Fisherman reels in 100lb ‘Monster of the Mere’ in Diss

James Williams with the 100lb catfish caught in Diss Mere

James Williams with the 100lb catfish caught in Diss Mere - Credit: Archant

It reads like a script from a cult 1950s B-movie. In the early hours of a Tuesday morning, just after sunrise, a lone fisherman got a bite.

Diss Mere, where the 100lb catfish was caught. Picture: Kate Royall

Diss Mere, where the 100lb catfish was caught. Picture: Kate Royall - Credit: Archant

After more than an hour's struggle he reeled in a creature that was thought to be a myth - a 100lb catfish - the 'Monster of the Mere'.

The unlikely setting for this epic struggle was the unassuming and beautiful Mere in Diss.

News of the history-making catch broke when the Diss and District Angling Club sent out its weekly match report this week.

Rumours have been rife for years that catfish live in the Mere and at 6am on Tuesday, July 21 the rumours came true.

James Williams had hoped to land carp and roach when he set up to fish on the Mere the previous evening.

The 37-year-old from Norwich, who is an experienced predator angler, casts his net far and wide searching for the country's largest fish in his spare time.

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However this catch, which is one of his biggest to date, was caught on his own doorstep.

The Diss Angling Club member said: 'I was pleasure fishing at the time, it was a complete surprise.

'I knew straight away it was something big. After one hour's fight I first got it to the surface.

'I was shattered; it's not something you expect in the Mere.

'I had to wade in up to my waist and lift it out.'

The nocturnal fish, which tipped the scales at 100lbs and measured 6ft long, broke the gears on Mr Williams' reel and snapped the line.

The current British record for the biggest catfish caught is 144lbs. Mr Williams' catch would put him 23rd on the list if officially verified.

Mr Williams, who works for Anglian Water, said: 'It's certainly up there with the biggest catfish this country has.

'It's in my top three catches. It was a great catch.'

He described catching what he claims is Britain's largest sturgeon at 128lbs as his biggest achievement, followed by landing another smaller catfish under more difficult circumstances.

Anglers have claimed to have caught catfish in the Mere before, however this has never been verified - until now.

The mythical monster is still lurking in the Mere, having been released by its captor.

Have you seen or caught the 'Monster of the Mere? Email

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