The Wells Catfish is renowned as one of Europe ‘s largest and hardest fighting freshwater fish. Brought into Great Britain by the 9th Duke of Bedfordshire on the 27th October 1880, 70 Catfish fry were introduced into the shoulder of Mutton Lake at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. They have a long scale less body with large head and mouth containing thousands of hard Velcro like teeth used for holding pray before it is passed to the crushing pads at the rear of the throat, two barbels at the top of the mouth and four much shorter barbels at the bottom. The long body has a very small dorsal fin and long anal fin that stretches back to near the tail. It is mottled in colour and can be light or dark depending on the water it lives in, with a lighter underside.
Catfish can live in excess of 40 years of age.
|Scientific Name||Silurus glanis|
|British Record||62lb. Withy pool, Bedfordshire|
|IGFA World Record||228lb 6oz. River Mincio, Italy|
|Spanish Record||224lb 10oz. River Segre|
|Other Names||Wells, Waller, Silure, Siluro, Sumec, Ssom, Malle, Yayin|
The Wells Catfish is found in most freshwater locations including lakes, reservoirs, rivers etc, and have even been caught in the tidal Thames in central London. They use the weedy and snaggy areas including tree roots etc to lie up and to ambush their prey, and in which to build nests to lay their eggs.
Predominantly a predator, the Catfish hunts small fish, frogs and eels etc by using the barbels to detect vibration, but can adapt to eat almost anything, scavenging for dead birds and mammals etc that have fallen into the water. Other common food sources are mussels, worms, leeches and Crayfish but pellets and boilies have increasingly become a huge part of their diet due to the abundance of them used by fishermen in many waters. They are generally nocturnal feeders and start to become more active at dusk, but can switch on to a feeding spell at any time during the day.
Tackle and Methods
For UK fishing rods will need to be of at least 2.5lb test curve, with a good all through action, and these will need to be stepped up to 4-5lb tc for fishing abroad for the bigger cats. Reels need to be large enough to hold at least 250 meters of braid or strong mono; braid however is the main choice for a lot of Catfish anglers. Live baits tethered to a tree branch or snag (buoy fishing), is a common method, along with clonking, however, luncheon meat, squid, leeches and worms are all other very productive Catfish baits.