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A North Norfolk fisherman working from Cromer beach who declined to be named, has made an amazing claim about seeing a giant crab off Cromer. A similar claim was made during the 1950s by another Cromer fisherman but his story was scoffed at by the locals as he was alone in his boat at the time. He was also well-known for taking a bottle of rum to sea with him and it was assumed that he had had one too many and had dozed off and dreamt about the encounter.
This latest incident occurred on the 20th July this year when the fisherman was working about two miles out to the east of Cromer. He has only just related the tale as he states that he was in a state of shock and assumed that no one would believe him anyway. This man was also fishing alone so there were no witnesses to the event. He related the events of that day: “I set off as normal in a light sea with only a force two or three blowing from the south-west. I had been checking my pots for about an hour, taking out the crabs, re-baiting and moving on to the next dan. It happened when I got to my last dan and started to winch up the pots. I noticed straightaway that something was wrong as the winch was labouring and the boat heeled over as the line tightened. I thought for a minute that the pot was fouled on something and I got out my knife in case I would have to cut the rope. Suddenly, with a gush of white water the pot broke surface. I just could not believe my eyes; the crab pot was being held by a huge claw that must have measured four feet in length. I would say that it was at least three feet across. Then the head of the crab broke the surface. I don’t mind saying that I have never been so frightened in my whole life. Its eyes were looking straight at me and it looked really angry. The shell was covered in barnacles and I would guess that it was about six feet wide. The boat was heeling more and more so I had to do something. I just sawed at the rope with my knife and it snapped, pitching the boat back the other way. I ended up laying on the bottom of the boat. When I had gathered myself I looked over the side but the crab had gone.”
Experts at Norwich Castle Museum have been consulted and they state that the Cromer crab – Latin name: Cancer pagurus, normally grows to a maximum of 10 inches across. The museum does have the largest crab ever caught off Cromer in its collection but this is only about 18 inches across. They also stated that a crab would be unlikely to live long enough to grow much bigger than the museum specimen.
Locals are naturally sceptical about the latest claim but the fisherman is adamant about what he saw. He is well respected locally and is not thought to be the type to make this up.
This story will probably be added to the folklore of this piece of coast that includes sightings of the elusive huge black dog, known as Black Shuck. He is said to roam the cliffs and coastline between Blakeney and Great Yarmouth.
As for the fisherman he stated: “I don’t give a monkey’s what people think, I know what I saw. I tell you what, I used to love a swim off the beach but you’ll never see me in there again. Imagine that getting hold of your leg!”
The local publication, the Crab Line, have declined to print the story as they thought it might cause alarm and could even deter some holidaymakers from coming to Cromer.
Truth can be stranger than fiction. See – Giant halibut caught in North Sea.