ANGLERS in the UK and beyond were amazed by the discovery of a huge pike at an English trout water. But experts were not surprised.

The 53 lb 2 oz giant, exclusively revealed by Angler’s Mail, is not a new British or English record pike as it was found dead – not caught on rod and line.

The huge spawn-bound female was found during lockdown at Bellflask Fishery near Ripon in North Yorkshire.

It was carefully weighed on Reuben Heaton scales with the aid of a tripod and giant weigh sling.

Bellflask boss Brian Morland, an accomplished pike angler himself, discovered the super heavyweight predator. And it came just a week after a 39 lb 4 oz pike also died at the venue.

How much the bigger Bellflask pike would have weighed when actually alive is open to speculation. Brian suggested that a few weeks earlier it could have topped 55 lb.

Some anglers doubted the weight, or said the pike got greatly inflated in the water after it died. But anglers  who know the venue’s quality, and who know Brian himself, were not shocked by news of such a massive fish.

Brian had told Angler’s Mail: “It would have been lovely to have caught a pike of this size, but I do not have an ego with fishing. I enjoy it for what it is, and I feel privileged to have clapped eyes on a 53 lb pike.

“To give you some idea of size in the photographs, I am 6 ft 2 in. tall, the camera was a Canon with a standard lens, not a wide angle. Take it from me, that fish is as big as it looks.”

A closer view of the spawn-laden pike on a giant carp fishing sling.

A closer view of the spawn-laden pike on a giant carp fishing sling.

‘A very rare fish’ says pike historian

Leading pike historian Neville Fickling was not surprised by the Bellflask discovery as the water has serious form.

Neville said: “I fished Bellflask a few times in the 1990s when the Pike Anglers Club had a one-day fish-in on there for a few years.

“I photographed a pike of 38 lb 14 oz but I only managed fish to 15 lb plus an 11 lb rainbow trout.

“If Bellflask has been left alone for pike and there are lots of trout in there, there’s no reason why pike can’t grow big.

“In Fred Buller’s Domesday Book Of Mammoth Pike he reported on pike of 50 lb and around 48 lb from Ireland’s Lough Mask, caught in gill nets, but without any pictures.

The monster Essex pike that weighed over 50 lb when discovered.

The monster Essex pike that weighed over 50 lb when discovered.

“And there was a 50 lb 12 oz pike (pictured above) found dead by Bill Palmer at The Warren Fishery in Essex in the 1990s. Mick Toomer had the fish set-up.

“So fish of this size are possible, just very rare.

“But I think at some point a 50 lb pike could be caught on rod and line. It will be a freak fish, and just ready to spawn.

“The two big pike might have died at Bellflask if the pike biomass had got too high for the water, but this shows it is a rich venue,” added Neville.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Reuben Heaton scales

Reuben Heaton NEW Scales

Reuben Heaton JRC Scales - like those used to weigh the giant pike

Powered by Angler's Mail

The official British record pike was caught by Roy Lewis, using a large lure cast from a boat at Llandegfedd Reservoir in South Wales.

That catch weighed 46 lb 13 oz and it has stood at the top of the British lists since 1992… one of the longest-standing records.

The English record pike on rod and line is 46 lb 11 oz, caught by Wyndon Coole in 2014. Like the Bellflask giant, that was a North Yorkshire fish, coming from Wykeham Lakes.

Several bigger pike have been authenticated or claimed by anglers in other European countries. One of 58 lb was reported in the autumn of 2019.

GOT A  STORY OR  VIEWS TO SHARE WITH US? Email us, with or without photos, to: YOU could get into print with us.

For the best exclusive content, read Angler’s Mail magazine every week. It’s in shops but  also available via easy home-delivery methods, as you can find out here.

Watch brilliant Mail columnist Steve Collett explain more…

There has never been a better time get AM print magazine delivered to you by subscription… each and every week.


You may also like to read these Angler’s Mail stories…

30 lb canal pike

The 35-year-old postman, from Lincoln, fished a sardine in the margin on a heavily coloured canal. Dean explained: “We thought…

40 lb pike on day ticket

PIKERS are going to able to fish for a stunning 40 lb pike  in a northern lake – but are…

Finding big pike on gravel pits

UNDERSTANDING what prey the pike prefer, seasonal variations, migration of prey fish and feeding habits is only one aspect of…