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Wels Catfish - The Debate Thread

Ady Brayshaw

Senior Member
Interesting thread

Small catfish having been turning up on the Trent so it appears that there could be a breeding population in there. Of course also connected to the Humber and Yorkshire Ouse system. There are deep (30 feet plus) sections above and below York where they could reside undisturbed.
Funnily enough I had a walk up the Humber between Hessle and NFerriby a month or so ago and it looked as if it had 'fishy' potential.

The Wels is now caught all over Europe. The Alpine lakes in Austria now contain them to a large size. Also, neighbouring Slovenia's Lake Bled has them to about 200 lb size. I should imagine that they will compete and prey on the superb pike in these lakes.
 
These fish will have either escaped from stocked lakes during times of flood water or more likely, like the ghost carp at Redmire, have been stocked illegally by anglers.

Sorry to distract from the point of the thread, but that isn't what happened at Redmire. The fishery manager was away from home when the water level in the ornamental (non-fishing) pond next to his cottage became dangerously low. Members of the family that owned the estate at the time thought they were doing a good deed by transferring the ghost carp into the main pool, thus saving their lives, but without realising the impact that would have. All the carp in the main pool were removed during the restoration work that took place a couple of years ago and only proven originals and new stock of a known lineage were replaced.
 

Mike Hodgkiss

Senior Member
I've heard anecdotal reports of Wels in Yorkshire rivers, but never seen any hard evidence. There is something that quite a few of the lads in my club have hooked and there is absolutely no stopping it, even on heavy barbel gear/ 15lb line. Some say a big barbel, personally I suspect a carp but whatever ' Sherman' is , it's a brute and remains elusive.
I'm fortunate to have caught some big Wels on the Ebro and I love fishing for them, but certainly where we go around the Delta according to our guide the Wels have cleaned out the barbel, zander, pike but there are still some big nomadic carp.
The bait of choice last time were chicken carcasses, which look plain bizarre and way too big until you land a decent moggy and it makes sense
View attachment 14816
Catfish have been caught in the Yorkshire Ouse , I understand these captures are confirmed as they were caught in matches , this was a number of years a go though
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
Catfish have been caught in the Yorkshire Ouse , I understand these captures are confirmed as they were caught in matches , this was a number of years a go though
Well Mike if a grey seal can make its way from the Humber to Topcliffe weir then is it reasonable to suggest a wels could?
whatever this fish was nobody could do a thing with it and a few different lads hooked it and they are all sound guys - it just stripped line off tight clutches like a marlin and bust them eventually
I had a run like no other barbel take and the baitrunner went bananas- as sure a take as I’ve even seen - picked up the rod and it was gone?
Really really strange ( and witnessed by our bailiff)
Exciting though
 

Mike Hodgkiss

Senior Member
I bailiff for YDAA and on my rounds have spoken to x 3 anglers who have experienced these unstoppable runs on the Yorkshire Ouse . Could be Catfish , or possibly large Carp which are a fairly common capture on the river these days
 

Clive Kenyon

Senior Member
One of the tell-tail signs of a catfish is a sudden eruption of small bubbles in a patch of around 2 ft diameter. If this happens in your swim it can lead to the Mother of all line bites as the catfish rushes in and engulfs its prey. The bubbles are caused by the victim's swim bladder being crushed in the catfish's mouth.

They also haunt fish passes when migrating species are running. In Brittany the Department of Fisheries have spent a fortune creating fish passes for salmon to negotiate the hydro dams only for large catfish to use the fish passes as convenient conveyor belts of food.
 

Paul Richardson

Senior Member
One of the tell-tail signs of a catfish is a sudden eruption of small bubbles in a patch of around 2 ft diameter. If this happens in your swim it can lead to the Mother of all line bites as the catfish rushes in and engulfs its prey. The bubbles are caused by the victim's swim bladder being crushed in the catfish's mouth.

They also haunt fish passes when migrating species are running. In Brittany the Department of Fisheries have spent a fortune creating fish passes for salmon to negotiate the hydro dams only for large catfish to use the fish passes as convenient conveyor belts of food.
I'm not a carp angler so cannot comment on carp runs. I've never caught a BIG barbel , so again nothing to compare with. There have been some sizable carp caught on our stretch and they did go but most were tamed and caught on the barbel gear. The only thing I could compare too was fishing for Siamese carp / Red tail catfish in Thailand when the baitrunners just melted and even when you disengaged them and with the clutch screwed up tight, it still sang and you had to wait for the run to slow down. This is how the lads described the experience ( and no I'm not suggesting there are red-tails in Yorkshire 😁)
The Wels we hooked on the Ebro were different. For such big fish they seemed very canny and I missed a lot of runs as we had to set the hooks very early on in the run( first couple of seconds). Miss it and they dropped the bait. This is compounded by channel catfish that also run a small way with the bait. When hooked they bored off but none of the ones we caught hooked themselves.
Re the fish passes - we have the same on the Tees for salmon & sea trout but frequented by common seals. I yearn for the day when Mother Nature redresses the balance and the Orcas cotton on to a maritime Macdonalds.
 
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