Saturday, May 31, 2008

Record breaking Atlantic halibut

As a fully paid-up monster of the deep, it should have swatted aside any angler with the temerity to try to catch it with a mere rod and line.

But this record-breaking Atlantic halibut bit off more than it could chew when it took on heroic Soren Beck.

As it fought to escape, Mr Beck's small boat had to chase it across the Arctic waters off Norway to prevent either rod or line snapping.

Once the energy-sapping fight was over it took three men to haul the 30-stoner aboard. Back on land, they found it measured 8ft 1in in length, 6ft 4in around the middle and weighed in at 443lb, 24lb more than the previous record for a line-caught halibut.

And if Mr Beck had managed to get it to a British market it would have made around £2,200.

The Dane, who was on holiday, was angling in waters which have given up some giant halibut in recent years.

The biggest, caught by a commercial fisherman, was 63st. Halibut typically reach maturity at ten years and average 3ft 4in in length.

FishWhen the fight was over, it took three men to haul the whopping flatfish on board their boat with the use of a hook on the end of a pole.

The giant fish then fought for his life for an amazing half an hour after he was pulled out of the Arctic circle waters.

FishCato Bekkevold, an expert from the region, said: 'The area where he caught it is famed for cod and coalfish, but last year the Wildwater Camps brought up 80 halibut.

'These halibut can be caught by a variety of methods, but drifting with coalfish or big shad-jigs [a type of hook] baited with a worm have caught the majority.

'There have been some monsters caught by commercial fishermen, with one recently off Norway weighing 314.5kg.

Fish'The biggest in recent times was 329kg caught in the late 90s, and the biggest ever recorded is around 400 kg.

'It is painted in full size at the Halibut museum on the island of Senja.'

Halibut don't recover from over-fishing as fell as other flatfish, and Atlantic halibut are often tagged then released when caught.


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