60lb fish… do they exist?
On a recent fishing outing I got talking to an old farmer about the his tales of the legendary pike landed when he was just a boy. He laid claim to a record pike of 60lbs and about 6 foot in length being landed by a friend of his on meager tackle using very outdated techniques. It was easy for me to cast his story aside as an old mans exaggerations but what if he was telling the truth?
World record pike
Interested in the prospect of mega pike I took to google. The official world record is 55lb 1oz. caught in Germany in 1986 by angler Lothar Louis and was caught on a spoon no less.
There have been other mammoth pike reports larger than this but none have been properly ratified. In Germany many anglers would tell you the rightful world record is held by Arno Wilhelm. His pike measured 57″ and weighed 67 lbs. This magnificent pike was caught from an abandoned stone quarry in Germany in 1983. Sadly it wasn’t returned!
Italy has also proven to be a place for majestic pike. The Italian National record is just 1 oz short of a world record, coming in at 55lb’s. This fish, caught on Lake Maggiore in 2006 is truly a spectacular fish.
But what about Ireland?
Well the Irish record, pictured below, is held by Larry Kelly. His mammoth fish came from White lough in 2005 and tipped the scales at massive 42lb 12 oz.
But the tales of giant Irish pike does not rest here. In the early 70’s the records were reset as it was deemed the measurement process was not stringent enough. The old pike record stood since 1920 and listed a 53lb monster pike from lough Conn. Again the legends of great Irish pike do not end there! There are many stories of two great Irish pike to 90 & 92 lbs. These fish were reportedly captured in the late 1800’s on Lough Derg. Call me a pessimist but I can’t imagine there is much truth or accuracy to the accounts for the last two.
Maybe the old man told the truth, and seeing the fish above there is no real reason to totally doubt him either. For me the only real question is, are those big girls still out there?
The sad reality for me is the health of the river and lakes in Ireland have unquestionably diminished since the 1920’s. The shoals have become smaller, the salmon and sea trout runs more sparse and scarce, the availability and quality of food is just not what it used to be. I don’t think a 60lb fish can be sustained anymore, but who knows maybe the next cast will change my mind.
I would love to hear your accounts of big pike plus see the pics if you have any.
Dublin Pike Anglers next competition is changed to the 23rd of April, new members are still welcome as we have small number of places available. Get membership in early to save disappointment! New members fill in membership request form here.