Angler lands gigantic catfish
This monster from the deep has broken the record for the biggest freshwater fish caught in Europe.
Measuring 2.5m long and weighing just over 113.4kg the gigantic catfish was heaved out of a lake after a 45 minute back-breaking tussle.
Plucky angler Roberto Godi was nearly thrown into the water when the brute took his bait of a bream fish.
After an epic battle to reel it in, several other fishermen rushed to his aid to help him lift the beast onto a weighing frame and mat designed to support such beasts.
The scales shot up to a mighty 113.4kg - sparking scenes of celebration on the river bank.
Not only is the catch the biggest of its kind in Europe, it is also the biggest species of wels catfish ever caught in the world.
It broke the previous European record which was another catfish that weighed 111.5kg and was caught by French angler Christophe Dubreuil on Spain's River Ebro.
The specimen was netted by Roberto, 32, on the River Po at Mantova, northern Italy, before being released back into the water safe and well.
Alberto Bartoli, the charter captain who was with Roberto, said: "At first we thought it was a medium sized fish, then Roberto felt a lot of pressure and the water cleared and we knew it was a big one.
"It took around 45 minutes to reel in, it was a real fight.
"When he got it in all the other fisherman were so surprised, we knew it was big and when the weight was confirmed Roberto was delighted.
"He said he had never been so happy and that it was the strongest fish he had ever caught, Roberto is also pleased the fish was returned unhurt."
Simon Clarke, secretary of the Catfish Conservation Group, believes the fish is probably between 20 and 30 years old.
Simon said: "It is the largest Catfish I have seen in 25 years. I think there could be some bigger but not significantly.
"It is feasible for this fish to reach 136kg but no more than that. I have never seen pictures of anything bigger.
"Once these fish get over 45.3kg it becomes a physical battle as they become more powerful than you. It is a fantastic achievement."
Roberto has submitted his catch to the International Game Fishing Association, which is expected to confirm it as a record.
Jack Vitek, of the IGFA, said: "The record is still being verified, there are quite a few checks we need to make first but hopefully it will be confirmed soon."
Source: Daily Mail, UK
Image Source: Daily Mail/bnps.co.uk
Published June 7 2010