With its huge tail and a back you could throw a saddle over, you’d be forgiven for thinking this monster pike was one of the most sought-after predators in Britain.
But you’d be very much mistaken, because weighing in at a colossal 38lb 2oz, this is one of the country’s mystery monsters – a fish nobody knew existed.
It fell to the rod of Northants-based Mark Fox during a trip to an unfished Suffolk lake, and proves to all pleasure anglers that shock giants are still within the grasp of the average man.
Targeting the small overgrown pool by boat – the only way to gain access to the water – Mark and fishing partner Andy Dickinson had their sights set on catching ‘a few fish to double-figures’.
But after casting out his floatfished smelt, things took a shock turn as the near-40-pounder – the second-biggest non-trout water pike in the country – broke the surface and was steered into the waiting net.
Mark said: “We all have dreams about landing huge fish that have never been hooked before, but the reality is there are just so many anglers these days and much of the mystery of the sport has gone.
“We’d set out with the thought that a 20-pounder would be a dream, but that was blown away when we tried to lift the landing net on board.
“When we finally got the fish in the unhooking cradle, she seemed to get bigger and bigger. The first time we weighed her she was nudging forty, but we motored back to the bank to get a more accurate reading.”
The pike, which was beaten on 30lb braid, will now be left to swim in peace, as neither Fox nor Dickinson intends to reveal, or indeed return to, the surprise venue.
“Nothing will ever cap catching such a shock pike and although I wish it had been my bait that was taken, it was just a privilege to see an unknown monster. The big girl had spent all her life living quietly and thriving on neglect, so I wouldn’t tell anyone where the venue was otherwise the glory-hunters would descend. In fact, I may never even return there myself,” said Andy.