Thursday, 23 Mar 2023

British angler catches massive 222lbs catfish in hour-long battle

Angler Ditch Ballard, 37, was fishing on the bank of the River Ebro in Spain when he encountered the 9ft catfish, weighing a whopping 222lb. He described the struggle as the “biggest battle of his fishing career” as the massive fish took the bait in the freezing waters.

When hooked, Mr Ballard jumped into his 12ft long aluminium boat in order to reel in the massive fish.

The 222lbs fish was just 28lbs below the record for a catfish in the Spanish river.

However, amid the struggle, the British fisherman, who moved from Watford to southern Catalonia six years ago, said he “nearly lost his fingers” and described the battle as “simply painful”.

Mr Ballard, who runs the angling holiday company Ebro Mad Cats, said: “With an air temperature of -3C the wind chill actually made it feel unbearable.

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“I was carp fishing, but the bend in the little 10ft rod suggested I was likely attached to a catfish.

“The line was uncontrollably ripping off the reel so I untied my boat and set sail, without pausing to grab my hat or my shoes from the bivvy.

“The next hour was simply painful; as my muscles fatigued and the adrenaline wore off my body temperature began to crash, and I found myself crouched in the bottom of the boat trying to hold on whilst shivering uncontrollably.”

“Eventually the leader knot appeared in the darkness and I knew my prize was close.”

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He added that by that point he had been towed around 1km down the river.

He said: “I needed this battle to be over one way or another, so I just pulled with all I had left in me.

“Each time the fish ran I nearly lost a digit, as by this time my hands were so cold they weren’t really doing what my brain was telling them.”

He said if the line had snapped at that moment he would likely have been thrown overboard into the 6C wintry water.

Eventually part of the catfish surfaced and the fisherman managed to get a hand on its jaw, he said.

He added: “I was physically and mentally exhausted but had to give one last push to secure my prize.

“It was the biggest battle of my fishing career, yet I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!”

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