Wels, that’s a fish

THE loud sound of the ratchet drew me from a jetlag-induced sleep that, at the time, seemed like a dream.
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REEL LOVE: Rod Mackenzie with fishermen Gus Storer and Honza Pokorny struggle to lift a giant Wels catfish caught near the border of Germany.

We are fishing a large man-made lake less than 80km from the border of Germany – just one of several destinations on our European fishing adventure.

Just before dark, several rods were baited with sizeable carp, each of these set below a large floater before being tied to a snag using a short line to hold them in position.

The baits were rowed out and placed in position using a small rubber dingy and as night fell the waiting game began.

Our target species at this location – the Wels catfish – can grow in excess of 3m and reach weights up to and more than 150kg.

You could tell straight away by the tackle we were using that these fish were fighters.

Large overhead reels and broomstick- styled rods more suited to tuna and other sea-faring speedsters were coupled with 80lb braid main line and 100kg leader.

Hardly the sort of tackle used in freshwater, but as Gus Storer grabbed the rod from the holder and set the hook, the true fighting ability of these fish became evident.

Storer was almost torn from the bank as local fisho Honza Pokorny held onto the hapless angler, stopping the struggle just short of the water.

It’s common for these larger fish to pull anglers from boat or bank and this was almost the case as the powerful tail-beats stripped line from a heavy drag setting.

This was an epic battle like nothing I had witnessed in freshwater. I could only imagine the size of the monster catfish that was now within a short distance of the bank.

Something I have learned of all big fish is that just when you think you have the upper hand they always seem to find a second wind and that’s exactly what the unseen monster did.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Friday’s Sunraysia Daily 25/07/2014.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.