ROBERT WEBB caught one the most iconic fish in the world when he hauled in this 230 lb 14 oz giant.
The 63-year-old dental worker connected with the monster mandarin catfish during a session on the River Segre at Mequinenza. It set a new European record for the albino strain.
Hitchin, Hertfordshire-based Robert is pictured head end in our picture, and he told Angler’s Mail all about the epic mandarin catfish catch.
“My first trip to Spain nine years ago was memorable for the wrong reasons with the death of my father, and catching one small catfish,” revealed Robert.
“Not deterred, I returned each year for the following seven years with mixed results but a fish of 185 lb was my PB four years ago.
“This latest trip started well with a 155 lb catfish followed by a PB common carp of 52 lb.
“The next four days produced nothing and on my last day I woke having caught some bug. I think I picked it up from the air-conditioning in my accommodation.
“With a blocked nose and sore throat, I made my way back to the river and as the day progressed so did my poor health.
“Just as I was about to call it a day, a group of fishermen left a good swim I hadn’t fished before so I decided to move in for the last evening.
“I was just about to pack up and go for a large brandy when my rod bent from vertical to horizontal – I knew immediately it was a large fish.
“The reel was very tight but this fish ripped line off at will.
“I made only small gains over the next 30 minutes and I was struggling to breathe through my blocked nose, and this fight brought me to my knees.
“A fellow angler, Tommy, was barking instructions at me that I think came from a midwifery manual!
“After about 40 minutes the epic fight was over, and in perfect unison, the cry went out it was a mandarin.”
Mandarin catfish 3 stone heavier than angler!
Robert continued: “I could hardly believe my eyes at its sheer size and it took four of us to lift her from the water.
“It was measured at 8 ft 5 in. long with a mouth 23 in. wide. At 230 lb 14 oz, it was three stone heavier than me.
“After a few photos, it was gently released into the river, and after kissing her for the last time she disappeared from view.
“Wiping away the tears from that emotional moment, I shook a lot of hands then headed back to the UK,” added Robert.
Successful tactic for the mandarin catfish was a string of four 21 mm halibut pellets with a heavy lead and 150 lb braided main line.
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