An angler who thought he had smashed the Irish pike record has had his dream shattered after officials threw his claim out because the Argos scales used to weigh the specimen have been deemed ‘too unreliable’.
County Down-based rod Harry Stevens landed the claimed 46lb UK record-shaking specimen during a session on the River Erne at Enniskillen, and was staggered when his scales revealed the fish was 4lb bigger than the current Irish record of 42lb 12oz.
The all-round angler was targeting the waterway’s vast roach and bream shoals when a large pike grabbed a hooked silverfish on the end of his line, smashing his rig after a brief battle.
In a bid to get the fish out of his swim, Harry switched over to a wire trace and, within moments of the change, the beast hammered his deadbait, only to escape once again. Not one to be defeated, Harry recast with another bait and finally connected with the lump before landing it after a good scrap.
However, his elation soon turned to despair when it was confirmed that he had no chance of claiming an official record because his Argos scales were not ‘certified’.
Rules dictate that the fish must be weighed in the presence of an independent witness on properly certified scales that are covered by a certificate from Weights and Measures.
Despite the disappointing news, Harry is convinced the enormous specimen is the biggest in the land.
“I have never seen a fish like this in my life. It took me half an hour to land and I even had to get into the water to deal with it. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have fitted in the largest landing net I own,” said Harry, who tempted the beast on a coarse fish deadbait.
“I won’t be going back to try to catch it again to claim the official record – I’m just happy to have landed such a fish,” he added.
Predator experts have begun to debate among themselves whether the pike could have obliterated the current Irish landmark.
“It is a big pike and it could make a mid ‘30’, but there is no way on earth this pike is the weight being claimed,” said AT columnist Neville Fickling, author of popular book Mammoth Pike.