It wouldn’t be unreasonable to christen Ian with the new nickname of ‘Mr Consistent’ as his run of quality fish continues. On this occasion, his target quarry were the Wels Catfish of Lymms’ premier water, Lymmvale, with one particular ‘beast’ in mind. Read on as Ian describes his incredible session…..
When I first joined Lymm Angling Club three summers ago, I did so with the Lymmvale catfish in mind. In particular the ‘Big Girl’, a very large Wels that I never, for one minute, imagined I would actually meet on the bank, but there is no harm in trying, right? This particular session started no differently to any of the others, the familiar sense of anticipation as I drove down the track to the Vale and the hope that my first choice swim would be free. Luckily it was and I soon had camp all set up for the day and soon had my rods baited and cast out for the cats, both rods baited with free-lined, half-tin size chunks of Spam.
An hour or so later, I noticed some carp appear on the surface right in front of my swim. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I brought in the cat rods and put out a few pouchfuls of dog biscuits, followed by my bread hook bait. Within seconds a 16lb mirror was hooked and landed. Not what I came for, but a welcome distraction all the same.
Once the carp had been safely returned, I launched the sizeable cat baits back on the baited spots, followed by another shower of halibut pellets and chopped meat and settled in for the night. At 3 am, my right hand rod signalled a take with line coiling of the spool, however, on this occasion, I didn’t connect with anything. Knowing that I may not get a second chance with the cats, I was cursing myself for missing the run as I recast the rod to the same spot.
Half an hour later and this time the left hand rod was away. I cautiously lifted the rod and allowed the fish a little line until I was sure it had fully taken the bait. I closed the bale arm and lifted into the fish, instantly I could tell it was one of the big cats and for a moment, I allowed myself the thought that it could be the ‘Big Girl’. My tightly set clutch made little difference and line was stripped from the spool at an alarming rate as the fish powered away. By the time I had stopped it, the fish was well over the half way point of the lake and my reel which only holds 150 yards of 40lb line was looking worryingly empty.
After 20 minutes or so, the monster catfish was within fifty yards and wallowing on the surface, it rolled and with a slap of the tail, was powering away again. This ‘see-saw’ battle continued for another arm aching fifteen minutes, before it finally came towards the net. It was only then that I realised it was twice as long as the net and it could actually be the big girl after all. I had to hold the fish close in and try to scoop it tail first, believe me, not an easy job, but after a few attempts, it was in the net!
I rested the fish (and myself!) for a minute or two whilst I gathered the scales and camera, I then tried to lift the fish on to the mat. It took a lot of effort to get the fish out and at that very moment, I knew it just had to be the fish I’ve been chasing for three years. On to the scales, with weigh sling and net it went 70lb, after deductions 64lb! I simply could not believe and still can’t believe that the big Vale cat was lying on my unhooking mat, all five foot of it! A few quick photos, then I watched as this amazing creature, with one powerful undulation of it’s incredible length, returned safely to its home. An incredible feeling and a night I will remember for a long time to come!
Our thanks go to Ian for a fantastic account of his amazing catch. The next day, Ian submitted his catch report as a potential record and that evening it was confirmed officially as the new Lymm AC Catfish record of 64lb! Many congratulations, Ian!
To join Lymm Angling Club and have the opportunity to catch specimen fish like the ‘Big Girl’ visit our website here.