, Piero.

"He used link-legered sweetcorn to catch this chub, which was one of four chub over 3lbs that he caught that day."

Read the latest Warrington Anglers' Association column

Luca, who also loves playing football with Grappenhall Rovers, has landed a 27½lb mirror carp, 8½lb tench and barble to 9lb 8ozs – all specimen fish – during his five years on the banks of various waters.

Emma added: "Luca has been fishing with his dad since he was four-years-old.

"He was always interested in helping Piero get his fishing tackle ready and mixing bait.

"As soon as he was able to he went along for afternoons fishing and when he caught his first fish he was hooked.

"Luca loves catching big fish and loves learning all his dad knows about fishing.

"His favourite fishing venues are Sandiway Lakes and he loves river fishing with his dad."

Emma and Piero are pleased that he enjoys hobbies that allow him to take in fresh air.

"He just loves being outdoors, catching fish and being with his dad," said Emma.

"We are conscious of the amazing benefits of being outdoors and how much it helps children to chill out and relax, and are hoping to encourage more children to take up fishing.

"As parents we are really passionate about making fishing accessible for children.

"There are so many kids that would love to fish and don’t get the opportunity.

"It's so important for kids to have access to fishing and be out on the rivers and lakes.

"There are too many children glued to Xboxes and YouTube and are missing out on being able to enjoy the sport."