PHILIPP REHBERGER had a dream come true when he landed this huge catfish - one of the biggest ever caught.

Wild Catz Adventure Weeks participant Philipp landed the 265 cm leviathan weighing an estimated 130 kilograms on the floodwaters of the River Po in Italy.

But it didn’t give up easily, Angler’s Mail understands that Philipp had to win a brutal fight from the dinghy that lasted over 25 minutes.

The catfish took off upstream immediately after the bite in just 80 cm of water, which is typical behaviour of only the largest specimens, before sitting on the bottom for several minutes as solid as a rock.

The fully parabolic power blank of the Black Cat Wild Catz rod eventually forced the fish to move on, allowing the fight to continue in deep, fast-flowing water.

After many nerve-racking minutes, the catfish made its first appearance at the surface.

Philipp  and Wild Catz Adventure Weeks organizer Patrick Haas quickly realized from the huge appearance of the head that they had to be looking at one of the largest catfish ever caught.

Giant as long as Wild Catz boat!

Patrick Haas used the catfish grip to take the river monster by the jaws and, with the help of Philipp , pulled it aboard the 270 cm Zeepter Ultra dinghy.

Once on terra firma, the catfish was measured in front of several witnesses to confirm its enormous dimensions, before being photographed.

The outstanding specimen fell to a 5 g U-float rig and  Black Cat Gripper single hook in size 1/0 gained a secure hold and withstood enormous stresses during the fight.

Peter Merkel and Patrick , long-standing team anglers for Tostedt-based fishing tackle manufacturer Zebco Europe, organize guided catfish adventure tours on the River Po in Italy in conjunction with Markus Eule’s “Wallerwelt” angling centre.

The tours focus on practical transfer of expertise to participants and shared exploration of the most unknown stretches of water.

Angler’s Mail understands that the professionally organized tours produce monster catches on a relatively frequent basis.

WANT TO CATCH A CATFISH? Read this week’s Angler’s Mail print magazine (out Tuesday, April 24) for helpful insight.

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CAUGHT A BIG FISH OR GOT SOME NEWS? Email photos and details exclusively to: anglersmail@timeinc.com – you could appear in the must-read print magazine.

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