A fisherman from the U.K. landed what is being hailed as the biggest fish ever caught from British shores, an estimated 208-pound common skate, which looks similar to a stingray.
Daniel Bennett, 26, of Whitby, North Yorkshire, England, was fishing the northern tip of the Isle of Skye in Scotland with a group of fishermen from The Whitby Bass Club when a huge fish ate his mackerel bait and, as one club member put it, "took off at a thousand miles an hour."
After a two-hour battle, Bennett and the others managed to land the fish on the rocks and take its measurements before releasing it alive back into the water, as the common skate is a critically endangered species.
"The key to catching the fish was having a lot of patience," Bennett told the U.K. Daily Express. "My back is absolutely killing me now though.
"We’ve never caught anything on that scale before, and we guessed it weighed about 150 pounds. But it was 208 pounds. I can’t believe it."
The common skate measured 88.25 inches long and 66.75 inches wide. When the measurements were phoned in to The Shark Trust, which keeps charts that give estimated weights based on measurements, the woman had to ask how big three times before consulting the charts and coming back with the estimated weight of 208 pounds.
"There is not a larger fish recorded as being caught on our current record list," Nick Simmonds, the secretary of the British Record Fish Committee, said about the unofficial record.
"Once we receive pictures from Dan we will pass them on to our scientist who will check the images and hopefully confirm the unofficial record. It can’t be confirmed as a record as it was not weighed at the scene.
"[But] it will be seriously considered for the Notable Fish List, which was created for situations like this where the fish cannot be weighed.
"This list is historically important, at least in the angling world."
For a fish to become an official record, it has to be weighed and that would mean killing the fish, which for obvious reasons was avoided in this case.
For perspective, The Whitby Bass Club reported that the common skate weighed more than a female Eastern Lowland gorilla (200 pounds) and a Vespa moped (197 pounds).
"I think people outside the angling world find it harder to see how much of a feat this is," said Bennett, whose girlfriend was unimpressed. "West Scotland is known for skate fishing but not Skye. We were the first to catch one there for at least 30 or 40 years.
"There was another chap in our group who caught one and it was about 120 pounds. We thought we'd never [catch] one any bigger—then we did an hour later."
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