The predator fishing grapevine is buzzing with stories of an enormous fish from the Norfolk broads caught in the last days of the river season.

The mighty female pike is said to have bottomed out 42lb 8oz scales and was caught by Craig Humphries, a 30-year-old who lives in Germany and can definitely be described as having nothing to do with the pike ‘circus’.

It’s already causing plenty of controversy ahead of its publication in the weekly newspapers next week. Many respected specialist pike anglers believe it to be 100% genuine and the fish of a lifetime. Others say that the picture has been altered in some way. understands that it’s been thoroughly examined by the Angler’s Mail graphics team, who have commented that ‘if it’s been ‘Photo-shopped’, it’s been done extremely well’.

The huge female pike was apparently caught on the last Friday of the season and Craig posted the news and picture on the NORFOLK BROADS WEBSITE.

The captor has named it as coming from the River Thurne system. It’s understood he has supplied pictures the weeklies at no charge.

Craig was on a ‘job hunting holiday’ in Norfolk and was staying in a houseboat hired from the Hickling Whispering Reeds boatyard. He was fishing into darkness from the back of his boat. 

Craig told Norfolk angling journalist Roy Webster, writing for his column for the Easter Daily Press:

“I had already caught a pike of around 25lb on a sprat bait, but I baited up again with a half mackerel and, about 9pm, the special Starlight float was visible on a pitch black night. Suddenly it was gliding away across the surface, and then it was gone.

“When I struck home the hook it seemed I had snagged an obstruction on the bottom of the Broad. Then the ‘snag’ began to move away slowly and at that point I realised I was battling against a huge fish.

“I had to retrieve line rapidly to keep in touch, and by sheer good fortune my landing net was already immersed in the water. In the dim light from the boat house I was able to discern the shadow of the fish appearing over the net and with one massive heave and more luck then judgement, I hoisted the fish out of the water and onto the wooden floor of the platform.

“I suspect that if I had not reacted quickly and managed to net the fish when I did, I would have suffered at least another 20 minutes of panic, because there was a real possibility of losing this fish of a lifetime among so many mooring posts and other underwater snags where this monster could have snapped the line.”

Top predator specialist Mark Barrett has seen pictures of the fish and said: “I don’t see any reason to doubt it. The captor isn’t trying to profit from the capture, and we know the Thurne is capable of remarkable fish of this size.”

The fish is just 3lb short of John Goble’s record breaking 45lb 8oz fish, caught from the Thurne waters at the back end of the 2008/09 season. John has confirmed this is not the same fish.