The captor of the biggest pike of the season wishes he’d never told anyone about his catch, following a tirade of abuse by cynical predator anglers.
Last week’s news of his capture of a 42lb 8oz Hickling Broad pike has resulted in Craig Humphries being subjected to a hate campaign by a minority of the nation’s pike angling community in an episode that many will feel belittles the entire sport.
Posters on Internet forums are claiming the fish is a hoax, insisting that Craig has doctored his catch photo, despite photography experts insisting it isn’t faked.
And, as comments have turned increasingly derogatory, Craig has become more and more disillusioned by a catch that should only bring an angler joy and life-long satisfaction.
“Despite all the positive comments I’ve received, some anglers have taken it upon themselves to ridicule my actions, my photo and even my sanity. While I appreciate that’s probably normal for them, I do find it rather sad,” said Craig.
“I’ve received hate mail, verbal abuse and mockery. There’s even a ridiculous rumour that I moved the fish from Meadow Dyke near Horsey!
“What the hell is wrong with the world, with these people? This doesn’t appear to be jealousy, it’s downright hatred. I go fishing for enjoyment, nothing more and nothing less.
“I’m fed up with the whole episode now. These people need to leave me alone and get on with their lives!” he said.
Fortunately, not all the anglers close to the story are being negative.
Local pike anglers John Goble and Charlie Bettell have been quick to support Craig, even going so far as visiting him to take photos and conduct an interview in an effort to help him strengthen his case and quieten the doubters, as well as offering him their moral support.
“I’ve keep an open mind from the start. Craig comes across as a genuine angler,” insisted former Broads pike fishing guide Charlie.
“Having seen the back of the houseboat where he took his one catch photo I’d have to say he did well to get the photograph he did ¬ I wouldn’t have wanted to take a trophy shot under those circumstances. He put the welfare of the fish first, which is always the most important consideration.
“I’m fairly certain Craig caught what he’s claimed. I just hope someone else comes forward with photos of previous captures of the fish, as I’ve heard it is a known one,” he added.
John Goble, captor of the Broadlands record pike of 45lb 8oz at the same time last year, is also adamant that Craig’s catch is genuine.
“It’s ridiculous that these people knock a fellow angler for catching a big pike. There’s nothing better than an average angler who loves his Broads fishing to go and catch a fish like this. At least it wasn’t caught by a member of the ‘circus’,” insisted John.