Norfolk angler’s monster cod catch dwarfed by fisherman friend’s near-record haul

Fisherman Paul Stevens with his 83lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS

Fisherman Paul Stevens with his 83lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS - Credit: Archant

When he landed a monster 83lb cod - among the biggest ever recorded - on a fishing trip with friends, Paul Stevens probably thought he had earned bragging rights for some time to come.

Fisherman Paul Stevens with his 83lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS

Fisherman Paul Stevens with his 83lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS - Credit: Archant

But just the next day, Mr Stevens, from Poringland, saw his efforts dwarfed by his fisherman friend, Bert Williams, who reeled in a 93lb beast - the biggest cod ever caught by a British angler.

The duo caught the pair - which between them could provide enough for 400 portions of takeaway fish and chips - while on a fishing expedition near the island of Soroya, near the northern tip of Norway.

Mr Stevens helped his friend Mr Williams, to reel in the larger of the two during a 20 minute battle. The 5ft fish - which died as it was caught - will now be mounted in the Aylsham Road offices of Sportquest Holidays, which arranged the trip and at which Mr Stevens is head guide.

The father-of-three, 39, said: 'The look on Bert's face when he caught it was priceless. He wasn't far off the world record. It was absolutely enormous, I couldn't believe it was real.'

Fisherman Bert Williams with his monster 93lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS

Fisherman Bert Williams with his monster 93lbs cod Photo: SportsQuestHolidays/BNPS - Credit: Archant

Merseryside-based Mr Williams, who is 71 and has a heart condition, said he initially thought his catch - which is 10lbs off the world record - was a whale.

He said: 'I've never felt anything like it before. As soon as it caught my bait it pulled 20 metres of line from my reel, the only time that's happened before is when I got snagged on a boat propeller.

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'When I'd recovered I saw there was so much air coming up out of the water I thought it was some kind of whale, it was just so big.'

During the same trip, Norwegian guide Johan Mikkelson also landed an 89lb cod.

Mr Stevens said he thought the world record would soon be broken, because the once-threatened species was now thriving in Scandinavian waters.

'I think it is because of a ban on catching capelin which is their main source of food, their mouths are overflowing when we pull them in,' he added.

He said that worsening weather conditions had put paid to any attempt to better his friend's catch, before the party returned to the UK.

In May 2013, German angler Michael Eisele caught a mighty cod weighing 103lbs in Norway, smashing the previous world record - which had been held for 44 years - by almost 5lbs.

Do you have an unusual story we should be writing about? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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