Sergio Rodríguez poses with the giant catfish which he fished in the Ebro. / S. RODRÍGUEZ

The beast of the Ebro that didn't get away

An angler from Valladolid has landed one of the largest catfish caught in Spain, some 2.67 metres long and weighing 120 kilos, after “a colossal fight”

SOFÍA FERNÁNDEZ

“I tried with all my might to get it out of the water, it was a real fight that lasted over half an hour, and when I managed to bring it to shore I felt a sensation of total satisfaction”, said Sergio Rodríguez from Valladolid. He has been passionate about sports fishing for over 24 years, and last week managed to fish the largest catfish recorded in Spain using a casting technique (with continuous casting and retrieving) and an artificial bait. The specimen is 2,67 metres long and weighs over 120kg and was fished near Escratón in Zaragoza.

“I would like to register this record because I know that there are other specimens which are 2.72 metres long, but they weren't fished during the daytime, and they used a different type of bait to artificial bait, so it's different”.

This was the fourth year that this worker from a DS Smith factory (located in Dueñas, Palencia) tried his luck, and as he explained “it was an incredible feeling”. Before he made this catch, however, another catfish took the bait. “I felt that that one was also very big because of the strong resistance, but that one managed to get away”.

This first encounter only encouraged Rodríguez to keep going. “I started the day with my partner and Alberto Millán, the fishing guide for the area. We had been there since eight in the morning, preparing everything. It was at midday that I felt a strong pull on one of the many lines I cast that day”, he remembered with enthusiam.

“Colossal fight”

Then began “a colossal fight” between the man and fish for over half an hour, in which the catfish showed incredible strength and resistance. "So much so that it dragged us 200 metres downstream, and was able to raise and lower the boat considerably. What had set out to be a normal fishing day turned into something that I will never forget, because I know that many have attempted it in this region but have not been successful. It's not an easy task,” he explained.

“Although it is possible to fish all year-round, the ideal date to find these exemplary specimens is during the months of March and April, which is the time when they feed before the breeding season,” said Rodríguez. As well as in the Ebro, these soft water giants can be found “in the Júcar river and in the Tajo channel. They originate in the Danube but were introduced in Spain in the 1970s in the Mequinenza reservoir, and since then have spread out to many different areas.”

Catfish can live to 60 years old and reach monstruous sizes. Rodríguez joked about the commotion caused by the alleged 'crocodile of the Pisuerga' in June 2020. “I'm convinced that it was a very large catfish.”