Imagine playing a huge catfish for eight hours and losing it at the net – well that’s what Gareth Hawthorne suffered on a trip to Avalon Fisheries in France.
The massive moggie, estimated to weigh around 150lb, devoured Gareth’s snowman hookbait at 4.30am and shook the hook more than eight hours later at 12.35pm!
He said: “The giant ignored my two catfish rigs and took my rig intended for carp instead – which included a 2.5lb tc rod with 18lb line and 20lb coated braid.
“I was fishing the middle peg halfway up the lake and the fish tore off to my right, where it stayed for around three hours.
“It then decided that it didn’t want to be there any more so it went two-thirds of the way back down the lake to my left!”
After another hour or two of intense battling the big cat managed to lodge itself in a snag, and Gareth and a friend had to go out in a boat to dislodge it. “At this point I’d been battling the fish for about six hours,” he added. “The water in my swim was quite shallow and I couldn’t get the fish to come closer than three metres from the bank.
“I also noticed that my line was now in a terrible condition and my reel was starting to really struggle. We got back into the boat and moved to a swim with deeper water, and the cat decided to go on another long run back towards its favourite spot to bury itself again!
“I managed to turn it and get it back in front of me but at 12.35am it wasn’t meant to be.
“I only saw the head of the fish once and it looked to be around 12ins across.”
Gareth tried to compose himself after the intense battle but luck still wasn’t on his side, as he explained further…
“After a shower and a beer I got back to my swim to get the baits back in the water but my old Patriot bait boat gave up, the fish started to spawn and we got hammered by the heatwave – so the cat was my only run all week!
“I’ve been going to France every couple of years but have only managed catfish to 47lb – so this was a bitter pill to swallow.
“I will definitely be going back to Avalon to clear up some unfinished business!”