Earlier in the week I broke a story about a huge pike allegedly caught by a work colleague. It seemed too good to be true. The fish was, after all, absolutely massive. At the weight claimed for it, some 29 kg, this fish would have been one of the largest pike caught anywhere in the world, ever.

When time permitted I investigated further and the whole thing seemed to become more and more dubious.

For starters, the only image of the “monster” looks decidedly odd. It looks like something produced using photoshop after a few pints at the local boozer. I have attached it below and you can make up your own mind.

Then the fisherman who had claimed it said it was not, after all, his capture but that it was caught by his cousin. He wasn´t even there at the time to see the fish for himself. He did show me plenty of pictures of other pike taken from the same venue and related how they go about catching them. The fish are caught from a bridge and landed using a drop net which is hauled to the surface. Their standard approach is to fish with three rods, each with a live bait. One bait is fished at a depth of three metres, another at six metres and the third at nine metres. If a pike is caught the other baits are set to the “taking” depth.

He told me that the famous 29 kg weight turns out to have been a typing error on a phone message and the real weight was 19 kg which, if true, makes it one hell of a fish. That´s over 40 pounds! But I am running out of faith in the accuracy of any of this and must, sadly, conclude that the monster pike was never caught, or at best, it had shrunk. I can´t imagine fishermen who take plenty of photos of their regular captures not taking pictures of a larger pike than any of them had ever seen before.

While we remain skeptical and await some kind of corroborating evidence, it may be interesting to consider the sizes of authenticated captures here in Spain. The best information I have comes from a book written by Jesus Angel Cecilia Gomez, a well known hunter and fisherman with hundreds of magazine articles to his credit. In his book “La Pesca del Lucio” he has a table recording exceptional captures over almost a forty year period ending in 1999. His list includes seven fish over forty pounds the largest being a 51 pounder caught in 1974.

So, clearly, there are some very big pike swimming around in some of Spain´s large reservoirs even if my own monster turns out, like Frankenstein, to have been a fictitious character.

Here is the only pictorial evidence available. A monster my arse. What do you think?