A British fisherman named Ditch Ballard has made headlines after catching a massive catfish weighing in at 222lb (16-stone) on the banks of the River Ebro in Spain. The nine-foot fish was just 28lb short of the record for the river.
Ballard, who runs an angling holiday company called Ebro Mad Cats, was fishing for carp when he suddenly got a bite from something much larger.
He moved from the bank to his 12-foot aluminium rowboat, and what he describes as the “biggest battle of his fishing career” commenced.
Despite freezing temperatures of -3°C and strong winds along the river, Ballard managed to hold on for an hour to land the enormous catfish. He used halibut pellets, sweetcorn, and maize as bait to lure the fish.
The fight was so intense that Ballard almost lost a finger in the process. At one point, his hands were so cold that they were not responding to his brain’s instructions. He had to put on gloves and hand line the fish with all the strength he had left.
After over an hour of struggling, Ballard managed to get a hand on the catfish’s jaw, and the nine-foot fish surfaced, allowing him to secure his prize.
However, the experience left Ballard physically and mentally exhausted, and he wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Although he took a couple of photos as souvenirs, Ballard released the catfish back into the river. The largest recorded catfish on record is a 646-lb Mekong Giant Catfish caught in 2005, which gives an idea of just how massive these creatures can grow.
In summary, Ballard’s catch is a testament to his skills as a fisherman and the thrill of the sport. It is sure to inspire other anglers to take up the challenge of catching the elusive catfish on the River Ebro.