Any keen predator angler ( like myself ) who leaves pike alone during the warmer months may find him or herself at a bit of a loose end around this time of year.Yes one could target the perch, or zander perhaps? but as nice as these two species may be they simply don't posses the power and fight that a big pike has to offer us.
Q. So how would the discerning fresh water predator angler find some adrenaline pumping big fish kicks?
A. Target the Wels Catfish !!!!!
UK Cat fishing is rapidly becoming very popular with muchos venue's holding these magnificent creature's, These can easily be found with a Quick bit of research on the tinternet.You will be surprised at the sheer number of waters there are which offer the chance of a hell raising battle with a giant cat, There are at least 100 venues around the country containing Wels Catfish.
As I live in lovely old Devon I am lucky enough to have the famouse Angler's Paradise complex only a short drive away.Zyg has stocked cats into a number of the lakes which begs the question - Which one to fish?
The trip turned out to be slower than slow fishing wise but we did have allot of laughs which to me is just as important as catching the fishes. Not all was lost as over the course of the session 2 decent cats were banked,One being a fine 46lb 8oz beast to Dave from Taunton. Not forgetting to mention it was his first of the species too! ( jammy git! ). The other being a stocky 32lb 4oz to Exeter's own Steve Moore. After an epic stand up battle with some serious rod bending clutch crunching runs Julian netted the chunk for Steve. (who also popped his catfish cherry) .Unfortunately the rest of us endured a blank, But that's cat fishing.
A week later I returned to the complex with me ol mate Ton Cable who recently got hitched to his good lady Natalie.Why am I telling You this you may think?, Well its been years since me and Ton have hit the banks together so instead of buying him and the wife a toaster or some shit, I found the perfect excuse to get Tone away fishing for a night giving the missus a good nights kip away from tones demonic snoring. Effectively killing two birds with one stone I thought?. So I arranged an all expenses payed catfish trip where I would buy 2 tickets, Some decent food and alcholic beverages and go on an all out mission to try and catch Tony his first catfish.
This time I opted to fish a lake that contained a good number of cats to 35lb,The chances of making contact were alot higher and we both agreed a double figure fish would be a result. The lake was empty other than Julian Chidgey guiding a client who was also in search of his first Wels.
The weather was certainly a change from the crap we have had lately, The perfect occasion for lounging around waiting for a whiskery predator to strike. Tactic-wise I set up three 3.25lb Fox warrior rods employing beefed up carp tackle comprising of 20lb mainline attatched to a leadcore leader with a 3oz lead on a simple bolt clip arrangment. Long hook-links were then tied on using 25lb coated braid to a size 2 Fox Armapoint with a long hair to thread on large carp proof baits.
hook baits where mainly popped up cocktails of 25mm halibuts and large chunks of liver and kidney.After the rods were punched out over the spots we settled down to soak up the warm weather with a cold can of lager...buootiful.I decided to give my new Fox barbel rod a spin and set up a carp rig to pass the time whilst waitng for the cats.I fed the marginal reeds fairly heavily with some small break down pellets and a scattering of 15 mm Cell. After an hour or so the carp got on the bait and Tony landed 4 commons including a low double which really gave the rod a bend conning us into thinking he had hooked a cat.
Jules kindly nipped up the chippy and we enjoyed a good dinner washed down with a few cold ones before it was time to re-do the hookbaits and bait up for cat time.The night remained bite-less and I woke up scratching my head for a fresh approach.With the pressure on I was desperate to catch Tony a catfish, I set up a dumbell rig with a bunch of worms suspended no more than 8 inches below the surface.the rig was placed in the shallows and I walked the rod back paying out line until the dumbell float was sat flat on the suface.It was now just a case of praying a cat would spring the trap. A little while passed before the float smashed under and the alarm let out a one toner.I hit the run with the rod assuming a bend that most definitly spelt cat!,The rod was passed to Tone and I now had a big smile on my face.The Fish headed straight towards the monk ploughing through one of the other rods letting out a terrible racket from the alarm. I turned the blinkin thing off and Tone stepped under the line freeing it from the tangle whilst piling on some pressure to stop it heading to the island snags.( proper drama which was funny as hell! ) The catfish realy does provide some excellent sport so if you have not experienced the power for yourself, I would advise one to do so.
Job done!, An 11lb catfish and a very happy Tone. Later on that morning there was also someone else with a chufty badge.
Anglers paradise's most wanted, Aphrodite at 32lb 8oz off the surface! Top draw angling.
Til next time