Norwich cat-men tame Ebro giants

Two Norwich businessmen had the thrill of their angling lives when they both bagged monster catfish at the first attempt.

Alan Horton and James Ong, from Evander Glazing and Locks on the Broadland Business Park, hit the jackpot when they joined a party on the trail of massive moggies at the world-renowned River Ebro in Spain.

James opened his account with a 203lb Wels catfish, adding a 135-pounder just for good measure, and Alan bagged a 176lb specimen,

'It was something else,' said James. 'I have caught pike up to 25lb and that's a lovely big fish, but until you see one you can't comprehend what a 200lb fish is like – it's a phenomenal weight. It was an amazing experience.'

The duo teamed up with Norwich-based Rick Parfitt and his Kent-based friend Kevin 'Catman' Midmore, who are both guides for Adventure Holidays.

After flying to Zaragoza in northern Spain they were directed by local guide Gaz Williams to a spot where the mouth of the River Segre joins the Ebro at Mequinenza.

The location, around 1,000 metres wide and 25 feet deep in places, proved to be spot on as all men had plenty to show for their efforts during the weekend trip.

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The highlight came when the globetrotting ex-squaddie Midmore managed to land one of the biggest catfish ever caught on rod and line – a 234lb, eight feet four inches long leviathan, that was amazingly landed on a seven-foot Fox Predator lure rod.

'We knew it was a big fish. It made three runs upstream. On the first run it must have stripped 160 yards of line. Kev could not stop it. It took about 45 minutes to get it in,' said Parfitt. 'We think the fish was around 40 years old. It was only around 15lb short of the record. At certain times it would certainly weigh more.'

He said they were approached by men wanting to buy the fish to eat, but there was no way they would allow such a magnificent specimen to be killed.

The giant, caught in darkness in around 25 feet of water, gobbled up a squid and hair-rigged pellet kebab on a 2/0 hook to braid mainline. Fishing was beachcaster style with a multiplier reel and 10oz weight to combat the fast-flowing current.

Rick, who landed fish of 137lb and 15lb himself, said the men were delighted to bag two 200lb specimens on such a short trip. 'We have been out fishing for a week and not seen a 200lb fish. This time of year you won't get as many fish as you do in summer but the fish you do get will be of a bigger stamp.'

Rick, 33, who was named after the Status Quo guitarist by his Long Stratton-based father Gordon, a cousin of the rock legend, is organising a corporate catfishing challenge in aid of Help for Heroes next year.

Anyone interested can contact him on 07881 915171.

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