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The Yellow Submarine 1999

The Yellow Submarine 1999
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Caught in 1999 at 120Lb, this fish seems to come out every three or four years. That's not saying it's not hooked more often than that, but it was such a great fighter I wouldn't be surprised it is lost more times than it is caught. Last time I see a photo of it , it had broken the 200lb barrier. About five years ago......My photo had a bit of a shadow going across it, but a friend helped me decrease it from the image. Original photograph was taken using Film.

Some anglers call these Albino Wels catfish, but I think of Albino as pure white. Though these yellow Wels are very rare.

How I got to do a brief spell catting was, I hadn't been fishing in ages, because I was getting a bit fed up the way British carp angling was going. Putting loads of fish into my lakes, imports etc....and I'd met blokes that told me the hardest fighting fish they'd ever caught was the Wels catfish, but from rivers, not lakes, in France.....They said they had struggled in Spain, blanking every time....and I'd seen the Johnny Allan photo from Lake Cassein.

Being the type of person I am though, I thought sod it I'll have to fish for them in Spain. Though in October 1998 was my first trip, and on that trip I only caught one, but the fight this 68Lb cat give me, got me hooked. I had to go back to the Segre.

Before I went the first time, I tried to get information from members of the CCG, but same again. All I was getting was I've caught in France, but not Spain. But I managed eventually to track down this little nutter named John Griffiths, crazy Man City fan living in Germany.

John showed me not just where the big cats lived, but how to tackle them. The only thing me and a geezer named Dinger the Wildman of Cumbria changed eventually. Was we made our hook lengths twice as long as we were originally shown, and they seemed to produce the bigger fish. In those few sessions we did on the Segre we had a lot of cats.

I fished the River Segre four times in total. We did anything from five to six night sessions on there. The time I went there to do a ten nighter. Which was the last time I visited the Segre in June 2001, the Wels started to spawn so I never bothered fishing that time. Which was a bit gutting because I hadn't been back since late September 1999. I just had one big social.

I dread to think how many cats we could of caught on previous trips if we had our own full time boat, but we only could borrow one every now and then. Though there's now more well equipped full time fishing guides that are stationed in Spain. With all the correct tackle, boats, and baits available when you get there. Most will now pick you up at an airport. Where we use to travel all the way by mini bus through France, Andorra, all the way to the Segre in Spain.

Dinger went back in 2000 and caught a lot of cats over the ton in one week, three which were over the 160Lb mark, and what we were noticing these fish were growing fast. The cats we caught are now 50Lb and 60Lb larger. Unlike carp they are very hard to recognise again, but there are a few that do have the odd strange marking, or unusual feature. So we do recognise the occasional cat....Especially some of the yellow coloured cats.

A lot of people visit there now though....I did report our captures to the CCG, but when they put up a big cat list in their magazine we wasn't on the list, and at the time there was only two bigger on that list, than the biggest one I caught. Dinger would of been on the top of it, and some of my friends up until 2000 had caught them over the 170 mark.

Maybe they thought these b*****ds have only been doing it five minutes, we've been doing it all our lives and not really had catfish nowhere near that big abroad. Well most of the CCG members hadn't.....I'd like to think our captures in the nineties did encourage people to give it a try.....and we proved you don't have to be a full time, or top angler to put such a beautiful beast on the bank.

I never realised at first the Wels catfish wasn't originally native to Spain....I've heard this story more than once, that a couple of German anglers put a few baby ones in there in the late 1960's....and they have now taken over the river.....So don't put them into our rivers, because they eat practically anything from all fish species, frogs, water rats, ducks, and a wild baby boar was found in the throat of one....and the time I went to Kazakhstan in 1999, the Kazaks and Russians were telling us in history. Young kids swimming have been pulled under by them.

Good times, and great laughs though.....and yes we put them all back.

I'm not one for really recommending to many fishing holidays, but there's a lot of fishing guides out in Spain now. Some good, and some really bad ones. Though Griff always said to me. If he wasn't going out there anymore Colin Bunn was the man to see, a very professional guiding service. Griffs trips were for really the hardy type angler. Colin lays on a bit more luxury. Griff always spoke very highly of him. I haven't wet a line for the Wels since 1999, but I get a lot of feedback on them still, from friends who still fish for them.

Colin Bunn Catmaster Tours

As your see they have grown a lot since 99, and some are coming out at outrageous weights now.

If I hear of any other good catfish guides that people give me good feedback about I'll let you know.
Date: 2017-02-12 19:09:27

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Thank you everyone for your faves, and visits. I will eventually get around and visit all your photostreams.

For those who asked we put them all back, and they then grow even bigger, but I eat sea fish from shops or restaurants.
Doctor Kibble 2018-11-27 00:01:21

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