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Thursday, September 29, 2011

That's one helluva halibut! Retired policeman battles for three hours to catch 38 STONE fish

-8ft 3in Atlantic halibut smashed previous world record by 58lb
-Would make 1,000 fillet portions and as a good quality fish restaurant can charge £25 for halibut main course, it could have realised a value of £25,000

By Lucy Buckland

What a catch!: Reinhard Wuhrmann caught this halibut in the north of Norway, it took him three hours to pull the fish in

A retired policeman battled for three hours to catch a halibut weighing a whopping 38.5 stone to claim a world record.

The super flat fish was so big that at one point Reinhard Wuhrmann's rod snapped in two as he was tried to snare the creature off the island of Senja in northern Norway.

The 62-year-old and two others were only able to haul it onto their boat after tying a rope around it when it came alongside.

The 8ft 3in Atlantic halibut tipped the scales at just over 540lb - smashing the previous world record by an impressive 58lb.

It would have sold for about £2,500 at a British fish market and made about 1,000 fillet portions.

A good quality fish restaurant can charge £25 for a halibut main course, meaning the record fish could have realised a value of £25,000.

Despite being very tired after catching the halibut, Mr Wuhrmann still went through with a bet to shave off his beard the men had previously made for netting the biggest fish.

Three hour battle: Reinhard Wuhrmann, 62, fought with the monster from the deep for three hours before he and three fishermen colleagues finally detained it

Boat skipper Ulrich Alstetter, 53, said: 'It was an incredible experience and we are very proud.

'Reinhard was very tired afterwards but also intoxicated by the experience and by claiming a world record.

'We had made a bet to shave his beard if he caught the biggest fish. Like a good sport he went through with it.'

Ulrich said: 'The halibut took Reinhard's little jigg bait and his rod bent over double.

'We all watched for a few minutes and then it became clear this was going to be a big fish.

'After about 90 minutes of Reinhard trying to reel it in his rod broke in two from the pressure it was under. It was his favourite rod.

Supersize: At 8ft 3ins the Atlantic halibut tipped the scales at just over 540 pounds - smashing the previous world record by an impressive 58lbs

'Because I am taller than him I took what was left of his rod and after another hour the fish was alongside the boat. It was then seen for the first time and it was a huge fish.

'It then shot another 100 metres deep and it took me another 15 minutes to bring him up and another 15 minutes to get a rope around it.

'It was a team effort but Reinhard was the official catcher.'

The men each took about 25lb of halibut fillets home and the rest was given away to other anglers and locals.

The previous record for an Atlantic halibut was held by fellow German Gunther Hansel who caught a 483lb specimen off Iceland last year.

Anglers Bosse Carlsson and Hans-Olov Nilsson caught a 464lbs halibut off Norway in 2009.

Before that Danish angler Soren Beck caught a then-record 443lbs specimen in the Arctic Circle off Norway in 2008.

The biggest Pacific halibut caught was by Jack Tragis off Alaska in November 1996 with a 459lbs fish.

Atlantic halibut - Hippoglossus hippoglossus in Latin - is among the largest bony fish in the world.

Their native habitat is the northern Atlantic, from Greenland to the Barents Sea and as far south as the Bay of Biscay.

They can reach up to 15ft in length, weigh up to 700lbs and can live for 50 years.

Their diet is usually other fish like cod, haddock and herring although they do face predation from seals and the Greenland shark.



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