Angler catches monster albino catfish after 40 minute battle

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A Cornish pensioner landed himself in the record books after catching the world’s biggest albino catfish smashing a record set by his mate an hour before.

Retired pals Tom Herron, 68, and John Edwards, 74, were having a heated competition to see who could net the biggest fish.

OAP John struck first, reeling in a 7ft 11in albino catfish weighing in at 209lbs – beating a previous world record of 205lbs.

But his celebrations were short-lived as determined Tom hooked the same rare species just minutes later.

Retired printer Tom spent 40 minutes battling the massive catfish before finally hauling it onto the shore.

His mammoth catch was 8ft 1in long and a staggering 221 lbs – smashing the record John had set just an hour or so earlier.

The two friends were fishing on the banks of the River Segre, in Mequinenza, northeast Spain, when they pulled of their amazing double feat on September 23.

They had been in position for eight hours desperately hoping to outdo one another when something began tugging on John’s specially reinforced line.

Tom, of Launceston, Cornwall, said: “John broke the world record before me at 13.45pm. We have always had a bit of a competitive streak between us.

“He was running up and down the bank shouting ‘yes, yes, I’ve caught the biggest fish’.

“But when they were photographing his catch my rod started to go, and I said ‘I’ve got a big fish here, I don’t know what it was – but it’s one big fish.’

“It was like dragging two sacks of potatoes through the water, it was unbelievable. I’ve been fishing for 50 years and this was the biggest fight I’ve ever had.

“When the head came out the water I was stunned, it was enormous. Our guide just said ‘don’t lose it’.

“It took 40 minutes to reel it in and to get it out the water our guide dropped in his little boat and guided the fish in with a rope through his gills.

“I didn’t realise how significant it was, I just thought I’d caught a big fish, but when the owner of the tours came down he was shocked.

“It was the biggest albino they have ever seen caught on the river. Apparently they make good eating – but you’d need a lot of chips.”

The trip, two hours south of Barcelona, was organised by British-based Catmaster Tours.

Staff said they had never seen a brace of albino catfish, let alone two world records smashed in one day.

A spokesman said: “Albino catfish of that size are very rare indeed. This is the biggest we’ve ever seen.”

The albino catfish get its unusual appearance as a result of a genetic anomaly that causes the fish to lack pigment and thereby appear white.

They are incredibly rare and are considered trophy fish.

They can grow to around 13ft and feed on fish, frogs, waterfowl and small mammals such as water voles and rats.

Tom’s group of veteran fishermen also included pal Andy Cooper and Anthony Edwards, John’s son.

He added: “Over the six days we landed five albino catfish all over 200lb. That’s never been done before.

“It’s a fisherman’s dream to hold a record. I would have been happy with a British record – but to beat a world record which had stood for 6 years is incredible.”

Source: Western Morning News

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