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Last Updated: Monday, 17 March 2008, 12:48 GMT
Whopper wins Nigeria fish prize
Bello Yakub
The fish was much bigger than this (Pic: Afolabi Sotunde)
A man has landed a fish weighing 66kg (10st 6lb) - almost his own weight - with his bare hands to win Nigeria's prestigious Argungu fishing festival.

Over 20,000 fishermen entered the annual fishing contest in the northern state of Kebbi.

Bello Yakub, 48, wrestled his monster fish out of the water with the help of two flimsy nets to win prizes worth $33,900 (17,000).

He said this was the first time he had won in more than 30 attempts.

"I just hope I can use the prize money for something good," he told reporters.

He won a car, fishing gear, 1000 in cash and a place on the Hajj pigrimage to Mecca.

But his catch is not a record - three years ago, the winner caught a fish weighing 75kg (11st 11lb).

The huge fish are called Giwan Rua, which means "elephant of the water".

The men line up a kilometre away from the Fadan Mata river outside the village of Argungu and at the sound of a gun charge into the water.

Men fishing at a previous Argungu Fishing Festival

Fishing is only allowed on the two-mile stretch of water once a year.

Last year the festival was cancelled because of elections held in April.

Fishermen wade through the water, which reaches chin-high in parts, dragging nets along the bottom. Fish are placed inside a hollowed out calabash - a kind of dried pumpkin.

Many fishermen are poor swimmers and use gourds tied together as flotation devices.

The prize money is provided by the Kebbi state government and the ministry of culture and tourism.

The festival developed from a celebration of peace between the city states of Sokoto and Kebbi, who had been at war with each other until the 16th century.

It has been held regularly, along with an agricultural show and other cultural displays since 1934.



SEE ALSO
Nigeria fish festival bans fish
07 Dec 06 |  Africa
Country profile: Nigeria
18 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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