In most provincial lakes, being pulled around on an inflated device is considered an exhilarating hobby. But when you’re being dragged by a 169-pound catfish, there are a few more real “scary moments” to endure in the process.
Thirty-two-year-old fisherman Gerard Smyth of Ireland met his strongest adversary in the Ebro River in Spain when he set out to catch the largest catfish from a float-tube.
Interestingly, no such category exists within the International Game Fish Association’s records.
The epic battle endured one-and-a-half hours, and saw Smyth partially submerged under water, being dragged for about a mile.
To hook his prize, he was dangling a dead Vietnamese swamp eel at the river bottom to lure a catfish.
“I didn’t realize just how hard it would fight,” Smyth told GrindTV.
“Without a doubt it was the most exhilarating and hardest but enjoyable experience I have ever had in my fishing career.”
When the fish first took hold of the bait, Smyth was jolted forward and his float-tube dropped under water, leaving only his head and shoulders above water. After some time he was able to gather enough strength to use one arm to loosen the drag on the reel.
After traveling the mile downstream, being pulled back and forth, Smyth was finally able to pull the catfish to shore and grab hold of its mouth and chin.
At this point, the fish “went berserk, trailing me round and round like a spinning coin,” said Smyth.
With the help of his guides, Dee Mason and Johnny Kerr of “Monster Tours,” who trailed behind Smyth in a boat, Smyth was able to land the fish long enough to get it weighed, take photographs, and release it alive back into the river.
They both live to tell the tale—and Smyth and the Monster Tours crew believe it to be a record, though they are unable to confirm any previous attempts.
Smyth looks forward to popping back into his float-tube again to continue his unusual thrill-seeking hobby.