Wels Catfish (Silurus glanis)

  Fact File: British Record 62lb 0oz (28.123kg)
  Captor:    R. Garner
  Location: Withy Pool, Henlow, Bedfordshire
  Year:      1997
Grass C




The European Catfish
(Wels) is one of the largest fish in European waters reaching a length of over 2 metres and weights of 100kg plus. It's growth can be quite rapid providing it has sufficient food; this consist of in their initial stages, worms and crustaceans, to mainly fish. Larger specimens can also feed on frogs, small mammals, large Roach and Bream, even water-birds. Mainly predatory, the Catfish can be found more frequently in Carp ponds where it is stocked in order to control levels of small fish. It's natural habitat is within larger deep lakes and rivers.
The Catfish has a long, scaleless body, a large head and a huge mouth surrounded by three pairs of fleshy barbules - two long ones on the upper jaw and four shorter ones on the lower jaw. The dorsal fin is small and soft whilst the anal fin stretches backwards until it almost blends in with the tail. Occasionally specimens are found with red eyes and an almost albino body compared to the normal black eyes and dark green/black body. The sides are a yellowish/white colouring blending down to a white belly and have a dark, mottled, marking.

Methods of Capture. The most favored method is a legered dead-bait - eels, carp, mullet, roach or skimmer-bream. These can be fished over a ledge, within a channel or cast into the depths in a known haunt. If using live baits, fishing with two trebles is one way also two large single hooks can be used. An alarm system of some description is also advisable. 
Fishing with the tip of the rod high in the air with a moving bait is essential. Baits fished on the surface are favoured methods with river fishing and wire traces are a must in case you have an encounter with a Pike. One thing to remember when fishing rivers is to keep your line clear from the waters flow. 
Strong tackle is a must as once hooked, the Catfish has a strong reluctance to come to the net and is a formidable opponent for any angler. A strong rod with line capable of handling fish over 100lbs is essential if fishing abroad. 
On occasions, a match angler fishing the pole on one of the 'Carp ponds' can be seen running the bank at the mercy of a Wels.....Not a fish to be taken lightly.

Catfish lie in rugged areas around trees and snags so finding these areas is of great importance. 'Clonking'  is one way of getting Catfish into the area, or nearer to your baits, this system requires some pre hand practice to perfect this is easy but do. Try first clonking for about 2 to 5 minutes, then every two hours. Try different depths on moonlight nights and try mostly in the dark nights; daytime is good but only in located areas.

Links to related sites

Norton & Kingswinford Catfish Appreciation Society
Pike and Predators Magazine
Silurus Glanis - Wels Catfish (catfish angling)



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