Anglers know Spain’s River Ebro because the “catfish capital of Europe” due to its large wels catfish. English fisherman Ditch Ballard supplied one other story for that legendary river when he hooked a large catfish on a freezing February evening.
Ballard was focusing on carp whereas fishing from his small boat when he hooked the heavy fish. It deeply bent his 10-foot rod and scorched line off his reel. The skilled angler, who operates Ebro Mad Cats fishing service, knew he’d hooked a large wels catfish.
Realizing the fish would run far and deep, Ballard untied his 12-foot aluminum boat to comply with it. Thus started essentially the most memorable fish battle of his life.
The catfish towed Ballard alongside the River Ebro as he struggled to battle by sub-zero temperatures.
“The following hour was merely painful, as my muscle groups fatigued and the adrenaline wore off,” Ballard wrote in a Fb submit. “My physique temperature started to crash, and I discovered myself crouched within the backside of the boat attempting to carry on whereas shivering uncontrollably.
“At one level panic set in as I assumed I might see my braid (line) fraying within the first rod information, however on nearer inspection it turned out to be icy slush forming in all of the guides because the moist braid ran by below rigidity.”
Ultimately, his chief knot confirmed above water, and Ballard knew the catfish was shut. The fish had towed his boat almost a mile.
Ballard placed on frozen gloves and commenced hand-lining the massive cat to the floor. He put all of the strain he might on the tiring fish.
“I wanted this battle to be over a method or one other,” Ballard wrote on Fb. “So I simply pulled with all I had left in me. Every time the fish ran I almost misplaced a digit, as by this time my arms had been so chilly they weren’t actually doing what my mind was telling them.”
Lastly, an 8-foot-plus wels catfish surfaced, and Ballard managed to get a hand on its jaw.
“I used to be bodily and mentally exhausted, however needed to give one final push to safe my prize,” he wrote. “It was the largest battle of my fishing profession, but I wouldn’t want it on anybody!”
Dawn got here and white frost cloaked all the pieces. He managed to land the catfish, laying it on a tarp the place he measured and weighed it at 222 kilos. He launched the fish unhurt.
Whereas Ballard’s fish is a big by any normal, it’s shy of the River Ebro file by 28 kilos. The Worldwide Recreation Fish Affiliation all-tackle file for wels catfish is 297 kilos, 9 ounces, from Italy’s River Po. Attila Zsedely caught that fish in 2010.
About Wels Catfish
Wels are an enormous number of scaleless fish native to Europe and 80 pounders are frequent. Based on IGFA, wels have been launched to most of central and japanese Europe, and are additionally discovered all through Asia Minor and central Asia, England, Tunisia, and Algeria. Wels largely inhabit deep lakes and rivers, although they enter brackish water within the Baltic and Black Seas and spawn within the salt water of the Aral Sea.
These bottom-dwellers are voracious predators, feeding totally on smaller fish, crayfish, and frogs. Additionally they eat waterfowl, and there are tales of the large cats attacking canine and even babies.
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Wels are prized sport fish. Anglers primarily catch them with bait, however lures and trolling additionally work. Catfish followers additionally think about them good on the dinner plate, and their roe makes for a superb caviar substitute.