Monster catfish landed after fisherman cuts line in madcap battle; is it a record?

Monster catfish landed after fisherman cuts line in madcap battle; is it a record?

Outdoors

Monster catfish landed after fisherman cuts line in madcap battle; is it a record?

Benjamin Grunder poses with a massive wels catfish, possibly the biggest ever caught on rod and reel. Photo courtesy of © Benjamin Grunder of the Black Cat fishing team.

Fishing guide Benjamin Grunder spotted the massive fish on his fishfinder no less than 21 times over a span of a year while fishing the famous River Po in Italy.

“Initially, I always thought it was obstacles on the bottom, like sunken trees, that would produce such a signal,” Grunder told the U.K.’s Anglers Mail magazine, revealing the full story for the first time. “But at a certain point, I realized it had to be a fish of monstrous proportions.”

Grunder, who had previously hooked and lost the fish in December, finally found out just how monstrous it was when a client managed to land the behemoth wels catfish, despite a madcap battle that included the fisherman having to cut the line to avoid losing the fish in a snag.

The wels catfish, the largest freshwater fish found in Europe, measured 8 feet, 8 inches and, based on a measurement formula, weighed an estimated 286 pounds. It could very well be the largest ever caught on rod and reel, though records like these are difficult to confirm, especially when the fish are released without being weighed like this one.

Markus Brock, the angler who landed the fish, and guide Benjamin Grunder are dwarfed by the massive wels catfish. Photo courtesy of © Benjamin Grunder of the Black Cat fishing team

The previous unofficial record caught and released in February 2015 actually was weighed; it was put in a sling and weighed along the shoreline by Italian fisherman Dino Ferrari. His fish weighed 280 pounds and stretched 8.75 feet.

At the time, there was talk that the biggest wels catfish ever recorded weighed 308 or 317 pounds, but the method of catch was uncertain.

One thing that is certain about Grunder’s catch: It will be one for the record books of crazy catches.

More on BNQT Outdoors: Spearfisherman towed more than a mile by giant marlin

Grunder was guiding Markus Brock and Kai Weber when the fish bit. Grunder told The Sun that he thought they had snagged a submerged tree but soon realized it was a monster fish.

Twenty-five minutes in the 45-minute battle, the wels catfish swam through a sunken tree in six-feet of water, tangling the line, as the Anglers Mail reported.

Grunder used the anchor to snag the tree and lift it to the surface. He then wrapped the line leading to the fish around his arms while Weber cut the line and found the free end leading to the rod and reel. The lines, free from the tangle, were knotted together and the battle continued for 20 minutes more before the fish was pulled to shore.

It was definitely an epic catch.

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