Here´s an odd thing. A colleague at work, David Días, told me on Monday morning that he had caught a huge pike. When he told me how big it was I though he was just pulling my leg. He claimed that his fish weighed, wait for it…. 29 kilograms!

If we translate that into language which makes sense to a fisherman like me, the damn thing weighed just under 64 pounds!

For Christ´s sake! What does he take me for?

The only thing is he just did not give me the impression he was making this up. He has done plenty of fishing and I never thought of him as a bullshitter. Yarn spinning and exageration, let´s face it, are not unknown in the fishing business! Seeing my incredulous expression, he showed me a photo on his phone but gave no sense of scale and so my scepticism remained.

Out of curiosity, I took a little look around the internet to see the size of the biggest whoppers taken in recent years and then consulted Wikepedia, the font of all knowledge. The relevant information is reproduced here:

“Pike grow to a relatively large size; lengths of 150 centimetres (59 in) and weights of 25 kilograms (55 lb) are not unheard of. The average length is about 70–120 cm (28-47 inches). The heaviest specimen known so far was caught in 1983 at an abandoned stone quarry in Germany, where the species is known as a Hecht. She (the majority of all pikes over 8 kg or 18 lb are females) was 147 cm (58 in) long and weighed 31 kg (68 lb). The longest pike ever recorded and confirmed was 152 cm (60 in) long and weighed 28 kg (62 lb). A pike of 60.5 inches (154 cm) was caught and released in May 2004 in Apisko Lake, Manitoba. Historic reports of giant pike, caught in nets in Ireland in the late 19th century, of 41–42 kg (90–93 lb) with a length of 173–175 cm (67-68 inches), were researched by Fred Buller and published in “The Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike”. Neither Britain nor Ireland has managed to produce much in the way of giant pike in the last 50 years and as a result there is substantial doubt surrounding those earlier claims. Currently, the IGFA recognizes a 25 kg (55 lb) pike caught by Lothar Louis in Lake of Grefeern, Germany, on October 16, 1986 as the all-tackle world record northern pike.”

I doubt anyone knows more about pike than Fred Buller. He was given an MBE in 2010 for services to angling. Anyone who has read his writing on pike will recognise the sense of excitement and wonder that pike engender, particularly the really big ones, which are always female. Seeing Buller´s name in the article quoted above gives me some faith in its reliability.

Anyway, back to David´s monster. He says he took it on a live fish and used a balloon as a float. It came from a lake in Extremadura where all the pike caught had to be killed. Pike are not native to Spain and were introduced about half way through the last century. There have been enormous pike caught here since that time. Local fishing regulations may require pike taken to be killed in order to conserve the native species.

The pike that David targeted were in their spawning areas and a huge number of fishermen were after them. The story of the huge fish is apparently reported in the local press. He has promised to provide me with the relevant links and so I should be able to check it out for myself.

For the record, he says it was as fat as a pig and 130cm long. This, again translated into units of measurement which may be more familiar, works out at 4 feet 3 inches.

I hope to quiz David further and will let you know how I get on. If any photos exist I will post them on the blog.