The River Ebro, for those that do not know, holds many other species apart from carp. This short story is about one of those other species, namely the Wels Catfish.
These fish were introduced to the river back in the 1970ís by German anglers, they were introduced in the upper parts of the river, whether you agree with these movements of fish or not, they have spread throughout the river system and specimens have been recorded to 200lb, although this size is exceptional at the moment many 100lb cats are landed every year.
This particular day the wife and I decided to spend a nice day trying a new area for us on the river, although my wife does not fish that much she does enjoy the odd day out and of course she has a licence which when she does come, allows me to fish four rods ;) two for her and two for me!! We decided to try method feeders as it seems to produce a mix of sizes of the carp and by that way we can make a fairly good judgment on the quantity of fish in the area.
Anyway we had caught a fair few carp nothing that big but of a good average size from 8lb to 15lb all fighting fit commons, the time was getting on and the sun was starting to cool down a bit when one of the lighter rods which we hadnít had much action on, gave a short bleep, this particular rod is only a 2lb tc through action carp rod which is fine with carp up to about 15lb, the rest of the tackle included Shimano baitrunner reel 10lb mono line 12lb short braid hooklength size 6 barbless hook with one grain of plastic corn and a method feeder.
Then another slow take which I struck firmly, the rod swung round to the side as line started to be pulled from the reel, I tend to have my clutch fairly tightly but the line was coming off like the baitrunner was running!! The bend in the rod was amazing, right through to the butt, this was a bloody big carp, I thought, luckily this part of the river did not have many trees at the waters edge so I was able to walk along the bank to keep in touch with the fish, after about 20 metres I was starting to get worried, after 50 metres the sweat was starting to run!! After nearly 100 metres down the bank it started to make itís way back to where we had started, all this time me playing the fish with rod bent double, getting and giving line when needed. Was this a carp or perhaps I had hooked a cat? This is what was running through my mind, (by the way while all this was going on with my wife running up and down the bank with my landing net, we had two other screamers on the other rods one was a small carp the other was a lovely carp of about 17lb which my wife landed, unhooked and returned to the water) Back to the battle! I was starting to gain more line as the fight continued, the fish was now swimming back and forth about 20 metres out, I then saw the fish for the first timeÖÖit was a cat, a fair sized one too, although I hadnít caught many cats I had caught a couple in the UK, the biggest being 42lb, this one seemed the same sort of size, but of course they can vary a lot in girth, so we had to wait and see.
The Cat came over the landing net slipped between the arms, folded and was lying in the bottom of the mesh, I was knackered to say the least!
On the scales the cat weighed 43lb 6oz not bad on a light carp rod and a single grain of artificial corn!! Why did it take my bait? Who knows, but the hook was tight in the corner of itís mouth, hooked fairly and squarely, perhaps it was about to feed on a small carp that was feeding on my method feeder groundbait, who knows but the thing is I landed it and I want some moreÖÖ..