Current British record: 62lb 0oz (1997) R Garner, Withy Pool, Henlow, Beds
This alien looking creature will never be mixed up with another species. The Wels catfish has a large flat head with two long barbels on its upper jaw. The Wels catfish has no scales and a large anal fin. The Catfish is native to eastern and central europe where it grows huge in size. This species has been introduced into many UK venues and some are known to live in a small number of rivers.
The UK record stands at 62lb, with its specimen weight of 20lb these are a fish that pack a punch and will test the skills of any angler. Catfish on the River Ebro can weigh in excess of 100lb.
The average size of an adult cat fish is around 60 to 90 cm in length. Anything caught around the 2 metre mark is a very rare fish indeed.
Studies show that the average catfish will live no longer than 30 years! Although some say that they can survive up to 90 years in the right conditions.
Wells Catfish are located in many stocked venues and in a small amount of rivers. Catfish will hide in crevices away from danger. They will stick to the bottom of their environment and will rarely surface. Catfish are very territorial, if you know where one has been caught then chances are it will be caught again within close proximity from the last. Look for steep shelves and snaggy areas as these are areas which Catfish love to hide.
Wells Catfish are a very patient species, they will only leave their hideout when necessary. Wells catfish will fight until they can give no more. Catfish are known for their strength, both on and off the bank. Catfish will lie dormant in the colder months to save energy. This semi-hibernation state can prevent rapid growth compared to their natural environments in Europe.
Catfish are scavengers, they will eat anything that is available and are definitely not fussy. They do prefer live prey and will attempt to eat any species they can fit into their mouth. Catfish have small eyes but have a medium range of eye sight. They have a fantastic sense of smell and can hunt by locating vibration using receptors throughout its body. The use of its barbels along with its vibration sensors make this species a super charged hunter. Anglers will use live baits and bait such as lob worms, halibut pellets and dead baits to temp this species into the net.
Were looking into it!
There is little evidence with regard to the spawning habits of a Wells Catfish. Each female can produce a few million eggs, it seems a lot but it is thought that only ten percent actually survive. Whether they are eaten or the environment is just not right, we are yet to find out. Eggs are laid in shallow weedy waters throughout June and July, Wells Catfish tend to lay their eggs throughout the night.
All information is from a variety of sources, if you think we have missed something? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your update.
See you on the bank.
The Fishing UK Team!