Daniel Sibley, 21, was fishing at Bluebell Lakes near Oundle, United Kingdom when a giant wels catfish surfaced and took him for a swim. It was quite surprising, especially since Sibley had originally hoped for a nice-sized carp. According to the BBC, the catch weighed a stunning 108 pounds.
“After the fish took my line I realized what it was,” the angler said. “I just had to get straight in and try to get some of the line back because I had half a reel’s worth of line out.”
Sibley had the proper equipment to hook carp, but not a fish several times its size. Compensating for his eight-pound line, Sibley found himself stepping further and further into the lake until he was almost doggy-paddling. The fish put up a fight, causing the angler to lose his balance several times. He stayed in the shallows and battled the large catfish to a standstill for nearly two hours.
“I was exhausted,” Sibley said. “It took me for a right merry dance.”
The angler was also soaked to the bone.
“I thought to myself when was it going to tire?” he recalled. “But it never seemed to tire, just constantly taking line off the reel.”
Immediately after the fish was brought out of the water, Sibley was showered with accolades by the crowd of anglers who had been watching the event play out. It took two nets and several men to hoist the catfish up for a photo.
“Everybody mucked in to help us and we got some nice snaps,” Sibley said. “It was so slimy–it was like holding an eel, but so much bigger.”
After the fish was released, Sibley made inquiries regarding the size of his fish. Unfortunately, no records were kept of wels catfish since 2000 because it was not a native species. However, experts say that the catch is certainly in the top 10 and perhaps as high as the top three wels catfish caught on a rod and reel.
Wels catfish prefer warm temperatures and large lakes. The species now exists throughout most of Europe and parts of Asia, and is most notable for their tremendous size.
Video of the catch can be seen below: