Fishermen Use Friend's Ashes to Reel In Huge Fish
'It's what he would have wanted'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2016 2:24 PM CDT
In this Jan. 12, 2010 file photo, Asian bighead carp swim in an exhibit at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

(Newser) – In a sweet—and maybe also a little bit weird—move, two fishermen honored a fellow fisherman who passed away by turning his ashes into bait and using it to reel in a huge carp. Paul Fairbrass and Cliff Dale were planning a fishing trip to Thailand with Ron Hopper, 64, but he died of cancer beforehand, the Telegraph reports. During a deathbed talk (at which a bottle of rum was passed around, the friends tell the BBC), the three UK men agreed to the plan: Fairbrass and Dale, both 65, took half of Hopper's ashes (his widow scattered the other half on a beach) and turned them into a type of bait known as "boilies" using a special bait mix. They named the bait "Purple Ronnie," and used it throughout their nine-day vacation.

At first, they caught only a few smaller fish with the bait, but then decided to try casting off from the same position Hopper did during a fishing trip the trio took last year when he reeled in a carp weighing 150 pounds. The result? It took Fairbrass and Dale three hours to reel in their prize: a carp weighing 180 pounds. "We were gutted that Ron couldn't come on the trip because he was really looking forward to it, but he was definitely with us when we caught that fish," Fairbrass says. Adds Dale, "It felt spiritual, it felt like Ron was there with us." They returned the fish to the lake to live out his days being known as "Ronnie." (Another odd destination for ashes is more celestial.)