CARPER Nick Royce had the battle of his life when he landed this lake record catfish estimated at over 130 lb.

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Nick was on the £750-a-year Main Lake at Essex’s prolific Fryerning Fisheries when he hooked the giant just before dawn.

The builder and landscaper from London said: “I’d already had two smaller catfish from The Chocolate Finger swim when this one roared off at 4am.

“It was a solid hour of fighting before I could land the beast and all this happened while dawn was breaking.

“I’ve got to say it really is an impressive fish and is bigger than me. It was great getting in the water with it for the photographs.

“It fell to a Dynamite Baits Monster Tiger Nut boilie so this fish is obviously hovering up as much bait as possible as it’s not a fishy flavour,” added Nick.

Reaction of Fryerning boss

Fryerning fishery co-owner Charlie Knowles said: “The fish bottomed out the 120 lb scales he had but has been out at 124 lb in the past and we estimated at over 130 lb now.

“There is another catfish of similar size and you never know, they could grow on and go over the 140 even 150 lb mark as there’s a lot of bait going.

“And the carp are growing with five different 50-pounders and at least 17 over 40 lb,” added Charlie.

The Fryerning catfish ranks high on the list of wels catfish caught in the UK.

The unofficial British record catfish is widely reckoned to be a 145 lb giant that fell to Matthew Smith in January from Oak Lakes in Essex.

The same water produced a 144 lb cat in 2012 to James Jones that previously held the UK best.

Catfish were struck from the official British Record Fish Committee list in 2007 due to a wave of illegal imports in the 1990s and early 2000s.

A bid to overturn the ban last year by Devon’s Zyg Gregorek of Anglers Paradise was turned down.

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