A British fisherman has reeled in Europe’s biggest catfish – weighing a mammoth 230lb.
Dental worker Robert Webb, 63, was on the last day of his fishing holiday in Spain when he hooked in a really big one.
It took him 40 minutes to pull in the leviathan – believed to be the biggest mandarin catfish ever caught in Europe.
And when he finally reeled it in he was astonished to find the sheer size of the monster sea creature.
After posing for some impressive pictures – where he is dwarfed by the fish – Robert, released it back into the River Segra, in Mequinenza, Spain.
Robert, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, said: “I’d woken up feeling grotty with a nasty cold, but it was the last day of my fishing holiday so I was determined to make a go of it.
“After an hour-and-a-half, I was ready to hang up my fishing cap when there was this huge pull on my rod.
“I wrestled with the fish for a good 40 minutes to get it out of the water and into the boat but I couldn’t believe the sheer size of it!
“Everyone was ecstatic on the boat, jumping about in celebration of my massive catch. It was marvellous to see.
“The whole reason I booked this fishing trip was to catch a whopper and it was the perfect end to the excursion.
“The fish always get thrown back in the water after we catch them, but that memory of holding the whopper in my arms will last forever.
“I’ve been showing off my catch to everyone I can, and I’m so chuffed to have scored such an enormous triumph with the biggest catfish I’ve ever seen!”
Robert, who makes false teeth for a living, has loved fishing since he was aged five, and started taking fishing holidays seven years ago.
He said: “I fell in love with the tranquillity of fishing when I was just a boy, and I’m still fishing nearly six decades on from my first experience.
“When I set out to go fishing and cast my rod into the water, it’s like all of my worries disappear and I feel so calm and peaceful.”
He booked a trip with Monster Catfishing Tours, owned by Peter Irwin, and spent a week fishing on the mouth of the River Segra.
Robert pulled in many big fish, including a 52lb carp and a 155lb catfish, but made his monster catch on September 14 – in the last few hours of his trip.
A mandarin catfish is a rare type of wels catfish that is part-albino, and Robert’s 230lb catch is thought to be the largest mandarin catfish caught in Europe.
In 2015, a normal 280lb wels catfish was caught in Italy – believed to be the largest catfish of any kind caught in Europe.
Peter said: “Robert wanted to get over that 200lb weight, as many of my clients and other fishermen do, but it’s very rare indeed.
“We were reaching the final hours of Robert’s last day and I said about moving the boat again slightly as I had this feeling in my stomach – it was like a premonition.
“We moved, and I said to Robert, ‘If one of those rods goes, you’ll be in for a cracking monster catfish.'”An hour and a half later, a rod bent over leaving Robert to battle this beast of the deep, and it was a solid 40 minutes before the colour became visible under the water.
“It was so exciting, all the hairs on my neck were standing up, and when the head finally came up, I realised it was a monster mandarin catfish.
“I love to help people make memories that will last a lifetime, and when I watched Robert pull this fish out of the water, I thought ‘Wow, this is something really special.'”
Robert, who is now home, added: “I’m so proud to have caught such a massive fish – I’ve always dreamt of making it over 200lb, and I can’t believe it’s actually happened.
“The adrenaline of pulling it out of the water was incredible. I just wish I’d not been feeling so poorly so I could have celebrated as much as the other fishermen were!”