GIGANTIC catfish are often rumoured to be swimming wild in UK rivers – and now the first real beastie has been caught at a whopping 94 lb!

Experienced big fish angler Neil Bridges tamed the whopper on barbel gear during a night session on the lower reaches of the River Severn.

The monster was brought to the bank using a 2 lb Greys X-Flite Barbel Rod, 12 lb Krystonite main line, 18 lb Korda braid and a size 10 Korda Wide Gape hook.

But Neil did have to battle for a full 75 minutes and then single-handedly haul the leviathan up the grassy bank by hand as his landing nets wasn’t big enough!

His historic catch, from the Birmingham AA stretch at Ripple, near Tewkesbury, Worcestershire, made up for losing a potential personal best zander.

Farm shop owner Neil, 46, from Redditch, Worcestershire, explained: “I’d gone done and put out a rod for zander as well and was gutted to lose one of about 12 lb at the net.

“Then a few hours later my barbel rod with a 18 mm Dynamite Source boilie went off and I thought straight away ‘that’s not a barbel’.

“I’ve heard a few things about cats in the Severn but I’d never caught one before or seen any evidence but after a while it was pretty obvious it was a cat.

“It tore around and luckily didn’t snag me and after a really grueling 75-minute fight I could grab the leadcore leader, literally rip my shirt off and use it to glove the fish up the bank… all in a bit of a daze.

“I’ve caught catfish to 65 lb from White Acres, carp to 65 lb abroad, UK carp to 44 lb, UK pike to 33 lb – so have caught some big fish – but this was something else.

“I’ve got to say the rods didn’t go back out and I had a Bacardi and Coke for breakfast to celebrate,” concluded Neil.

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