The cod, which is believed to be the largest ever hooked in the North Atlantic, and could be 20 years old, was line caught in deep water off Iceland’s North-West coast
Image: Nathan Godley/SWNS)
A record-breaking monster cod has been snapped up by punters in a seaside town – measuring the size of a grown man.
The humongous sea creature weighs a whopping 112 lbs (51 kg) and measures almost 6 ft (180cm) tall.
It was pulled off the coast of Iceland by fishermen aboard the trawler Bergey and landed on Monday (April 4) in Grimsby, Lincs.
The cod, which is believed to be the largest ever hooked in the North Atlantic, and could be 20 years old, was line caught in deep water off Iceland’s North-West coast.
Seafood buyer Nathan Godley bought the prized fish for £165 after hearing that a “head-turning fish” was coming on the market through a salesman for the trawler.
A few days later, he proudly displayed the prized cod in his shop window in Grimsby, before selling off fillets to happy locals.
Nathan, who is managing director of Premier Seafoods and has been in the fish selling business for 20 years, believes that the fish is a record-breaker.
He said: “Although it’s hard to verify, it could be a British record or northeast Atlantic record. I can’t find anything on the internet that there’s been a bigger one.
“Someone actually edited Wikipedia to say what size the north-east Atlantic cod could grow to because it previously said they only grew to around 40kg in size.
“Wikipedia says now that they can grow up to 50kg.”
Nathan said he first heard that a fishing boat crew had landed the whopper last Saturday (April 2), when a fish salesman gave him an advanced call about the catch.
He said: “The first I heard about it was over the telephone from the salesman who was getting all his fish ready over the weekend to sell on Monday morning.
“And he said that there was a bit of a head-turning fish available on the market and would I be interested in buying it?
“I said, ‘Yeah, I most definitely would do. That would be something I’d be really interested in!’
“So, I gave him a pre-bid over the phone on the amount I was prepared to pay.”
He learned that the fish had earlier been pulled in by the crew of the Berger, skippered by J n Valgeirsson, and had been caught at a depth of 70 fathoms (128m) off the Icelandic coast.
It was then kept fresh on the boat, before the crew unloaded it on Monday (April 4) at Grimsby Fish Market, where Nathan said it attracted a huge crowd.
He said: “Come the Monday morning, I came onto the market, and there it was laid on the floor with big crowds around it. We had lots of other fish to buy and sell first, so we did that.
“Then this one was left right near the end. It’s a shout auction, where the salesman shouts out a price and everybody nods their heads and scratches their nose.
“But I won the bid with the one that I had given him over the phone two days earlier.”
Nathan said he paid over the odds for the cod but was tempted by the sheer size of the fish – with most weighing only 3kg after they are gutted.
He said: “I was attracted by the freshness of it, but of course, it was mainly the size because it’s about ten times as big as usual cod.
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“There’s really only one species, and that’s halibut, that we get on our fresh fish auction which is anywhere near that size.
“Most cod that I bought that day cost me about £8 – and this one obviously cost me much more.”
Nathan said he brought the cod back to his shop, in Grimsby, where he then displayed it on ice for a day to the delight of local punters.
He said: “We had it on show in the shop on the ice for a whole day on Monday. Lots of people came in and everyone took a photo of it, it seems.
“A lot of people said, ‘Can I have some of that?’ and we said, ‘Not until tomorrow – it’s going to be on show all day’.
“They put their names on it and came back on the Tuesday, and by then it had been processed very early in the morning.”
He added: “We made sure that we had four nice steaks for me and my partner and our daughter, and we took it round to my mother’s who lives around the corner to eat.”
Nathan said he was amazed that the cod, which he believes could be 20 years old, had evaded anglers’ hooks for so long, but hoped to find more record-breakers in the future.
He said: “In the mid-1900s, there was over-fishing, and that’s when we started to have problems.
“But since then, we’ve had quotes and people telling you where you can and can’t fish, so these size fish are now getting more common as all the grounds are well-managed.
“Hopefully, there might be a few more to come like this.
“But that fish – it could have been about 20 years old – which is some going for a fish to swim around for that long and never be caught!”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.