Englishman lands 12-foot, 1,100-pound sturgeon

A 65-year-old Englishman fishing in British Columbia recently hooked a 12-foot-long white sturgeon weighing approximately 1,100 pounds, a catch one expert called among the largest ever recorded in North America.

Michael Snell and his wife Margaret were fishing the Fraser River with a guide early on the afternoon on July 16 when he saw the tip of his rod dip. An hour-and-a-half long fight ensued.

Snell played the fish down the river where his guide maneuvered the sturgeon and the boat to shore, according to the Global Post.

“When we picked her head up out of the water, it was almost three feet wide,” Michael Snell said. “I never knew a fish could be that large.”

The fish was estimated to be at least 100 years old, guide Dean Werk said.

“I’ve been a professional fishing guide on the Fraser for 25 years and I’ve never seen a sturgeon this big,” Werk added.

Once on shore, Werk was able to examine the fish.

Together, the trio measured it and applied a tag to the left side below the fish’s head. When the fish came up next to the boat, it measured 12 feet, 4 inches, and weighed an estimated 1,100 pounds. It had a 53-inch girth measured below the pectoral fins.

The Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t have an entry for white sturgeon online; however, Fishing World Records says an angler in San Pablo Bay near San Francisco caught a 2,000-pound white sturgeon, although there is no verification of the catch, according to the Global Post.

Werk said his company has helped tag more than 47,000 white sturgeon since 1995, and scanned more than 90,000 tagged sturgeon that have been caught and released, the publication added.

British Columbia sturgeon are endangered, and must be released.

(Above: Michael Snell, right, with wife Margaret and guide Dean Werk, holding the monster sturgeon Michael caught last month on the Fraser River in British Columbia.)

7 thoughts on “Englishman lands 12-foot, 1,100-pound sturgeon

  1. Wow, that’s amazing! I never realized fish could live that long. This post sent me on Google search. Seeing a picture of a juvenile white sturgeon, it’s almost unbelievable how they can get that big.

  2. The 4 meter sturgeon you reported in your news media on August 3, 2012 was actually only 3.25 meters long as properly reported by Sarah Schreier, Executive Director of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society in the Vancouver Sun on December 24, 2012.

    Unknown to Michael and Margaret Snell, that were here fishing from England, sturgeon are measured to the fork of the tail for recording purposes. While still a very fine catch this sturgeon is not a “record length” fish but simply a false report by Mr. Werk.

    Mr. Werk is using the inflated length to receive international media attention for his business and for his own personal gain. The latest groupon ad now states that this sturgeon is even larger – 3.8 meters.

    Perhaps it would be nice if there was now the same media coverage about the true measurement of this sturgeon and to disclose the false advertising by Mr. Werk as I know he advertises a lot in the UK.

    • I appreciate the update. It’s particularly unfortunate if this individual is using inflated figures to try to lure more people to catch a fish which is not exactly in great abundance as it is. I love a good fish story as much as the next person, but I despise deceptive advertising. Personally, a 3.25 meter sturgeon is still pretty darrn impressive.

      • Yes, a 3.25 meter fish is still VERY impressive but to inflate that size, call it a “record catch”, probably the biggest caught in North America, for international media and personal greed is why I am trying to get the TRUTH out to everyone.

        I sincerely thank you for your concern.


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